Tender, sweet, and luscious crab legs dipped in an herb shallot butter, is there anything better in the whole wide world? Grab this simple recipe for steamed crab legs and learn what the best cooking method is for crab legs and how to make a flavorful delicious dipping butter.
This post is sponsored by Vital Choice Wild Seafood and Organics, thank you for supporting the brands that support Abra’s Kitchen. As always all thoughts, opinions, recipes, and musings are my own.
All I want for Christmas is a big platter of king crab legs with herby melted shallot butter and a big squeeze of fresh lemon.
My family does not exchange expensive, extravagant gifts during the holidays we celebrate the year and each other with beautiful food.
Crab legs are not an everyday food, they are a special food. They are expensive, festive, and oh so decadent.
They also happen to be silly easy to prepare at home and the perfect way to celebrate the holidays.
A glass of cold champagne, crab legs, and a big green salad.
Goodbye forever, I've died and gone to heaven!
WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF CRAB LEGS?
The two most common types of crab legs are:
- Snow Crab Legs – fished in both the North Atlantic and North Pacific oceans January through April. Snow crab legs are typically sold in clusters of four legs plus a claw arm. The shells are tender and easy to snap and eat without using any tools.
- King Crab Legs – The largest crab species, king crab legs contain delicious white, tender and big chunks of sweet crab meat. The shells are tougher, so you will need scissors and crackers to get to all of that meat.
WHAT IS THE BEST METHOD TO COOK CRAB LEGS?
First things first, nearly 100% of the crab legs that you purchase in a grocery store or online are pre-cooked, so you are only reheating them. I typically purchase crab legs frozen, defrost and then steam. Here are some other ways to cook them.
- STEAM – The preferred method to reheat crab legs is to steam them. A moist heating method will preserve the texture and tenderness of crab meat the best. Steam for 4-6 minutes or until warm.
- BOIL – You can also boil your crab, some believe that boiling strips the crab of some flavor and I have to agree. If you choose to boil, bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt heavily. Taste the water, it should taste like seawater! Boil for 5 minutes.
- BROIL/ROAST – I've been intrigued by this cooking method, thinking it would deepen the flavor of the crab. I was wrong. I find that broiling or roasting in the oven, dry heat, dries out the meat and makes it too tough.
WHAT TO SERVE WITH CRAB LEGS?
- Melted herby shallot butter – mix up the herbs you use, just make sure they are fresh. Parsley, tarragon, dill, and thyme is my favorite combo.
- Lemon wedges – I like to squeeze the lemon juice right into my butter mixture!
- Old bay – This is optional unless you are from Maryland. Crab without old bay is hardly crab at all. I dip in old bay and then the butter mixture and then squeeze with lemon.
I. Want. It. All.
Do yourself a favor and make King Crab Legs this year to share with your family! I ordered these beauties from Vital Choice online and they were legitimately the best crab legs I've ever had in my entire life.
MORE SEAFOOD RECIPES YOU WILL LOVE
If you make this recipe or any of the #AKSeafoodWeek recipes be sure to tag me on Instagram @abrapappa with the hashtag #AKSeafoodWeek and don't forget to enter the giveaway on this Instagram post for a chance to win a Holiday Vital Box filled with delicious seafood!
- 1 lb. King Crab Legs
- 4 tbsp salted butter, melted
- 1 small shallot, chopped finely
- 2 tbsp mixed fresh herbs finely chopped (I used tarragon, parsley, thyme, and dill)
- lemon wedges for serving
- old bay for serving
In a large pot with a strainer or steamer insert bring 3 cups of water to boil. Exact water amount may vary depending on the size of your pot, just be sure the water stays just below the level of the steamer insert.
Place crab legs in steamer insert and steam for 4-6 minutes or until heated through.
While crab is steaming prepare the herb shallot butter. Combine melted butter, chopped shallot, and chopped herbs in a small bowl.
Serve crab legs with herb shallot butter, lemon wedges, and a small bowl of old bay seasoning for dipping.
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