How to Cook Alaskan King Crab Legs

How to Cook Alaskan King Crab Legs

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    The greatest mistake with cooking king crab claws and legs is overcooking.  If you overcook them, they will be tough, dry and lose their distinctive flavor.

    King crab legs and claws are cooked and flash frozen before shipping.  Therefore, you only need to reheat them.  Again, don’t over heat them or you will destroy the texture and taste.


    When you purchase King crab claws and legs, you will find them frozen or partially thawed.  It is best to purchase them from a location that you know is reputable and where they do not show signs of freezer burn.  You certainly don’t want to buy them when they have been thawed and refrozen.  The taste and quality will be compromised.  Buy them from a local fish market or grocer that you trust.

    If you purchase your king crab legs and claws from the internet or from a shipping market, make sure you know their reputation and when to expect the delivery.  You don’t want your product sitting in a warehouse or on your doorstep for hours.

    Thawing Process

    Overnight in the Refrigerator – You can thaw your crab legs overnight in the refrigerator.  Place in a pan with a draining ability such as a rack in the bottom of a pan.  This will keep the legs from getting soggy or water soaked when defrosting.

    Under cold running water – this will keep the legs from getting room temperature for too long and will assist in the defrosting process.  You need to keep the water running to maintain its cool temperature and allow the water to drain as it is running onto the crab legs.

    Cook crab legs as soon as or shortly after they have been defrosted.

    Cooking Methods

    • Steaming –  Place crab legs in a steamer pot after the water has come to a boil.  Cook until you can smell the aroma of the heated crab meat.  This only takes a couple of minutes.  Remember you are only heating the crab legs, not cooking them.
    • Oven Heating – place crab legs in a shallow baking dish with enough water to cover the bottom of the pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes or enough to heat up the legs.
    • Microwave Heating – Microwave in a microwave safe dish.  Put a 1/2 cup of water in the bottom of the dish for steaming.  Microwave on high for 3 to 4 minutes for every 8 oz or half pound of crab legs.
    • Serve Cold – Crab legs that have been defrosted can be served cold as a part of a salad or appetizer.  Can be served with mustard or mustard type sauce like hollandaise.


    Dont’ forget the crab claw crackers and forks/pics.

    Crab claws are delicious with and the flavor is enchanced by lemon.  So serve plenty of lemon wedges with crab claws.

    A napkin to wrap around the claws for the spiny parts.

    Kitchen shears or scissors are sometimes helpful in cutting the legs apart.

    Clarified butter, or butter that is the oil left after the milk solids are removed, is the preferred dipping butter for crab legs.  It has a greater butter flavor without the other parts of butter in it. 

    However you decide to cook or serve your crab legs, you will enjoy the great flavor of king crab meat.

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