Crab Stuffed Salmon (Crab Stuffing for Fish)
This crab stuffed salmon is fancy but fast. This elegant dinner could be ordered at any high-end restaurant, but it’s just as easy to make it at home, in less than 40 minutes!
What’s something that you haven’t done in awhile, but the sights, sounds, tastes and feelings of that activity are still fresh in your mind? For me, it’s going to the ocean.
While it’s not something I do super often (we’re spoiled here in Michigan with the Great Lakes, so a lot of our beach vacations don’t involve leaving our home state), it’s a treat whenever I do.
Every few years or so, I’ll spend a week somewhere up or down the Atlantic coast for sun, salt water and of course, the food.
I can eat fresh seafood for breakfast, lunch and dinner on these trips and not get one bit sick of it. Crab tacos for lunch and salmon pasta like salmon alfredo for dinner, with some beach time and a good book in between, is my version of an ideal day.
While we’ll be sticking close to home for our vacations this year, I’m still vacationing to the ocean from my kitchen, with this crab stuffed salmon recipe.
This crab stuffed salmon recipe recipe is fancy but fast!
If you think this baked stuffed salmon seems more like something you’d make in culinary school than at home, you’d be at least partially right. I did, in fact, make this in culinary school!
Although I believe that version also had chopped up shrimp in it, and I’ve simplified the recipe so that a home cook of any skill level can successfully make this.
So trust me, just like with my salmon piccata, you don’t need a culinary degree to make this crab stuffed salmon recipe at home. You just need a bowl, a whisk, a sharp knife, a baking sheet and 40 minutes. Oh, and an appetite for seafood!
Crab stuffing for fish is full of yummy ingredients:
Here’s the rundown on the ingredients for my favorite crab stuffing for fish:
- cream cheese – this acts as a binder, and also adds creaminess. Goat cheese is also a great option! Light cream cheese (like I use in healthy buffalo chicken dip) works fine, too.
- egg – this also acts a binder, holding everything together.
- Dijon mustard – this adds a little kick of heat to the mixture. Whole grain Dijon is also good.
- mayonnaise – again, binder + creaminess.
- lemon zest – seafood and lemon are a match made in heaven, and I love zest because it packs a powerful, bright punch, even in small amounts.
- Old Bay seasoning – it’s not a (virtual) trip to the East Coast without some Old Bay! This seasoning mix includes celery salt, black pepper, crushed red pepper flakes and paprika. It’s also perfect on shrimp deviled eggs. For a spicier version, swap out the Old Bay for Cajun seasoning, like I use in my Cajun salmon pasta. You can also use my pork rib rub if you have it on hand.
- crabmeat – I used canned, lump crabmeat, but there are other options. More on that below!
- panko breadcrumbs – I like these big, flaky breadcrumbs because they are so crunchy (I also love panko for my almond crusted chicken and goat cheese fritters), but traditional breadcrumbs work just as well.
- Parmesan cheese – since this cheese is so salty, it really helps to season the mixture. Also great sprinkled over my lemon caper pasta with shrimp!
- parsley – I love the bright note that fresh herbs add to a seafood dish. Chives would also be great here.
How to buy the right seafood for this recipe for stuffed salmon with crab meat:
The most important thing to remember when choosing the salmon for this crab stuffed salmon recipe is that it needs to be the thicker, center-cut pieces, and not the thinner, tail-end pieces (I recommend the same type of salmon for my baked pesto salmon and bourbon glazed salmon).
If you have a grocery store, butcher, or seafood market where you can specify that you need center-cut pieces, that’s ideal. You can use any variety of salmon you like best, whether that’s Atlantic salmon, sockeye salmon, or something else.
While for my grilled sockeye salmon, you’ll be buy a whole fillet of salmon and cutting it up after it’s cooked, for this stuffed salmon, you’ll want two individual portions of salmon.
When it comes to crab, honestly, any type of crab works for this filling, so the choice largely depends on your budget.
I’d suggest reading through crabmeat 101 before heading to the store. It’s probably not worth the pricy splurge for jumbo lump crab for this recipe, since it’s combined with other ingredients for a filling and not really shining on it’s own.
I chose lump crabmeat for this filling, which is also typical for crabcakes (and seafood pasta salad and crabby snacks). Cheaper types of crab like claw meat and backfin are also absolutely fine for this stuffed salmon with crab meat!
Unlike my crab rangoon pizza, I would NOT recommend imitation crab meat for this stuffed salmon.
How to make stuffed salmon:
It’s a simple as 1.) make the filling, 2.) cut and stuff the salmon, and 3.) bake!
First, you’ll be stirring together all of the ingredients for the filling, like softened cream cheese, Dijon mustard, seasonings, and, of course, the crabmeat. Especially if you’re using lump crab, just fold everything together gently so you can keep the bigger pieces of crab intact.
Then, you’ll need to prepare your salmon fillets by making a pocket lengthwise down the center of each one. Don’t worry, it’s super easy.
Grab a sharp knife (I just used a paring knife) and cut a slit through the fish, almost all the way down to the skin, down the entire length of the fillet, as shown two photos up. Then, season the fish well with salt.
Use your fingers to hold the pocket you made in the fish open, and then use a small spoon or fork to pack the filling into the pocket.
These are stuffed salmon fillets, and I mean STUFFED. Really pack it in there, although some of the filling will still likely need to be mounded on top of the fish, and that’s just fine.
After the fish is good and stuffed, sprinkle it with breadcrumbs and then lightly drizzle with olive oil. Add another sprinkle of Old Bay for good measure, then pop it into the oven.
Bake for 18 to 22 minutes or until the fish is cooked through, and it’s time to eat this baked stuffed salmon!
What to serve with baked stuffed salmon with crab meat:
Each piece of this crab stuffed salmon is quite a large, restaurant-style portion. It’s a decadent treat, for sure (I’ll make this for a special Valentine’s dinner when we’re not having Valentine’s Day snacks for dinner instead).
In fact, if you’re a lighter eater, you could easily split one piece with somebody else, especially if you had some side dishes.
Simple roasted potatoes and sauteed green beans (or green beans and tomatoes) are always a good choice to serve with salmon recipes.
It’s also a great choice for Easter dinner, alongside some Easter salad.
If you’re eating a full piece of crab stuffed salmon by yourself, a light side like cucumber and avocado salad or mixed greens with miso salad dressing or miso ginger dressing would be a great meal. I also love to pair this with butternut squash noodles.
If you’re going to split a piece of salmon with somebody else, a more filling side like goat cheese risotto or marinated white beans would be welcomed.
More delicious salmon recipes:
In my opinion, salmon is just as versatile as chicken. At breakfast, lunch or dinner, it’s a great choice for lean protein.
- Salmon Pesto Pasta
- Smoked Salmon Platter
- Instant Pot Salmon and Mashed Potatoes
- Salmon Sandwich
Crab Stuffed Salmon (Crab Stuffing for Fish)
This crab stuffed salmon is fancy but fast. This elegant dinner could be ordered at any high-end restaurant, but it's just as easy to make it at home, in less than 40 minutes!
- Nonstick cooking spray
- 2 ounces cream cheese
- 1 egg
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
- 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
- 1/2 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning, plus more for topping
- 4 ounces crabmeat
- 6 tablespoons panko breadcrumbs, divided
- 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley, plus more for garnish
- 2 center cut salmon fillets (6 ounces each)
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- Olive oil, for topping
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray rimmed baking pan with cooking spray.
- In microwave-safe medium bowl, microwave cream cheese 30 seconds or until very soft. Add egg, mustard, mayonnaise, lemon zest and Old Bay to bowl; whisk until fully combined (there may be a few lumps - this is OK).
- Add crabmeat, 4 tablespoons breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese and parsley to bowl; gently fold with spatula until combined.
- Place salmon on prepared pan. Using a sharp knife, cut a slit lengthwise down the center of each salmon fillet to create a pocket for the filling.
- Sprinkle salmon with salt. Stuff each salmon fillet with half of the crab stuffing, mounding it on top of each fillet if necessary.
- Sprinkle remaining 2 tablespoons breadcrumbs over crab stuffing. Lightly drizzle olive oil over breadcrumbs, and sprinkle with a pinch of additional Old Bay seasoning.
- Transfer to oven and bake 18 to 22 minutes or until internal temperature of salmon and stuffing reaches 145 degrees F.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 2 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 867Total Fat: 56gSaturated Fat: 15gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 36gCholesterol: 327mgSodium: 1336mgCarbohydrates: 18gFiber: 1gSugar: 3gProtein: 70g
Has anyone made this with goat cheese? I love it but I’m not sure how to incorporate it into this stuffing.
Hi Trish – I haven’t tested it this way, but now I want to. This sounds delicious! I would probably completely swap the cream cheese for softened goat cheese. Please report back if you try it 🙂
I leave my egg, cream cheese and parmesan mixed with the other dry ingredients out to get to room temp. I also get the thinner wider pieces of salmon and spread the mixture kind of thin. Ends up being a good balance between nicely cooked salmon and hot enough topping
Thanks, I’ll try that. BTW is it ok to make the crab stuffing a day ahead (and then remove from frig an hour before cooking salmon)?
Totally, Jan. Make it a day ahead for sure!
This is a great recipe. The crab stuffing is not hot enough when the salmon is done. I have had this issue with other similar recipes, too. Does anyone have suggestions to remedy?
Hi Jan! Personally, I the stuffing is hot enough for my preference when cooked to 145 degrees F. But may I suggest bringing all of the ingredients for the stuffing to room temperature for about an hour before starting the recipe? This might help a little bit!