Imitation Crab Roll (Poor Man’s Lobster Roll)

by Hannah

love lobster rolls, but the cost can make them prohibitive, which is why I love this imitation crab roll so much. It’s just as fresh, delicious and creamy, and perfect for a snack or lunch. This has solidly entered my lunch rotation. You can have this on the plate and ready to eat in under 10 minutes!

The first time I had a lobster roll it was, appropriately, in New England and I then dreamed about them for years after. When I was recently on a trip to Pittsburgh, I saw a lot of menus that had crab rolls (and you can bet I ordered them… a lot). It got me thinking about recreating a lobster roll but with cheaper ingredients so I could enjoy it far more often.

I had tried that Tik Tok trend where you take a tortilla, cut it halfway and then fill up each quadrant with something and I opted for imitation crab and yum yum sauce. Then a few weeks later I thought… what about an imitation crab roll? Would it be a good substitute for a lobster roll? So I decided to try it and it was a TOTAL win. It’s obviously not lobster, but I genuinely think it’s close enough to satisfy your craving. I’m now going to be making this a lot more because you can’t beat $6/pound rather than almost $50/pound (at Whole Foods at least).

So go ahead and give this imitation crab roll a try!

Imitation Crab Roll Ingredients

The ingredient list for this dish is extremely simple and can’t be beaten.

  • Imitation crab: For this recipe I like to use the flake style since you just have to tear it apart a little to get the perfect size for the sandwiches.
  • Mayo: Just a couple of tablespoons of mayo gives these imitation crab rolls the perfect amount of creaminess.
  • Lemon: The lemon juice in this dish really brightens the overall taste and gives it such a fresh and clean taste. Without it, the roll really lacks depth.
  • Seasoning: The salt, pepper and chives bring out the flavor of the crab.
  • Buns: Ideally, you want some New England-style buns like these, but if you can’t find them any soft roll will do the trick. You could even use hot dog buns if you wanted to. I tried this recipe with brioche buns and they were super tasty, even if they weren’t super authentic.

What I love about the ingredient list for this dish is you probably have most of the things you need in your kitchen already.

How to Make These Crab Rolls

cutting board with chunks of imitation crab meat, two lemon halves, mayo and chives.

All you need for this recipe is a single mixing bowl. Add your imitation crab chunks, mayo, lemon juice, salt, pepper and chives and then mix well. Then spoon the mixture into the toasted buns of your choice. Done! You can sprinkle some chives on top for garnish and serve with a lemon wedge.

What to Serve with Imitation Crab Rolls

These would be great with fries, zucchini fries or even a light salad. These brown butter roasted potatoes go with just about anything.imitation crab rolls, featuring a brioche bun and parlsey

Did you make this recipe? Be sure to post it to Instagram and tag me

You May Also Like

Imitation Crab Rolls

These sandwiches are an awesome alternative to New England lobster rolls.
Prep Time10 minutes
Total Time10 minutes
Course: Lunch
Cuisine: American
Servings: 3


  • 8 oz imitation crab
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1/2 lemon juiced (about 2 tablespoons)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon chives
  • 5 twists pepper
  • 2-3 buns you'll need 2 large or 3 small buns


  • Break up the imitation crab into 2-3 inch size chunks, similar to lobster meat.
  • Add the imitation crab, mayo, lemon juice, salt, pepper and chives into a bowl and mix until well combined.
  • Toast the inside and outside of the roll (if you want to) by buttering the bread and toasting on a skillet at medium heat for a few minutes.
  • Spoon the mixture into each bun and garnish with chives.

You may also like

Leave a Comment

Recipe Rating