Choosing and Cooking Crab

Crab is delicious and amazingly versatile. You can make soups, stews, dips, quiches, salads, cakes and more with snow craband Alaskan king crab — always fresh at your local Giant Eagle® Seafood Department!
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Know Your Crab

Three types of king crab are available on the market: red, golden and blue. Red king crab is the most desirable, with the most delicate and sweet meat; golden king crab is more common and blue king crab tends to have extraordinarily large right claws.  

King crab is typically sized by "count," or how many legs make 10 lbs. For example, a size "12-14" king crab contains between 12 and 14 legs per 10 lbs. of crab (claws aren’t counted in this measurement). King crab sizes range from "6-9" to "21-24."

Only the legs of Alaskan king crab are edible. But other crabs offer more than leg meat. In fact, one crab yields four different kinds of meat, each with a specific flavor and use. Follow this guide to know which type will work best for your recipe:

Section of Crab What It Is When to Use It Why
Legs Flaky, full-flavored reddish-brown meat from the claws, legs and swimming fins. Hot crab dip, tacos, cioppino or other seafood stews. Assertive flavor, lower cost.
White Mild, flaky meat from the front portions of the backfin; also known as special grade. Crab cakes, bisque, crab balls and omelets. Economical alternative to backfin meat.
Backfin Smaller pieces of tender lump meat from the heart of the backfin. Crab salad, stuffing for fish or vegetables, crab risotto and crab cakes. Beautiful, flavorful and versatile.
Jumbo Lump Large, firm morsels of rich, white backfin meat — the filet mignon of crab. Crab Louis, crab imperial and solid-meat crab cakes. Incomparably elegant and sumptuous


Cooking Crab

Preparing crab is as easy as reheating, since most crab is cooked and blast-frozen at sea to seal in flavor. Like lobster, its color changes to orange or red after cooking. But be careful not to overcook crab, or you'll lose the delicious taste and texture.

Snow crabs have a tendency to contain excessive water, so preferred methods of cooking are baking, grilling or broiling. King crab cooks up best by steaming, boiling or baking. If you must microwave king crab legs, microwave them on high for 3-4 minutes.

  • Thawing: Thaw your crab before cooking, either overnight in the refrigerator or by running it under cold water the day you’re cooking it. Check for thawing by squeezing the biggest section of the leg — it should “give” a little.
  • Steaming: Cover and steam thawed snow crab for 6 to 8 minutes, king crab for 4 to 8 minutes.
  • Boiling: Add spices and seafood or other seasonings to boiling water to give your crab extra flavor. Bring a pan of water to a boil, add snow crab and reduce heat to a simmer for 6 to 8 minutes. King crab takes only 4 to 8 minutes.
  • Baking: Wrap the crab in a double sheet of aluminum foil, and then roll up the top, leaving a small hole for the steam to escape. Bake snow crab at 450°F for 14-16 minutes if frozen, 8-10 minutes if thawed. Large amounts of clusters will take longer to heat thoroughly. Bake king crab for 4 to 8 minutes.
  • Grilling: Wrap thawed crab in a doubled foil wrap or packet and seal it. Place about four to six inches from a medium-high heat source and cook for 14-16 minutes. Time may vary depending on grill.
  • Broiling: Put crab on a cookie sheet and place sheet 7-8 inches from the broiling element. Broil snow crab for 6-8 minutes, king crab for 4-8 minutes.

Crab Recipes to Try