Food | Seasonal

Soft-Shell Crab Season + Where to Find Softies on Johns Island

It’s softie season – soft-shell crab season, that is – and Kiawah River residents have the wonderful advantage of several prime fishing spots right outside their front doors, so they’re never too far from fishermen reeling in the freshest in-season seafood. In April, the sea islands’ salty waterways will be full of softies, and we can’t wait to get our hands on them. However, if you’re new to Kiawah River and the Lowcountry, we are happy to fill you in on why we love soft-shell crabs and where to find them in local restaurants.  

Soft-shell crabs are simply blue crabs that have molted their shells and have not yet grown another one, hence why they are soft on the outside. Because they are soft and pliable, the entire crab can be eaten, and who doesn’t love to avoid the hassle of using claw crackers? Since their shells harden again quickly, the season is short and fishing for softies can be a real challenge.  

Known for their unique flavor and texture, soft-shell crabs are a true Charleston delicacy in the spring months. These crabs can be prepared in a variety of ways, from sautéing to deep frying, and Kiawah River residents can find the best of the best at some of Johns Island’s most popular seafood restaurants and markets. See a full list below: 

Simply Seafood – Offering platters, boils and baskets, Simply Seafood knows how to tastefully prepare their dishes and soft-shell crabs are no exception, whether fried or broiled. 

The Royal Tern – This Johns Island seafood eatery has a fried softie with snow peas, peppers, onions and a ginger garlic sauce. 

Blackbird Market – Blackbird Market, a local island market, offers a soft-shell crab sandwich with well-seasoned soft-shell crab, Johns Island tomatoes and Duke’s mayo on a buttery brioche bun. 

Cherry Point Seafood – Cherry Point Seafood provides local seafood right off the boat to individuals, restaurants and businesses with many loyal buyers that are anticipating soft-shell crab season. 

From April to September, soft-shell crabs will be the talk of the neighborhood at Kiawah River, so get them while they’re here because the season will be over before you know it!