The simple 3-ingredient omelet that's a favorite of Southern crab pickers and brunch lovers

Perhaps for as long as people have been crabbing, they've been making these decadent little omelets

By Bibi Hutchings


Published March 9, 2023 4:00PM (EST)

Crab Holding Eggs (Photo illustration by Salon/Getty Images)
Crab Holding Eggs (Photo illustration by Salon/Getty Images)

In "Bibi's Gulf Coast Kitchen," columnist Bibi Hutchings takes you on a culinary journey across the coastal south. Come for the great food writing, stay for the delicious recipes.

If you grew up on the water, as my husband, Tom, did, your love affair with crabmeat started early. Whether you had your own crab traps off the end of your dock or your family bought fresh crabmeat from a local market, you came to understand at an early age that crabmeat was special. It wasn't something you had everyday, and it might even mean company was coming.  

We have blue crabs here, Atlantic blue crabs to be specific, the same ones they have all around the Gulf Coast as well as up and down the Atlantic. They're small; it takes about three crabs to make a pound, and you don't get much meat out of that pound. I'm told that even an experienced crab picker can get only a little over two ounces of meat per pound of crabs. It is a laborious endeavor, but those delicate morsels are so very, very worth it. 

The highest grade of crabmeat is known as "jumbo lump." It comes from the two muscles of a crab's swimming fins and is the whitest and sweetest part of the crab. Jumbo lump is also the priciest and preferred grade for these omelets, as well as for crab salads. Despite its premium price and despite it has been "picked" before you buy it, you still have to carefully pick through it again to remove every bit of shell before eating it. It is the most time consuming part of any dish made with crabmeat, but again — it's worth it.  

"Lump" is the next best grade and made of slightly smaller white pieces and is used for crab cakes and other dishes where the crab will be mixed with other ingredients. You can certainly use lump for these omelets, but jumbo lump is always preferred.

Like all the tastiest crab dishes, the more crab you have, the better. It would be virtually impossible to have too much. These omelets are little more than egg-drenched crabmeat with a little something green for color. They are so simple, yet so delicious. We serve them with salty, buttery grits and fresh fruit. 

Tom introduced me to these omelets soon after we began spending weekends and summers here at the beach. We now live here full-time, along our quiet little bay just north of Orange Beach, Alabama, only five or so houses down from the family house where he spent so much of  his youth. This recipe brings back his happiest memories of being down here as a child. 

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Tom's mother, Mag, made these omelets in a chafing dish right on the breakfast table. Although explicitly not recommended nowadays, once upon a time, cooks did this to the delight of those seated at the table. And delight she did! The gleaming silver dish with the bright mirror-finish and fire underneath was magical to Tom and his siblings. 

The story goes that Mag would make up a bowl of the egg and crab mixture then let the kids ladle their own into the heavily buttered dish right at the table. Spoonful by spoonful and in mere minutes, each omelet was flipped and plated like pancakes. The hope was that there would be leftovers because they are just as good cold for lunch as they are hot for breakfast.

There are so many heavenly crab dishes if you can get your hands on fresh crabmeat. Whatever you choose to make, set some aside for a crab omelet. You won't be sorry!

Crab omelet 
2 servings
Prep Time
5 minutes
Cook Time
12 minutes


4 eggs

1 to 2 very finely chopped green onions

1/2 to 3/4 pound crabmeat

Salt to taste 

Butter for the skillet




  1. Beat eggs well in a large bowl, then fold in the remaining ingredients making sure to coat them well. 
  2. Use a large spoon to add the crab better to a well-buttered skillet. Cook over medium heat until the bottom is lightly browned, about 4 to 6 minutes. 
  3. Flip and repeat before taking off heat and moving to a plate to serve. 

Cook's Notes

If you don't have green onion, you can use onion powder and finely chopped fresh parsley or even a bit of dried parsley. You just need a "a little green." You can also substitute regular onion for the green onion, but make sure you chop it very finely and use only a teaspoon. finally, you can also add 1 teaspoon of finely chopped shallots, chives or chervil. 

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By Bibi Hutchings

Bibi Hutchings, a lifelong Southerner, lives along a quiet coastal Alabama bay with her cat, Zulu, and husband, Tom. She writes about the magical way food evokes memories, instantly bringing you back to the people, places and experiences of your life. Her stories take you all around the South and are accompanied with tried-and-true recipes that are destined to become a part of your memory-making as you share them with your friends and family.         

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