Crab Salad and Sourdough Panini


Zesty crab salad sandwich in sourdough bread, grilled on a panini press.

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

Are you ready for game day? I don’t usually get too worked up about the Super Bowl, in fact, it’s usually a great time to shopping, no traffic! But this year is different. This year, Superbowl XLVII, pits two great teams against each other, each coached by terrific coaches, who happen to be brothers. It will be quite the Harbrawl. (Can you imagine being their parents? Who do they root for?) I, a former San Franciscan, haven’t had this much fun watching the home team since the days of Coach Walsh. Anyway, to celebrate this epic matchup we looked for recipe ideas that would honor the cities of both teams, Baltimore and San Francisco. What better way to do that than with a crab salad panini? Both Baltimore and San Francisco are known for their local crab. In Baltimore it’s blue crab, in San Francisco, Dungeness. The crab salad itself is made with fresh, sweet lump crab meat, parsley, green onion, lemon, mayo, and Tabasco. The crab salad is spread between two pieces of sliced sourdough bread (a nod to SF), painted with butter, and then put in a panini press, where the two sides are jammed together, and sizzled. Just like the upcoming game.

If you don’t have a panini press, you can easily make the sandwich as if you would make a grilled cheese sandwich. Just press down with a metal spatula as you sear each side. If you want to make the sandwich more Californian, put a few avocado slices in the sandwich. If you want to make it more reminiscent of Baltimore, swap out the Tabasco for plenty of Old Bay. If you are Mr. and Mrs. Harbaugh, or for some other reason are neutral about the outcome, you can skip the panini part altogether, and serve the crab salad over some butter lettuce with lemon juice sprinkled on top.

And for whoever you are cheering on, GO TEAM!

Crab Salad and Sourdough Panini Recipe

  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 12 minutes
  • Yield: Makes 4 sandwiches.

We've made this with fresh crab and with canned crab, and fresh crab is infinitely better. The instructions call for using a panini grill, but you can easily make this as if you make any grilled sandwich on a cast iron pan or griddle surface. Just press down on the sandwich with a metal spatula and flip it once one side is browned. You can dress up the sandwich a bit with a few slices of avocado in each sandwich.


  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onion
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 4 teaspoons lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
  • 14 to 16 oz fresh lump crab meat
  • 8 slices sourdough bread
  • 4 Tbsp butter, room temperature


1 Place parsley, green onion, mayonnaise, lemon zest, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, black pepper, and Tabasco sauce in a large bowl.  Stir to combine. Gently fold in the crabmeat, taking care not to break up the clumps of crabmeat.

2 Heat your panini grill. Spread some butter on two slices of bread to flavor the outside of the sandwich. Turn over one slice of bread and top it a quarter of the crab mixture. Close the sandwich with the other slice of bread, buttered side up.

3 Grill two panini at a time, with the lid closed, until the the bread is toasted, 4 to 5 minutes.

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Grilled Crab, Mango, and Avocado Sandwich from Kathy of Panini Happy
Super Bowl Crab Battle: Baltimore vs. San Francisco on the Huffington Post

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Elise Bauer

Elise Bauer is the founder of Simply Recipes. Elise launched Simply Recipes in 2003 as a way to keep track of her family's recipes, and along the way grew it into one of the most popular cooking websites in the world. Elise is dedicated to helping home cooks be successful in the kitchen. Elise is a graduate of Stanford University, and lives in Sacramento, California.

More from Elise

5 Comments / Reviews

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Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. Fork Lift Operator

    My sourdough culture is only about 10 years old. Sourdough is like pizza, when you start making the real thing you become a fanatic.
    Give it a try! Real homemade sourdough doesn’t taste anything like the bland tasteless grocery store sourdough. Your effort will be well rewarded. Even better, you’ll learn a new area of baking that maybe you never really knew much about before.

    Once you get homemade pizza and sourdough under your belt, literally and figuratively, it will be time to explore homemade beer!

    King Arthur is a great place to get started with sourdough.

    I like KAF’s “extra tangy” recipe. My neighbors have never complained when I give them the extra loaf.

  2. Linda


    Thanks so much for this great recipe! So easy and so delicious. I made it tonight for the Superbowl and it was a hit! I used both tobasco and a little Old Bay, plus avocado. Thanks again for all of your delicious recipes. By far, my favorite / go-to site for recipes.


  3. Gerry @ Foodness Gracious

    I say forget the game and we just eat crab paninis all day long! Wonderful…

  4. Brandon @ Kitchen Konfidence

    Love this mash up!! What would be a good soup pairing in the same spirit? Perhaps a seafood cioppino with old bay rouille?

    • Elise Bauer

      Perfect! I love the idea of an Old Bay rouille. Serve it on toasted sourdough to dunk in the cioppino broth.

Crab Salad and Sourdough Panini