Crab is a staple in many seafood dishes. Soups, casseroles, and salads can be made using crab. If you are planning a crab boil or making California rolls, you must have plenty of it.
But what can you do if you or a guest has a shellfish allergy? Or how can you make these dishes if the price of crab goes through the roof?
Imitation crab is a great way to introduce the flavor of crab to dishes if the real thing is not an option. There are a lot of imitation crab meat brands available.
They usually make their product from Surimi, which is a paste made from grinding fish like Alaskan pollock. By adding in some wheat and egg whites and they made food that tastes exactly like the real thing. Some people even prefer the taste of imitation crab meat brands to the original.
The Best Imitation Crab Meat Brands
What are the best imitation crab meat brands? If you’re looking for an alternative to the real thing, here are the best imitation crab meat brands.
These brands are in no particular rank or order because everyone has their own dietary requirements and preferences.
1. Osaki Fish Cake
You will find Osaki Fish Cakes in the frozen section of most Asian grocery stores. They are called fish cakes because they are made of fish.
However, they are an imitation crab meat brand whose packaging makes them stand out. The pieces of meat are wrapped individually. That makes it easier to ration and keeps the entire package from clumping together.
2. Trans-Ocean Crab Classic
This imitation crab meat brand is fully cooked and ready to eat straight out of the package. It is sold in 8-ounce packages that resemble the kind that tuna comes in.
It is usually sold in that portion of the store. One thing to watch for is that even though Trans-Ocean Crab Classic is mostly made from Alaskan pollock, it does contain some king crab meat. If you are trying imitation crab due to a shellfish allergy, you may want to steer clear of this one.
3. Trans-Ocean Simply Surimi
Trans-Ocean makes the list again with Simply Surimi. This one takes the crab out of it completely, making it from minced Alaskan Pollock.
Simply Surimi comes in leg-style if you are making sushi or crab legs. You can pick up the flake style if you need some for a salad or crab cakes.
4. Aquamar Surimi Sticks
This crab-flavored seafood is made from wild-caught Alaskan pollock and other proteins such as egg whites.
Aquamar Surimi Sticks come in stick form to easily slice up and make sushi, salads, sandwiches, and more. It is a good, low-fat source of protein.
5. 365 Surimi Seafood
Whole Foods is known for its 365-line of organic foods. If you are looking for an organic imitation crab meat brand, you will find it here. Like many others, it is made from pollock.
But being organic, it may not have the same consistency as other brands. Many people like it better because there is not much sodium in it, leaving them more room to add seasonings.
6. Best Imitation Snow Crab
Best is a seafood brand from Malaysia well-known for making imitation foods such as crab, tofu, and fish. Best is not made with Alaskan pollock, unlike many other imitation crab meat brands.
Instead, they use golden threadfin bream and bigeye tuna. These differences give Best a different flavor that people love.
7. Great American Seafood Fresh Imitation Crab Flakes
Be careful with this one from Great American Seafood because it contains a small amount of real crab meat. But if you are looking for crab flavor without the full-price cost, you will find it with this one.
Made with pollock as well as Pacific Whiting, these fresh imitation crab flakes taste the most like the real thing.
8. Oyster Bay Imitation Crab Meat
Oyster Bay offers its imitation crab meat brand at a higher price than some of the others. You will get a product they claim tastes the most, like a real crab with a mild sweet flavor.
Made from surimi and other ingredients, they carefully make it look and feel like an actual crab. The texture will be hard to dispute.
9. Trans-Ocean Crab Supreme
This leg-style crab substitute is bigger than the other picks from Trans-Ocean. You will find them here if you need big chunks of meat for your sushi or salads.
There is snow crab meat added, giving this more of the actual flavor of the real thing. But at just over $5 for a 20-ounce package, the price does not compare.
10. Great Catch Imitation Crabmeat
A mixture of pollock, cod, and whiting held together with wheat, and potato starch makes the Great Catch imitation crab meat brand.
Low fat and ready-to-eat, this meat will taste like the real thing in your dishes. But it will cost you a fraction of what you would pay for a real crab.
11. High Liner Foods Flake Style Imitation Crabmeat
High Liner is a great imitation crab because of the way it binds together. It will allow you to cut it into the size and shape you need for the dishes you want to make. But since it is flake style, it will also pull apart easily for more delicate recipes.
Frequently Asked Questions about Imitation Crab Meat
There’s no doubt that when you shop for an imitation crab meant brand, you will have some questions. Here are some of the most common things we have been asked about imitation crab meat brands.
Are there different types of imitation crab?
Yes, there are various types of imitation crab meat you can get. The most popular forms of imitation crab meat come in chunks, sticks, shreds, and flake-style.
What is the name of fake crab meat?
Fake crab can also be known as surimi, the main ingredient that helps create imitation seafood, such as crab, eel, and lobster. Other names for fake crab include krab, imitation crab, and mock crab.
Is imitation crab meat fake?
Imitation crab meat is fake in regard to including crab meat. However, real minced fish is an ingredient. Imitation crab meat is made from minced fish, egg whites, sugar, starch, and salt. There are additives to help imitation crab resemble the flavor, color, and texture of real crab meat.
Is there imitation crab without shellfish?
Most of the imitation crab you can find in stores are made without shellfish since most mixtures use minced Alaskan pollock.
However, it is rare to find a manufacturer label that doesn’t include a warning that the product may contain shellfish. While it is unlikely to find shellfish in most brands, ensure you check the label before consuming it.
To be extra cautious, avoid eating imitation crab meat if you have a shellfish allergy.
If you are on a budget or prefer the taste of imitation over real, you can still enjoy crab salads, crab soups, crab legs, and sushi. Imitation crab meat brands have perfected the art of turning fish into an acceptable crab substitute.
And if you still want the real thing, canned crab meat can get you the flavor you want without breaking your budget.