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Vietnamese Soft Shell Crabs

Vietnamese Soft Shell Crab

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 2 reviews
  • Author: Abbe Odenwalder
  • Prep Time: 20 Minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 Minutes
  • Total Time: 30 Minutes
  • Yield: 4 Servings 1x
  • Category: Main course/appetizer
  • Method: Fry
  • Cuisine: Vietnamese


Fried Soft Shell Crabs are a treat. Luscious and lavish, these crabs are divine!


Units Scale

4 Jumbo soft shell crabs, cleaned

2/3 c flour

1/2 c cornstarch

1 1/2 t baking powder

1 t ground turmeric

1/2 t kosher salt

1/8 t cayenne pepper

1 medium egg

1 t rice wine vinegar

1 12 oz bottle wheat beer (not a bitter beer)

Canola or peanut oil for frying

Nuoc Cham Sauce for Serving
Leaf Lettuce



Bean Sprouts


Make sure your fishmonger gives you fresh soft shell crabs and that they are clean.

In a 2 c mixing cup, stir together the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, turmeric, salt and cayenne.

In a larger bowl, whisk together the egg, vinegar and 1/2 a bottle of the beer. Using a spatula, fold the flour mixture into the beer mixture. It should have the consistency of thin pancake batter and may be a bit lumpy, so do not over mix. Add more beer if needed to achieve the desired consistency. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

Make your nuoc cham sauce and get your salad plate ready. I made an additional sauce of black pepper, lots of garlic and butter. That’s pretty good, also!

When ready to fry, pour oil to a depth of 2 inches into a large skillet with high sides or a wok. Heat oil over high heat to 375. Preheat oven to 250 if you want to keep these warm and cover a baking sheet or plate with paper towels or place on a wire rack and place on a pan in the oven.

Dip crab into batter and allow the excess to drip off.  Holding the crab by the shell flaps, carefully lower the bottom side of the crab – legs and body – into the hot oil. Repeat with other crabs. Cook for about 6 minutes until golden and crispy.

Drain on paper towels and keep warm in oven until all crabs are ready. Cut each crab in half and serve with sauce and salad plate. Or serve these on a burger bun or French bread!

To eat, wrap each half of the crab in a lettuce leaf, add some of the herbs, fold taco style and dip in sauce. Your life will never be the same, and these fried soft shell crabs will become on of your favorite foods, too!


Thank you Vietnamese Home Cooking.

Note: This batter would also be great for most any seafood!