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How Do You Cook Frozen King Crab Legs: A StepByStep Guide

How Do You Cook Frozen King Crab Legs?

To cook frozen king crab legs, you can bake them in the oven for 15 minutes at 375°F, make a lemon butter sauce to serve with them, and use kitchen shears to split them open for easier meat removal.

Grilling and steaming are also alternate methods.

For grilling, create a foil packet and cook for 10-15 minutes.

For steaming, use a large stock pot and steam basket for 6-7 minutes.

It is important to ensure that the crab legs are fully cooked, hot all the way through, with opaque and firm meat.

Do not cook them in the microwave.

Thaw them in the refrigerator overnight or in cold water, changing the water every 30 minutes until completely thawed.

You can serve them with side dishes like corn on the cob, boiled potatoes, or a tossed Mediterranean or gazpacho salad.

Seasoning options include Old Bay seasoning, garlic, and lemon.

Quick Tips and Facts:

1. The king crab, also known as the Alaskan king crab, belongs to the Lithodidae family, which means “stone crabs” due to their hard exoskeletons.

2. Despite their intimidating appearance, king crabs are actually quite docile creatures and are known for their slow-moving nature.

3. King crabs can grow up to 6 feet in length from claw to claw, making them one of the largest species of crabs in the world.

4. The maximum recorded lifespan of a king crab is around 20 years, but they are typically harvested at around 7 to 10 years of age.

5. Contrary to popular belief, the red color of king crab meat is not natural. It turns red when cooked due to a process called “denaturation” that occurs in the proteins of the crab’s flesh.

Baking Frozen King Crab Legs In The Oven

When it comes to cooking frozen king crab legs, baking them in the oven is one popular and convenient method that provides excellent results. To start, preheat your oven to 375°F.

To bake the crab legs, place them on a baking sheet and brush them with melted butter or oil to add flavor and moisture. Coat both sides of the crab legs evenly. Once the oven is preheated, put the baking sheet into the oven and bake for around 15 minutes.

It’s worth noting that if you prefer a slightly longer cooking time, you can bake the crab legs for up to 25 minutes. This ensures that they are heated all the way through and ready to be enjoyed. However, avoid overcooking the crab legs as this can lead to a rubbery texture.

Making Lemon Butter Sauce For Serving

To enhance the succulent flavors of king crab legs, it is highly recommended to serve them with a homemade lemon butter sauce. This sauce adds a delightful tang and richness to the dish.

To make the lemon butter sauce, melt a stick of unsalted butter in a saucepan over low heat. Squeeze the juice of one lemon into the melted butter and add a pinch of salt to enhance the flavors. Stir the mixture gently until well combined and heated through.

Once the lemon butter sauce is ready, transfer it to a serving bowl or individual ramekins. This sauce will beautifully complement the sweetness of the crab meat, adding a touch of brightness to each bite.

Splitting Open Crab Legs For Easy Meat Removal

When it comes to enjoying king crab legs, it can be quite challenging to extract the meat from their tough exterior. However, with the use of kitchen shears, this process becomes much simpler.

To begin, place the cooked crab leg on a cutting board. Take a pair of kitchen shears and carefully cut along the length of the shell on the underside of the leg. This will expose the delicious meat inside, allowing for easier removal.

The meat should easily pull away from the shell, revealing its sweet, delicate flavor. For even easier access to the meat, you can also crack open the shell using a crab cracker or the back of a knife. This method ensures that each bite of crab leg is effortlessly enjoyed.

Grilling And Steaming As Alternative Cooking Methods

Alternative Cooking Methods for King Crab Legs

In addition to baking, grilling and steaming are alternative methods for cooking king crab legs. Both of these methods can yield delicious results, with each technique offering its unique flavors and textures.

To grill king crab legs, create a foil packet by placing the legs on a sheet of aluminum foil and drizzling them with melted butter or oil. Seal the foil packet tightly, ensuring that no steam or heat escapes. Place the foil packet on a preheated grill over medium heat and cook for approximately 10-15 minutes, turning occasionally.

When it comes to steaming king crab legs, start by adding water to a large stock pot and placing a steam basket inside. Bring the water to a boil before carefully adding the crab legs to the steam basket. Allow the legs to steam for approximately 6-7 minutes, or until they are heated all the way through.

Both grilling and steaming methods help to retain the natural sweetness and tenderness of the crab legs, providing a delightful alternative to baking.

  • Grilling method:
  • Create a foil packet
  • Drizzle with melted butter or oil
  • Seal tightly
  • Grill for 10-15 minutes, turning occasionally
  • Steaming method:
  • Add water to a large stock pot
  • Place a steam basket inside
  • Bring water to a boil
  • Carefully place crab legs in the steam basket
  • Steam for approximately 6-7 minutes

Grilling King Crab Legs In Foil Packets

Grilling King Crab Legs Using Foil Packets

For grilling king crab legs, a popular and effective method is to use foil packets. This technique ensures that the crab legs are cooked to perfection and infused with flavorful butter or oil.


  1. Preheat your grill to medium heat.
  2. Take individual sheets of aluminum foil and place the desired amount of crab legs on each sheet.


  1. Drizzle the crab legs generously with melted butter or oil. This step allows the flavors to meld and enhances the natural sweetness of the crab.

Creating the Foil Packets

  1. Carefully seal the foil tightly, creating individual packets for each crab leg portion. This step helps to lock in the flavors and allows for even cooking.

Grilling Process

  1. Place the foil packets on the preheated grill, ensuring that the crab legs are evenly spaced.
  2. Grill for approximately 10-15 minutes, flipping the packets occasionally to ensure even cooking.

By following these steps, you can grill king crab legs to perfection, resulting in flavorful and delicious seafood.

Steaming King Crab Legs In A Stock Pot

Steaming king crab legs is an excellent cooking method that ensures the legs remain tender and flavorful. To steam the legs, follow these steps:

  • Fill a large stock pot with approximately two inches of water and insert a steam basket.
  • Bring the water to a boil and carefully place the crab legs into the steam basket.
  • Cover the pot with a lid and allow the legs to steam for around 6-7 minutes. This will ensure that the crab legs are thoroughly heated, infusing them with moisture and preserving their natural sweetness.

Once cooked, carefully remove the crab legs from the steam basket and serve immediately. Steamed king crab legs are delicious on their own or served with melted butter, lemon wedges, or your favorite dipping sauces.

Note: Cooking frozen king crab legs is a simple yet rewarding process. Whether you choose to bake, grill, or steam them, each method delivers delectable results. With the addition of a homemade lemon butter sauce and thoughtful side dishes, each bite becomes a memorable dining experience. So, the next time you have frozen king crab legs on hand, use this step-by-step guide to create a delightful and satisfying meal.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do you need to thaw frozen king crab legs before cooking?

Yes, it is recommended to thaw frozen king crab legs before cooking in order to achieve the best flavor. Thawing them in the refrigerator is the preferred method. Simply place the legs on a rimmed tray, cover with plastic wrap, and allow them to thaw for 8-12 hours, or overnight. After thawing, make sure to remove any remaining ice glaze and rinse the crab legs under cold tap water. By following these steps, you will ensure that the king crab legs are properly thawed and ready for cooking.

How do you defrost crab quickly?

If you need to defrost crab quickly, the most effective method is to place the frozen crab legs in a sealed plastic bag and immerse them in a bowl of cold water. Ensure to change the water every 30 minutes to expedite the process. This way, you can safely thaw the crab legs in a shorter timeframe without compromising their quality or taste.

Alternatively, if time permits, it is always preferable to thaw the crab legs in the refrigerator overnight. This slow thawing process will result in crab meat that is incredibly tender and juicy. However, if you’re short on time, the cold water method will serve as a convenient and effective solution to defrost crab quickly.

Are frozen king crab legs cooked?

Yes, frozen king crab legs are typically already cooked when purchased. To prepare them, it is recommended to place the frozen crab legs in a colander or steamer above rapidly boiling water. It is important to have the pot filled with water about one-third of the way to ensure proper steaming. By following these instructions, you can enjoy delicious and succulent king crab legs without worrying about the cooking process.

What are some alternative methods for cooking frozen king crab legs besides boiling them?

There are a few alternative methods for cooking frozen king crab legs besides boiling them. One popular method is steaming them. To steam king crab legs, place the legs in a steamer basket or deep pot with a small amount of water. Cover and steam them for about 6-8 minutes until the meat turns opaque and is heated through. This method helps to retain the natural flavors and textures of the crab legs.

Another option is grilling king crab legs. First, thaw the legs if they are frozen. Cut the legs lengthwise to open them up, exposing the meat. Brush the exposed meat with melted butter or olive oil, and season with salt, pepper, or any desired spices. Preheat the grill to medium-high heat and place the crab legs on the grill, shell side down. Grill them for about 4-5 minutes until the meat is heated through and slightly charred, then flip them once and cook for another 3-4 minutes. Grilling adds a smoky flavor and a subtle char to the crab legs, enhancing their taste.

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