These crab legs are steamed to perfection, then tossed in a flavorful garlic butter sauce. A simple, yet satisfying way to enjoy fresh seafood, and it takes just minutes to put together! Crab legs make for a great appetizer or main course option.
When I’m craving seafood, I turn to my favorite recipes which include seafood pasta, bacon-wrapped scallops, and this delicious crab dish. If you’re a crab lover, you’ll adore this recipe!
Where I live, the winter months are crab season. There is plenty of fresh crab to be had, and we enjoy crab legs for the holidays every year. This recipe really takes things over the top with three types of crab in an easy butter sauce. Add a side of bread and a salad, and dinner is served.
TYPES OF CRAB LEGS
You can make this recipe with one type of crab, or with multiple varieties of crab. The most common types of crab include Dungeness crab, snow crab, king crab, stone crab, and blue crab. Crab species and availability tend to vary depending on your geographic area. Where I live, Dungeness crab is local to the region, so that’s what I often use. Snow crab and king crab are often found nationwide, either frozen or previously frozen. You can’t go wrong here, so choose what is available, looks the freshest, and what is affordable to you.
HOW TO COOK CRAB LEGS
I find that the easiest way to cook crab legs is to steam them. Heat 2-3 inches of water in a large pot until boiling. Place the crab legs in the pot and cover the pot. Cook until the crab is warmed through. Drain the water from the pot, then melt butter for the sauce. Add fresh garlic, along with salt, pepper and chopped parsley. Toss the crab in the butter mixture, then serve immediately.
HOW LONG TO COOK CRAB
The majority of the crab that you buy at the store is pre-cooked, so in this case, all you’re really doing is reheating the crab. Typically crab legs take about 5-7 minutes to heat through. Legs tend to cook quicker than the body pieces of the crab. If you choose to cook the crab bodies along with the legs, you’ll want to add another 3-4 minutes to the cook time.
HOW DO YOU KNOW WHEN CRAB LEGS ARE DONE?
Crab legs are cooked through when the flesh turns red and opaque. If you’re buying pre-cooked crab, the flesh will already look this way, since you’re just heating it up. Raw crab is more of a gray color, and will take a little longer to cook. Plan to add another 5-7 minutes to the cooking time if you have raw crab.
TIPS FOR THE PERFECT CRAB DINNER
Plan on 1 1/2-2 pounds of crab legs per person. You can easily double or triple this recipe if you need to feed a larger crowd.
You can serve the garlic butter sauce over the crab legs, or simply steam your crab and serve the sauce on the side for dipping.
My favorite accompaniments to crab include crusty sourdough bread and a fresh green salad or steamed vegetable. Other great side dish options include macaroni and cheese, steamed rice, angel hair pasta, or even roasted potatoes.
You can ask your fishmonger to crack and clean your crab for you, which saves a ton of time later on.
If you have frozen crab, thaw it in the fridge for 1-2 days before you cook it.