How Do You Cook Frozen Crab Legs?

Cooking crab legs from frozen is a simple and rewarding task that brings the delectable crab flavor to your table with minimal effort. Whether you’re a seafood connoisseur or want to treat yourself to a special meal, frozen crab legs are a convenient option that guarantees you’ll appreciate these ocean treasures’ sweet, tender meat. This guide will explain how do you cook frozen crab legs.


  • Frozen crab legs
  • Large pot
  • Water
  • Salt (optional)
  • Melted butter and lemon wedges for serving (optional)

How Do You Cook Frozen Crab Legs?


1. Thaw The Crab Legs (Optional)

Consider defrosting the crab legs in the refrigerator for a few hours or overnight if you have the time. Refrigerator defrosting helps ensure even cooking. If pressed for time, you can cook them from chilled, but thawing is recommended.

2. Prepare The Cooking Pot

Utilize a large pot that can accommodate the crab legs. Fill enough water to completely submerge the crab legs, plus an additional inch or two.

3. Add Salt And Boil Water

Salt enhances the crab’s flavor. Use approximately one to two tablespoons of salt per gallon of water.

Bring the water to a rolling boil by placing the container on the stove over high heat. You need a vigorous boil to cook the crab legs evenly and rapidly.

4. Add The Crab Legs

Place the frozen crab appendages carefully into the boiling water. Ensure that the crab appendages are submerged completely. Avoid splashing boiling water with tongs.

5. Boil The Crab Legs

Cooking time for crab legs is dependent on the size and girth of the legs. Typically, snow crab legs require four to six minutes to prepare, whereas king crab legs may require eight to ten minutes. It is essential not to overcook them, as overcooking can dry out and toughen the flesh.

When the crab legs are ready, the shells will be bright orange, and the flesh will be thoroughly heated. You can also determine doneness by pulling gingerly on a leg. If the meat separates readily from the shell, the food is ready.

6. Remove And Drain

Using tongs, remove the crab legs gingerly from the boiling water and allow them to drain briefly. The crab legs can be held over the container to allow any excess moisture to drain.

7. Serve

The crab legs should be served while they are still steaming. Place them on a platter or individual plates for serving.

Consider serving crab legs alongside melted butter and lemon segments. Many people appreciate dipping crab meat in melted butter and fresh lemon juice for added flavor.


  • Purchase Quality Crab Legs: Opt for reputable brands or sources when purchasing frozen crab legs to ensure the best quality and flavor. Look for crab appendages that were frozen quickly after being harvested.
  • Thaw Gradually: While it is acceptable to cook crab legs directly from the freezer, thawing them in the refrigerator for a few hours or overnight ensures more even cooking and prevents overcooking.
  • Use a Lid (Optional): Cover the pot with a lid while boiling crab legs to ensure they cook uniformly. This is particularly beneficial if the crab legs are meaty and dense.
  • Check for Doneness: Use a meat thermometer to guarantee the crab legs’ internal temperature reaches a minimum of 145°F (63°C) to confirm that they are cooked. Alternately, perform a pull test to determine if the flesh is done.
  • Dip and Savor: While melted butter and lemon wedges are the traditional condiments for crab legs, you can get inventive with dips. Consider serving cocktail sauce, garlic aioli, and garlic herb butter to add variety to your menu.
  • Season the Boiling Water: To enhance the flavor of the crab legs, flavor the boiling water with garlic cloves, bay leaves, or Old Bay seasoning. These seasonings will impart additional flavor to the crab.
  • Serve with Sides: Crab legs combine well with various side dishes, including coleslaw, rice, pasta salad, or a straightforward green salad. These sides can complement the crab’s saline and savory flavors.
  • Crack the Shells: Although optional, cracking the shells slightly before serving can make the flesh more accessible. This is especially helpful when serving crab legs in an informal context.
  • Enjoy the Process: Cooking and consuming crab legs can be an enjoyable and interactive experience. Provide seafood crackers and picks for visitors to crack open and remove meat from shells.
  • Plan for Cleanup: Crab legs can be messy, so consider setting down newspapers, disposable tablecloths, or a tablecloth designed specifically for seafood boils to facilitate cleanup.

Cooking frozen crab legs is an excellent method to enjoy a seafood feast without visiting a restaurant. Following the procedures outlined in this guide makes preparing succulent, tender crab meat at home possible. Whether preparing them for a special occasion or a weeknight meal, cooking crab legs from frozen is a simple process that yields delicious results. Don’t be afraid to bring the taste of the sea to your table; confidently prepare frozen crab legs and savor the delectable flavors of this oceanic delicacy.

Read More: How To Cook Raw Shrimp With Shell?

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