Go Back Email Link
+ servings
Five-Spice Crab Cocktail in a fancy Champagne coupe with a glass of white wine in the background

Five-Spice Crab Cocktails

Print Recipe
If you’re looking for an elegant way to start a meal, look no further. This cocktail is super simple to make, but because it features an indulgent ingredient, crab, it feels sophisticated and special occasion. Ideally, use fresh crab from a good fishmonger, but canned crab will work as well. The dish is great on its own, but with a chilled bottle of Viognier, it’s a knock-out—one of those delicious situations where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
Course Appetizer
Cuisine American
Diet and Health healthy-ish
Seasonal New Year's Eve, Valentine's Day
Ingredient lump crab meat
Prep Time 10 mins
Total Time 10 mins
Servings 4


  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tsp fresh lemon juice or more to taste
  • 1/2 tsp Chinese five-spice powder plus more for garnish (see below)
  • 12 oz cooked lump crab meat picked over
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley plus leaves for garnish
  • 2 tbsp minced shallot


  • In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise, lemon juice, and five-spice powder. Set aside. (You can prepare the mayonnaise mixture up to 3 days in advance, storing it covered in the refrigerator.)
  • In a medium bowl, combine the crab, chopped parsley, and shallot. Add about 2 tablespoons of the mayonnaise mixture, gently tossing to combine. Taste, ideally with your wine, and add more lemon juice if you like.
  • Spoon the crab mixture into decorative glasses. Top with the remaining mayonnaise mixture, dividing it evenly. Sprinkle with a dash of five-spice powder, garnish with the parsley leaves, and serve.


NOTE: Chinese five-spice powder is available in either the spice section or the ethnic or Asian section of most major supermarkets. Besides using it in this recipe, you can sprinkle it on roasted meats and vegetables and stir it into rice.