This crab mac and cheese is creamy, cheesy, savory and loaded with jumbo lump crab meat. Topped with buttery old bay ritz crackers, it’s super indulgent and special to share with friends and family!

This crab mac and cheese is going to be the hit of your summer! 

buttery old bay crab mac and cheese

Bubbly, melty cheese sauce covering soft pasta, lump crab meat and all topped with a super crunchy, buttery old bay ritz cracker sprinkle. 

This must be what heaven looks like. And tastes like! 

pasta with lump crab meat

Not sure if it’s ever possible to get enough buttery old bay crab mac and cheese.

Where to begin?!

old bay ritz cracker topping

One of the oldest recipes I have here on the blog is for my lobster mac and cheese. It might actually be the FIRST recipe I ever posted. I know it’s one dish that I’ve been making the longest – for well over 15 years now. So many of you make it throughout the year. It’s one of the most made dishes here on the site and one that’s requested constantly. 

Of course, it’s definitely a special and indulgent dish. It’s one I make during the holiday season or for a special family dinner. It also makes a fairly big batch, so it’s perfect for dinner parties.

buttery old bay crab mac and cheese ready for the oven

This is like my lobster mac, but with jumbo lump crab and a buttery old bay ritz cracker topping.

OH MY WORD. 

Yes yes yes. So I take a can of jumbo lump crab meat – the good stuff – and mix it into the mac and cheese. If you’re looking to make this more economical, you can definitely chop up some imitation crab and use that. Heck, you can even use some fresh steamed crab if you have access to that! 

buttery old bay crab mac and cheese

For the cheese sauce, I love to use a mix of cheddar, gruyere and a sprinkle of parmesan. The combination is super good, melty, nutty, savory and rich. It melts together so nicely and creates a silky smooth cheese sauce that is seriously crave worthy. 

buttery old bay crab mac and cheese

And the topping! I mix crushed ritz crackers with old bay seasoning and melted butter. I mean, just give me a spoon, right?

Salty and decadent and super crunchy. 

buttery old bay crab mac and cheese

This whole dish baked together is quintessential comfort food. And at the same time, tastes just like the beach!

In a good way, you know. Minus the sand granules you may get in your teeth. 

buttery old bay crab mac and cheese

This is a wonderful side dish, a perfect summer meal. Serve it as your main dish when you want something special, with a house salad and roasted broccoli on the side. ENJOY!

buttery old bay crab mac and cheese

Crab Mac and Cheese

Buttery Old Bay Crab Mac and Cheese

This crab mac and cheese is creamy, cheesy, savory and loaded with jumbo lump crab meat. Topped with buttery old bay ritz crackers, it's super indulgent and special to share with friends and family!
5 from 12 votes
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Ingredients

  • 1 pound medium pasta shells or rigatoni or elbow noodles
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup unsalted butter
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 cups half and half
  • 2 ½ cups freshly grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup freshly grated gruyere cheese
  • ½ cup finely grated parmesan cheese
  • ½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 16 ounces lump crabmeat
  • old bay topping
  • 2 cups crushed ritz crackers
  • 1 teaspoon old bay seasoning
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter

Instructions 

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Cook the pasta in salted water according to the package directions, until it’s al dente.
  • In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and cook to create a roux. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring often, until the mixture is fragrant.
  • Slowly stream in the milk and half and half, whisking the entire time. The slower you stream it in, the easier it will thicken and come together. Continue whisking until the milk is smooth and thickened, about 5 full minutes.
  • Reduce the heat to low. Add all the grated cheeses except for ½ cup sharp cheddar, 1 handful at a time, stirring completely until melted before adding the next handful. Do this until all the cheese has been added.
  • Stir in a pinch of salt and pepper along with the freshly grated nutmeg. Taste and season the cheese sauce more if needed.
  • Place the pasta in a baking dish - either a 9x13 inch baking dish or a 5 quart pot. Stir in the lump crabmeat. Pour the cheese sauce on top and stir to mix it all in. Top with the remaining grated cheddar.
  • In a bowl, stir together the crushed ritz crackers with the melted butter and old bay. Stir until combined. Sprinkle all over the top of the mac and cheese.
  • Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until warm and bubbly and cheesy! Serve immediately.
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buttery old bay crab mac and cheese

That cheesy crunchy spoonful!