How to Cook Crab: A Beginner’s Guide

Video how to boil crabs

If you’re new to cooking crab or simply need a refresher, this super easy guide is for you. Fresh crab has an unbeatable taste, and cooking it yourself is both easy and rewarding. Whether you’re working with whole live crab, crab legs, or sections, this recipe is perfect for any type of crab. Living on the Pacific coast, we have a catch-and-cook lifestyle with our family, and we’ve tested various crab cooking methods countless times. Trust us, these methods are great tools for a refresh!

The Delight of Dungeness Crab

Dungeness crab is incredibly delicious and versatile. Personally, I find its flavor so satisfying that I enjoy it plain. However, if you prefer a dip, we do have a seafood sauce recipe that pairs well with it. In addition to boiling crab, we have a growing collection of crab recipes that are sure to please. From a delightful Crab Omelet for breakfast to a scrumptious Hot Crab Dip for snacking or as an appetizer, there’s something for every crab lover. One standout dish is our Cajun Crab Boil, which combines incredible flavors and is incredibly easy to prepare.

Cooked crab in a pot with crab legs, sections, and whole crab

The Adventure of Crabbing

At our house, a morning spent crabbing is a happy morning! We prefer crabbing during morning tides because they are usually lower than night low tides, making it easier to catch crabs. After successful crabbing trips, we’ve experimented with various cooking methods: steaming, boiling with and without spices, cooking for different durations, and immediate cooling. After countless trials, we’ve found the perfect way to cook crab. This method allows the crab to cook just enough and then cool on its own, preventing overcooking.

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Cooked crab in a pot after a crabbing trip

About Dungeness Crab

Dungeness crab are highly sought-after shellfish native to the West Coast of the United States, particularly the Pacific Northwest. They offer a generous amount of sweet and juicy crab meat, making them a delightful treat.

Cooking Crab: Essential Ingredients

To cook crab, you’ll need a few essential ingredients:

  • A large pot
  • Water
  • Salt
  • Seafood boil seasoning (optional)

We occasionally use seafood boil seasoning when making our Seafood boil, but we typically prefer to let the delicious and fresh taste of Dungeness crab shine without additional seasoning.

The Best Way to Cook Crab

Here’s the best, fastest, and easiest method for cooking live crab. No need to process the crab prior to cooking!

Step 1: Fill a large pot with water and optionally add salt. Bring the water to a raging boil.

Step 2: Place the live crab in the boiling water and cover with the lid.

Step 3: Boil the crab for 12 minutes.

Step 4: Remove the crab from the pot and let it cool completely on a large plate before serving or storing. Cooling usually takes 15-30 minutes.

Enjoying Dungeness Crab: What to Eat

The legs and body meat of Dungeness crab are the edible parts and offer incredible flavors. The legs have a firm texture, while the body meat is slightly softer but equally delicious.

What to Avoid Eating

The only inedible parts of a Dungeness crab are the gills and shells. Although most people choose not to eat the “butter,” it is technically edible. However, it’s important to check the toxin levels of the area where the crab was harvested if you plan to consume it.

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The Taste of Crab

Crab has a delightful sweet seafood flavor and is incredibly juicy. The taste may vary slightly depending on the location where the crab is harvested. If I were to compare it to another shellfish, I’d say Dungeness crab is most similar in taste to lobster. Both have similar meat consistency and a delicious flavor profile. Dungeness crab never fails to please a crowd.

Cooked cracked crab

Cooking Crab in Bulk

When we have a bountiful crabbing harvest, we prefer to cook large amounts of crab outdoors. It’s easier, cleaner, and adds a sense of satisfaction to the experience. If you’re cooking large quantities of crabs, we recommend using a propane burner stand and an extra-large pot like the one we love.

What to Pair with Crab

Here are some delicious accompaniments for your crab feast:

  • Sauce: Our Perfect Tide Seafood Dipping Sauce
  • Sides: Roasted corn, Pesto salad, Potato salad
  • Drinks: White Wine, Spicy Mango Margarita, or a Creamy Espresso Martini for dessert
  • Dessert: Sorbet (Pineapple and Boozy Strawberry are our favorites)

Don’t Forget the Crab Dipping Sauce!

Make sure to try our crab dipping sauce. It’s the perfect complement to the delicate crab flavors.

More Crab Recipes to Explore

If you’re hungry for more crab recipes, we have several recommendations:

  • Air Fryer Crab Rangoon: Give this delightful appetizer a try in the air fryer.
  • Creamy Crab Pizza: A homemade pizza topped with fresh ingredients and succulent crab.
  • Fresh Crab Tacos: Light, fresh, and incredibly satisfying!
  • Crab Omelet: A delicious and easy-to-make breakfast treat.

Stay Connected with Family Cuisine

For more updates, recipes, and inspiration, follow us on Facebook and Instagram. We love to see the amazing dishes you create using our recipes, so be sure to tag us in your posts. Don’t forget to leave a comment and a star rating if you enjoyed this recipe. And please share it on Facebook and save it on Pinterest for later!

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