Crab Pasta Salad

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Our crab pasta salad is a refreshing summer side dish with a healthy twist. By combining Greek yogurt with mayo, this recipe trims the fat while maintaining its deliciousness. Whether you’re hosting a summer barbeque or hosting a party, this seafood salad is guaranteed to be a crowd-pleaser. Prepare to captivate seafood enthusiasts with a dish that harmoniously blends creamy homemade dressing, succulent seafood, and delectable pasta.

Serve this recipe chilled alongside any of your other favorite side dishes and main entrée for a complete meal. For other delicious summer seafood recipes, check out Pan Seared Salmon with White Wine Sauce and Shrimp Orzo Pasta. 

crab pasta salad in a bowl on a table

Now that this recipe has been added to your list of summertime recipes, let’s get started! Gather the equipment and ingredients then follow the step-by-step instructions to have this recipe ready to serve in no time. 


  • 2 1/2 cups cooked gluten-free orzo, cooled about 1 cup dry
  • 1 cup salad shrimp
  • 8 ounces lump meat crab
  • 2-3 stalks celery, minced
  • 1 cup light mayo
  • 1/3 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon seasoned salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dill

How To Make

This 20-minute side dish is quick and easy to prep and serve! Start by making the creamy style dressing. 

To prepare the crab pasta salad, start by blending the dressing. Take a medium-sized mixing bowl and whisk together the mayo, Greek yogurt, rice vinegar, milk, lemon juice, seasoned salt, and dill until they form a smooth and creamy dressing. Once blended, set the dressing aside.

crab pasta salad in a bowl before being stirred

Now, it’s time to prep the salad ingredients. In a separate serving bowl, combine the cooked pasta, salad shrimp, crab meat, and diced celery. Ensure all the ingredients are evenly distributed throughout the bowl.

Once the ingredients are combined, pour the previously prepared dressing over the salad. Gently stir the salad, ensuring that the dressing coats all the components without breaking up the crab meat too much. The dressing will provide a flavorful and creamy coating to the seafood and pasta mixture.

After assembling the salad, it’s essential to refrigerate it. Place the bowl in the refrigerator and let the flavors meld together while the salad chills. This step allows the dressing to infuse into the ingredients, enhancing the overall taste and texture of the dish.

Keep the salad refrigerated until you’re ready to serve. This will ensure that the salad remains fresh and cool, ready to be enjoyed.

crab pasta salad being made in a bowl

When it’s time to serve, simply remove the salad from the refrigerator and give it a quick stir to recombine the ingredients. You can garnish the salad with some fresh herbs or additional diced celery for an extra pop of color and flavor. Serve the crab pasta salad and delight in its creamy dressing, succulent seafood, and perfectly cooked pasta.

Tips and Tricks

  • Cook the orzo pasta until al dente: Be careful not to overcook the pasta, as it can become mushy. Al dente pasta retains a slight bite and texture, which works well in the salad.
  • Rinse the orzo under cold water: After cooking the pasta, rinse it under cold water to stop the cooking process and cool it down quickly. This step prevents the pasta from becoming sticky and helps maintain its texture in the salad.
  • Use a combination of Greek yogurt and mayo: By blending Greek yogurt with mayo, you can reduce the fat content while still achieving a creamy and tangy dressing. It adds a delightful twist to the salad without sacrificing flavor.
  • Customize the salad with additional ingredients: Consider adding diced red bell pepper, chopped celery, finely chopped green onions, or any other vegetables you prefer. These additions can provide extra flavor, texture, and visual appeal to the salad.
  • Season the salad appropriately: Taste the salad after combining all the ingredients and adjust the seasoning as needed. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, or any other desired seasonings to enhance the overall flavor profile.
  • Allow the salad to chill before serving: Refrigerate the salad for at least an hour, or even overnight, to allow the flavors to meld together. The chilling time also helps the salad become more refreshing and allows the dressing to penetrate the pasta and seafood.
  • Stir gently when combining the ingredients: When mixing the dressing with the salad ingredients, be careful not to overmix or be too vigorous. Gently fold the ingredients together to avoid breaking up the crab meat and keep the salad well coated.
  • Garnish with fresh herbs: Just before serving, sprinkle some chopped parsley, dill, or other herbs of your choice over the salad. The herbs add a pop of freshness and contribute to the visual appeal of the dish.
  • Serve the salad chilled: Make sure to keep the salad refrigerated until it’s time to serve. Chilled crab pasta salad is refreshing and delightful, especially during summer gatherings.
crab pasta salad in a bowl shown top down on a table


Can you prep ahead of time?

This cold salad is best prepped the day you plan to serve. One option is to prep the dressing a day or two ahead then toss with the rest of the ingredients right before serving. 

What to serve with shrimp pasta salad?

This cold salad pairs well with any protein entrée. We especially like to serve this recipe with Grilled Porterhouse Steak or Pork Loin during the summer months. 

Can I use a different type of pasta in the crab pasta salad?

Yes, you can experiment with different types of pasta if you prefer. Orzo is commonly used in this salad, but you can try using other small pasta shapes like farfalle (bowtie), penne, or rotini. Just ensure that you cook the pasta according to the package instructions and adjust the quantities accordingly.

Can I substitute the seafood in the salad?

Absolutely! If you’re not a fan of shrimp or crab, you can customize the salad by using other seafood options like cooked diced lobster, scallops, or even flaked cooked fish. You can also omit the seafood altogether and make it a vegetarian pasta salad by adding more vegetables or protein alternatives like chickpeas or tofu.

Can I make the dressing ahead of time?

Yes, you can prepare the dressing ahead of time and store it separately in the refrigerator. When you’re ready to serve the salad, simply give the dressing a good stir before pouring it over the pasta and seafood mixture. This can be a time-saving tip if you’re planning to assemble the salad just before serving.

Storage Instructions

To store the crab pasta salad, follow these storage instructions:

  • Transfer the salad to an airtight container: Once you’ve finished serving the salad, transfer any remaining portions into a clean, airtight container with a lid. This will help maintain the freshness and prevent any odors from permeating the salad.
  • Refrigerate promptly: Place the container of crab pasta salad in the refrigerator as soon as possible, preferably within two hours of preparation. The cool temperature of the refrigerator will slow down bacterial growth and keep the salad safe to consume.
  • Use within a few days: The crab pasta salad is best consumed within 2-3 days of preparation for optimal taste and quality. After that, the ingredients may start to lose their freshness and the texture may become less appealing.
  • Do not freeze the salad: Due to the creamy dressing and seafood components, it is not recommended to freeze the crab pasta salad. Freezing can alter the texture and quality of the ingredients, resulting in a less desirable salad when thawed.
  • Stir gently before serving leftovers: If you’re planning to enjoy the salad as leftovers, give it a gentle stir before serving to redistribute the dressing and ensure an even flavor throughout.

Remember, when storing any food, it’s important to use your judgment and discard the salad if you notice any signs of spoilage, such as an off smell or unusual texture. Always prioritize food safety and freshness when consuming stored leftovers.

crab pasta salad in a bowl on a table

Crab Pasta Salad

5 from 1 vote
Course Salads, seafood
Prep Time 20 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Our crab pasta salad is a refreshing summer side dish with a healthy twist. By combining Greek yogurt with mayo, this recipe trims the fat while maintaining its deliciousness. Whether you're hosting a summer barbeque or hosting a party, this seafood salad is guaranteed to be a crowd-pleaser.


  • 2 1/2 cups cooked orzo cooled
  • 1 cup salad shrimp
  • 8 ounces lump crab meat
  • 2-3 stalks celery minced
  • 1 cup light mayo
  • 1/3 cup Greek yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 2 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon seasoned salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh dill


  • Blend the dressing together. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk together the mayo, Greek yogurt, rice vinegar, milk, lemon juice, seasoned salt, and dill. Set aside.
  • Prep the salad. In a serving bowl, add the pasta, salad shrimp, crab, and celery. Pour dressing on top and gently stir.
  • Refrigerate. Place the salad in the refrigerator until serving.


Calories: 174kcal | Carbohydrates: 17g | Protein: 13g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 0.01g | Cholesterol: 52mg | Sodium: 646mg | Potassium: 171mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 63IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 45mg | Iron: 1mg
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