At every Chinese buffet I have ever gone to (and I go to them a lot), there’s always a cheesy, gooey crab casserole that I can’t resist.
You know the one I’m talking about. It pairs chunks of crab in a creamy sauce. It’s so tasty, indulgent, salty, and sweet.
My mouth is watering just thinking about it.
The recipe is simple. You won’t even need to take a trip to the Asian market!
It infuses a few pantry staples, creamy additions, and cheese.
This crab casserole can be a side dish or a killer potluck appetizer.
Crab casserole is a staple at many Chinese buffets, and the recipe changes from place to place.
Some restaurants keep their casseroles simple, while others add bits of earthy veggies.
I prefer the simple recipe, but feel free to add whatever veggies you like!
I grab a heaping spoonful of crab casserole at a Chinese buffet and go to town.
However, you can get a little more creative when making it at home.
It’s a fantastic side dish that pairs perfectly with salty Chinese food.
But this versatile dish is much more than that.
For your next potluck, pair this cheesy crab casserole with butter crackers and veggies for a show-stopping dip.
You can also slather it on toast for a creamy and nutritious breakfast on a busy weekday.
Using imitation crab meat mirror the same texture as crab but costs significantly less.
No law says you have to use imitation crab. If you want to get fancy, use real crab!
Onion. Adding finely chopped onion yields a delicately sweet flavor profile.
Always opt for sweeter onions like Vidalia or yellow for more sweetness in this dish.
Onion powder works in a pinch if you don’t have an onion.
It won’t add sweetness or crunch but will offer a hint of onion flavor.
Mayo. Mayo works double duty in this casserole.
It offers tangy creaminess to the dish but also helps to fuse all those ingredients.
Since mayo incorporates eggs and oil, it is an essential cooking ingredient in this casserole.
Cream cheese and sour cream. Adding decadently creamy elements is what makes this dish so indulgent.
Sour cream and cream cheese are thick and impossibly creamy and add that classic tang.
Swiss cheese. Everything is better with cheese!
Swiss cheese provides a layer of cheesy goodness and an extra bite that pairs well with tender chunks of crab meat.
You can use all swiss cheese or switch up the flavor profile using different types of cheese.
Garlic powder and parsley. While many Chinese buffets omit the herbs, you don’t have to!
Adding garlic and dried parsley help elevate this dish’s very heavy and creamy flavors.
How to Make Crab Casserole
Making crab casserole is surprisingly easy.
If you can mix ingredients in a mixing bowl, you have all the skills required for this classic Chinese buffet dish.
Whipping the ingredients together takes a few minutes, and it bakes until golden and fragrant in 30 minutes.
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
2 While the oven preheats, combine the imitation crab meat, onion, spices, cheese, cream cheese, mayo, and sour cream in a large bowl.
Mix it until it’s well combined and creamy.
3. Pour the mixture into a casserole dish, and use a spatula to create an even level.
4. Optional: for even more cheesy goodness, pile another layer of shredded swiss cheese (or cheese of choice) on top.
5. Bake it in the oven for 30 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly.
Can You Freeze Crab Casserole?
Yes, you can freeze this casserole. It freezes pretty nicely, making it a great side or appetizer to have on hand.
To freeze it, place it in an air-tight container or freezer bag.
Be sure to date the day you set it in the freezer. It lasts up to four months in the freezer.
When you are ready to serve, you have two options. First, pop it in the microwave and thaw it for 3-4 minutes.
If you don’t like throwing it in the microwave, you can also heat it in the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit and bake it for 45 minutes.
How to Store and Reheat
Take leftovers, place them in an air-tight container, and store them in the fridge.
This crab casserole lasts up to 4 days when stored in the refrigerator.
When you want to reheat it, place it in the microwave for a few minutes.
When reheating this creamy mixture in the microwave, stir it frequently.
Place it in a microwave-safe dish for a minute, stirring halfway through.
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