Kitchen Exhibitionist
The Culinary Quests of a Food Enthusiast Stuck in the Sticks
Wednesday, June 21, 2006

The Crab Pretzel

Q. How can a restaurant charge $10 for a soft pretzel?

A. They make it a crab pretzel!

In the past year I've noticed restaurants and bars around here in south central Pennsylvania promoting an appetizer called a Crab Pretzel. I had been wondering what all the fuss was about so I finally tried one.

A Crab Pretzel is a stadium soft pretzel, so huge it covers an entire dinner plate, topped with creamy crab dip, sprinkled with cheese, and then broiled or baked until hot and golden.

The sweet crabmeat, creamy flavorful sauce, gooey cheese and the chewy/crisp pretzel are a wonderful combination of flavors and textures. It was so large and filling that three of us shared one. This is a fun appetizer or snack to serve at home while watching movies or a sporting event.

This dish originated in Baltimore (where else?), then became popular all over Maryland, and has now crept north of the Mason-Dixon Line. Since my first Crab Pretzel I’ve tried several different versions at restaurants in both Maryland and Pennsylvania, with widely varying quality. The version at Silver Spring Mining Company, who claims it is the originator of this creation, seems to be the best, loaded with crab and very flavorful.

I wonder if Crab Pretzels are popular or even known elsewhere. This appetizer is such a clever and interesting twist on the soft pretzel that I can almost imagine the national chain restaurants and bars picking up on it and adding it to their menus as the latest new appetizer fad. Watch out, wings! Here comes the Crab Pretzel.

Although on further thought, I’m sure the chains would scrimp on the quantity and quality of crab in an attempt to improve their bottom line, ruining the dish. And fresh crab is not readily available everywhere. No, this is best kept a regional dish.

This recipe is from one of the two restaurants claiming to be the original creator. For optimum results, this should only be made with fresh Chesapeake Bay crabmeat. Don’t even bother using canned crabmeat.

"Original" Maryland Crab Pretzel

From The Silver Spring Mining Company as found at
and modified for clarity of instructions

  • 1 monstrously large unsalted soft pretzel or four regular ones
  • 3 ounces cream cheese
  • 1 tablespoon Old Bay Seasoning
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
  • 1 pound sweet claw crab meat
  • 1 pound shredded cheddar and jack cheeses

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place cream cheese in oven for several minutes, until softened.

Place cream cheese in a large mixing bowl and add Old Bay, onion powder, Worcestershire sauce and Tabasco and blend until smooth. Fold in crabmeat. Place mixture in a piping bag with a large round tip. Pipe mixture evenly over pretzel(s).

Top pretzel with shredded cheeses. Bake in oven until desired color and crispness

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Anonymous Isis said...
ohh, Maryland Crabs. How do I miss them. Even my French husband who had them only once, as I took him across the Atlantic to meet my friends, remembers eating them. As a matter of fact, it is the only thing he did in Baltimore.

Blogger Rowan Rakers said...
Thank you so much. i ate this once a week when i was pregnant with my daughter. I'm not pregnant again and the army moved us to the opposite side of the country, and I've been craving this for MONTHS now.. I'm making one tonight!

Blogger luna said...
Cool! I like the idea of this pretzel. Really so unique!
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