How to Make Perfectly Crispy Fried Crab Legs at Home

Fried Crab Legs starts with frozen Alaskan King Crab Legs, dipped, and breaded in our custom coating. We fry them in lard in a cast iron dutch oven.

We filled these huge king legs with meat, dipped them in our own homemade breading, and fried them until they were the perfect golden brown crunch. They were stunning!

We ate a lot of fish from ponds in Corbin, Kentucky, where I grew up, but I had never seen or heard of Alaskan King Crab Legs. As adults, we love king crab legs but rarely get the opportunity to enjoy them. So, this was an absolute pleasure for us to make them for you. Honestly, nothing compares to our breaded fried king crab legs. The typical side dish for us is our Baked Potato.

Our homemade breading recipe is the slam dunk in this dish. Once you’ve tasted our remarkable Deep Fried Crab Legs recipe, you’ll never see crab legs the same. Not only do they look stunning, but they also taste unbelievably good, with that wonderful juicy crab meat and golden brown breading!

We have beautiful Legs, and the breading makes them taste great. The crab meat is light, juicy, and tasty. Over the holidays, this recipe for king crab legs will be a huge hit. It goes well with almost any side dish.

The appearance of our Legs is fantastic. This will be your favorite King Crab Legs recipe![feast_advanced_jump_to]

Fried crab legs are a delicious appetizer or main course that looks impressive but is surprisingly easy to make at home. With a few simple ingredients and steps, you can have golden, crispy fried crab legs that will wow your family and friends. In this comprehensive guide, I’ll walk you through everything you need to know to fry crab legs like a pro.

Why Make Fried Crab Legs?

There are several great reasons to bread and fry crab legs at home

  • Convenience – Pre-cooked frozen crab legs mean you can have this treat without dealing with live crabs. Thaw, bread, fry, and enjoy!

  • Flavor – The crispy, crunchy coating contrasts nicely with the sweet crab meat inside. Seasonings in the breading blend add lots of flavor.

  • Fun finger food – Kids and adults alike love picking up and eating these with their hands. The breading contains the mess.

  • Impressive presentation – Golden fried crab legs piled on a platter really wow guests. They look fancy but are easy to make.

Tips for Selecting Crab Legs to Fry

  • Type of crab – King, snow, and Dungeness crab legs all work well. King crab legs are the largest and meatiest.

  • Frozen vs. fresh – Either pre-cooked frozen or fresh crab legs work for frying. Make sure frozen ones are fully thawed before breading.

  • Size – Larger legs are easier to bread and fry than tiny ones. Legs between 4 to 6 inches long are ideal.

  • Shells – Legs already split down the middle or with shell cracked make removing the meat easier.

  • Quality – Pick legs that are heavy for their size with tightly packed meat. Avoid dried out, lightweight ones.

Breadings for Fried Crab Legs

The key to fried crab legs with maximum crunch factor is the breading. Homemade breadings are best. Store-bought mixes also work well. Avoid plain breadcrumbs, which get soggy. Good breading options include:

  • Panko – Japanese breadcrumbs are super crunchy when fried. Use alone or in a mix.

  • Cornmeal – Adds gritty crunch and corny flavor to coatings.

  • Flour – The base for most breadings. All-purpose flour is fine.

  • Spices and seasonings – Old Bay, paprika, garlic powder, cayenne and black pepper are tasty choices.

  • Egg wash – An egg lightly beaten with milk or water helps the breading adhere.

  • Cracker crumbs – Crushed saltines, Ritz or similar add crunch.

Step-by-Step Fried Crab Legs Recipe

With the right techniques and a good breading, fried crab legs are easy to make. Here are the basic steps:

  1. Thaw frozen crab legs – Leave in fridge overnight or place in cold water for 30 minutes. Drain and pat completely dry with paper towels.

  2. Remove crab meat – Use kitchen shears and your fingers to pull the meat out from the shells. Keep large pieces intact if possible.

  3. Prepare breading – Whisk egg and milk in one bowl. Combine dry breading ingredients (flour, spices, panko, etc.) in a second bowl.

  4. Bread crab legs – Dredge meat in flour mixture first, then egg wash, then press into breading mixture to evenly coat.

  5. Fry in batches – Heat at least 2 to 3 inches oil to 350°F in dutch oven or deep pot. Add legs in batches and fry 4 minutes until golden brown, turning over halfway.

  6. Drain on wire rack – Use tongs or slotted spoon to transfer fried crab legs to a wire rack. Sprinkle with salt and serve hot.

Frying Oil Tips

Choosing the right oil and maintaining the proper temperature are key for fried foods with crispy coatings:

  • Oil type – Peanut, vegetable, canola and corn oil work well for frying. Avoid olive oil as it has a low smoke point.

  • Temperature – Heat oil to 350-375°F. If too hot, coating burns quickly. Too cool and it absorbs oil and gets soggy.

  • Deep pot/dutch oven – Use a heavy, high-sided pot with at least 5 inches depth to safely contain hot oil while frying in batches.

  • Oil amount – Fill pot about halfway to allow room for oil displacement when adding ingredients. Having sufficient oil helps maintain temperature.

  • Frying thermometer – Use a deep fry or candy thermometer to monitor oil temperature.

  • Small batches – Do not crowd pot with too many legs at once. Fry in batches to maintain oil temperature.

  • Turn and rotate – Gently turn legs over halfway through frying time until all sides are evenly golden brown.

Serving Up Fabulous Fried Crab Legs

Now comes the best part – eating the crab legs! Follow these tips for serving:

  • Drain on wire rack – Let fried legs drain on a wire rack or paper towels to remove excess oil.

  • Season with salt and lemon – A squeeze of lemon and a sprinkle of salt brighten up the flavors.

  • Provide dipping sauces – Offer melted butter, tartar sauce, or cocktail sauce for dipping.

  • Serve on platters – Heap the golden fried legs high on large platters for an impressive presentation.

  • Provide napkins and wet wipes – Crab legs tend to get messy, so have plenty of napkins available. Wet wipes let guests clean their hands easily.

  • Add coleslaw and fries – These classic sides pair perfectly with fried seafood.

Tips for Leftover Fried Crab Legs

You’ll likely have leftover fried crab legs. Here are some storage and reuse ideas:

  • Store in airtight container – Place leftover fried crab in a sealed container or resealable plastic bag.

  • Refrigerate up to 2 days – Fried coatings lose their crispiness over time, so try to eat leftovers within a day or two.

  • Reheat in oven – Place legs on a baking sheet and warm at 375°F for 5 to 10 minutes until heated through.

  • Microwave briefly – Microwaving will make the coating soft, so do it only briefly to take off chill.

  • Repurpose in salads – Crushed fried crab legs are delicious sprinkled on seafood or green salads.

  • Make crab sliders – Use leftover meat to top mini burger buns for an easy appetizer.

Common Fried Crab Legs FAQs

How can I prevent the breading from falling off the crab legs when frying? Make sure the crab meat is dry before breading. Allow the breaded legs to sit for 5-10 minutes before frying so the coating adheres. Press the breading on firmly and use an egg wash first to help it stick.

Why are my fried crab legs greasy? If the oil is too cool, the breading will absorb oil and get greasy. Make sure to heat the oil to the proper temperature (350-375°F) and fry just a few legs at a time.

Some of my fried crab legs are burnt while others are light. Why? Hot oil temperatures can drop when ingredients are added. Make sure you’re cooking legs in small batches and allowing the oil to come back up to temp between batches.

Can I fry soft shell crabs this way too? Yes! Soft shell crabs are delicious when fried using the same breading method. Just make sure they are fully thawed and patted very dry first. Fry 2-3 minutes per side.

How long does it take to fry crab legs? 4 to 5 minutes total frying time until golden brown. For larger king crab legs, cook them about 2 minutes per side. Adjust cooking times as needed for smaller legs.

Make Delicious Fried Crab Legs Tonight

Crunchy, golden fried crab legs are impressive yet easy to pull off at home. For best results, use fresh, plump crab legs, a well-seasoned homemade breading, and fry at the proper oil temperature in small batches. Dip the fried crab in melted butter or sauce and get ready for rave reviews from lucky guests!

how to make fried crab legs

How to Deep Fry Crab Legs

Allow Alaskan King Crab Legs to thaw in the refrigerator.

Use scissors to cut down the back of each crab leg section.

Fork the meat out of the leg by getting inside with your fingers and pulling it through the hole. Set aside.

how to make fried crab legs

In a shallow dish, beat eggs and water until blended. Set aside.

how to make fried crab legs

In a small bowl, mix together the flour, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, pepper, cayenne, and ½ teaspoon of Old Bay seasoning.

how to make fried crab legs

Whisk to combine and set aside.

In another shallow bowl, whisk together panko and remaining Old Bay seasoning. Set aside.

how to make fried crab legs

Dredge meat in flour mixture on both sides and shake off excess.

how to make fried crab legs

Dip in egg wash on both sides and allow excess to drip off.

how to make fried crab legs

Dip in breadcrumb mixture on both sides and press gently to get breading to stick.

how to make fried crab legs

Fry in 350-375 degree oil turning periodically until breading is golden brown (about 5 minutes).

Place on a paper towel-lined plate to drain.

how to make fried crab legs

Missing some of these ingredients? We have a couple substitutions that might help you out:.

  • King Alaskan Crab Legs: You can use snow crab legs or even big lump crab meat.
  • Panko Breadcrumbs: You can use regular breadcrumbs instead, but the fish won’t get as crispy.
  • Seasonings: You can change the types and amounts of seasonings to suit your tastes. You can also add other herbs and spices, like smoked paprika, oregano, or thyme.
  • When you fry, you can use a different kind of oil, like peanut oil, canola oil, or vegetable oil.

There’s also a couple other ways you can change things up with this recipe:

  • Take out the cayenne pepper, onion powder, and garlic powder to make it simple and not too spicy.
  • Spicier– Double up on the cayenne pepper.
  • Sauces: Instead of butter, serve these with our Homemade Tartar Sauce or Cocktail Sauce.

how to make fried crab legs

Making these crab legs in deep fat is pretty simple. But here are some tips to make sure they turn out great:

  • With a deep-fry thermometer, you can make sure the oil doesn’t get too hot or too cold. The crab legs might burn on the outside before they cook through if the oil is too hot. If the oil isn’t hot enough, the crab legs might get dry and greasy.
  • Fry the crab legs in small groups so that the pot doesn’t get too crowded and the oil stays at the right temperature.
  • Be careful when putting the crab legs into the hot oil; use a slotted spoon or tongs to do it.
  • Place the crab legs on a paper towel-lined plate or a wire rack to drain off the extra oil.
  • Deep-fry the crab legs right away, while they are still hot and crispy. Adding more seasoning, like salt or Old Bay seasoning, on top will also make it taste better.

how to make fried crab legs

The crab legs should be fried for 4 to 5 minutes, or until they turn golden brown and the meat is hot and cooked all the way through. Its important to monitor the frying process closely and adjust the time as needed.

You can deep-fry frozen crab legs, but you need to let them thaw in the fridge overnight first. Pat the crab legs dry with a paper towel before coating them in the breading.

You can reheat crab legs that have already been fried in the oven at 375°F for 10 to 12 minutes, or until they are hot all the way through. Alternatively, you can reheat them in the microwave for 30-60 seconds, but they may become soggy.

Deep-fried crab legs that are left over can be kept in the fridge for up to two days in an airtight container. Reheat them before serving.

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After making our Fried Alaskan King Crab Legs, please glimpse through our other southern dishes.

Check our website for our dinners, sides, or dessert offerings. Thank you for choosing to spend some time with us!.

Have a wonderful day!

how to make fried crab legs

Why you’ll love this Fried Crab Legs Recipe

  • This is an entirely different way to enjoy crab legs.
  • The crunchy breading makes for an easy non-messy finger food.

how to make fried crab legs

  • Large Alaskan King Crab Legs – thawed
  • Eggs
  • Water
  • Flour
  • Garlic Powder
  • Onion Powder
  • Cayenne
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Old Bay Seasoning
  • Panko Breadcrumbs

See recipe card for quantities.

These Fried King Crab Legs are Amazing!

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