Marinated Crab Claws Recipe


I tend to miss Louisiana this time of year. Between Mardi Gras and the gorgeous weather and the crawfish boils, there’s a lot to miss.

Nick must have been feeling it too, because he suggested a trip to Copeland’s. I typically enjoy the Copeland’s restaurants in Louisiana, but the one here in Little Rock doesn’t seem quite as good. But we went last night anyway, and Nick ordered the crab claw appetizers. Not so great. They only reminded me of how much better the homemade version is.

You’ll find these marinated crab claws at every party in Louisiana. I’m not sure where the recipe originated, but they taste just like the ones from Ernest’s to me. Wherever they came from, they are incredible.

Note that this isn’t a spur-of-the-moment recipe. It takes a little planning ahead, as you make the marinade a couple of days before serving. Plus it’s a little labor intensive, as there’s lots of chopping involved, but the finished product is well worth the work.

Make this marinade 48 hours in advance of serving.

1 cup chopped green onions — tops and bottoms
1 cup chopped celery — stalks and leaves
4 pods garlic, chopped (note that it’s pods, not cloves)
1 cup chopped parsley
2 cups spanish olive oil (yep, Spanish tastes different)
2 cups tarragon vinegar (must be tarragon flavor)
juice of 6 lemons — it’s easiest to use Minute Maid frozen lemon concentrate
2 Tbsp salt
1 Tbsp pepper

Mix above ingredients and refrigerate. About 10 hours before serving, LIGHTLY wash cocktail crab claws, just enough to separate them. (Cocktail crab claws are sold in pint size containers, and this marinade amount is enough for 4 containers.) Put the crab claws in the marinade, and return to refrigerator until about 30 minutes before serving. I like to let them come close to room temperature before eating, rather than have them be cold.

Place crab claws on a serving platter (they look lovely pinwheeled on a round platter) and spoon some extra marinade over them. You can also serve them with Leidenheimer bread or a nice, crusty French loaf, as the marinade on its own is delicious.


Hot Dog Mike took the pic for me at one of my parties. He makes food look good.


  1. Abigail says

    I found this recipe on Pinterest, trying to figure out something to do with the crab claws I brought home from NOLA. I just graduated from Tulane a couple of weeks ago and drove back home to LR earlier this week so I was delighted to find this recipe and even more so to find out that it’s from someone in Little Rock!

    • says

      Yay! So glad you found this recipe and my blog! If you ever miss Louisiana food, I’ll be glad to post a recipe just for you.

      • Charlie B. says

        Amy B.. That is Ernest’s Original recipe..Ernest (old man) gave it to my Grandfather 50 yrs a matter of fact, I going to make it this weekend..
        I had to call my wife and tell her that I was reading the recipe verbatim on a blog site…Ha
        Mines typed on a 3×5 index card


  2. Maggie says

    The recipes I have seen on television or online for marinated crab claws seem a little messy … do you eat them with your fingers?

    • says

      You do. You’ll notice in the picture that when I serve them, I try to keep the shells out of the marinade as much as possible. That way, when you pick them up by the shells to eat them, it’s not too terribly messy. But you’ll definitely want napkins nearby!

  3. Louis Mathis says

    I have actually been in Earnests kitchen and he has the crab claws already marinading in the sauce several hours before serving giving them a chance to come to room temperature. I have actually eaten there when his dad was alive. It was always a real treat to go to Earnest! We have lived in Shreveport twice and really miss it. The key as you know is let these flavors marry up.

  4. Judi says

    I just found this recipe. I’ve never had these. They look so gooood!!! I’m going to make some soon. And planning to add this to the menu for our Annual Mardi Gras Party 2015!


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