How to Butter Up Imitation Crab: A Quick Guide

From sushi rolls to seafood salads, imitation crab meat is a versatile ingredient that’s easy to work with. And, when it’s paired with creamy butter, it becomes even more delicious. If you’re wondering how to butter up imitation crab, then you’ve come to the right place. This quick guide will teach you the basics of cooking and flavoring imitation crab meat with butter so that you can enjoy a simple yet satisfying meal that’s perfect for any occasion.

What exactly is imitation crab meat?

Imitation crab meat, often known as crab sticks, is a popular seafood product made from fish, usually pollock or cod, which is minced and mixed with other ingredients to give it the flavor and texture of crab meat. The mixture is usually shaped into sticks, and it can be found in the seafood section of most grocery stores. It’s a budget-friendly alternative to real crab that’s widely available and easy to prepare.

How do you cook imitation crab with butter?

Cooking imitation crab with butter is an easy process that requires only a few basic steps. Here’s what you need to do:

Step 1: Melt the butter in a pan

To start, you’ll need to melt the butter in a non-stick pan over medium heat. You can use as much or as little butter as you like, depending on your preference.

Step 2: Add the imitation crab meat

Once the butter has melted, add the imitation crab meat to the pan. Use a spatula or wooden spoon to stir it gently, making sure that it’s coated with the butter. Cook it for 2-3 minutes, or until it’s heated through.

Step 3: Add seasonings

To give the imitation crab meat more flavor, you can add a variety of seasonings to the pan. Some popular choices include garlic, salt, pepper, and lemon juice. Sprinkle the seasonings over the crab meat and stir it gently to distribute them evenly.

Step 4: Serve and enjoy

Once the imitation crab meat is cooked and seasoned to your liking, you can take it off the heat and serve it immediately. It goes well with a variety of sides, including rice, vegetables, and pasta.

What are some tips for cooking imitation crab with butter?

While cooking imitation crab meat with butter is a simple process, there are a few tips that can help you achieve the best possible results. Here are some things to keep in mind:

Tip #1: Don’t overcook the crab meat

Imitation crab meat is already cooked, so all you need to do is heat it through in the butter. Be careful not to overcook it, or it may become tough and rubbery.

Tip #2: Use unsalted butter

Using unsalted butter allows you to control the amount of salt in the dish. If you use salted butter, you may end up with a dish that’s too salty.

Tip #3: Experiment with different seasonings

While the basic recipe calls for garlic, salt, pepper, and lemon juice, you can experiment with different spices and herbs to give the dish a unique flavor. Some good options include paprika, cumin, oregano, and parsley.

What are some serving suggestions for buttered-up imitation crab?

Buttered-up imitation crab meat can be served in a variety of ways, depending on your taste preferences. Here are some ideas to get you started:

Idea #1: Over rice

Serve the buttered-up imitation crab meat over a bed of fluffy white rice for a comforting and filling meal.

Idea #2: In a salad

Add the buttered-up imitation crab meat to a green salad for a touch of seafood flavor and protein.

Idea #3: In a wrap or sandwich

Use the buttered-up imitation crab meat as a filling for a wrap or sandwich, along with lettuce, tomato, and your other favorite toppings.


Cooking with imitation crab meat is an easy and budget-friendly way to enjoy the taste of crab without breaking the bank. When combined with butter and a few choice seasonings, imitation crab meat becomes a delicious and satisfying meal option. Give it a try and see for yourself!


  • Q: Does imitation crab meat contain real crab?

    A: Imitation crab meat is made from fish, usually pollock or cod, and is flavored to taste like crab. It does not contain real crab meat.
  • Q: How long does imitation crab meat last?

    A: Unopened imitation crab meat can be stored in the fridge for up to two weeks. Once opened, it should be consumed within three days.
  • Q: Can you freeze imitation crab meat?

    A: Yes, you can freeze imitation crab meat. It should be stored in an airtight container and can be frozen for up to three months.


“Imitation Crab Meat – What Is It and What’s In It?” The Spruce Eats, 9 July 2021, Accessed 25 August 2021.

“Garlic Butter Crab Mac and Cheese.” Delish, 3 Aug 2021, Accessed 25 August 2021.

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