What Does Crab Legs Taste Like?

If you’ve never had crab legs before, you’re in for a treat! They are one of the most delicious seafood items out there.

But what does crab legs taste like? Crab legs are delicious! They have a sweet flavor and meaty texture. If you want to try them, buy live crabs and cook them yourself.

In this blog post, we will discuss the flavors and textures of crab legs. We’ll also give you some tips on how to cook them perfectly. So if you’re ready to experience the fantastic flavor of crab legs, keep reading!

About Crab Legs

snow crab legs
1 cluster of snow crab legs. Credit: canva

What are Crab Legs?

Crab legs are the legs of a crab. They are long and thin, with a hard outer shell and a soft, delicate inner flesh. Crab legs are usually cooked before they are eaten, as this helps to preserve their flavor and texture.

Crab legs are tender and juicy with a sweet, delicate flavor when cooked properly. The meat is also quite dense, making it a filling and satisfying dish.

They are a popular food in certain coastal regions of the United States, such as Maryland and Virginia.

Where Do Crab Legs Come from?

King Crab Legs

Crab legs come from crabs, of course! But not just any crab will do. The most popular type of crab for eating is the king crab.

King crabs are a type of seafood that is harvested in the wild. They are found in cold ocean waters and can grow very large, with some individuals weighing up to 15 pounds.

King crab legs are the most popular type of crab leg, and they are also the largest. They have a milder flavor than other types of crab, making them a good choice for those who are new to eating crab legs.

Snow Crab Legs

Another type of crab leg popular among seafood lovers is the snow crab. Snow crabs are a type of crab found in the Pacific and Atlantic oceans. They are smaller than king crabs, with most individuals weighing between one and two pounds.

Snow crab legs have a sweet, delicate flavor, making them a popular choice for those who enjoy seafood. They are also less expensive than king crab legs, making them a more affordable option for those on a budget.

Dungeness Crab Legs

Dungeness crabs are a type of crab found in the Pacific Ocean. They are small, with most individuals weighing between two and four pounds. Dungeness crab legs have a delicate flavor and are considered a delicacy in some parts of the world.

Which Crab Has the Most Meat?

The Colossal Red King Crab has the most outstanding meat-to-shell ratio of any crab species on the market, resulting in a high content of tasty meat.

King crab legs have 60% to 75 percent pure crab meat, twice the amount of protein in Snow and Dungeness Crabs.

Is Snow Crab or King Crab Better?

Snow crab legs are frequently less pricey than king crab legs. Snow crabs are sustainably harvested responsibly, making them an environmentally responsible alternative to king crabs.

The more extended snow crabs and easier discovery contribute to their lower price.

Where to Buy Crab Legs?

If you’re looking to buy crab legs, your best bet is to head to a seafood market or grocery store that specializes in selling seafood. You can also purchase them online from retailers like Amazon or Walmart.

When purchasing crab legs, be sure to check the expiration date and make sure they are properly refrigerated. Crab legs can be stored in the fridge for up to two days or in the freezer for up to two months.

What Does Crab Legs Taste Like?

king crab legs
King crab legs. Credit: canva

If you’re unfamiliar with crab, you might be asking what it tastes like. In later parts of the book, we’ll go over the taste of crab meat and how to prepare crab meat properly.

The Taste of Crab Meat

Crabmeat has a delicate, sweet flavor. It is also quite dense, making it a filling and satisfying dish.

Crabmeat can also taste somewhat fishy, depending on the species of crab. The flavor is distinctive and cannot be compared to anything else.

When cooked properly, crab legs are tender and juicy. The meat should be white or off-white and should not have dark spots. If the crab legs you’re buying are pre-cooked, they should be heated for no more than five minutes before serving.

The Taste of Crab Legs

Crab legs are a favorite part of the crab to consume. Like the rest of the crab’s meat, Crab legs have an unusual flavor.

Crab legs have a mild flavor and are not fishy like crab meat is. Crab legs taste a little like chicken or other seafood, including lobster, depending on the variety.

The Texture of Crab Meat

Crabmeat is dense and has a chewy texture. It is also quite moist, making it a juicy dish when appropriately cooked.

When overcooked, crab meat can become dry and tough. Undercooked crab meat will be pink in color and will not have been heated all the way through.

The Texture of Crab Legs

Crab legs are generally cooked before they are sold, so they will be tender when you purchase them. However, if they are not cooked all the way through, they can be chewy.

Which is Better: King Crab, Snow Crab, or Dungeness Crab?

This isn’t easy to answer, as both king crab and snow crab legs have unique flavors and textures.

Some people prefer the milder flavor of king crab legs, while others enjoy the sweet taste of snow crab legs.

King crab has thick-shelled, spiky legs. And they’re sold individually instead of in clusters.

King crab meat tastes and feels like lobster meat, although it has a distinct flavor. It does not have a fishy taste.

Snow crab has sweet and mild meat with a salty flavor. The crab’s flesh is sweet and mild, with a salty flavor. It has a firm texture that breaks apart readily into chunks. Its shells are thinner and are frequently sold in clusters.

Crab is generally easier to open than king crab. However, since a pound of crab has more feet, they are more difficult to crack open.

The flavor of Dungeness crab is quite sweet, and many individuals compare it to mild yet nutty.

Its delicate body flesh is rounded out by the somewhat firmer leg meat, which means there’s something for everyone.

How to Cook Crab Legs?

fried crab leg
Fried snow.crab legs. Credit: canva

We have four foolproof methods for boiling, steaming, broiling, or grilling crab legs.

How to Make Crab Legs

Ingredients:

  • 8 quarts water
  • 1/4 cup salt
  • 2 pounds fresh or frozen cooked snow crab legs, thawed
  • Melted butter and lemon wedges

Quick tip:

Snow crab legs are often sold as clusters, with several body meat attached to the legs and claws. The crab is most frequently frozen and defrosted before usage so that you may thaw it in the refrigerator overnight. If you’re in a hurry, run them under cool tap water until there is no more ice.

Tools:

  • A large stockpot
  • Long-handled tongs
  • Kitchen shears, a seafood cracker or mallet, or a nutcracker
  • A steamer basket (optional)

Method 1: Boiling Crab Legs

Boiling is one of the best ways to cook crab legs. The water gets between the cooked meat and the shell, keeping everything moist and juicy.

Since frozen crab legs have already been cooked, all you need to do is heat them through.

Step 1: Boil the Water

  1. The most important part of this step is to locate a stockpot large enough to fit your crab legs. 
  2. Fill it with cold tap water and add the salt. Place the pot over high heat and bring the water to a boil.
  3. You can also add additional flavoring agents to the water in this step (like lemon wedges, bay leaves, or Old Bay seasoning).

Step 2: Add the Crab Legs

  1. Once the water is boiling, slowly lower the crab legs using long-handled tongs. Bend the crabs at the joints and tuck them in so that the hot water fully covers them.
  2. Return the water to a boil before reducing the heat to a simmer for about 5 minutes until they are heated through. 
  3. Once they’re fully heated, remove the legs using your tongs and set them aside to cool slightly before handling.

Method 2: Steaming Crab Legs

Steaming crab legs is very similar to boiling them. Some people say that steaming is better because it allows the crab flavor to stay within the shell instead of leaking into the cooking water.

Most steamer baskets only hold about 1 pound of crab legs, so if you’re cooking the entire 2 pounds in this recipe, plan accordingly.

Step 1: Prepare the Water

  1. Make sure you have a stockpot large enough to fit your crab legs. Place the steamer basket over 1 inch of water.
  2. Place the crabs in the steamer basket and bring the water to a boil.

Step 2: Steam for 5-7 Minutes

  1. When the water has reached a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer and cover the stockpot.
  2. Maintain a simmer as you steam the crab legs until they are heated through, 5-7 minutes.
  3. When the crab is heated, remove the legs with long-handled tongs and set them aside to cool slightly.

Method 3: Broiling Crab Legs

Broiling crab legs in the oven is a great way to infuse some good buttery flavor into the crab legs as they reheat.

Thanks to the broiler’s high heat, the crab legs will also gain a little bit of caramelization using this method, adding an extra layer of flavor. 

Step 1: Preheat the Oven

  1. Set the oven to the “high” broiler setting.
  2. Prepare a 15x10x1-inch baking pan by lining it with parchment paper or aluminum foil.

Step 2: Broil the Crab Legs

  1. Place the crab legs on the prepared baking pan and brush them with 1 tablespoon olive oil or melted butter.
  2. Place the sheet pan 5 to 6 inches from the broiler and bake until the crab legs are heated for about 3-4 minutes on each side.

Method 4: Grilling Crab Legs

Grilling crab legs is a great way to keep cleanup to a minimum and avoid heating your kitchen in the summertime!

A charcoal grill will add the most flavor to the crab legs, but even a propane grill will add that characteristic grill-smokiness.

Step 1: Prepare the Grill

  1. Prepare your gas or charcoal grill for medium heat.
  2. Clean the grill grates with a stiff-bristled wire brush to minimize the chances that the crab will stick.

Step 2: Grill the Crab Legs

  1. Brush the crab legs lightly with 1 tablespoon of oil to keep them from sticking to the grill.
  2. Cook them directly on the grill grates for 3 to 4 minutes, until they’re heated through.
  3. Keep the grill covered as you cook to maximize the grill’s heat.

How to Crack the Crab Meat

You can use a seafood cracker, a nutcracker, or a small wooden mallet to crack open the shells, but sometimes that gets tiny shell shards into the meat.

The easier way to remove the meat is to split the legs using kitchen shears.

Using your shears, cut a slit down the length of the shell. Once the shell is split in two, gently separate the two sides, coaxing the meat out in one long piece.

How to Eat Crab Legs

Eating crab legs can be a bit daunting if you’re unfamiliar with them. Here are a few tips to help make the experience easier:

The easiest way to eat crab legs is by breaking them into smaller pieces and sucking the meat out of the shell.

If you’re feeling a bit more adventurous, you can also try using a fork and knife to eat them.

Some people dip their crab legs in melted butter or cocktail sauce.

Finally, if you want to get every last bit of meat out of the crab leg, you can use a nutcracker to crack them open.

FAQs

Why are crab legs so expensive?

Crab legs are expensive because they are a delicacy. They are often seen as luxurious items and can be pretty pricey at restaurants.

Because they’re so huge, king crabs are hazardous to fishers. Their high price, in conjunction with their robust flavor, is due to those reasons as well as their great taste.

Are crab legs a healthy food?

Crab legs are healthy because they’re low in calories and fat but high in protein. They’re also a good source of omega-three fatty acids, beneficial for heart health.

What do crab legs do to your body?

Crab legs are a good source of protein, which can help your body build muscle. They’re also low in calories and fat, making them a healthy option for people looking to lose weight or maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Crab is high in omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin B12, and selenium. These substances contribute to healthy general well-being by preventing various chronic illnesses.