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Crab Macaroni Salad Recipe

This Crab Macaroni Salad recipe is a fantastic way to make the already perfect macaroni salad extra special! A creamy, delicious macaroni salad with crisp onions and chives, meaty chunks of crab meat (or imitation crab meat), and the sharp, spicy, earthy flavors of the cajun seasoning come together for that perfect side dish. This crab salad will have you coming back for seconds and thirds!

crab macaroni salad in a bowl.

There are many things I love about macaroni salad. For one, it’s flexibility. It’s able to reinvent its already awesome self into something more amazing by simply adding some ingredients.

Some of my favorite versions include macaroni salad with ham and tuna macaroni salad.

I can’t make it enough, especially in the summer when it perfectly compliments grilled meat and seafood.

Summertime isn’t the only time you can bust out this dish. Did you know that in some countries it’s a must have during the holidays?

Ingredients

Ingredients

Imitation crab meat

Imitation crab is made from surimi which is a type of fish. So although it isn’t real crab it’s still seafood.

The surimi fish is blended with other ingredients into a paste that resembles real crab meat.

Although it isn’t the real deal, imitation crab has a strikingly similar texture and flavor to that of actual crab meat.

We use imitation crab in many recipes including crab cakes, crab salad and crab tostadas.

You can find imitation crab in the seafood section in the grocery store. It comes in flake style and chunk style. Either one will for today’s recipe.

Mayonnaise

Mayonnaise or mayo is more than just a creamy delight.

In its purest form, this spread is a mixture of oil, eggs, and an acid like vinegar or lemon.

It’s a versatile condiment in the kitchen used for sandwiches and to bind sauces and other dishes.

Whether you’re buying commercially available mayonnaise which is more shelf-stable or making your own, don’t skimp on the mayo!

Macaroni Pasta

Macaroni is dry pasta cut in narrow, short, curved tubes (also called elbow macaroni).

The secret to a fantastic macaroni crab salad is to cook your macaroni to al dente.

Macaroni salad is typically made with macaroni pasta but when in a pinch for ingredients, you can also make it with bow-tie, penne or shell pasta.

Cajun Seasoning

Cajun Seasoning, or Cajun Spice Mix, is a classic blend of herbs and spices, originating from Louisiana. 

It’s a very versatile blend of common spices that you probably keep in stock such as paprika, cayenne pepper, oregano, thyme, garlic powder, onion powder and salt.

It can be used in so many different ways. It’s so versatile that it compliments a wide range of dishes such as chicken, shrimp, beans or vegetables. Pasta dishes, especially cream-based sauces will benefit from a dash of Cajun seasoning.

Cajun seasoning will add that desirable boldness and flavor to our macaroni salad. The amount of seasoning to use is completely up to you and your taste so feel free to add more or less.

Old Bay Seasoning

Just like Cajun seasoning, the old bay will add flavor to our dish. Old bay is a common ingredient in seafood dishes like imitation crab cakes and imitation crab salad.

It has a salty, sweet, spicy, and earthy taste that is predominantly paprika with hints of other spices like nutmeg.

What I like about combining Cajun and Old Bay seasoning in this crab macaroni salad is that you get layers and layers of flavor.

Each bite is a creamy, flavor bomb.

Red onion

Red onion provides a sharper flavor than yellow or white onion. I recommend red onion in this recipe over the others.

Other herbs and spices

This recipe also uses black pepper, snipped chives and parsley flakes to add additional flavor.

How to make it

Cook the macaroni to al dente according to the instructions on the box. Drain the macaroni in a strainer and rinse with cold water.

Add a tbs of olive oil the macaroni and stir to coat. Set aside and let cool for about 10 minutes.

Once the macaroni has cooled add it and the crab meat to a large bowl and mix.

Macaroni and imitation crab in a large bowl.

Next add the red onion, Old bay, Cajun seasoning, black pepper, chives and parsley flakes to the bowl. Mix well with a large spoon.

Imitation crab, macaroni and seasonings in a large bowl.

Now it’s time to add the mayonnaise. Mix well to make sure everything is coated in the mayonnaise. Then taste and add more seasonings if needed.

Transfer the macaroni crab salad to the refrigerator to chill for a few hours before serving.

Crab pasta salad in a large bowl.

How to serve crab macaroni salad?

This crab salad is best served cold. After preparing it, simply cover and refrigerate until you’re ready to serve.

If you find that the salad has dried out because the macaroni absorbs the mayonnaise, there’s still time to adjust by adding mayonnaise as needed.

This crab macaroni salad goes well with a picnic or barbecue spread. Carne asada, seafood and vegetables are long-time BFFs. It can also be eaten with crackers or all by itself which is my personal favorite.

However you serve this dish is sure to be delicious!

How long does it last in the fridge?

If covered tightly and stored in the fridge this macaroni salad with imitation crab will stay good for 2-3 days.

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Crab macaroni salad with imitation crab

This is the best macaroni salad with imitation crab ever. It’s super easy and it makes enough for leftovers! Let me know what you think of this recipe by leaving a rating and comment down below. Thanks for visiting!

Pasta salad in a bowl
Crab pasta salad in a large bowl.
5 from 2 votes
Print

Crab Macaroni Salad

This crab macaroni salad is an absolutely delicious dish that makes a great side for cookouts. It's also yummy served on its own.

Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Keyword crab macaroni salad, crab salad with imitation crab, macaroni crab salad
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 7 minutes
Servings 6
Calories 745 kcal
Author Carissa

Ingredients

  • 2 cups macaroni
  • 16 oz flake style imitaton crab meat shredded
  • 2 cups mayonnaise
  • 1/2 red onion finely diced
  • 2 1/2 tsp Old bay seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp Cajun seasoning
  • 2 tsp snipped chives
  • 1 tsp dried parsley flakes
  • 1 tbs olive oil

Instructions

  1. Cook the macaroni to al dente according to the instructions on the box. Drain the macaroni in a strainer and rinse with cold water.

  2. Add a tbs of olive oil the macaroni and stir to coat. Set aside and let cool for about 10 minutes.

  3. Once the macaroni has cooled, add it and the crab meat to a large bowl and mix.

  4. Next add the red onion, Old bay, Cajun seasoning, black pepper, chives and parsley flakes to the bowl. Mix well with a large spoon.

  5. Now it’s time to add the mayonnaise. Mix well to make sure everything is coated in the mayonnaise. Then taste and add more seasonings if needed.

  6. Transfer the macaroni crab salad to the refrigerator to chill for a few hours.

  7. Serve and enjoy.

Nutrition Facts
Crab Macaroni Salad
Amount Per Serving
Calories 745 Calories from Fat 531
% Daily Value*
Fat 59g91%
Saturated Fat 9g56%
Trans Fat 1g
Polyunsaturated Fat 34g
Monounsaturated Fat 14g
Cholesterol 40mg13%
Sodium 903mg39%
Potassium 165mg5%
Carbohydrates 42g14%
Fiber 3g13%
Sugar 4g4%
Protein 10g20%
Vitamin A 1275IU26%
Vitamin C 12mg15%
Calcium 38mg4%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Recipe Rating




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