What Does Crab Legs Taste Like? (And How To Cook Them)

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

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

What Does Crab Legs Taste Like? (And How To Cook Them)

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

Where Do Crab Legs Come from?

king crab legs
King crab legs. Credit: canva

The main varieties are:

  • King crab
  • Ocean crab
  • Dungeness crab
  • Snow crab
  • Stone crab
  • Coconut crab
  • Blue crab
  • Rock crab

King Crab Legs

The most popular type of crab to eat is the king crab.

They are found in cold ocean waters and can grow very large, with some individuals weighing up to 15 pounds.

The harvest season lasts from October to January due to its migration patterns. They have a milder flavor than other types, making them a good choice for those new.

Snow Crab Legs

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

Another type popular among seafood lovers is the snow crab. They are harvested in fresh water and are smaller than king crabs, with most individuals weighing between one and two pounds.

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

Dungeness Crab Legs

You can find them in the Pacific Ocean. They are small, with most individuals weighing between two and four pounds.

Dungeness crab season begins in November and runs through the end of June.

Which Crab Has the Most Meat?

What Does Crab Legs Taste Like? (And How To Cook Them)
Dungeness crabs at the market. Credit: canva

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

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

Is Snow Crab or King Crab Better?

Snow meat is frequently less pricey. Snow crabs are sustainably harvested responsibly, making them an environmentally responsible alternative.

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

Where to Buy

If you’re looking to buy them, 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.

The price can change for various reasons, including the annual yield, weather-related shortages or limitations, and other expenses like shipping or transportation.

When purchasing, check the expiration date and ensure they are properly refrigerated. They 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?

What Does Crab Legs Taste Like? (And How To Cook Them)
The texture of crab meat. Credit: canva

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

The Taste of Crab Meat

It has a delicate, sweet flavor. It is also quite dense, making it a filling and satisfying dish for your taste bud.

Crab tastes somewhat fishy, depending on the species. The flavor is distinctive and cannot be compared to anything else.

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

The Taste of Crab Legs

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

The Texture of Crab Meat

What Does Crab Legs Taste Like? (And How To Cook Them)
Alaskan King crab meat. Credit: canva

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

The meat inside the head is called crab butter and has a very creamy taste.

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

The Texture of Crab Legs

They are generally cooked before being sold, so they will be tender when you purchase them. However, if they are not cooked through, they can be chewy.

What are the Differences between Snow Crab, King Crab, and Dungeness Crab?

This isn’t easy to answer, as both have unique flavors and textures. Some people prefer the milder flavor of the king, while others enjoy the sweet taste of snow crab.

King has thick-shelled, spiky legs. And they’re sold individually instead of in clusters. The meat tastes and feels like lobster meat, although it has a distinct flavor. It does not have a fishy taste.

Snow has sweet and mild meat 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 has more feet, it is more difficult to crack open.

The flavor of Dungeness 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

fried crab leg
Fried snow crab legs. Credit: canva

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

How to Make


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

Quick tip:

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.


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

Method 1: Boiling

What Does Crab Legs Taste Like? (And How To Cook Them)
Boiled crabs. Credit: canva

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

Step 1: Boil the Water

  1. The critical step is locating a large stockpot to fit.
  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 them using long-handled tongs, bend at the joints, and tuck them in so the boiling 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.
  3. Once they’re fully heated, remove the legs using your tongs and set them aside to cool slightly before handling.

Method 2: Steaming

What Does Crab Legs Taste Like? (And How To Cook Them)
Steamed crabs. Credit: canva

Some say steaming is better because it allows the natural flavor to stay within the shell instead of leaking into the cooking water.

Most steamer baskets only hold about 1 pound, 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. 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 until they are heated; the cooking time is 5-7 minutes.
  3. When the meat is heated, remove the legs with long-handled tongs and set them aside to cool slightly.

Method 3: Broiling

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

Thanks to the broiler’s high heat, it will also gain a bit of caramelization, 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 Legs

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

Method 4: Grilling

What Does Crab Legs Taste Like? (And How To Cook Them)
Grilled crabs. Credit: canva

A charcoal grill will add the most flavor, 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 it will stick.

Step 2: Grill the Legs

  1. Brush them lightly with one 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.
  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.

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

How to Eat

What Does Crab Legs Taste Like? (And How To Cook Them)
Cutting King crab legs using scissors. Credit: canva

Eating them can be daunting if you’re unfamiliar with them. Here are a few tips to help make the experience more accessible:

  • The easiest way to eat them 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 them in melted butter or cocktail sauce.
  • Finally, if you want every last bit of meat, you can use a nutcracker to crack them open.


Why are crab legs so expensive?

They are expensive because they are a delicacy. They are often considered 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 and their great taste.

Are crab legs a healthy food?

They 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, which are beneficial for heart health.

What do crab legs do to your body?

They 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.

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