This tasty Chinese buffet inspired imitation crab casserole is absolutely delicious, rich in flavor, and cheesy. It is a savory casserole that is perfect for a large group or family gathering.
What is Chinese Buffet Style Crab Casserole?
Chinese Buffet Style Crab Casserole is a type of dish that is usually served in Hunan Chinese buffets. It is loaded with crab meat, cheese, and sweet Vidalia onions baked in a creamy sauce. Some restaurants also add green peas and celery bits, but I prefer to omit those. You can easily add more or less of any ingredient to suit your taste. This dish can be served over rice or noodles to make it a complete meal.
Making this casserole will require the following ingredients. Substitutions are noted!
Cheese – I love using a combination of Swiss and cheddar. While you can likely use other cheeses, these two provide complementary flavor and are typically of what you’d find in the buffets. I suggest grating half the blocks for use to make a creamier casserole. If you want it super cheesy add more cheese. You will also need cream cheese at room temperature.
Mayonnaise – Provides a creaminess to the thick sauce. You could use a lighter variety, if you want to reduce the calories, however this recipe is tastiest as written.
Sour cream – This is needed for sauce creaminess. You can use a lighter variety but it will not taste as rich and delicious.
Crab – Imitation crab in chunk or flake style is fine. If you do buy chunk style you will need to chop the crab up.
Spices – Garlic powder, onion powder, black pepper, and Old Bay Seasoning are all necessary for flavor. You will also need Worcestershire sauce.
Onion – While you can use yellow onion, Vidalia onion is best because it is sweet and bakes tender. You can also optionally use green onion for serving.
Extra add-ins – Some people enjoy adding a 1/2 cup of drained green peas, or a 1/2 cup of diced celery bits.
How to Make Imitation Crab Casserole
The first thing you will need to do is open, and gently pull apart your flake-style crab meat. This variety of crab meat is easy to pull apart by hand and should take about 2 minutes or less to do.
In a food processor or by grating, shred your Swiss cheese and cheddar. I always prefer to freshly shred my cheese from blocks because it makes for a creamier cheese.
Then, slice your Vidalia onion into thin rings that are about a quarter of an inch thick.
Add the crab meat and onions to a medium bowl followed by the room temperature cream cheese, and sour cream. Sprinkle in the dry spices, and Swiss cheese; combine.
Place the mixture into a 2-quart casserole dish and sprinkle the cheddar cheese on top. Bake uncovered for 30 minutes at 350 degrees F.
Sprinkle with green onion before serving and enjoy warm!
Imitation Crab Meat Recipes
Chinese Buffet Style Crab Casserole
- Oven adjusted to center rack position
- medium mixing bowl
- cutting board & knife
- Measuring cups & spoons
- 2-quart casserole dish
- 8 ounces imitation crab flake style
- 6 ounces cream cheese
- ¼ cup mayonnaise
- ½ cup sour cream
- 4 ounces shredded swiss cheese *you can add more if you like it cheesy
- 4 ounces shredded cheddar cheese *you can add more if you like it cheesy
- ¾ teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1½ tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1½ tablespoons green onions, diced optional*
- 1 medium Vidalia onion sliced in ¼" rings and then halved.
- Gently pull apart your flake-style crab meat.
- In a food processor grate the swiss cheese and cheddar. Set aside any extra cheese and place it in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
- Slice your Vidalia onion into thin rings that are about a quarter of an inch thick and then half them.
- Add the crab meat and onions to a medium bowl followed by the room temperature cream cheese, and sour cream. Sprinkle in the dry spices, and swiss cheese; combine.
- Place the mixture into a 2-quart casserole dish, and sprinkle with cheddar cheese. Bake uncovered for 30 minutes at 350°F.
- Sprinkle with green onion before serving and enjoy warm!