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How to Cook Crab Leg – A Seafood Delicacy

How to Cook Crab Leg – A Seafood Delicacy

Last Updated on 10th March 2022 by

Crab legs are a sweet seafood delicacy that’s often served with rolls and mashed potatoes or with other seafood as part of a larger platter. They are often served with a set of nutcrackers or crab crackers to open up the legs.

The legs are usually cooked whole, and then served in such a way that you have to open them yourself.

That allows the steam from the cooked meat to escape only when you crack the legs, and it keeps the meat moist, tender, and flavorful. Eating crab legs is its own experience, different from other kinds of seafood because there’s a little bit of work involved on your part, when they are served the traditional way.

How to Make a Crab Leg Boil

We often think of crab legs as something fancy to serve as a fine dining experience. That can put some people off and make them think that crab legs will be difficult to make or require a long, multistep process to prepare.

That’s a misconception, though, as you can boil crab legs very quickly and easily, and they finish in about 15 minutes.


  • 1 pound of king crab legs, fully thawed
  • 1 tablespoon of salt
  • 2 tablespoons of seafood seasoning
  • Butter, melted


  1. Fill a large pot halfway with water (or you can use a Dutch oven).
  2. Add in the salt and seafood seasoning. Heat the pot of seasoned water to boiling.
  3. Once the water has started to boil, add in your crab legs and cook for about 4 minutes. You just want to cook them up long enough for them to be warmed.
  4. Using kitchen tongs, take the crab legs out and rest them on a flat platter. Serve them hot with a side of melted butter for dipping.

How to do a crab leg boil that turns out perfectly? Here are a few tips I want to share with you.

You should probably have about a pound of crab legs for each person. That’s a typical serving size.

Make sure the crab legs have thawed out before you cook them as well. Otherwise, they may not cook properly and evenly, or they will take longer to cook.

You can put them in the fridge the night before you’re ready to cook them, and the few hours they spend in there should be enough to thaw them out completely.

If you forget to thaw them out ahead of time, you can run the crab legs under cold running water until they de-ice. It’s not a good idea to try to defrost them in the microwave or put them under hot running water in an attempt to speed things up, as that can start to cook the crab legs prematurely.

The crab legs should be cooked in small enough batches so that your pot of water is not crowded with legs. That makes sure that they cook evenly and you don’t end up with some undercooked legs.

If you buy the legs frozen, they’re usually precooked, so they don’t need to cook all the way through. That’s why the cooking time is so short in the pot.

Check the packaging to see what you’re getting and if they’ve already been pre cooked. If you cook them for too long, you’ll cook out some of the flavor and the meat will become tough.

How to Make Crab Leg Sauce

Try cooking up some crab legs and serving them on their own and see how long it takes for someone to ask, “Where is the sauce?” I want to share with you how to make crab leg butter, or as it may be called, crab leg sauce.

This usually has a butter base, but you can add other things to it if you want. Melted butter on its own works very well as a sauce, but those who cook crab legs often may want to switch things up and make different kinds of sauce to make for a different eating experience.

If you want to make a butter sauce with a garlic flavor to it, you can chop up some garlic very fine in the melted butter. That can be warmed up together, or you can cook up the garlic in butter in a pan on the stove to make a more fragrant sauce.

How to make crab leg butter sauce that’s even more unique and special? If you want to give it a spicy, zesty flavor, you can add a little lemon juice and red chili flakes. Some people prefer just to add one or the other, but I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how it all tastes together.

How to make crab leg butter that will surprise your guests and give you a really different kind of crab leg experience? I would recommend adding a little chicken broth, chopped onion, and chopped garlic to the sauce.

See how that tastes with melted butter, and if you feel like it’s missing a little something, you can add some lemon zest to spruce it up.

Now that you know how to make crab leg dipping sauce a few different ways, let’s talk about working with those crab legs.

How to Open a Crab Leg?

You’re going to want to serve crab legs with crab crackers, which are like nutcrackers, but slightly different. A nutcracker will do in a pinch if that’s all you have available.

Crab crackers tend to be shaped a lot like scissors and have tough handles that make it easier to get a good grip on them. That’s helpful if you got a little butter sauce on your hands or some water from the crab legs, and the handles keep the crackers from slipping out of your hands.

How to eat a crab leg? You will want to take an individual leg, holding it in one hand and using the crab cracker to cut open the tough outer shell of the leg with the other hand.

Some people cut all the way through the crab and pull the meat out. Others cut just enough to crack open the outer shell and then pull the rest of it off to expose the meat.

Now that you know how to cook crab legs and how easy it is, you should be able to make these in your kitchen without a problem. The boiling method for how to cook crab leg meat is the most common, and that gives you the best tasting crab meat, as it helps the meat retain its juiciness while staying tender.

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I'm Pauline, a retired patisserie chef, mother of four and now a full time food blogger! When i'm not cooking i love long walks, reading thriller novels and spending time with my grandkids. Head to my about me page to learn more about the woman behind the food!  You can find my Facebook here