Crab Louie

Crab Louie salad, also known as Crab Louis salad or the King of Salads,[1][2] is a type of salad featuring crab meat. The recipe dates back to the early 1900s and originates on the West Coast of the United States.

Crab Louie
Crab Louie salad showing main ingredients
Alternative namesCrab Louis
CourseHors d'œuvre
Place of originUnited States
Region or stateWest Coast
Serving temperatureChilled or room temperature
Main ingredientsCrab meat, hard-boiled eggs, tomato, asparagus, Iceberg lettuce, Louis dressing


The exact origins of the dish are uncertain, but it is known that Crab Louie was being served in San Francisco, at Solari's, as early as 1914.[3] A recipe for Crab Louie exists from this date in Bohemian San Francisco by Clarence E. Edwords,[4] and for a similar "Crabmeat a la Louise" salad in the 1910 edition of a cookbook by Victor Hirtzler,[5] head chef of the city's St. Francis Hotel.[6] Another early recipe is found in The Neighborhood Cook Book, compiled by the Portland Council of Jewish Women in 1912.[7] San Francisco's Bergez-Frank's Old Poodle Dog restaurant menu included "Crab Leg à la Louis (special)" in 1908, named for the chef Louis Coutard who died in May 1908.[8]

By some accounts it was created by entrepreneur Louis Davenport, founder of the Davenport Hotel in Spokane, Washington. Davenport spent his early years in San Francisco before moving to Spokane Falls. He would use crab imported from Seattle to be offered in his hotel. His recipe pre-dates 1914 and can be found in hotel historical menus. The popularity of Crab Louie has diminished since its heyday in the early to mid-1900s, but it can still be found on the menu of some hotels and restaurants on the West Coast, including the Palace Hotel in San Francisco and the Davenport Hotel.


The main ingredient for Crab Louie, as the name suggests, is crab meat. The preferred crab is Dungeness Crab, but other crab meat can be substituted, including cheaper imitation crab meat. Although variations of the recipe exist, an essential ingredient is a creamy dressing such as Louis dressing, Thousand Island dressing or Green goddess dressing. This dressing is either served on the side or mixed with the other ingredients, depending on which recipe is used.

A typical Crab Louie salad consists of:[9]

Other ingredients such as olives and green onions have also been listed in some recipes.

A variation called the Lobster Louie is prepared the same way, but substitutes lobster instead of crab meat.[10]

See also

  • List of salads
  • Shrimp Louie


  1. Jess Kapadia (April 16, 2012). "The King of Salads: Crab Louie". Retrieved January 2, 2019.
  2. "Crab Louie Salad History and Recipe". What's Cooking America. Retrieved January 2, 2019.
  3. History of Salads (USA)
  4. Solari's Bohemian Dinner
  5. Weinstein, Jeff: "Condiment Time Travel," in ArtsJournal, 3/8/2011, with images of the original Hotel St. Francis cookbook from 1910.
  6. Valerie Phillips (2003-05-21). "A salad by any other name..." Deseret News.
  7. Engeman, Richard. "Crab Louis".
  8. Peters, Erica J., San Francisco: A Food Biography. New York: Rowman & Littlefield, 2013, p. 182.
  9. Typical Crab Louie salad recipe
  10. James Beard (2010). James Beard's American Cookery. Little, Brown and Company. p. 45. ISBN 031609868X.
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