Dungeness Crab Salad

5 from 5 votes
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I can pretty much guarantee you that this Dungeness crab salad will be unlike any other crab salad you’ve ever had. It’s full of fresh, cool weather ingredients that mesh perfectly with Dungeness crab season. What’s more, it comes together in a flash. 

Dungeness crab salad in a bowl
Photo by Holly A. Heyser

Let me start by saying, “Sorry, rest of the country,” as this is a decidedly West Coast Dungeness crab salad. Considering that Dungeness crab is a West Coast thing, I don’t feel so bad. 

While most of the rest of the nation deals with snow and ice, here in California, our winter bounty is bursting: Dungeness crab, persimmons, pomegranates, avocados, citrus. This recipe has it all.

Crab, for most, is a summer thing. It was for me, too, until I moved to California in 2004. I soon learned crab here is a fall and winter thing, and that it is traditional — even required in some families — for Dungeness crab to be eaten at Thanksgiving and Christmas, normally Christmas Eve.

I grew up in New Jersey, where the Feast of the Seven Fishes is a thing, so this sat well with me. I’d definitely dish up some crab for the holidays.

After a recent crabbing trip outside the Golden Gate, I had my limit of 10 Dungeness crabs, and was thinking about how to use them as I sat in bumper-to-bumper Bay Area traffic. A Dungeness crab salad immediately came to mind.

I happen to love crab this way, but I normally do a sort of Mexican route. This would be something different. So I started thinking about what’s in the farmer’s markets when Dungeness crab is in season. Pomegranates, persimmons, citrus, avocados… well, it all just fell together.

Closeup of a Dungeness crab salad
Photo by Holly A. Heyser

Avocado and crab is a classic. Pomegranate and persimmon is a classic. Turns out they all play well together, sauces with lots of fresh citrus juice and California olive oil.

This Dungeness crab salad is a winner. Seriously. If you can manage to collect the ingredients for it, I highly recommend you try this. It’s one of the best things I’ve posted to this space in a long while.

It’s only drawback is that this is not a good salad for long keeping. It’s best freshly made, although I have eaten leftovers the following day and it was OK. 

If you are looking to make a crab feast, try my recipes for spaghetti with crab sauce, or a simpler crab pasta with herbs, or cream of crab soup.

Dungeness crab salad in a bowl
5 from 5 votes

Dungeness Crab Salad

This is a holiday salad, as everything in it is in season here in California between Thanksgiving and New Year's. Obviously everything will be better if it is all freshly picked, crab included, but you can get away with pre-picked crab. 
Course: Appetizer, Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Servings: 4 people
Author: Hank Shaw
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 0 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes


  • 3 or 4 lemons or limes
  • 1 shallot, peeled and sliced very thin
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 firm fuyu persimmon, peeled and diced
  • 2 avocados, skinned and diced
  • 1/2 cup pomegranate arils, about 1/4 of a pomegranate
  • 3/4 pound crabmeat
  • 2 tablespoons minced parsley
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons olive oil (use the good stuff)


  • Zest one or two of the lemons with a fine grater. I use a microplane. Put the zest into a large bowl. Juice all the citrus into the bowl and add the sliced shallot. Let this marinate while you cut everything else. 
  • Add the remaining ingredients to the bowl and gently mix to combine. Serve as-is, or in hot corn tortillas, or on crackers or tortilla chips. 


You absolutely can make this with other varieties of crab, such as blue crabs, rock crabs or red crabs -- even snow crab is a good substitute.


Calories: 383kcal | Carbohydrates: 26g | Protein: 19g | Fat: 26g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 36mg | Sodium: 723mg | Potassium: 861mg | Fiber: 11g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 394IU | Vitamin C: 55mg | Calcium: 93mg | Iron: 2mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe? Tag me today!Mention @huntgathercook or tag #hankshaw!

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About Hank Shaw

Hey there. Welcome to Hunter Angler Gardener Cook, the internet’s largest source of recipes and know-how for wild foods. I am a chef, author, and yes, hunter, angler, gardener, forager and cook. Follow me on Instagram and on Facebook.

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Recipe Rating


  1. This was absolutely delicious even tho I had to do some substitutions. I used red onion since I didn’t have shallots, used chopped strawberries for the pomegranate arils. And I didn’t have a persimmon so we had to do without it. Yet, it was wonderful. I’d love to find more of your recipes!

  2. The Hank Shaw? Hi Hank, so glad I tripped across your recipe. Giving it a whirl tonight. Glad to to see you doing this website. And a little envious about those 10 Dungeness crabs!
    Very best wishes,
    Stu Drown
    SacBee alum.

  3. Any suggestions for a persimmon substitute? I have a hard time finding them. Or would you just omit? I must confess I’ve never eaten one so I have no guess about what else might work.