Mr. Bayley's West Indies Salad

Total Time
12hrs 20mins
Prep 20 mins
Cook 12 hrs

This salad is the quintessential regional dish of the Lower Alabama Gulf Coast area. It was invented by the late Bill Bayley, who owned a steak and seafood restaurant of good repute. It must be prepared exactly as directed, with careful layering. Use the coldest ice water you can find in the recipe. The longer this one marinates, the better. The recipe sounds simple, but the results are indescribably delicious. This well-guarded recipe was finally published in 1964 in the Junior League of Mobile cookbook, Recipe Jubilee. Cooking time refers to time needed to marinate (2-12 hours).

Ingredients Nutrition

  • 1 medium onion, chopped fine
  • 1 lb fresh lump crabmeat
  • 4 ounces Wesson Oil
  • 3 ounces cider vinegar
  • 4 ounces ice water (as cold as you can get it)
  • salt and pepper


  1. Follow these instructions to the letter!
  2. Spread half of onion over bottom of large bowl.
  3. Cover with separated crab lumps.
  4. Add the remaining onion.
  5. Salt and pepper.
  6. Pour oil, vinegar and ice water over all.
  7. Cover and marinate 2-12 hours.
  8. Toss lightly before serving.
  9. Serve as a"salad" on a bed of lettuce or on crackers as an appetizer.
  10. Variation: Substitute royal red shrimp for the crabmeat.


Most Helpful

I live just down the road from Bayleys and their West Indies Salad is amazing. It is one of those special dishes that you have to try when you visit. Like a muffaletta or gumbo in New Orleans, BBQ brisket in Texas, Lobster rolls and clam chowder in Maine, etc. BTW, you can call Bayleys and if you are going to pass by on your vacation to Dauphin Island or for any other reason and order their West Indies Salad by the quart. We do it all the time when we need to bring something to a get together and it is always the first dish to disappear.

Bayou Gang July 08, 2014

add one pouch of rubust itialin dressing to this and enjoy. i live in mobile al and bailey's had the original recipe but trust me on this!

kahalley April 15, 2013

My dad, P.B. Mclauchlin managed a motel with a Bailey's attached. I thought those fried Blue crab claws were out of this world. Then he brought home the West Indies salad. What a great way to live. When we make the Salad, this is as close as it comes to the original.

Michaell T. January 22, 2017

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