How To Cook Crab Legs (5 Ways!)



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Like lobster and filet mignon, crab legs are sometimes related to a elaborate restaurant dinner. And whereas they’re pricy even on the retailer, cooking crab legs at house is surprisingly straightforward and nonetheless extra inexpensive than eating out. This crab legs recipe covers the perfect methods to prepare dinner crab legs — boiling, steaming, baking, broiling, and grilling. I’ll go over the method of choosing crab, the professionals/cons and prepare dinner occasions for of every methodology, the way to eat crab legs, and extra.

Once you learn to prepare dinner crab legs your self, you would possibly by no means need to organize them from a restaurant once more. This is one among my favourite big day seafood recipes!

If you end up with any leftover crab after cooking crab legs at dwelling, use it to make crab desserts, crab stuffed salmon, or chilly crab dip.

5 Ways To Cook Crab Legs

There are 5 methods to make this crab legs recipe, and I’ll present you the way to prepare dinner every one:

Boiled crab legs – The basic, in all probability easiest way is to prepare dinner crab legs in boiling water. It makes for tender, juicy crab meat and is nice for big batches, as a result of you’ll be able to match loads in a big stockpot. But, this methodology may also be missing in taste as a result of a few of it escapes into the water, even for those who season the water — which you need to.Steamed crab legs – This methodology is much like boiling, however as a result of the crab legs don’t get submerged in water, their taste doesn’t seep into the water and they’re extra flavorful than boiled ones. The draw back is you want a steamer basket and received’t have the ability to match very many legs into it, so that you’d must prepare dinner in batches.Broiled crab legs – One of my favourite methods to prepare dinner crab legs! Broiling caramelizes the crab a bit and also you’re ready so as to add extra taste by brushing with butter or olive oil earlier than cooking. Some folks additionally add seasonings, however most of them received’t make it previous the shell.Baked crab legs – This methodology is much like broiling, however the oven is ready to a decrease temperature, so it takes for much longer. You can use this methodology if you would like the advantages of broiling however don’t need the caramelization.Grilled crab legs – Grilling imparts a smoky taste, plus it’s an effective way to prepare dinner crab in the summertime months with out heating up your kitchen.

Crab legs on a platter with melted butter, parsley, and lemon wedges

How To Buy Crab Legs

When it involves the kind of crab, selecting the perfect crab legs is fairly simple, as a result of there aren’t truly that many selections. Availability typically varies by area, so get no matter you’ll find! But in case you do have choices, right here’s an summary of the commonest varieties of crab that will help you determine:

King crab – King crab legs are the most important, with thick, spiky shells. King crabs have a comparatively quick harvesting season of just some weeks, which is why they often value extra. The crab meat has a candy, succulent taste and buttery texture are much like lobster meat. King crab is the cream of the crop for making the perfect crab legs!Snow crab – Snow crab legs are smaller in measurement, with lengthy legs, and located within the Northern seas. When cooked, they’ve a snowy white colour, agency texture, and a candy and briny taste. Snow crabs are what I often purchase for crab leg recipes (together with the one proven right here), as a result of the clusters of crab legs are nonetheless a very good measurement, however not as costly as king crab.Stone crab – Also referred to as the Florida stone crab, these small crabs are brownish pink and have massive claws with black ideas. The taste of stone crab is commonly in comparison with a mixture of shrimp and lobster. Their legs are quick and small, so they’re extra suited to making crab claws or serving chilled like shrimp cocktail.Blue crab – Blue crab is likely one of the hottest crab varieties, and likewise on the smaller facet. It’s sweeter than many different varieties, with a gentle ocean taste and flaky, tender meat. You can prepare dinner crab legs from blue crab, but it surely’s not my choice because it’s so small.Dungeness crab – Dungeness crab is discovered on the West coast and has a large, massive shell with 5 pairs of legs. It’s often served entire or “half backing”, which is when it’s lower in half and among the insides are scooped out previous to cooking, so isn’t usually advisable for crab leg recipes.

FYI: Most crab legs on the grocery retailer or fishmonger are literally pre-cooked and frozen, so crab leg recipes are primarily reheating them. Sometimes the legs are offered frozen, and generally they’re already thawed.

If you’re lucky sufficient to stay in an space the place you’ll find contemporary raw crab, you’ll be able to nonetheless use the identical cooking strategies – they’ll simply take a bit longer.

TIP: You can inform if crab legs are precooked by taking a look at their colour. If they’re pink or orange then they’re precooked; if they’re grey or brown, they’re uncooked.

Ingredients to make crab legs recipe

How To Boil Crab Legs

Season cooking water. Fill a dutch oven or massive pot half full with water, and season generously with Old Bay Seasoning and sea salt. Bring to a boil.Boil crab legs. Cook for 3-5 minutes, till scorching.

Boiled crab legs in a pot

How To Steam Crab Legs

Prep steamer. Fill a dutch oven with about 1-2 inches of water, and place a steamer basket inside. (Make positive it isn’t submerged.)

TIP: If you don’t have a steamer basket, a colander will typically work. It simply must be warmth secure, slot in your pot or dutch oven, and have toes to face up above the water.

Steam crab legs. Bring to a boil and add crab legs to the steamer basket. Cover and steam till scorching.

Crab legs in steamer basket

How To Broil Crab Legs

Prep. Preheat oven to Broil and organize crab legs in a single layer on a big baking sheet. Brush with butter.

TIP: An excellent rule of thumb is to brush on a tablespoon of butter per 1/2 pound of crab legs. This applies to the broiling, baking, and grilling strategies.

Broil crab legs. Place legs beneath broiler for a couple of minutes on either side.

Broiled crab legs being brushed with butter

How To Bake Crab Legs

Prep. Preheat the oven and organize crab legs in a single layer. Brush with melted butter. Bake crab legs. When baking as an alternative of broiling, they take longer and don’t brown.

Baked crab legs on a sheet pan

How To Grill Crab Legs

Prep. Preheat the grill to medium-high warmth. Brush crab legs with melted butter. Grill crab legs. Grill crab legs, flipping as soon as, till heat within the heart and evenly browned.

Crab legs on a grill pan

How Long To Cook Crab Legs?

Your crab legs prepare dinner time will rely on the cooking methodology:

Crab legs boil time: 3-5 minutes for precooked crab, 8-12 minutes for uncookedSteamed crab legs time: 6-8 minutes for precooked crab, 10-12 minutes for uncookedBroiling time: 6-8 minutes for precooked crab, 10-12 minutes for rawBaking time (at 350): 15-20 minutes for precooked crab, 25-Half-hour for uncookedGrilling time: 10-14 minutes for precooked crab, 18-22 minutes for uncooked

How To Cook Frozen Crab Legs?

If your crab legs are nonetheless frozen, boiling or steaming are the perfect strategies to make use of and you are able to do these from frozen. Otherwise you’ll be able to thaw crab legs within the fridge in a single day.

How To Eat Crab Legs?

Break crab in half, if wanted. Usually, crab legs are offered in clusters which might be already damaged in half, but when yours usually are not, you are able to do that as step one.Separate the legs. You can often simply twist and pull the legs away from the physique portion, however for bigger crabs, it’s possible you’ll want a lobster or crab cracker, nut cracker, or kitchen shears.Crack the crab legs. You can typically do that by simply bending the leg (not on the joint) with two arms till it breaks in half, then pull out the strong piece of crab meat inside (see the picture under!). But if wanted, a lobster or crab cracker, nut cracker, or kitchen shears may also be used, however watch out to not lower by the meat inside.Crack the claws. The shell on the claws is thicker and likewise has the sweetest meat inside. You’ll want a lobster or crab cracker for this step, although a flat meat tenderizer can work in a pinch. Always begin gently and add extra pressure solely as wanted, to keep away from too many tiny shell items.Get the physique meat. Use a seafood fork to choose it out of all of the crevices.

This is the set I’ve, which has each a cracker and fork. See my serving ideas under.

How to eat crab legs- picture showing crab claws broken open

Storage Instructions

Store any leftovers from this crab legs recipe in an hermetic container within the fridge for 2-3 days.

Can you freeze crab legs?

Yes, you technically can freeze crab legs, however remember the fact that for those who bought and cooked them, then they have been in all probability already precooked, frozen as soon as on the retailer or fishmonger, after which thawed (both at dwelling or on the retailer) and cooked once more at dwelling.

So, whilst you may freeze them once more, at this level the style and texture will probably endure. If attainable, take pleasure in them contemporary and keep away from refreezing.

If you do freeze crab legs, the utmost time is 1-3 months.

How to reheat crab legs?

You can reheat crab legs utilizing any of the strategies above: boil, steam, bake, broil, or grill. Microwaving crab legs isn’t advisable.

Piece of crab dunked in butter

What To Serve With Crab Legs

Serve up your crab legs with these accompaniments and sides:

Melted butter & lemon wedges – Butter (or clarified butter) and lemon juice is the best choice and so scrumptious!Dipping Sauce – Try lemon butter sauce. You can even improve it after cooking by including contemporary herbs, resembling dill, chives, and parsley, or spices, resembling paprika and chili powder. Add garlic powder to make it a garlic butter sauce.Vegetables – Vegetable sides like roasted asparagus, inexperienced beans almondine, or roasted brussels sprouts all pair properly with this crab legs recipe. Starches – Pasta and potatoes are heartier choices; I go for more healthy zucchini noodles or mashed cauliflower.

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This recipe shows how to cook crab legs perfectly, like the ones in this photo.

How To Cook Crab Legs (5 Ways!)

Learn the way to prepare dinner crab legs completely each time – buttery, candy, and tender! This EASY crab legs recipe consists of 5 totally different strategies, ideas, and prepare dinner occasions.

Prep Time 5 minutes

Cook Time 10 minutes


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For Baked, Broiled, Or Grilled Crab Legs:


Tap on the occasions within the directions under to start out a kitchen timer whilst you prepare dinner.

Boiled Crab Legs:

Fill a big pot or dutch oven about half full with water. Add Old Bay Seasoning and sea salt. Bring the water to a boil.

Add crab legs. Cook for 3-5 minutes, till scorching.

Remove crab legs from the water with tongs and switch to a plate.

Serve with melted butter and lemon wedges.

Steamed Crab Legs:

Fill a big pot or dutch oven with about 1-2 inches of water, or simply sufficient water in order that your steamer basket received’t be submerged after including it later. Bring to a boil.

Place the steamer basket into the pot. Add crab legs into the steamer basket and canopy with a lid. Steam for 6-8 minutes, till scorching.

Serve with melted butter and lemon wedges.

Broiled Crab Legs:

Preheat the oven to Broil.

Arrange crab legs in a single layer on an massive baking sheet (I like to recommend a half sheet pan, about 18×13 inches). Brush with melted butter.

Set the oven rack to be about 6-7 inches from the broiler. Place the baking sheet onto the oven rack and broil crab legs for 3-4 minutes. Flip and broil for 3-4 extra minutes.

Serve with melted butter and lemon wedges.

Baked Crab Legs:

Preheat the oven to 375 levels F (190 levels C).

Arrange crab legs in a single layer on a half sheet pan. Brush with melted butter.

Set the oven rack to the middle of the oven. Place the baking sheet onto the oven rack and bake crab legs for 15-20 minutes.

Serve with melted butter and lemon wedges.

Grilled Crab Legs:

Preheat the grill to medium-high warmth.

Brush crab legs throughout with melted butter.

Place crab legs on the grill. Cover and prepare dinner for 5-7 minutes per facet, till heat within the heart and evenly browned.

Recipe Notes

Serving measurement: 1/2 lb crab legs (yields about 1/4 lb crab meat)

Nutrition data doesn’t embody the butter and spices, as these rely on the preparation methodology.

Nutrition Facts

Amount per serving. Serving measurement in recipe notes above.

Calories 93

Fat 0.8g

Protein 20g

Total Carbs 0g

Net Carbs 0g

Fiber 0.1g

Sugar 0.1g

Nutrition info are supplied as a courtesy. Have questions on calculations or why you bought a unique consequence? Please see our diet coverage.

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