Homemade Crab Stock

cold water
shells from 2 dozen steamed blue crabs*
3 carrots, cut up
2 onions, quartered
1 ear of corn, quartered
1 bunch celery
1 head garlic
1/4 cup black peppercorns

Place the crab shells and the vegetables in a large (8-10 quart) stock pot. Add water until the pot is nearly filled.

After about 4 hours (longer if you used more water and a bigger pot), and the liquid has reduced, strain into a large bowl. If you want it super clear strain through a paper towel or cheese cloth lined colander. Cool immediately by placing the bowl in an ice filled sink. Refrigerate overnight, then skim off any scum that rose to the surface. Package in air tight containers and refrigerate it up to 12 days,  freezer bags to freeze up to one year or pressure can.

*I picked/ate the crabs one day and then refrigerated the shells overnight in gallon bags. I also threw in any legs/claws that did not get eaten. They, of course, were pretty well coated in Old Bay.

My thoughts:

Normally when having a crab feast (see how to steam blue crabs here and how to pick them, here) you line the picnic table with newspaper and just toss the whole lot out but for this, I saved the shells overnight in a few ziplock bags and made this rich stock the next day. I don’t think it is that common to make stock out of old crab shells but crabs are tasty and expensive and it seems a waste not to. This stock will be great in crab soup or in any seafood recipe that calls for stock or broth. I also think it would be wonderful used instead of water to make rice.


  1. Or in gumbo! Mmmmm gumbo…

  2. I wish I read this a couple of weeks ago when my brother brought me a 5 gallon pail full of blue crabs. This stock sounds fantastic.

  3. We've been doing this for years. It makes a great crab soup!