Copycat Golden Corral Crab Salad Recipe | (2024)

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The Golden Corral is known for several of their buffet items but the most requested one is always their crab salad.

Copycat Golden Corral Crab Salad Recipe | (1)

Copycat Golden Corral Crab Salad Recipe | (2)

Copycat Golden Corral Crab Salad Recipe | (3)

Copycat Golden Corral Crab Salad Recipe | (4)


ready in:

over 5 hrs

42 reviews


1 cup chopped green onion
1 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
1/2 cup ranch salad dressing
1/2 cup heavy mayonnaise
3 pounds imitation crab meat, cut up


Combine the green onion, celery, bell pepper, salad dressing, and mayonnaise in a bowl and mix well. Gently stir in the crab. You want it to break up a bit but not be shredded.

Serve immediately or for best results, place the crab salad in a covered container and refrigerate overnight. Stir gently before serving and add additional mayonnaise if it seems dry.

Recipe Source: This is the original recipe from Golden Corral.

recipe tips

Add diced cucumber or radishes for additional texture.

Try adding a squeeze of lemon juice or a dash of Old Bay seasoning.

Letting the salad chill in the refrigerator for a few hours allows the flavors to meld.

For a spicier kick, add a small amount of diced jalapeno or a dash of hot sauce.

Serve on a bed of lettuce or with crackers.

If the salad is too creamy, add more chopped vegetables to balance it out.

Try adding capers or chopped pickles for a tangy flavor.

Try adding a small amount of finely chopped garlic for extra zing.

Always taste and adjust the seasoning before serving, as the flavors may mellow when chilled.

common recipe questions

Can I use real crab meat instead of imitation crab?

Yes, real (cooked) crab meat can be used, but it's more expensive. Make sure to pick it over to remove any shell fragments.

What can I use instead of green onions?

Chives or finely chopped red onion can be used as substitutes.

Is there a substitute for green bell pepper?

Red or yellow bell peppers can be used for a sweeter flavor.

Can I make this salad with a different dressing?

Yes, you can use a different creamy dressing like Caesar or blue cheese.

What can I use instead of heavy mayonnaise?

Light mayonnaise or Greek yogurt can be used for a healthier option.

How do I store and keep the salad?

Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Can this crab salad be frozen?

Freezing is not recommended.

nutrition data

179 calories, 11 grams fat, 10 grams carbohydrates, 11 grams protein per 1 cup.

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reviews & comments

    March 25, 2023

    I follow this recipe word for word… with 1 small exception… I add a bit of Old Bay … puts it over the top!!

  2. Jane7779 REVIEW:
    December 4, 2021

    I love this! I have found, though, if the salad gets too dry, I stir in a little milk instead of more mayonnaise. Same for a potato salad, macaroni salad, etc.

  3. Cutecrawford REVIEW:
    July 15, 2021

    Ive tried this recipe.. and its on Target.. .. you do need to chill it tho!!!

  4. CuteCumber221B REVIEW:
    August 11, 2020

    I often add some shell noodles and a wee bit more dressing and eat this for lunch. Great recipe

  5. Ananery M REVIEW:
    April 20, 2020

    I made this recipe but instead of Ranch I use Creamy Italian, it come out really good.Thank you fro the recipe

  6. Kend REVIEW:
    October 13, 2019

    As an old GC Partner Manager, the proportions are correct. Haven’t been to a G.C in several years, but the Krab was always hand shredded. That might have an impact on some of the comments about too much dressing. In addition, the Ranch dressing was the Hidden Valley Buttermilk recipe, not out of a container

  7. Jeanne REVIEW:
    September 3, 2019

    I love Golden Corral but am limited to how MUCH I can eat and I always overeat there. But I mostly go for their seafood salad and their friend chicken. Thank you for this seafood salad recipe - makes me very happy.

  8. Cindy REVIEW:
    June 17, 2019

    I love Golden Corral's crab salad but this recipe seems to be missing something.

  9. imthejeanne REVIEW:
    March 15, 2019

    This is not anything like Golden Corral. It has way too much mayo and dressing. I eat there once a week and it's one of my favorite, so do yourself a favor and try another one.

    • CDKitchen Staff Reply:

      Did you let it sit overnight? It usually ends up a bit on the dry side then (to the point you need extra dressing). If you served it immediately it would probably seem like it had more dressing than needed.

  10. Guest Foodie February 13, 2019

    Very good--will make it often

  11. Millie REVIEW:
    October 20, 2018

    The best crab salad that I have ever had. Thanks!

  12. Mr Ed REVIEW:
    September 30, 2018

    Since we live on a lake in Florida,this is definitely our year round favorite.We add dill as a salt substitute, shrimp, hand ground black pepper (added to the top of the salad on the plate just before serving, for flavor and presentation) and a little white pepper during preparation. Our bell peppers are of the no irritation hybrid type and are grown in our garden as are the green onions. We (on a dinner plate)serve it on a bed of fresh spinach leaves surrounded by a circle of Ritz Toasted Chips of our favorite flavors. Guest go nuts over it and the presentation is 5 star. Simple but elegant.

  13. L Newman July 19, 2018

    This recipe is almost identical to mine. I love crab salad and it can be so versatile. Sometimes I throw in pasta shells, green peas and maybe a little shredded cheese. Such great recipes on this site.

  14. Guest Foodie July 2, 2018

    Can greek yogurt take the place of the mayo?

    • CDKitchen Staff Reply:

      It would give it a very different flavor

  15. Augi January 12, 2018

    Worked there for years. And we would make this by the tub full. The amount of mayo and ranch dressing may not seem like a lot, but it is. If you prefer a creamier sauce I suggest adding 1/4 of a cup of mayo and ranch but no more than that or it will turn out runny.Hope this helps

  16. Guest Foodie REVIEW:
    December 22, 2017

    I made this for the first time for my dad who loves Golden Corrals crab salad, and he absolutely loved it. I made a the recipe as stated and it disappeared less than 12 hours later. Every time somebody wanted a snack, they went for the crab salad. I just more ingredients to make it for my Christmas Eve dinner. As stated by others, it’s best when refrigerated overnight for the best flavor.

  17. savorylee REVIEW:
    September 1, 2017

    Made as directed and yes it made just about a gallon (3 pounds crab doesn't seem like a lot but once it gets mixed and flaked it expands a lot). I did add more mayo and dressing because after sitting in the fridge overnight it didn't seem as saucy as I wanted it. Good recipe flavor-wise too. And I laughed about the Duke's comment - that's the only mayo I use too!

  18. seafood lover July 30, 2017

    the recipe says it makes 1 gallon, but the quantity of ingredients doesn't add up..Are you confident .5 cup of mayo, .5 cup of ranch, the veggies & crabmeat will make 4 quarts? I need to feed a large amount of people and want to make sure I buy enough ingredients..thank you so much!!!

    • CDKitchen Staff Reply:

      It does make pretty much the amount it says. I would make sure to have enough mayo and dressing on hand to adjust if you want the texture different (based on personal preference).

  19. Gladys REVIEW:
    April 11, 2017

    Very gooooood

  20. Guest Foodie REVIEW:
    January 9, 2017

    Worked there years ago. The recipe sounds right for a small batch. We made it in much larger quantities almost daily.I still enjoy it

  21. Juju REVIEW:
    December 27, 2016


  22. Sunny_wave REVIEW:
    December 24, 2016

    Amazing! I added some chopped dill to give it a little twist !

  23. esperanza REVIEW:
    December 11, 2016

    I just tried this for the first time and it is delicious and we will definitley be making it again.

  24. Anonymous REVIEW:
    August 24, 2016

    JUST like what I remember from golden corral (haven't been there in a while). So easy to make too. Definitely let it sit overnight. It tasted good right away but next day we could barely keep from eating all of it before dinner.

  25. sweetfaith1 REVIEW:
    July 9, 2016

    We always love this salad!

  26. Guest Foodie REVIEW:
    March 30, 2016

    I just made this salad, but instead of using the mayo or the ranch, I used the Yum Yum Sauce (Japanese Sauce)....OMG the best seafood salad I have ever had (I even added shrimps).

  27. GC Faithful March 22, 2016

    What brand of ranch and mayonnaise do you recommend?

    • CDKitchen Staff Reply:

      Duke's mayo is the only mayo we use in any recipe.

  28. capeach February 18, 2016

    Was curious. Do you use bottled ranch dressing or packaged ranch dressing that you make with milk and mayo? Haven't tried the recipe yet but my husband and father love Golden Corral Crab Salad so was going to try to make it. So, bottled or dry mix? Thanks!

    • CDKitchen Staff Reply:

      This is the prepared dressing, not the mix (it would say ranch dressing mix if that was the case - we are always careful to specify that because 1/2 cup of dry mix would be quite awful!)

  29. Vicki REVIEW:
    November 2, 2015

    This is the best crab salad I've ever had...Never had better...Love it....

    June 29, 2015


  31. guest REVIEW:
    May 19, 2015

    Identical recipe! Could not believe it! Definitely let sit overnight for flavors to meld. It don't taste right when you 1st make it. I had to double this recipe the second time i made it as everyone loved it and I ran out. I will make this many times!

  32. Guest Foodie REVIEW:
    December 23, 2014

    this is the best thing i have ever tasted the mix of tastes is lovely

  33. Guest Foodie REVIEW:
    July 23, 2014

    Made this for my family's lunch on Sat 19 July and when lunch was over they wanted to know why I didnt purchase more from Golden. Corral . It was awesome!!!

  34. RedRover REVIEW:
    June 12, 2014

    Absolutely the best recipe for imitation crab out there, but since I cannot tolerate bell peppers, I omitted them. This recipe was still delicious, but is absolutely GLORIOUS when served like a sammich on a soft potato roll with cold giardinara as an accompaniment. kudos to whomever submitted this!

  35. kelli REVIEW:
    March 30, 2014

    Easy crab salad that tastes delicious. Definitely let it sit overnight in the fridge for the best flavor.

  36. Guest Foodie March 7, 2014

    Can this recipe be frozen

    • CDKitchen Staff Reply:

      I haven't tried it, but I would think the texture wouldn't be very good when it thawed. Imitation crab meat has a high water content which would cause it to break down in the process.

  37. Guest Foodie REVIEW:
    December 2, 2013

    It definitely needs to sit overnight for best flavor, but once it all melds together it's amazing!

  38. Guest Foodie REVIEW:
    October 29, 2013

    I cut the calories by using ff mayo

  39. Guest Foodie REVIEW:
    July 1, 2013

    This is delicious!!! Tastes just like Golden Corral's crab salad

  40. Guest Foodie REVIEW:
    June 27, 2013

    I could eat this all day! It is amazing. I scaled down the serving size though, otherwise I WOULD eat this all day!

  41. Valerie REVIEW:
    June 3, 2013

    I used the lump imitation crab instead of the sticks (I still chopped up some of the larger pieces). Definitely let this sit in the fridge for a couple of hours (or overnight is even better). The flavor is good and it has a great texture. A very easy crab salad to make.

  42. Guest Foodie REVIEW:
    April 17, 2012

    I made this tonight and it was awesome! The family loved it. Seafood Salad has always been my favorite part of going to Golden Corral. I never would have guessed Ranch Dressing would be an ingredient!

  43. Guest Foodie REVIEW:
    March 18, 2012

    Awesome recipe! Tastes just like Golden Corral's seafood salad! Yummy!

  44. Guest Foodie REVIEW:
    January 31, 2009

    My kids have always love Golden Corral's crab salad, so when I found the recipe, they were very excited to try it. It was an immediate hit! They loved it and it didn't last long, even though the recipe makes a bunch. Will definitely make it again!

  45. wolywig REVIEW:
    December 11, 2008

    GRRRRRRREAT recipe!!!!!!! LOVE IT!!!

  46. Guest Foodie REVIEW:
    October 2, 2007

    A nice, simple crab salad. The longer it sits the better it is, so try to let it sit overnight before serving. I felt it needed a little salt to help bring out the flavors more. Other than that, it was perfect!

  47. gabbie REVIEW:
    September 26, 2007

    I have already made this 3 times since last week. I love it, it was delicious. I always eat it at Golden Corral. I will make this a lot, my husband loved it also. I took to a family dinner Sunday and they all liked it also. Very good, very easy, great, keep them coming, love it.

  48. Guest Foodie REVIEW:
    March 24, 2006

    Great recipe! Instead of green peppers I added black olives and cubes of sharp cheese. Mmmmm. Turned out great. My husband even liked it and he never eats crab salad!

  49. mjmahnke REVIEW:
    January 28, 2006

    This was really a great tasting salad and tastes just like the one at Golden Corral. I used lowfat ranch dressing and low fat mayo and it was just as good. Very easy and quick to make, too!Mary

Please note:
This is a copy cat recipe submitted to CDKitchen by a third-party. This recipe is not an original recipe unless specifically stated and is considered only to be an acceptable "clone" to the original for the home cook to attempt to duplicate. Please also note that many nationwide restaurant chains vary their menus and ingredients by region so the version provided may not be similar to what you may have tried before. All trademarks referenced are property of their respective owners.


Copycat Golden Corral Crab Salad Recipe | (2024)
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