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Crab legs are one of the easiest things to make at home. Skip the expensive restaurant mark-ups and enjoy this gourmet treat at home. We’ll show you how to boil, steam, or broil in the oven as well as show you how to eat crab legs too!

Cooked Crab Legs topped with a couple of lemon wedges on a white plate.

When it comes to cooking crab legs at home, it really couldn’t get much easier. Even the most novice of cooks can easily cook up some delicious and perfect crab legs. There are three different popular methods for cooking crab legs: oven broiling, steaming, and boiling. We’ll cover all three methods and discuss the pros and cons of each one. And on top of that, we’ll even show you how to eat them, which is probably the hardest part of all.

What kind of crab legs should I buy?

There are two main kinds of crab legs that are sold in American grocery stores. You can buy snow crab legs, or King crab legs. Snow crab legs are sold in clusters so you’ll have several legs and maybe even a claw clustered together. King crab legs are much larger and are sold by the individual leg. Snow crab legs are significantly cheaper than king crab so you’ll have to choose which works best within your budget.

How to eat Crab Legs

For King crab legs, take a pair of kitchen scissors and simple cut down the shell of a leg lengthwise. Fold it open to expose the meat inside.

For Snow Crab legs:

  1. Start by removing each individual leg from the cluster by snapping it off at the cluster.
  2. Break each leg into two parts by snapping at the joint.
  3. For each leg part use two hands on each end to gently bend back and forth until the shell breaks. The meat should slide out easily from the shell.
  4. For claws, use a cracker or your teeth to break open the shell. Do not apply too much pressure or you’ll crush the meat inside. Peel back the shell until you can easily slide the meat out.
  5. For the cluster, crack it gently with your hands and fold it open. The meat is found on the inside. Use a small fork to remove all the pockets of meat.

How to serve Crab Legs

Crab legs are most often served with melted butter and lemon wedges on the side. Once your meat is removed from the shells you can squeeze the lemon juice over and dip in melted butter.

Another popular serving option in the New England area is to serve crab meat with Old Bay seasoning which is a proprietary mix of herbs and spices that compliments seafood well. Sprinkle a little of the seasoning onto a plate. You can squeeze lemon juice over and dip in butter, and then dip in the Old Bay seasoning to finish before eating.

If you like this recipe, you may also be interested in learning how to cook lobster tails

Watch the video below where Rachel will walk you through every step of this recipe. Sometimes it helps to have a visual, and we’ve always got you covered with our cooking show. You can find the complete collection of recipes on YouTubeFacebook Watch, or our Facebook Page, or right here on our website with their corresponding recipes.

Cooked Crab Legs topped with a couple of lemon wedges on a white plate.
Crab legs are one of the easiest things to make at home. Skip the expensive restaurant mark-ups and enjoy this gourmet treat at home. 
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 7 minutes
Total Time 12 minutes
Ingredients
  • 2 clusters Snow Crab legs
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 1 tablespoon Old Bay seasoning
  • 1 lemon cut into wedges.
Instructions

How to Boil Crab Legs

  • Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil. Season the water with 1 tablespoon of salt, if desired. Submerge crab legs into the boiling water and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from water and serve with melted butter, Old Bay seasoning, and lemon wedges for squeezing over meat.

How to Steam Crab Legs

  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Place a steamer basket over the boiling water. Place crab legs in steamer basket. Put lid on to cover and steam 5-7 minutes. Remove and serve with melted butter, Old Bay seasoning, and lemon wedges for squeezing over meat.

How to Broil Crab Legs in the Oven

  • Preheat your oven on the broiler setting. Place crab legs on a baking sheet. Brush legs with melted butter or olive oil, if desired. Place tray 6 to 8 inches beneath the broiler and broil 3 to 4 minutes per side flipping halfway through. Serve hot with melted butter, Old Bay seasoning, and lemon wedges for squeezing over meat.
Notes
Course: Main Dish
Cuisine: American, Seafood
Keyword: Crab Legs

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Megan

Great information. Thanks! However, having grown up on Cape Cod, and having lived in the D.C. area for 20 years, I can assure you that Old Bay is definitely not a New England thing at all. It’s a Maryland Eastern shore thing with Chesapeake Bay Blue Crabs. In fact, Old Bay was invented in Maryland, and was purchased by McCormick in the 1990,s, and is still produced near Baltimore today. Fun food facts. Either way, it is great with seafood.

Jot

Love the reply! I miss the DC wharf. and the unknown seasoning from the barrel & plastic bags.

Lindy

You are absolutely right about Old Bay is from Maryland.. I grew in a house on the Patuxent river and remember bushels of blue crab steamed with Old Bay..yum!!!

Gail Westfall

5 stars
Love how easy both lobster and crab legs are to cook! I’ll be buying both from our local fish market tomorrow!

Victoria Dyer

5 stars
So much better and cheaper than eating out anywhere!I dunno why people don’t eat crab legs at home…

Neal Rouse

A lot cheaper too. My Harris Teeter puts them on sale sometimes for like $6.99 a cluster. I buy 10 lbs. I eat 9 and my son eats one lb lol

Gail

5 stars
I love it! I wish I wasn’t an empty nester. Then I could use that excuse!! LoL. I bought a package of 3 clusters and ate them myself. I thought that was extravagant!! Everyone’s telling me to try Costco. That’s my next stop. I’m hooked! Thanks for the directions. I boiled them. Melted butter and use a lot of harissa. I love it. Thanks again!

Deborah winston

5 stars
Nice and easy good explanation thank you

Jenean Graham

5 stars
Looks easy. I can’t wait to get my order of crab legs over the weekend.

Sue

5 stars
Yummmmy, your variety of instructions and helpful video were top notch!!! Now I’m hungry ?

Lilloan

5 stars
Nice

Nicole

5 stars
Thank you I’m so happy to see your directions came up.

Debbie

Can’t wait to get some and cook . What is the best Butter to use?

No special butter needed. Whatever you typically have on hand will work, so long as it is real butter, and not a margarine or spread.

Roger L

Great video! Just bought some clusters for my wife & I for tonight. I plan on using the steaming method like I do with lobster. Definitely will be using the Old Bay as well! Thanks again

Heather J Green

Thank you for making the directions so easy to follow! I tried to give it a 5 star rating but I couldn’t get it to apply.

5 stars
have’t cooked these for 20 years due to sickness, just needed a refresher for my memory to kickin, she did an excellent job telling how to cook them & how to get the crab meat out….GREAT BIG HELP….. THANK-YOU!!

Robert L

5 stars
Great simple instructions

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