Crab linguine is an easy, restaurant-style and authentic Italian recipe you can create at home. Quick to make, you just need 7 ingredients and less than 30 minutes.

  • It’s versatile — perfect for a weeknight dinner or a more elaborate meal with friends.
  • Made with simple, easy-to-find ingredients.
  • Inspired by an authentic Italian recipe.
  • The delicate linguine pairs perfectly with the bold crab flavour.
  • It’s a restaurant-quality dish that you can enjoy at home.

Venice is the home of many wonderful pasta dishes. Italian food, at its core, is simple cooking with big flavours, and this crab linguine recipe is exactly that. I discovered this dish while on a dream holiday and now I bring it to you.

two bowls filled with crab pasta with grey napkins

What is crab linguine?

Crab linguine is a traditional Venetian dish comprised largely of linguine and chunks of crab meat. With just a few good quality ingredients, this crab pasta is bursting with flavour and very easy to make at home.

Ingredients you’ll need

The wonderful thing about this crab linguine recipe and, for that matter, many Italian recipes, is the simplicity and small number of ingredients.

overhead: crab pasta ingredients on a benchtop

Detailed quantities and instructions in the recipe card below.

Like many Italian dishes, crab pasta recipes are made with a combination of very simple ingredients — fresh crab meat, olive oil, garlic, white wine, tomatoes, seasoning, and pasta.

  • Pasta: The linguine can be swapped for many other kinds of pasta — penne, spaghetti, fettucini. Take your pick.
  • Crab: I prefer to use whole fresh crab, but you could use pre-picked crab meat from the seafood deli (not tinned or imitation). I have in the past used pre-cooked blue swimmer crab and Alaskan king crab claws in this dish, and they both are delicious.
  • White Wine: Use a good quality drinking wine — Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc, or Chardonnay will all do the trick. You could use a fish stock if you’d prefer not to use wine.
  • Olive Oil: Use high-quality olive oil when you can. You’ll use it to sauté the garlic, which is the first step to making this dish.
  • Cherry Tomatoes: Also needed for the sauce. I prefer to use fresh tomatoes for this crab pasta recipe. Saved the canned variety for another day.
  • Cream: My version of this dish also uses just a touch of cream to help that lovely sauce cling to the strands of pasta.
  • Garlic and Seasonings: All you’ll use besides the garlic are sea salt flakes and freshly cracked pepper. A little goes a long way — no need to overdo it with lots of spices.

How to make crab pasta (step-by-step)

This easy crab pasta recipe is quick to make. To keep it super simple, I usually just buy pre-cooked crabs to save a little time and pick the meat myself. That takes about 20 minutes, and the whole dish only takes 10 to cook it from then on. King crab claws also work really well.

overhead collage: 6 images showing adding ingredients to a saucepan to make crab pasta recipes

Detailed quantities and instructions in the recipe card below.

  1. Cook the garlic: Sauté the garlic in some olive oil just over low heat, then add some white wine and simmer that over high heat until it’s almost all evaporated. 
  2. Add the tomatoes: Next, add the cherry tomatoes and sauté for just a couple of minutes (photo 1), before adding seasoning (photo 2).
  3. Start creating the sauce: Pour 1/2 cup of the pasta water into the pan (photo 3). It’s important to use the pasta water as the starch in that water will help the sauce to cling to the pasta better.
  4. Add the cream if using: Add a touch of cream (photo 4). This step is optional and not in the original recipe, but I love just that tiny bit of creamy flavour it adds to the sauce.
  5. Incorporate the crab: Add that soft crab meat to the pasta (photo 5). Tip it in and give it a mix around. Finally, add the drained pasta (photo 6) and serve.

The sauce is sparse, not loaded as you see with a lot of pasta dishes, but it has big flavour, as Italian food does. A little tomato, olive oil, and garlic, mixed in with luscious chunks of crab meat are all you need.

The flavour of the crab permeates the whole dish too so you end up with a very light coating of extremely richly flavoured sauce over delicate linguine.

overhead closeup: tomato and crab linguine recipe in a bowl

What to serve with crab linguine?

Like most crab pasta recipes, this is a complete meal on its own. However, you could serve it up with a side of crusty bread to soak up any of that lovely leftover sauce, or maybe some garlic bread to start.

Top tips for the best crab pasta

  • Use quality ingredients: With only 7 ingredients, there’s nowhere to hide. Make sure to use fresh tomatoes at their ripest and fresh crab (definitely no tinned or imitation crab). Use a good drinking wine and the best quality pasta you can. 
  • Cook the pasta with care: Be sure to cook the linguine just shy of al dente as it will continue to cook a bit once you incorporate it with the sauce. You’ll get the perfect texture this way.
  • And be gentle when adding the crab: Most types of seafood are delicate, and crab is no different. Gently add it to the other ingredients so as not to break it. Ultimately, you want it to be evenly distributed, but you don’t want it to lose its texture.


What if I can’t find cherry tomatoes?

I suggest replacing the cherry tomatoes with grape tomatoes, or you could simply dice a larger variety. The goal of the tomatoes is to add a hint of sweetness and acidity to your crab linguine. Adjust the quantity based on the size and juiciness of the tomatoes you choose.

Can I make this crab pasta recipe spicy?

Sure! If you enjoy a bit of heat, you can add red pepper flakes to the sautéed garlic. You could also add a bit of finely chopped fresh chili peppers and add them to the dish before serving. A touch of cayenne pepper would work well too.

Can I use frozen crab meat for this recipe?

If you don’t have access to fresh crab, it’s a good alternative for crab pasta recipes. It must be completely thawed and drained of any excess liquid before incorporating it into your crab pasta. Fresh is always best, but high-quality frozen crab can be a convenient option.

Why this recipe?

In 2016, I married the love of my life and we went on a wonderful 4-week honeymoon visiting our favourite places — Italy and New York. One of my favourite cuisines is Italian food, and my favourite place in the world is Venice, the home of this delightful meal.

We spent days just wandering Venice and eating some amazing food, including this pasta dish. I hunted down an authentic Venetian cuisine cookbook, and this recipe has been adapted from that.

This is such an amazing dish, and if you’re a pasta lover like I am, I know you’ll love it. Perfect for a quick workday meal, or serve it up to your friends for a weekend get-together. You can’t go wrong with such simple, classic flavours. 

Interesting point — every time I type linguine, I use a ‘q’ instead of ‘g’. Every. Single. Time.

closeup: a fork digging into a bowl of linquine with crab and tomatoes in it

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A fork lifting crab linguine out of a black bowl.
4.7 from 96 ratings
This authentic Venetian Crab Linguine, like all Italian food is simple flavours in an easy meal that tastes amazing.


  • 300 g good quality dried linguine (10.5oz)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large clove garlic, crushed
  • ½ cup dry white wine (125ml)
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, chopped in half
  • 1 tablespoon cream (optional) (notes)
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt flakes
  • ½ teaspoon freshly cracked pepper
  • ¾ cup cooked crab meat (notes)

For best results, always weigh ingredients where a weight is provided


  • Place a saucepan of salted water over high heat and bring to the boil, then add your pasta.
  • Place the oil and garlic to a frying pan over medium heat, stirring. Once the oil is hot, saute the garlic for about 1 minute but don’t let it get too dark.
  • Add the wine and turn the heat up to high. Let it bubble away for 2-3 minutes until the wine has almost totally evaporated. 
  • Add the cherry tomatoes and saute for about 2 minutes, then add the salt and pepper.  
  • Add 1/2 a cup of the pasta water followed by the cream and give it a good stir. Add the crab and stir until heated through (only about 30 seconds). 
  • By now the pasta should be al dente, so drain the water away and add the pasta to the sauce. Give it all a good mix, check the seasoning and serve.
  • Please take a moment to rate this recipe. I really appreciate it and it helps me create more recipes.


  1. I use a standard Australian 20ml tablespoon (4 teaspoons worldwide)
  2. If you are picking the crab meat yourself, you can get 3/4 cup crab meat from 2 cooked spider crabs.
  3. Using the pasta water in the sauce will help to make the sauce thicker and stick to the pasta.
  4. I prefer to use whole fresh crab but you could use pre-picked crab meat from the seafood deli (not tinned or imitation). Blue Swimmer Crab and even Alasking king crab claws both work great.
  5. Use a good quality drinking wine for this recipe. A sauvignon blanc, chardonnay, semillon will all work fine.
Have you tried this recipe?Don’t forget to leave a rating and comment below and let me know how it was! I love hearing from you. Nutrition information is approximate and derived from an online calculator. The brands you use may cause variations.
Nutrition Facts
Authentic Venetian Crab Linguine
Amount Per Serving (203 g)
Calories 312
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.