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how to prepare boiled crab legs | Family Cuisine

Boiled crab legs are a popular dish in the United States that is typically eaten with tartar sauce. To prepare boiled crab legs, you need to boil water in a pot and add salt to it before adding the crab legs. Boil

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How to prepare boiled crab legs

This post first appeared on Yellow Bliss Road where I am a contributor.

Did you know cooking snow crab legs at home is super easy?! You could be eating your favorite seafood in 10 minutes with this easy recipe!

Reading: how to prepare boiled crab legs

snow crab leg clusters on a plate with clarified butter and lemon wedges

Did you know you can totally make snow crab legs at home for a fraction of the price of eating out?! They only take 5-15 minutes to cook, depending on your cooking method. This recipe tastes just as good as going out to eat without the wait!

When it comes to dining out, I’m a sucker for crab. It’s my favorite restaurant food to order. Granted it’s not exactly easy on the wallet, but it’s a splurge I indulge in from time to time.

There’s nothing tricky to this crab recipe. I usually make 2 pounds, one pound for each serving, but you can make as much or as little crab as you like. Just choose a cooking method from the options below, add some seasoning and your crab, and then take it out when the timer goes off. Done. It’s SO easy friends!

ingredients for boiling snow crab legs

Snow Crab Legs Recipe Ingredients

  • Snow crab legs – if you get frozen crab, thaw the crab legs them out in the fridge overnight before cooking
  • Water
  • Salt
  • Old Bay seasoning
  • Lemon wedges
  • Unsalted butter

This recipe set up works the same for king crab legs too. If you find a smoking deal on king crab, go for it! I prefer snow crab, but king crab is Mike’s favorite. So sometimes I make a pot of both types of crab for a serious seafood fix!

tongs taking crab legs out of a pot of water

How to Cook Snow Crab Legs

There are a lot of different methods for cooking snow crab legs. You can broil, grill, and even pressure cook them in addition to the methods below.

Steamed snow crab legs

Read more: how to cook crab legs boiled | Family Cuisine

Place a few inches of water in a large pot. Place a steamer basket in the pot and bring the water to a simmer. You could also you a large pot with a colander insert. I have one and it works great for this method.

Once the water is simmering, add the crab legs to the steamer basket and then cover the pot. Steam the crab for about 6 minutes. Remove from the pot and serve immediately.

Baked snow crab legs

This method takes a little longer, but it doesn’t take up any stove space if you’re making potatoes and corn to go with your crab. There are two ways to bake your crab legs.

Method 1: Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Place the crab legs on a high-sided baking sheet in a single layer. Add hot water to the pan until it’s 1/8-inch up the side. Cover the pan with foil and bake for 8 to 10 minutes.

Method 2: Preheat your oven to 450 degrees F. Wrap 4 crab leg clusters in heavy-duty foil creating a foil packet (like this one). Bake for 25 minutes for frozen legs or 15 minutes for thawed legs.

melted butter in a saucepan

Boiling Snow Crab Legs

I like to make the clarified butter while the crab cooks so everything is done together. The steps below talk you through making both the butter and crab at the same time.

  1. Start off by filling a large pot half full with water. Bring the water to a boil and then season with salt and Old Bay. Return the water to boiling.
  2. While the water is coming to a boil, place a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Add in the butter and let it melt. Cook the butter until it gets foamy, it only takes a minute. Remove the pan from the hot burner and let the melted butter hang out in the pan for 5 minutes while the crab cooks.
  3. Next, place the crab legs into the boiling water. (I use tongs!) Let the crab boil for 5 to 6 minutes until it’s warmed and fragrant.
  4. Then, use tongs to remove the cooked crab legs from the pot. Place the crab on dinner plates.
  5. Use a spoon to remove the milk solids floating on top of the butter. Then pour the butter into a small bowl.
  6. Sprinkle a little more Old Bay over the crab legs (if you want, I do this) and then serve immediately with the clarified butter and lemon wedges. You can even out some cocktail sauce on the side if you like.

If you love crab, it is totally worth investing in a set of crab crackers and tools. Two sets are only $12 on Amazon and it comes with a lobster/crab cracker, seafood fork, and a lobster sheller.

They come in really handy if you order crab for take-out because the restaurant will not be sending a crab cracker home with you.

How Long to Boil Snow Crab Legs

Crab legs you buy at the store will be cooked and frozen. Thaw them in your fridge before boiling. Crab legs will keep in the fridge for 1-2 days and in your freezer for 3 months.

Read more: how to tell if boiled shrimp gone bad | Family Cuisine

Crab legs only need to boil for about 5 minutes. You’re just reheating them and adding a little flavor with the seasoned water.

If you buy fresh, raw crab legs they will need to boil for 6 to 8 minutes. They’re done when the crab turns pink/red and the meat is opaque.

snow crab legs on a plate with butter, lemon wedges, and crab cracking tools

How much is a pound of snow crab legs?

1 lb of snow crab legs is about 3 clusters.

This does vary depending on the crab’s size. Generally, you’re looking at 2 to 3 clusters or 8 to 12 legs. The weight will include the body section – that big white piece attaching all the legs together.

Which is better snow crab or king crab?

They’re both great!! But if you want the snow crab vs king crab breakdown…

Snow crab has thinner shells and is sold in clusters. The crab has a sweet meat with a subtle briny flavor and has a firm texture that easily shreds into pieces. I find them easier to crack open, but they’re more work since there are more legs in a 1 pound serving.

King crab has thick-shelled, spiky legs and they’re purchased individually instead of in clusters. The crab meat has a rich, sweet flavor and a texture more like lobster meat.

pieces of crab being dipped into clarified butter

Have seafood on the brain? These are some of my other favorite recipes!

Read more: how to peel hard boiled eggs usa today | Family Cuisine

  • Shrimp Scampi
  • Parmesan Crusted Salmon
  • 15-Minute Shrimp Alfredo
  • Jalapeno Crab Dip
  • Mango Shrimp Quesadillas – my husband’s favorite!
  • More dinner ideas

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