How many calories is in 1 cup of she-crab soup?

She-crab soup is a creamy, rich soup made with crab meat, cream or milk, sherry, and seasonings. It originates from the coast of the Carolinas in the United States. She-crab soup is a popular appetizer or first course in seafood restaurants. Determining the calorie count for she-crab soup can be tricky since recipes vary widely in ingredients and preparation methods.

Quick Answer

On average, 1 cup of she-crab soup contains around 300-400 calories. However, this can vary significantly based on the specific ingredients and recipe used.

Calorie Ranges for She-Crab Soup

Here are some general calorie ranges for 1 cup of she-crab soup based on different recipes and preparations:

  • Cream-based she-crab soup: 350-550 calories
  • Milk or broth-based she-crab soup: 200-400 calories
  • Sherry she-crab soup: 250-450 calories
  • Light she-crab soup: 150-300 calories

As you can see, the calorie count can range quite a bit. Cream-based she-crab soups with lots of heavy cream and butter tend to be the highest in calories. Broth or milk-based soups are lower in calories. The amount of crab meat also impacts the calories.

Factors That Impact Calories in She-Crab Soup

Here are some of the main factors that determine the calorie content in she-crab soup:

  • Cream vs broth/milk base – Cream has significantly more calories than broth or milk. Cream-based chowders can have 100-300 more calories per serving than lighter broth versions.
  • Butter – Recipes that use butter or other oils to cook the vegetables and make the roux will be higher in calories than those that don’t.
  • Flour – The amount of flour used to thicken the soup impacts calorie density.
  • Additions like sherry or brandy – While added in small amounts, these alcoholic additions still boost the calorie count.
  • Amount of crab – More crab meat means more protein and calories.
  • Extra ingredients – Additions like cheeses, croutons, bacon, etc further increase the calorie density.

Recipes that use heavier ingredients like cream, lots of butter, flour, and high amounts of crab meat will be higher in calories than lighter broth-based soups. Choosing lighter ingredients or smaller amounts of high-calorie ingredients can reduce the calorie count.

Calories in Common She-Crab Soup Ingredients

To get a better idea of how many calories are in she-crab soup, let’s look at the calorie count of the main ingredients:

Ingredient Calories (per serving)
Heavy cream 53 calories per tablespoon
Whole milk 42 calories per 1/4 cup
Chicken or seafood broth 10 calories per 1/4 cup
Butter 100 calories per tablespoon
All-purpose flour 55 calories per 1/4 cup
Sherry wine 70 calories per 1/4 cup
Crab meat 45 calories per 2 oz

As you can see, ingredients like heavy cream, butter, and flour add a significant number of calories for the amount used. Choosing lower calorie substitutes like milk, broth, and less butter and flour can reduce the calorie density of she-crab soup.

Calories in Popular She-Crab Soup Recipes

To give you a sense of the calorie range, here are the counts for 1 cup serving of some popular published she-crab soup recipes:

  • Emeril Lagasse’s She Crab Soup – 480 calories
  • Paula Deen’s She-Crab Soup – 330 calories
  • Epicurious Creamy She-Crab Soup – 405 calories
  • Rachael Ray’s She-Crab Soup – 300 calories
  • Barefoot Contessa’s She-Crab Soup – 375 calories

As you can see, the calorie counts for these popular recipes range from 300-480 calories per serving. The highest calorie recipes like Emeril’s use heavy cream as the base along with flour, sherry, and butter. While the lower calorie versions like Rachael Ray’s use milk instead of cream and less butter to cut the calories.

Ways to Lighten Up She-Crab Soup

If you’re looking for ways to enjoy she-crab soup while reducing the calorie count, here are some tips:

  • Use milk, broth, or vegetable stock instead of heavy cream.
  • Reduce or omit the butter.
  • Use less flour for thickening.
  • Use cooking techniques like roasting vegetables instead of sautéing in butter.
  • Omit or reduce added oils, alcohol, bacon, cheese, and other extras.
  • Use lower fat versions of dairy like low-fat milk and low-fat cream cheese.
  • Increase vegetables like onions, carrots, celery, and potatoes.
  • Use smaller amounts of crab meat or swap some for shrimp.
  • Boost flavor with spices instead of fat.

With some simple substitutions and cooking adjustments, you can shave off unnecessary calories from she-crab soup while still preserving that delicious flavor.

Nutrition Facts for She-Crab Soup

In addition to calories, she-crab soup contains these general nutrition facts in a 1 cup serving:

  • Total Fat: 10-25g
  • Saturated Fat: 6-12g
  • Cholesterol: 65-120mg
  • Sodium: 400-700mg
  • Carbohydrates: 10-20g
  • Protein: 10-20g

The fat, saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium amounts can vary widely depending on the specific recipe. Choosing lower fat ingredients will provide a soup that’s lower in these components.

She-crab soup also provides some nutrients, including:

  • Calcium: 10-15% DV
  • Vitamin A: 10-15% DV
  • Vitamin C: 5-10% DV
  • Iron: 5-10% DV

The cream or milk provides a good amount of calcium, while the crab offers iron. Using fresh vegetables like tomatoes also boosts nutrients.

Cooking Methods and Variations

There are a few main methods and recipe variations for making she-crab soup. These different techniques and ingredients impact the overall calorie count:


Traditional she-crab soup uses heavy cream as the base along with roux for thickness. Butter is used to cook the vegetables and make the roux. This method creates a rich, creamy, decadent soup but is also higher in calories.


Some recipes use milk instead of heavy cream. This reduces calories but still provides creaminess. Low-fat or skim milk can further reduce the calorie density.


Using chicken or seafood broth or stock as the base provides a lighter soup. The broth keeps it lower in calories but you lose the creamy texture. Thickeners like cornstarch or pureed vegetables can add body.

Sherry, Tomatoes, and Spices

Many recipes include sherry and tomatoes for flavor. Spices like cayenne, paprika and thyme also enhance the taste without adding calories. Use a light hand with the sherry to keep calories in check.

How to Calculate Calories from a Recipe

If you have a she-crab soup recipe, you can calculate the calories by:

  1. Listing all ingredients and amounts.
  2. Looking up the calorie count for each ingredient.
  3. Calculating the number of calories contributed by each ingredient.
  4. Adding all the calories together.
  5. Dividing by number of servings to determine calories per serving.

Use an online calorie counter or nutrition database to look up calories for each ingredient. This will provide the total calorie count which you can then divide by servings.

Comparing Restaurant Versions

If you want to enjoy she-crab soup from a restaurant, beware that the calorie counts are often higher than homemade lighter versions. For example:

  • Legal Sea Foods She-Crab Soup – 780 calories per serving
  • Capital Grille She-Crab Soup – 500 calories per serving
  • Bonefish Grill Spiced She-Crab Soup – 400 calories per serving

Check online menus for nutrition information to find lower calorie options. Stick to broth-based soups without too much cream and butter to cut the calories.

Should You Have She-Crab Soup on a Diet?

If you are following a calorie-controlled diet for weight loss, she-crab soup can be enjoyed in moderation. Some tips:

  • Opt for low-calorie preparations with nonfat milk or broth.
  • Have a smaller 1/2 cup portion as an appetizer.
  • Balance it out with low calorie foods for other meals and snacks.
  • Account for the calories by reducing intake elsewhere in your daily calorie budget.
  • Make it only occasionally since cream-based soups are high in fat and calories.

With mindful portion sizes and sensible substitutions, you can work she-crab soup into a healthy diet in moderation. Just beware excess calories, fat, and sodium found in some recipes and restaurant preparations.


She-crab soup can range from around 150 calories for a light broth-based soup up to 550+ calories for a heavy cream-based recipe. On average, 1 cup of she-crab soup contains 300-400 calories. Factors like the cream, butter, flour, and amount of crab significantly impact the calorie total. Choosing lower calorie ingredients and lighter cooking methods allows you to cut calories while still enjoying this classic coastal soup.

Leave a Comment