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Grilled Soft-Shell Crab Sandwich with Spicy Mayo

Softshell crab sandwich
Grilled Soft-Shell Crab Sandwich with Spicy Mayo

This recipe and photography were provided courtesy of local cookbook author and chef, Carla Snyder. Learn more about Carla and discover her recipes at 

Nothing could be easier than grilling soft-shell crab. About 4 minutes is all it takes to capture that fresh-from-the-ocean flavor between a perfectly grilled bun. A tomato and crispy iceberg lettuce with a generous slather of spicy mayo are the perfect finishing touches.

It’s that easy: To make it even more fun, I’m offering a few iterations on the mayo. I love it spicy, but the tartar sauce is a classic and a pesto mayo is too easy and delicious not to be included. Take it a step further and add lemon or lime to jarred mayonnaise. Herbs? Add basil with lemon and cilantro with the lime.

Grilled Soft-Shell Crab Sandwich with Spicy Mayo

Start-to-Finish: 30 minutes
Hands-on Time: 30 minutes
Serves 4


  • 2 cups mayonnaise
  • 2 Tbsp. hot sauce
  • 3/4 stick unsalted butter
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 small shallot, minced
  • 1 tsp. Old Bay Seasoning
  • 8 soft shell crabs, cleaned
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 buns, split
  • Sliced tomato
  • Iceberg lettuce


  1. Prepare a grill to high heat.
  2. Combine the mayo and hot sauce in a small bowl. Set aside.
  3. On a large cutting board, mince the garlic and shallot.
  4. In a small saucepan, combine the butter, garlic, shallot and Old Bay Seasoning and bring to a simmer. Turn off heat and set aside.
  5. Brush the buns with the butter mixture and brown the cut sides on the grill. They will brown quickly, about 1 minute or less, so watch them closely.
  6. Transfer the buns to a plate.
  7. Brush the crabs with the butter and salt and pepper them. Lay them out on the grill and cook for about 2 minutes or until they turn bright red. Flip them over and grill for another 2 minutes or until firm when pressed.
  8. Spread the spicy mayo on the buns and layer tomato, lettuce and top with 2 crabs and  the top bun. Serve immediately.

In the glass: A light, fruity white such as Viognier from Washington State or California would be dreamy.

Grilled Soft-Shell Crab Sandwich with Spicy Mayo

Click Here to Print the Recipe for Grilled Soft-Shell Crab Sandwich with Spicy Mayo.

Click Here to Print the Recipe for Additional Soft-Shell Crab Sauce Recipes.

Carla Snyder in her kitchen
By Carla Snyder
Carla has spent the past 30 years in the food world as a caterer, artisan baker, cooking school teacher, food writer and author of 6 cook books including the James Beard nominated Big Book of Appetizers. Her passion is sharing fresh, cooked-from-scratch weeknight meals that cut prep time and practically eliminate that nightly sink full of dishes.

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