Lump vs. Claw Crab Meat: What’s the Difference?

Do you want to know what’s the difference between lump crab meat and claw crab meat? You must be looking to explore the culinary delights of crab.

Is it?

This article is for you. This article will uncover the differences between the lump and claw meats from a crab. So, keep reading to learn the interesting differences between claw and lump crab meat.

Understanding the Lump Meat

Lump crab meat is the premium meat from the crab’s body. It comprises large chunks of crab meat from the crab’s back fin and body. These chunks have no shells or cartilage. Therefore, they’re pure and utterly delicious.

Location of Lump Meat in Crab’s Body and its Types

Lump crab meat is obtained from the crab’s middle body and back fin swimming muscles. However, if you consider specialty lump-crab meat, like jumbo or super lump crab, you’ll get a more flavorful experience. To help you understand lump crab meat better, I’ve broken it down into its types and different grades according to sourcing locations in the crab’s body.

Lump Crab Meat

Lump crab meat is the most economical choice among all types of lump crab meat. It comprises large, whole chunks of the crab meat from the back fin and body of the crab. It offers a sweet, delicate flavor and tender texture.

Jumbo Lump Crab Meat

The creme de la creme of crab meat, jumbo lump crab meat, is made up of the largest, most pristine chunks of two large muscles that power the crab’s back swimming legs. Jumbo lump crab meat is the epitome of luxury, with the most beautiful crab pieces. For this reason, it’s the most expensive.

Super Lump Crab Meat

This grade falls between regular lump and jumbo lump. It comprises sizable crab chunks, but they might not be as large or perfectly shaped as a jumbo lump, but they are better than regular lump crab meat. Super lump crab meat offers a balance between quality and cost, making it a popular choice for many crab dishes.

Most of the canned jumbo lump crab meat or crab cakes are not truly jumbo but super lump crab meat. However, with some research, you can find the best quality canned jumbo lump crab meat.

Special Crab Meat

This type includes smaller pieces of crab meat, often from broken jumbo or super lump crab meat. It’s perfect for recipes where the appearance of the crab is less crucial, but you need the sweet taste of crab meat.

The Taste and Texture of Lump Crab Meat

Lump crab meat is known for its soft, delicate, and sweet taste. Since it’s composed of either broken pieces of the jumbo lump alone or with the addition of white meat from the crab’s body, it offers a pleasing aroma and a sweet, flavorful taste.

Culinary Uses

Lump crab meat is cherished for its deliciousness and versatility. You’ll often find it gracing different recipes, demanding appearance and texture besides taste. It’s used in crab cakes, salads, and other specialty recipes, e.g., Crab Bisque and Crab-Stuffed Mushrooms.

Claw Crab Meat

Claw crab meat is like an unsung hero. It may not have the prestige of lump crab meat, but it has a charm all its own, especially when you want to enjoy the taste of crab without spending a lot.

As the name suggests, claw meat comes from the crab’s claws and knuckles. It’s a bit more rustic and varied in texture, but that gives it its unique character.

Location of Lump Meat in Crab’s Body and its Types

When you look at a crab, you’ll see those sturdy claws and legs. That’s where claw crab meat calls home. It’s tucked away in the crab’s hardworking limbs, waiting to be discovered and savored.

Flavor and Texture

Claw crab meat has a robust, briny flavor with nutty notes. The taste is more noticeable than lump meat. It’s like a salty sea breeze on your taste buds. However, the taste of crab claw meat can vary depending on the type of crab, the region where it was caught, and how it was cooked.

As for texture, it’s more varied. You’ll find a mix of tender, flaky bits, and some denser, more fibrous strands. 


The claws of a crab have tendons that need to be removed; therefore, the meat is broken and flaky with uneven texture.

Culinary Uses

Crab’s claw meat is a versatile ingredient in seafood recipes. It brings a robust crab flavor to your creations, making every bite a reminder of the ocean’s bounty. It’s usually used in recipes that don’t need great texture or aesthetic appeal. Some crab recipes that allow claw crab meat use are crab soup, crab dip, crab cakes, recipes with stuffed crab meat, crab pasta, etc.

In summary, claw crab meat may not have the elegance of lump crab meat, but it’s the heart and soul of many crab-centric dishes. Its briny flavor and varied texture make it a favorite in recipes that require a robust crab presence.

Claw Crab Meat vs. Lump: Cost and Availability Comparison

Undeniably, lump meat is a premium choice for delicacy recipes. This is why it’s also expensive. Also, owing to its limited ratio of crab meat, it can be challenging to get good quality lump crab meat.

On the other hand, claw crab meat is generally more affordable. It’s still packed with that delicious crab flavor but is cheaper. If you’re watching your wallet, claw crab meat can be a cost-effective way to enjoy crab dishes regularly without breaking the bank.

It really boils down to your budget and the occasion. Go for lump crab meat if you’re splurging for a special event. But for everyday meals that won’t dent your finances, claw crab meat is the more cost-effective option without sacrificing flavor.


There’s no definitive winner in the culinary face-off between lump crab meat and claw meat. Lump crab meat, with its delicate and sweet taste, shines in dishes where you want crab meat to beautify the presentation of your dish besides impairing succulent taste. On the other hand, claw crab meat, with its heartier texture, adds a robust touch to soups and stuffing. 

The choice depends on your taste and the recipe at hand. 

Yet, if you’re new to trying crab meat, I’ll advise you to start with the lighter and finer taste of lump crab meat, and if you can spend extra bucks, go for jumbo lump crab meat.

You’ll love it!

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Cashmere Muhammad
Cashmere Muhammad

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