When it comes to Spanish cuisine, there are few dishes as beloved and iconic as changurro. This delectable seafood dish, often referred to as “spider crab stew,” originates from the Basque Country in northern Spain. With its rich flavors and unique preparation, changurro has become a favorite among locals and tourists alike. In this article, we will explore the history, ingredients, and step-by-step process of making a traditional changurro receta.

The History of Changurro

Changurro has a long and storied history that dates back centuries. The dish is believed to have originated in the coastal towns of the Basque Country, where spider crabs are abundant. The Basque people, known for their love of seafood, developed a recipe that showcased the delicate flavors of the crab meat.

Over time, changurro became a staple in Basque cuisine and spread to other regions of Spain. Today, it is considered a classic dish that represents the rich culinary heritage of the Basque Country.

The Ingredients

To make an authentic changurro, you will need the following ingredients:

  • Spider crabs: The star of the dish, spider crabs are known for their sweet and tender meat. Look for fresh, live crabs at your local seafood market.
  • Onions: Finely chopped onions add a savory base to the stew.
  • Garlic: Minced garlic enhances the overall flavor profile of the dish.
  • Tomatoes: Ripe tomatoes provide a touch of acidity and sweetness.
  • White wine: A splash of white wine adds depth and complexity to the stew.
  • Pimentón: This Spanish smoked paprika adds a smoky and slightly spicy flavor.
  • Bread crumbs: Traditional changurro receta includes bread crumbs to thicken the stew.
  • Parsley: Fresh parsley is used as a garnish to add a pop of color and freshness.
  • Olive oil: High-quality olive oil is essential for sautéing the onions and garlic.
  • Salt and pepper: Season the stew to taste with salt and pepper.

The Step-by-Step Process

Now that we have the ingredients ready, let’s dive into the step-by-step process of making a delicious changurro receta:

Step 1: Prepare the Spider Crabs

Start by cleaning the spider crabs. Remove the top shell and discard the gills. Break the claws and legs to extract the meat. Set aside the meat for later use.

Step 2: Sauté the Onions and Garlic

In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add the finely chopped onions and minced garlic. Sauté until the onions become translucent and the garlic is fragrant.

Step 3: Add the Tomatoes and Pimentón

Add the ripe tomatoes, diced or crushed, to the pot. Stir in the pimentón and cook for a few minutes until the tomatoes start to break down and release their juices.

Step 4: Simmer with White Wine

Pour in a splash of white wine and let it simmer for a couple of minutes. The wine will add a delightful depth of flavor to the stew.

Step 5: Thicken with Bread Crumbs

Sprinkle the bread crumbs into the pot and stir well to combine. The bread crumbs will help thicken the stew and give it a rich, velvety texture.

Step 6: Add the Spider Crab Meat

Gently add the spider crab meat to the pot, making sure to distribute it evenly. Be careful not to break up the meat too much, as you want to preserve its delicate texture.

Step 7: Simmer and Season

Reduce the heat to low and let the stew simmer for about 15-20 minutes, allowing the flavors to meld together. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Step 8: Serve and Garnish

Ladle the changurro into individual bowls and garnish with fresh parsley. Serve hot with crusty bread on the side to soak up the flavorful broth.


Q1: Can I use frozen spider crabs for changurro?

A1: While fresh spider crabs are preferred for their superior taste and texture, you can use frozen spider crabs if fresh ones are not available. Just make sure to thaw them thoroughly before cleaning and cooking.

Q2: Can I substitute other types of crabs for spider crabs?

A2: Spider crabs have a distinct flavor that sets changurro apart. However, if spider crabs are not accessible, you can use other types of crabs, such as Dungeness or blue crabs, as a substitute. Keep in mind that the taste and texture may vary slightly.

Q3: Can I make changurro without alcohol?

A3: If you prefer not to use white wine, you can substitute it with seafood or vegetable broth. The wine adds complexity to the stew, but the dish will still be delicious without it.

Q4: Can I freeze leftover changurro?

A4: While it is possible to freeze leftover changurro, the texture of the crab meat may change slightly upon thawing. It is best to consume the stew fresh for the optimal taste and texture.

Q5: What are some traditional accompaniments to changurro?

A5: In addition to crusty bread, changurro is often served with a side of aioli, a garlic-infused mayonnaise. The creamy aioli complements the flavors of the stew and adds an extra layer of richness.


Changurro is a true gem of Spanish cuisine, showcasing the delicate flavors of spider crab in a rich and comforting stew. With its roots in the Basque Country, this dish has become a beloved favorite among seafood enthusiasts. By following the step-by-step process outlined in this article, you can recreate the authentic flavors of changurro in your own kitchen. Whether you’re a seasoned chef or a novice cook, this traditional changurro receta is sure to impress your taste buds and transport you to the coastal towns of northern Spain.


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