Creamy Crab Risotto Recipe (With Fresh Lump Crab)

This delicious Crab Risotto is a simple and elegant dish full of sweet lump crab meat. Although my risotto dish is decadent, it’s one of the easiest risotto recipes I’ve made. The trick is to cook your arborio rice perfectly al dente, and my secret for a perfectly creamy consistency? Creme fraiche! Follow along as I walk you through the perfect crab risotto recipe featuring fresh crab meat! Plus, this recipe is an awesome base for my crab arancini!

Crab risotto on a tiled backdrop with a gold fork, chives, lemon wedges.

I decided to take a page out of Ina Garten’s book, and use saffron threads for some color in the risotto. Since crab meat is white, I wanted the risotto to have a color to it so that the crab meat would pop. This way, my guests would see just how much delicious lobster I prepared for them! 

It’s no secret that I love seafood. If you’ve checked out my site before, you know that I love anything with lobsterlobster cakes, lobster pasta, lobster gnocchi… the list goes on! One of my favorite recipes on my site is a homemade lobster risotto recipe. It’s creamy and has big, sweet chunks of fresh lobster. It’s also incredibly simple.

A plate of bright yellow crab risotto.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • It’s easily customizable. This risotto is nice because the goal is to highlight the fresh lump crab meat. You can substitute any veggies you want – I suggest sticking to peppers, peas, or maybe even some sweet summer corn – yum! Plus, you can use seafood stock or chicken stock; whatever you have on hand is good enough! Just don’t forget the white wine for zing!
  • It’s impressive enough for hosting but easy enough for a weeknight meal. I’m all about bougie recipes, but I don’t always have much time! This recipe is luxurious and fancy without too many steps or time involved. 

Ingredients

Ingredients for crab risotto.

  • Poblano pepper –  Poblano peppers are large, heart-shaped chili peppers with a thick, dark green skin. They have a mild to medium level of spiciness, making them versatile for various dishes. When working with poblano peppers, you can remove the seeds and membranes to reduce the heat level. 
  • Saffron threads –  Saffron threads infuse the risotto with a distinctive floral aroma and impart a vibrant yellow color. It’s is a spice derived from the stigma of the crocus flower and is one of the most expensive spices in the world by weight. It has a unique flavor profile with floral and slightly bitter notes.
  • Arborio rice – Arborio rice is a short-grain rice variety cultivated in Italy, specifically for making risotto. It has a high starch content, which releases during cooking, giving risotto its characteristic creamy consistency. When making risotto, toast the Arborio rice in olive oil or butter before adding liquid to enhance its nutty flavor. 
  • Stock/Broth – Keep the stock simmering on the stove while making risotto. Adding cold stock to the risotto can slow down the cooking process and result in unevenly cooked rice. Allow each ladleful of stock to be absorbed by the rice before adding the next.
  • Fresh lump crab meat –  Lump crab meat comes from the body of the crab and consists of large, whole pieces of meat. It’s prized for its sweet taste and tender texture! When purchasing lump crab meat, look for fresh or pasteurized options for the best quality. 
  • Creme fraiche –  Creme fraiche is a thick, cultured cream with a slightly tangy flavor and velvety texture. It’s commonly used in French cuisine as a topping for desserts, sauces, and soups. Be careful not to boil creme fraiche, as it can curdle at high temperatures.
  • Chives – Chives add a fresh, mild onion flavor and vibrant green color to the creamy risotto, serving as a garnish.
  • Lemon zest – Lemon zest adds brightness and a hint of citrus aroma to the risotto, balancing the crab’s and cream’s richness.

Substitutions and Additions

  • Use jalapeño instead of poblano. No poblanos, no problem! You can use a jalapeño, but remember to remove the seeds!  
  • Add some extra green! Add some extra vegetables such as asparagus or peas for added nutrition and color! 
  • Add more seafood! Add some sauteed shrimp, lobster, or mussels for a more hearty seafood risotto! Or swap out crab for shrimp to make a delicious shrimp risotto! 
  • Include some old bay seasoning for extra spice! Old bay is a classic spice pairing with crab meat. Feel free to add some to give this dish more kick! 

Step by Step Instructions

Cooking poblano peppers, onion, garlic, saffron threads, and garlic in a pan.

1: Begin by heating the stock in a medium saucepan over low heat, keeping it simmering. In a medium pot or Dutch oven, heat the butter and olive oil over medium heat. Add the diced onion, poblano pepper, and minced garlic to the pot.

Sauté for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are softened. Stir in the saffron threads and Arborio rice, ensuring all grains are coated with the butter and oil mixture.

Adding white wine to toasted risotto and sauteed peppers and onions in a pan in preparation of crab risotto.

2: Pour in the dry white wine and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring constantly, until most of the liquid has been absorbed.

Adding broth to toasted risotto with poblano peppers and onions making risotto.

3: Begin adding the warm stock to the rice mixture, about 1/2 cup at a time, stirring frequently.

Continue adding stock gradually, allowing each addition to be absorbed before adding more. Cook the risotto for about 25-30 minutes, or until the rice is al dente.

Bright yellow crab risotto in a pan with a wooden spoon.

4: Once the rice is cooked, stir in the creme fraiche, salt, and black pepper, adjusting seasoning to taste. Gently fold in the lump crab meat, ensuring it is evenly distributed throughout the risotto. Cook for an additional 2 minutes to warm the crab meat.

If needed, add a little more simmering stock to achieve the desired creamy consistency.

Serve the lump crab risotto immediately on plates or shallow bowls, garnished with chopped chives, lemon zest, and some fresh cracked pepper. 

Crab risotto topped with chipped chives and saffron threads.

Tips and Notes

  • Choosing ingredients –  Select the freshest lump crab meat available for the best flavor and texture. Look for crab meat that is moist, sweet-smelling, and free from any off odors.
  • Prep ahead—Before starting the recipe, chop, mince, and measure all ingredients. This will ensure a smooth and efficient cooking process.
  • Cooking the risotto – Use Arborio rice for its high starch content, which creates a creamy texture. Stir the rice gently and consistently throughout the cooking process to release the starches and achieve the desired creaminess.
  • Adding stock slowly – Add warm stock gradually to the risotto, as this helps maintain the dish’s temperature and ensures even cooking. Avoid adding cold stock, as it can slow down the cooking process.

A plate of crab risotto on a blue and white tiles backdrop with lemon wedges, chopped chives, and a gold spoon.

Serving Suggestions

  • Wine pairing – Hailing from Spain, Albariño offers zesty acidity, crisp minerality, and citrusy flavors that pair well with seafood dishes. Its bright acidity can cut through the creaminess of the risotto, while its fruity character can complement the crab and saffron.
  • Serve as an appetizer – Present smaller portions of the lump crab risotto for an appetizer at your next gathering!
  • Make arancini – Turn your leftover lump crab risotto into irresistible crab arancini! These crispy, creamy rice balls are perfect for a flavorful appetizer or snack.
  • Add a drizzle of olive oil –  Finish each serving with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil for a luxurious touch!

Storage and Reheating Instructions

  • Storage – Transfer leftover lump crab risotto to an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3-4 days.
  • Reheating on a Stovetop – Heat risotto in a saucepan over medium-low heat, adding a splash of broth or water if needed.
  • Reheating in the Microwave – Place risotto in a microwave-safe dish, add a tablespoon of water, cover, and microwave on medium power for 1-2 minutes, stirring halfway through.

Did you try this recipe? I’d love to see it! Tag @seasonedandsalted on Instagram and leave a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ review below!

Vibrant yellow risotto with lots of lump crab meat and chopped chives on top. Crab risotto.

Creamy Crab Risotto Recipe (With Fresh Lump Crab)

Allie Hagerty
Impress your guests with a luxurious Crab Risotto made with fresh crab meat. Follow the easy recipe for a creamy and flavorful dish.
No ratings yet
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Course Main Course, Pasta
Cuisine Italian
Servings 6 servings
Calories 392 kcal

Equipment

  • Medium saucepan
  • Medium pot or Dutch oven
  • Wooden spoon or spatula

Ingredients
  

  • 2 tablespoons Butter
  • 2 tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 2 cloves Garlic minced
  • 1 Poblano Pepper diced
  • 1 Onion diced
  • Pinch of Saffron Threads
  • 1 1/2 cups Arborio Rice
  • 1/2 cup Dry White Wine
  • 4 cups Stock Chicken or Seafood, warmed
  • 16 ounces Fresh Lump Crab Meat
  • 1/2 cup Creme Fraiche
  • Chives chopped, for garnish
  • Lemon Zest for garnish
  • Salt and Black Pepper to taste

Instructions
 

  • Heat the stock in a medium saucepan and keep it simmering over low heat.
  • In a medium pot or Dutch oven, heat the butter and olive oil over medium heat.
  • Add the diced onion, poblano pepper, and minced garlic to the pot. Sauté for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are softened.
  • Stir in the saffron threads and Arborio rice, ensuring all grains are coated with the butter and oil mixture.
  • Pour in the dry white wine and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring constantly, until most of the liquid has been absorbed.
  • Begin adding the warm stock to the rice mixture, about 1/2 cup at a time, stirring frequently.
  • Continue adding stock gradually, allowing each addition to be absorbed before adding more. Cook the risotto for about 25-30 minutes, or until the rice is al dente.
  • Once the rice is cooked, stir in the creme fraiche, salt, and black pepper, adjusting seasoning to taste.
  • Gently fold in the lump crab meat, ensuring it is evenly distributed throughout the risotto. Cook for an additional 2 minutes to warm the crab meat.
  • If needed, add a little more simmering stock to achieve the desired creamy consistency.
  • Serve the lump crab risotto hot, garnished with chopped chives and a sprinkle of lemon zest.

Notes

Prep ahead—Before starting the recipe, chop, mince, and measure all ingredients. This will ensure a smooth and efficient cooking process.
Cooking the risotto – Use Arborio rice for its high starch content, which creates a creamy texture. Stir the rice gently and consistently throughout the cooking process to release the starches and achieve the desired creaminess.
Adding stock slowly – Add warm stock gradually to the risotto, as this helps maintain the dish’s temperature and ensures even cooking. Avoid adding cold stock, as it can slow down the cooking process.

Nutrition

Calories: 392kcalCarbohydrates: 46gProtein: 18gFat: 13gSaturated Fat: 5gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0.2gCholesterol: 53mgSodium: 1298mgPotassium: 297mgFiber: 2gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 662IUVitamin C: 23mgCalcium: 67mgIron: 3mg
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