Crispy Creole Fried Crab Fingers, also known as Fried Cocktail Crab Claws or Fried Crab Claws, are a quick and easy crab appetizer. This very simple seafood recipe from The Cagle Diaries, features blue crab claws dipped in a spicy, Creole seasoned egg batter, coated with a kicked up floury, cornmeal coating then deep-fried until golden brown and crispy. With ingredients you most likely have in your pantry, you can make a restaurant-quality seafood appetizer or meal at home, in under fifteen minutes!
Honestly, the first bite of this seafood snack reminded me of a crab cake on a stick. If you love cocktail crab claws, my Creole Butter Garlic Crab Claws recipe, will blow your mind, too!
WHAT ARE CRAB CLAWS OR CRAB FINGERS?
In the past several years, I have been on a mission to find what I now know as cocktail crab claws, or commonly referred to as crab fingers. See, these sweet crab claws were part of a seafood platter I had ordered at a local steakhouse here in Charlotte. I spent several years trying to not only find out what these tasty crustaceans were, but where to actually purchase them.
Thankfully, with the help of social media, once I posted the video of my find on TikTok, many commented on what they were and also gave me a few ideas of how to prepare this tasty seafood appetizer. Unbeknownst to me, crab fingers, as they call them in the deep south, are a staple appetizer on many restaurant menus in places like Louisiana and come from blue crabs.
Cocktail crab claws are the tips of the pinchers of the blue crab claw. They typically come prepared (cooked) with part of the shell removed, exposing the dark pink, meaty flesh of the crab claw. The flavor profile is stronger (sweeter) than that of its crab leg counterpart.
The pinchers of the claw act as handles. So, they are easy to eat and suitable as delicious finger food for cocktail parties. The sweet crab meat is attached to the cartilage. As you bite down on the meaty portion, scrape the meat using your teeth off of the cartilage.
Where to buy cocktail crab fingers?
So, this is the million dollar question! Unless you live in the deep south, or other areas of the country where these crab claws are in abundance, you may have difficulty locating them. Seek out your local fish market or grocery store. Crustacea is the brand I am using in this warm crab appetizer recipe. The crabmeat comes from blue swimming crabs.
Since this is a highly perishable seafood product, several companies do offer for sale online. However, the cost of shipping can be extremely high.
Serve Crispy Fried Crab Fingers as an appetizer with any of the following dipping sauces:
- Remoulade sauce
- Cocktail sauce
- Tartar sauce
- Mustard sauce (similar to Joe’s Stone Crab)
Additionally, Fried Crab Claws can be served as part of a seafood platter, or as a meal with any of the following accompaniments:
How do you eat fried crab claws?
As mentioned earlier, use the pincher as a utensil. Gently bite down on the meaty claw portion then slide the pincher and cartilage out of your mouth.
Creole vs. Cajun Seasoning
Thankfully, a friend of mine Chef Jen, just launched her new line of Caribbean Spice Blends. Her Creole Blend, “KoKo Kreole,” is a hand blended spice mixture that is salt-free, gluten-free and msg-free. Please give her a shout and support a small, black woman-owned business.
As an alternative, a Cajun seasoning blend will also work. Honestly, Cajun seasoning and Creole seasoning are quite similar and both include pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne and paprika. However, Creole seasoning adds some type of herb, like thyme or oregano to the seasoning mix.
ALTERNATIVE COOKING METHODS FOR CRISPY CRAB FINGERS
Although the best flavor experience will come from frying crab fingers in hot oil, you can use either of the following cooking methods:
AIR FRYER : Once coated, add the crab claws to air fryer basket. Spray with cooking oil or spray. Air fry at 400° for about 12 minutes (flipping half way through).
OVEN: Place coated crab fingers on a parchment lined baking sheet. Spray with cooking oil or spray. Bake at 400° for 10 minutes.
- Adjust the spice level to your liking
- Buttermilk can be used to replace the milk
- Reheat leftovers in the air fryer or oven, for best results
- Old Bay is a great substitute for Creole seasoning
- Use all corn flour for Gluten-Free Crispy Fried Crab Fingers
- Depending on size, consider four to five pieces per person as an appetizer
- Do NOT leave out the cornstarch (makes for a crunchier outside)
MORE CRAB RECIPES:
If you are a huge fan of crabmeat and crab legs, check out more of my crabby recipes:
- Snow Crab Salad
- Butter Garlic Crab Claws
- Hot Crab Dip
- Crab Stuffed Shrimp
- Crab Alfredo Pasta
- Crab and Corn Chowder
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