Buying, Cooking, and Serving King Crab Legs

Buying King Crab

There's plenty to look for when buying king crab. The first is, what type of king crab are you going to buy?. There are three types of king crab available in the market; Red, Golden, and Blue. Red king crab is the most sought out for as it is known for its sweet meat. Golden king crab is commonly smaller and more abundant. Blue king crab tends to have extraordinary large right claws. Take a look at the King Crab 101 page for more information on the three types.

king crab parts

Sizes and Counts

Commonly king crab is measured by how many crab legs it would take to make 10 pounds. A size "12-14" would mean there is on an average 12 to 14 legs per 10 pounds. Claws are not counted when making this weight count. (Yes, we know this makes it confusing; we didn't invent this method.) Sizes can range from 4-7 (really big stuff) to 21-24's.

Color & Shape

One of the easiest ways to tell what kind of crab you buy is its color and shape. Red king crab is predominantly a nice solid shade of red with long slender legs. Blue king crab legs are also predominantly red but have a slight hint of orange to them. Blue king crab legs are also be long and slender, but slightly more oval-shaped than true red king crab. The claws of blue king crab can be extraordinarily large. Golden king crab legs, on the other hand are usually smaller, more orange, and have more spines on their legs. All of these descriptions of course, are for king crab that has been processed and cooked. Live king crabs carry different shades of colors and can be quite fascinating.


King crab meat has a relatively mild taste, and is succulent and sweet. Alaska's red king crab from Bristol Bay have the reputation of being one of the best tasting king crab in the world. It is often said that blue king crab is not quite as sweet as red king crab, yet I have heard customer comments that say otherwise. Golden king crab is a close third and by all means would be enjoyed as well as any king crab. Fresh golden king crab can be spectacular. Honestly said, any king crab on my plate is a good king crab!

It is often said that the "merus" section of the king crab leg tastes the best, yet I have heard many people rave about the taste of claws. King crab can actually be mildly sweet, especially when it eaten fresh.

Some lower-grade king crab can carry a briny sea-taste. Rinsing the crab meat slightly before eating or cooking will rinse the brine from the crab meat. Boiling king crab can help in reducing this salty taste as well. Dealing with a reputable seafood purveyor also tends to prevent this sort of problem.

Cooking King Crab Legs

In most cases, the king crab you purchase has already been cooked by the processor. The majority of Alaska's crab is cooked and blast frozen to secure it's prized taste. Preparing king crab is usually just a matter of using your preferred reheating method.

If buying frozen crab legs, thawing them is the first thing you need to do. We recommend thawing king crab overnight in your refrigerator. If you're in a big hurry, king crab can be thawed under cold running water to speed this up. Try bending the crab legs at their joints or slightly squeezing the middle of the merus section to make sure the king crab legs have thawed.

As you might have guessed, there are a variety of ways to reheat king crab. Steaming, boiling and baking are among the most common. With these methods, king crab only takes only 4 to 8 minutes to reheat. Keep in mind that unless you have purchased a live king crab, the crab legs in front of you have already been cooked. Be careful not to overcook your king crab as it will reduce the prized texture and taste.

There are scores of recipes to use king crab in. From soups to main entrees to salads. All of these are very delicious and satisfying. FishEx offers a sizable list of king crab recipes.

Serving King Crab Legs

King crab can be served in a variety of ways. Most commonly it is served accompanied by a dish of hot melted butter to dip the succulent crab meat into. This simple preparation will impress anyone you're serving king crab to. Sometimes it's good to add just a pinch of garlic to your melted butter. I've also heard that a couple of drops of Tabasco in the butter can be very complimentary to the rich taste of king crab.

King crab meat is usually served within its own natural shell. People have used nut crackers, knives, and even hammers to break the shell and grasp the rewards within. I have found that using a fork can work quite well. By inserting one fork tine into the end of the crab leg, then working the fork up the length of the shell, you can open the leg and extract the succulent meat within. We also sell handy little crab shelling tools.

Having your king crab legs split before serving them is another great way to serve king crab. This allows for very easy access to the crab meat yet takes away from work of having to shuck them yourself. Finding split king crab can be hard though. You may want to look for a local seafood retailer that can split the crab for you.

And so you're find some excellent king crab, prepare with care, and serve up a meal fit for a king. The aroma of hot crab and butter rise from the table, everybody's eyes get big, and you all dig in. With sticky fingers, broken crab shells, piles of napkins, and a variety of utensils piling up around your plate, time passes by without notice. Rarely have you been so satisfied. And without a doubt, you will find yourself lounging on the couch or in a big easy chair afterwards relishing the contentment of such a great meal.

At FishEx, we offer the finest king crab available in the world. We are proud of our quality and we look forward to sharing these delicacies with you and your loved ones.

For any additional king crab questions you may have, please do not hesitate to call us at 1-888-926-3474.