Crab Mac and Cheese Recipe

Awesome Crab Mac and Cheese RecipeThis 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 recipe, 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 Crab 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 Crab Mac and Cheese Recipe 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!

Crab Mac and Cheese Recipe

Yield: 8-10

Prep Time:10 minutes

Cook Time:40 minutes

Did you make this recipe?   Leave a review »

Classic Gnocchi Gratin with Gruyere, Havarti and Crab Meat.


  • 2 pounds packaged gnocchi
  • 1 pound cooked 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


  1. 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.
  2. Drain the gnocchi and place in a 9X13 inch baking dish. Add the crab meat and mix.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve warm.
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71 comments on “Crab Mac and Cheese Recipe

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  4. Melindaposted June 6, 2015 at 7:46 pm Reply

    I made this recipe just as directed and it turned out fantastic! My family couldn’t get enough of it. I will definitely will be adding this to my recipe list! Thanks for sharing!

  5. Jessposted May 8, 2015 at 4:38 am Reply

    Apparently Havarti is nearly impossible to find in Ireland (weird, it’s so common in the US and Canada), so I substituted smoked Gouda. As delicious as this looks, it still managed to exceed my expectations! It’s so incredibly rich and decadent.

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

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  12. Jodee Weilandposted October 15, 2013 at 12:32 pm Reply

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

  13. Monicaposted July 22, 2013 at 8:57 pm Reply

    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.

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  16. Dana Dposted May 7, 2013 at 8:00 pm Reply

    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?

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  18. Candiposted April 9, 2013 at 3:09 pm Reply

    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!

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  21. Fajaposted December 11, 2012 at 11:33 am Reply

    Your crab mac and cheese looks mouthwatering. I’m sure that my husband would go crazy over these when I try making this next week.

  22. Carrie's Experimental Kitchenposted November 23, 2012 at 7:15 pm Reply

    I have featured this recipe on my blog for my weekly seafood round-up and have linked this recipe to your original post so that my readers will be forwarded to your site. Thank you for allowing me to share! Here is the link:

  23. Michelleposted November 22, 2012 at 9:35 pm Reply

    I made and ate this last night, and had the leftovers tonight. This was so YUMMY! A couple of things I did (if you are a foodie, you might want to cover your ears here!) I used imitation crabmeat, my local grocery store did not have the real stuff, and they also didn’t have the gruyere or havarti cheese. I am not familiar with those cheeses (although I will attempt to find them and use them next time, and there will be a next time) so I just used a combination of mozzarella/parmesan/asiago because that’s what I had on hand. I almost skipped the panko breadcrumbs on top to save on calories, and that would have been a HUGE mistake. Something about the decadence of the sauce coupled with the crunch of the panko – awesome. It was better tonight as leftovers, if that’s even possible. Thanks so much for sharing this recipe.

  24. Rosaposted November 18, 2012 at 1:36 pm Reply

    What a fabulous casserole! Really droolworthy and so comforting. Now I’m craving your gnocchi gratin.



  25. Beeposted November 18, 2012 at 12:21 am Reply

    You, my good woman, have the culinary decadence that a mere student such as myself may only dream to one day aspire to.

    When I return home for Christmas I will attempt to recreate this dish in order to prove to my mother that I do not survive on supernoodles alone and can in fact fend for myself :)

    Thank you – it looks delicious!

  26. Shari-Tickled Redposted November 15, 2012 at 10:31 am Reply

    Loved walking through your photos of San Fran but I have to admit I am a HUGE fan of crab mac ‘n cheese. Can’t wait to try yours love.

  27. Aggieposted November 12, 2012 at 8:49 am Reply

    You are killing me with this one. I LOOOOOOVE gnocchi!

  28. Jamieposted November 9, 2012 at 10:30 am Reply

    This looks incredible. Follow you on Pintrest, thank you!

  29. Shut Up and Cookposted November 8, 2012 at 10:10 pm Reply

    This looks positively sinful and oh-so-delicious. Sign me up!

  30. Brenda @ a farmgirl's dabblesposted November 8, 2012 at 8:44 am Reply

    Oh, how I love me some crab. And gnocchi. This looks like a beautiful dish.

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  32. Wizzyposted November 7, 2012 at 5:43 pm Reply

    Really there are no words for how good this looks. Wow.

  33. vianneyposted November 7, 2012 at 9:50 am Reply

    Love SF!! beautiful photos. Crab with gnocci, my daughter would love this~~

  34. Chung-Ah | Damn Deliciousposted November 7, 2012 at 3:36 am Reply

    So glad you got a chance to visit SF. Isn’t it the best?! And I’m so thrilled that you recreated the crab mac and cheese. Your version is amazing, especially with all that gnocchi goodness!

  35. Jeanetteposted November 6, 2012 at 8:37 pm Reply

    What gorgeous photos Sommer – I’ve never spent much time in San Francisco, but hope to one day. As for your mac and cheese, oh my! My oldest son would love this – he loves crab!

  36. Tara @ Unsophisticookposted November 6, 2012 at 2:29 pm Reply

    Sounds divine!

  37. Ashley - Baker by Natureposted November 6, 2012 at 2:21 pm Reply

    San Fran is Ah-mazzing! And this dish looks out of this world yummy!!!

  38. Jocelyn @BruCrew Lifeposted November 6, 2012 at 11:46 am Reply

    This sounds incredible!!! I don’t know if I will be able to stop eating it once I start:-)

  39. Culinary Collageposted November 6, 2012 at 10:39 am Reply

    This looks amazing! I can tell that this would be one of those dishes that I would find hard to stop eating…….yum.

  40. Angieposted November 6, 2012 at 8:15 am Reply

    I could eat my weight in this!

  41. Aimee @ ShugarySweetsposted November 6, 2012 at 7:45 am Reply

    Sommer this looks awesome!! Totally putting it on our holiday menu, thanks!!!

  42. Nancy Longposted November 6, 2012 at 7:19 am Reply

    sounds scrumptious and shrimp would probably be good in it too. have very fond memories of doing San Francisco w/#3 son and his wife when he was stationed in Monterey and yes, we drove down Lombard Street. Had a poster of it hanging in my office for years.

  43. Jersey girl cooksposted November 6, 2012 at 7:00 am Reply

    This is a great dish with all my favorites. I love San Fran!

  44. Ruthposted November 6, 2012 at 5:58 am Reply

    What a gorgeous post and a truly delicious looking mac ‘n cheese. I can’t wait to give it a try. This would be perfect to share with Presto Pasta Night Roundups – The weekly event is ending next week after over five years. It would be awesome to have one of your spectacular pastas to participate..

  45. Vyvaciousposted November 6, 2012 at 12:15 am Reply

    This reminds me of one of my favorite dishes from Mastro’s (my favorite steakhouse)!! I’m so so excited to try this one of those days when I want to be completely gluttinous. Also, I got really excited when I saw your SF pictures before reading your post because I was just there this past weekend. Haha.

  46. Megan Pence @ Wanna be a Country Cleaverposted November 5, 2012 at 10:42 pm Reply

    San Francisco, crabs, carbs, mac and cheese and OMG!!! Let me pause, take this in, and drool a little more…

  47. Carrie @ Kiss My Whiskposted November 5, 2012 at 10:19 pm Reply

    This looks like heaven on a plate…crab & gnocchi in mac & cheese form…I CANNOT wait to give it a try! Also, can’t wait to make a trip to San Francisco in the near future.

  48. Bonnie Kposted November 5, 2012 at 10:15 pm Reply

    Comfort food at its best.

  49. Stephanie @ Eat. Drink. Love.posted November 5, 2012 at 8:47 pm Reply

    I think I just died and went to heaven!! Holy cow, woman! This looks so comforting and delicious!

  50. [email protected]posted November 5, 2012 at 6:52 pm Reply

    Great pictures of SF! I love that city. I also feel like that mac n’ cheese has to be at my Thanksgiving table. Gnocchi andddd crab?! delish.

  51. Jennifer @ Peanut Butter and Peppersposted November 5, 2012 at 6:13 pm Reply

    Wow, what a great Mac & Cheese. But I don’t think my family would eat it because it’s not in the Blue Box. lol I love the recipe!! Going to make a small portion for me!! Great picks of SF!! I love the city! Glad I live so close to it!!

  52. Laura (Tutti Dolci)posted November 5, 2012 at 5:35 pm Reply

    Yum, this is pure comfort food! Great pics of SF!

  53. Georgia @ The Comfort of Cookingposted November 5, 2012 at 3:10 pm Reply

    I love San Francisco and love how you captured it in your photos and through this delish dish!

  54. [email protected] Food Ramblingsposted November 5, 2012 at 2:05 pm Reply

    This mac and cheese looks AMAZING

  55. Bev @ Bev Cooksposted November 5, 2012 at 12:26 pm Reply


  56. Shainaposted November 5, 2012 at 11:49 am Reply

    Holy amazing. Macaroni and cheese to the infinite.

  57. JulieDposted November 5, 2012 at 10:57 am Reply

    Looks absolutely wonderful, Sommer!

  58. Cassie | Bake Your Dayposted November 5, 2012 at 10:50 am Reply

    These photos are breathtaking. And this dish – totally amazing. So hearty but unique!

  59. Hayley @ The Domestic Rebelposted November 5, 2012 at 10:16 am Reply

    YESSSSSSS. SF is a wonderful mecca of awesome food–especially the crab! I love that it’s only an hour away–makes it easy for a tasty day trip :) next time, I’m going to have to hunt down this mac and cheese. Or make your version since it’s perfect. Looks SO delicious! And I love that you used gnocci. Drooling.

  60. Cookin' Canuckposted November 5, 2012 at 10:03 am Reply

    Holy cow! That casserole is a thing of beauty! I would be so happy to spend about a month in SF, just exploring all of the restaurants and markets.

  61. Meagan @ A Zesty Biteposted November 5, 2012 at 9:33 am Reply

    I love gnocchi! Even better than it involves crab and cheese!

  62. Heidi @foodiecrushposted November 5, 2012 at 9:01 am Reply

    Oh man, I am such a sucker for gnocchi and then you had to add the gruyere and your kiss of nutmeg, not to mention your trip to SF. My heart, my heart!

  63. Paula - bell'alimentoposted November 5, 2012 at 8:34 am Reply

    Oh Sommer. Just Yum.

  64. Kiersten @ Oh My Veggiesposted November 5, 2012 at 8:32 am Reply

    I just adore San Francisco! We even considered moving to the Bay Area. Although I won’t be adding crab, the idea of using gnocchi in mac & cheese is genius!

  65. Alison @ Ingredients, Inc.posted November 5, 2012 at 8:23 am Reply

    looks like awesome gourmet comfort food to me!

  66. Jessica @ Portuguese GIrl Cooksposted November 5, 2012 at 7:57 am Reply

    This mac and cheese looks absolutely incredible! This is truly fancy comfort food at its best.

  67. marlaposted November 5, 2012 at 7:54 am Reply

    A beautiful post & this mac ‘n cheese looks amazing!

  68. MIss @ Miss in the Kitchenposted November 5, 2012 at 7:52 am Reply

    How decadent! I am keeping this in mind for this weeks menu!

  69. Andi Houstonposted November 5, 2012 at 7:51 am Reply

    That looks like an amazing casserole! I love gnocchi so much.

    Beautiful photos!

  70. Brian @ A Thought For Foodposted November 5, 2012 at 7:30 am Reply

    I just adore that city… love how you captured it! And, yeah, crab mac and cheese will definitely hit the spot!

  71. Belinda @zomppaposted November 5, 2012 at 6:54 am Reply

    Definitely a grown-up mac and cheese – fantastic! Love SF – those are beautiful photos.