How to Steam Crab Legs: Easy and Delectable Seafood Treat

How to Steam Crab Legs: Easy and Delectable Seafood Treat

Crab legs are a popular and delicious seafood dish that can be enjoyed in a variety of ways. However, steaming crab legs is one of the most preferred cooking methods as it is easy, quick and ensures the meat remains tender and flavorful. Steaming crab legs is also a healthy cooking method as it requires no added oil or fat.

Why Steam Crab Legs?

Steaming crab legs is a great way to preserve their natural flavor and texture. Unlike boiling or grilling, steaming prevents the meat from becoming tough or rubbery. Steaming also allows the crab legs to cook evenly and retain their moisture, resulting in succulent and juicy meat that is easy to extract from the shell.

What You Need

To steam crab legs, you will need a large pot with a steamer basket, tongs, and a pair of scissors or kitchen shears for cutting the legs. You can also add seasonings like garlic, lemon, or Old Bay seasoning for an extra burst of flavor.

How to Steam Crab Legs

  1. Fill the pot with 1-2 inches of water and bring it to a boil.
  2. Place the steamer basket in the pot and add the crab legs.
  3. Cover the pot and steam the crab legs for 5-7 minutes for thawed legs or 10-12 minutes for frozen legs.
  4. Using tongs, carefully remove the crab legs from the pot and transfer to a serving platter.
  5. Cut the legs open with scissors or kitchen shears and serve with melted butter or your favorite dipping sauce.

Steaming crab legs is a simple and tasty way to enjoy this delectable seafood treat. Whether you’re hosting a dinner party or looking for a quick and easy meal, steamed crab legs are sure to impress. Follow these easy steps for perfectly steamed crab legs every time!

crab legs preparation

Preparing the Crab Legs

Before you start steaming your crab legs, you need to make sure that they are properly thawed and cleaned. Here are the steps to follow:

Thawing the Crab Legs

Crab legs are usually sold frozen, so you need to thaw them before cooking. There are two ways to do this:

  • Refrigerator thawing: This is the safest and easiest way to thaw crab legs. Simply place them in the refrigerator overnight or for at least 8 hours. This will allow the crab legs to thaw slowly and evenly.
  • Cold water thawing: If you don’t have time to thaw the crab legs in the refrigerator, you can use the cold water method. Place the crab legs in a large bowl or sink and cover them with cold water. Change the water every 30 minutes until the crab legs are thawed. This method is faster than refrigerator thawing, but it requires more attention.

Never thaw crab legs at room temperature or in warm water, as this can lead to bacterial growth and spoilage.

Cleaning the Crab Legs

Before steaming the crab legs, you need to clean them to remove any dirt, debris, or sand. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Rinse: Rinse the crab legs under cold running water to remove any loose dirt or sand.
  2. Break: Break the crab legs at the joints to make them easier to handle.
  3. Remove: Use kitchen scissors or a sharp knife to remove the gills and the small, feathery pieces attached to the crab legs. These are inedible and can affect the taste of the crab meat.
  4. Rinse again: Rinse the crab legs again under cold running water to remove any debris or bits of shell.

Once you’ve thawed and cleaned the crab legs, you’re ready to steam them to perfection. Follow the next section of this article to learn how.

steaming crab legs

Steaming the Crab Legs

Steaming crab legs is a simple and easy way to enjoy this delectable seafood treat. Here are the ingredients, equipment, and steps to help you steam crab legs perfectly every time.


  • 1 pound crab legs
  • Water
  • Salt


  • Steamer basket
  • Pot with lid
  • Tongs

Steps to Steam Crab Legs:

  1. Fill the pot with water and add salt. The water should be about 1-2 inches below the steamer basket.
  2. Place the pot on the stove and bring the water to a boil over high heat.
  3. Once the water is boiling, place the crab legs in the steamer basket and put the basket in the pot.
  4. Reduce the heat to medium and cover the pot with a lid.
  5. Steam the crab legs for 5-7 minutes, or until they are heated through.
  6. Using tongs, remove the steamer basket from the pot and place it on a plate lined with paper towels to absorb any excess moisture.
  7. Serve the crab legs hot with melted butter or your favorite dipping sauce.


  • Make sure the crab legs are fully thawed before steaming.
  • Do not overcook the crab legs as they will become tough and rubbery.
  • Feel free to add your favorite seasonings to the water for extra flavor.
Pros Cons
Easy and quick to prepare May be slightly less flavorful than other cooking methods
Retains the natural sweetness and tenderness of the crab meat Requires a steamer basket and pot
Healthier option compared to frying or baking Can be messy to eat

serving crab legs

Serving and Enjoying the Crab Legs

Crab legs are a delicacy that can be enjoyed in many ways. Here are some serving suggestions and tips for eating crab legs:

Serving Suggestions

  • Crab legs can be served hot or cold, depending on preference.
  • They are often served with melted butter, lemon wedges, and cocktail sauce.
  • For a more elevated presentation, serve crab legs with a side of risotto or roasted vegetables.
  • Crab legs can also be used in recipes such as crab cakes, crab dip, and crab salad.

Tips for Eating Crab Legs

Eating crab legs can be messy, but it’s worth it for the delicious meat inside. Here are some tips for making the most of your crab legs:

  • Use a crab cracker or scissors to crack open the legs and claws.
  • Remove the meat from the legs and claws using a small fork or pick.
  • Be sure to remove any cartilage or shell fragments from the meat before eating.
  • Dip the meat in melted butter or sauce for added flavor.
  • Enjoy the sweet and succulent meat of the crab legs!
Common Dipping Sauces for Crab Legs
Sauce Ingredients
Melted Butter Butter, Lemon Juice, Salt
Cocktail Sauce Ketchup, Horseradish, Worcestershire Sauce, Lemon Juice
Remoulade Sauce Mayonnaise, Mustard, Pickles, Capers, Lemon Juice, Hot Sauce

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