Crab and Gnocchi Gratin

This fancy-fied mac and cheese casserole makes a lovely dinner party dish or Thanksgiving side dish. It’s an amalgamation of a classic gnocchi gratin and crab mac and cheese, offering a bit of cozy luxury.

Crab Mac and Cheese Casserole with Gnocchi | #macandcheese #gratin #gnocchi

Several months ago I had the opportunity to visit San Francisco.

San Francisco |

I adored walking the hills, observing the intricate architecture, breathing in the ocean air, and visiting quirky shops and galleries.

San Francisco, CA |

Other than the ocean air, it reminded me of a larger Asheville and I felt right at home.

San Francisco Pier 39 |

Of all the wonderful things I saw and experienced in San Francisco, the thing that stuck out to me the most was the incredible food culture.

San Francisco Street |

Everywhere I looked wonderful things were being grown, caught, baked, churned, crafted and cured. I couldn’t possibly begin to tell you all the delightful things I tasted.

Just know, there was a lot of cheese, chocolate, sourdough bread, and an episode with salami in a cone.

San Francisco Meat Shop |

I can, however, fully describe the dish that was the most memorable, a Crab Mac and Cheese Recipe.

At a little waterfront restaurant, we ate the most decadent mac and cheese casserole with large succulent chunks of crab meat nestled within.

As I looked out at the bay, I savored every bite and took mental notes so I could come home and recreate such a dish.

San Francisco - Alcatraz |

This fall, I experimented with various mac and cheese casseroles and finally determined I would like this luxurious dish even more, if I switched the standard macaroni noodles to gnocchi.

Creamy gnocchi gratin is another favorite splurge, so it only made sense to combine the two.

This crab mac and cheese recipe made with tender pillows of gnocchi, sweet crab meat, gruyere, and havarti cheese, has the essence of both a well-made gnocchi gratin and a baked mac and cheese casserole.

Crab and Gnocchi "Mac and Cheese" | #macandcheese #gratin #holidays

That means it delivers both the sense of intense luxury and down-home comfort. What could be better than that?

To top it all, it has a touch of warm spicy nutmeg that pairs so well with both the seafood and cheeses.

Crab Mac and Cheese | #macandcheese #gratin #holidays

This gnocchi gratin would make a show-stopping addition to your Thanksgiving table, as well as a opulent main course for an intimate holiday dinner party.

Crab and Gnocchi Gratin | #macandcheese #gratin #holidays

If planning the latter, I suggest serving it with a warm spinach and pear salad and a glass of something bubbly!


Yield: 8-10

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Crab Mac and Cheese Recipe

Classic Gnocchi Gratin with Gruyere, Havarti and Crab Meat.


2 pounds packaged gnocchi
1 poundcooked crab meat
7 tablespoons butter, divided
1/4 cup flour
3 cloves garlic, minced
Zest of 1 lemon
3 cups half and half
8 ounces shredded gruyere cheese
8 ounces shredded havarti cheese
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 1/2 cups panko bread crumbs
Chopped parsley for garnish


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Place a large pot of salted water over high heat. Bring to a boil, and cooked the gnocchi according to the package instructions.

Drain the gnocchi and place in a 9X13 inch baking dish. Add the crab meat and mix.

In a large sauce pot (could be the same used for pasta) melt 4 tablespoons of butter over medium heat. Whisk in the flour followed by the garlic and lemon zest. Cook for another minute, then add the half and half and whisk until smooth.

Once the mixture is warm, add the cheeses. Stir to blend, then add the salt, pepper and nutmeg. Once smooth, taste for salt (add more if needed) and pour the cheese mixture over the crab and gnocchi. Mix and smooth in the baking dish.

Then melt the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter and toss with the bread crumbs. Sprinkle the top with bread crumbs, and bake for 20-30 minutes, until the edges are bubbly and the top is golden.

Sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve warm.

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65 Responses to “Crab and Gnocchi Gratin”

  1. #
    Candi — April 9, 2013 @ 3:09 pm

    This was a great idea! I made my own gnocchi, and tossed a bit of chopped parsley, a bit of lemon zest, and a drizzle of olive oil into the panko. This was delicious!


  2. #
    Dana D — May 7, 2013 @ 8:00 pm

    Hubby is allergic to shellfish (shame, I know), but he loves it. Could I substitute fake crab (the pollock stuff) without totally ruining this recipe?


  3. #
    Monica — July 22, 2013 @ 8:57 pm

    I felt like the recipe used waaaaay too much breadcrumbs. I won’t skip them, but I will seriously reduce the amount used next time.


  4. #
    Jodee Weiland — October 15, 2013 @ 12:32 pm

    This recipe looks so delicious…wonderfully rich in flavor! Love this!


  5. #
    Pilar — December 15, 2014 @ 9:27 am

    I don’t evn know how Iended up here, but I thought this post was good.

    I don’t know wwho you are but definitely you aare going to a famous blogger if you aren’t already ;) Cheers!



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