How to Cook Snow Crab Legs

Recently, I decided it was time to expand my repertoire of seafood dishes. I’ve got tons of recipes with salmon, tuna, and shrimp, but I’ve never really tackled crab.

crab leg clusters on a baking sheetSure, I use crabmeat in my Easy Seafood Lasagna and Easy Crab Cakes, but it’s canned or lump crabmeat (which is what makes those dishes easy). Whole crabs, with the shell still on, just seemed a little too scary. So I decided to compromise. Instead of cooking a whole crab, I’d just do crab legs. That’s where most of the meat is anyway, and I already know they’re delicious.

The main kinds of crab legs sold in supermarkets are snow crab and king crab. I decided to try snow crab legs first. These come in clusters – basically a whole set of legs from one side of the crab. And it turns out, they’re not hard to cook at all. Just put them on a foil-lined baking sheet, season them, and bake them. They’re done in a matter of minutes, ready to serve up with melted butter and a squeeze of lemon.

Honestly, after trying this once, I don’t know what I was so afraid of. These snow crab legs are so easy to make, I’m never going out for them again.

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snow crab legs on a serving platter with slices of lemon

OK, now I know how to cook snow crab legs, but how the heck do you eat them?

  • First step: snap one crab leg off from the cluster. Then snap it at the middle joint so you get two easy-to-handle pieces. Gently bend each piece until the shell breaks, and the meat will just slide right out. Add a squeeze of lemon, dunk it in the melted butter, and chow down. When you’re done with all the legs, you can crack open the last bit of the cluster with your hands and use a baby fork to get out all the little bits of meat.two images show how to break open crab legs and pull out meat

My crab leg clusters came with the claws attached. How do you get the meat out of those?

  • Start the same way you did with the legs: break it off, then break it apart at the hinge. Snap off the pincers, and you’re left with the meaty part of the claw. This has a tougher shell than the legs, so the best way to get it open is to use a nutcracker on the shell. Or, if you’re not too picky about manners, you can just crack it with your teeth. Once you get the shell to crack, you can peel it back and slide out the meat.

What side dishes go well with snow crab legs?

  • For a vegetable, you could go for a green salad, coleslaw, or a simple steamed veggie like asparagus or green beans. For a starch, serve rice or potatoes, or go for broke with these Copycat Red Lobster Cheddar Bay Biscuits.

How to Cook Snow Crab Legs

  1. Thaw crab legs, if needed. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line the baking sheet with foil. Place snow crab clusters on foil lined baking sheet.crab leg clusters on a baking sheet
  2. Squeeze lemon over crab legs evenly. Lay ¼ cup butter, cubed on top of crab legs.crab leg clusters on a baking sheet with butter tabs
  3. Sprinkle crab legs with lemon pepper and minced garlic. Place crab legs in the oven for 5-7 minutes.crab legs on a baking sheet
  4. Serve warm with lemon wedges and your second 1/4 cup of melted butter for dipping.dipping some crab meat into melted butter

Here are more seafood recipes we love!

5 from 5 votes

How to Cook Snow Crab Legs

These snow crab legs are so easy to make. Once you learn how to make snow crab legs, you'll never go out to a restaurant for them again.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes

Ingredients
 

  • 4 pounds Snow Crab leg clusters
  • 2 lemons 1 juiced, 1 sliced for serving
  • ½ cup Divided ¼ cup cut and cubed, ¼ cup melted for serving
  • Lemon pepper or Old Bay Seasoning to taste
  • 2 teaspoons garlic

Instructions

  • Thaw crab legs, if needed. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  • Line the baking sheet with foil. Place snow crab clusters on foil lined baking sheet
  • Squeeze lemon over crab legs evenly.
  • Lay ¼ cup butter, cubed on top of crab legs
  • Sprinkle crab legs with lemon pepper and minced garlic. Place crab legs in the oven for 5-7 minutes.
  • Serve warm with lemon wedges and your second 1/4 cup of melted butter for dipping.

Nutrition

Calories: 317kcal | Carbohydrates: 6g | Protein: 22g | Fat: 24g | Saturated Fat: 15g | Cholesterol: 109mg | Sodium: 1152mg | Potassium: 306mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 736IU | Vitamin C: 37mg | Calcium: 76mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutritional Disclaimer: Family Fresh Meals is not a dietician or nutritionist, and any nutritional information shared is only an estimate. We recommend running the ingredients through an online nutritional calculator if you need to verify any information.

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4 Comments

  1. Pat Guest says:

    Why do you recommend putting 1/4 cup butter cubed on top of crab legs while baking?

    Do you use that for the dipping butter afterwards?

    1. Yep! The second 1/4 is for dipping. The cubed butter on top while baking is has been my “secret weapon” for making the tastiest crab legs around 🙂

  2. Most crab legs you buy are going to come pre-cooked and flash Frozen from the processor, if you would like to try to keep the meat a little moisture try steaming them for about seven or eight minutes it will add to the moisture content

  3. Nesyssa Jump says:

    OMG yesssss I LOVE LOVE LOVE crab legs. Just wish my family would eat them haha. This recipe is perfect and easy to follow and make.