The Best Kinds of Crab Legs – A Complete Guide

Crab legs are a popular seafood delicacy enjoyed by many people around the world. They are popular for their sweet, succulent meat and tender texture. Crab legs come from a variety of species, each with its own unique flavor and characteristics. If you know about the different kinds of crab legs and get buying tips from professionals, you can pick the best ones for taste and quality.

Crab legs are a healthy food choice because they are full of protein, vitamins, and minerals. They are also low in fat and calories, making them a great alternative to other meats.

But there are so many choices in the market that it can be hard to pick which crab legs to buy and how to cook them. This blog post will talk about the different kinds of crab legs and give you buying tips from experts to help you make smart choices about your seafood purchases.

You will know more about the different kinds of crab legs, where to buy them, how to store them, and how to cook them after reading this guide. Whether you’ve eaten crab legs before or this is your first time, this guide will help you get the most out of them.

Crab legs are a delicious and indulgent seafood treat. With so many options to choose from it can be tricky to know which type of crab legs are considered the best. This complete guide covers the most popular crab leg varieties and key factors that determine quality so you can pick the perfect crab legs every time.

King Crab Legs

Hands down, king crab reigns supreme when it comes to the crème de la crème of crab legs. Harvested from the pristine, icy waters of Alaska, king crab legs boast the largest size, heartiest texture, and sweetest flavor.

The two main varieties are

  • Red King Crab: The most prized type, with a reddish-brown shell and rich, creamy white meat. Legs are typically 4-10 inches long.

  • Blue King Crab: Slightly smaller than red kings but still very large. Blue king crab has a sweeter taste and beautiful blue highlights on the shell.

King crab is on the pricier side, but these meaty legs are worth splurging on for a special occasion or holiday meal. The chunks are so big and flavorful they practically melt in your mouth.

Snow Crab Legs

For milder taste and smaller size, snow crab legs are a popular option. Snow crab live in colder, northern Atlantic and Pacific waters near Alaska, Canada, and Japan.

Key features:

  • Delicate, slightly sweet flavor
  • Bright white meat
  • Legs typically 4-6 inches long
  • Thinner leg segments compared to king crab
  • More affordable price point

Snow crab legs are a great choice for crab cakes and seafood dishes where you don’t want the crab to overpower. Look for legs packed with moist meat and minimal broken sections.

Dungeness Crab Legs

Named after a small town in Washington state, Dungeness crab inhabit the Pacific coastline. They have a short season from November through June, so enjoy them while you can!


  • Sweet, mild taste
  • Firm, flaky texture
  • Leg segments about 3-5 inches
  • Local wild-caught is best

Dungeness crabs are smaller and contain less meat than king or snow crab, but the flavor is still scrumptious. Their leg meat holds together well for crab cakes or dipping in melted butter.

Stone Crab Legs

From the warm Atlantic waters off Florida, stone crab claws have firm, meaty texture and a rich, briny flavor. These claws are another expensive, sought-after delicacy.

Fun facts:

  • Only the claws are eaten – the body is too small
  • Fishermen twist off one claw and return the crab to grow another
  • Claws are removed from live crabs so they’re ultra fresh
  • Broken claw tips indicate heavier meat filling

Stone crab claws are available fresh October through May but only on the East Coast. They’re perfect for special occasions and indulgent surf and turf meals.

Factors that Determine Quality

When choosing any type of crab legs, keep these factors in mind:

Freshness – Look for crab legs with a mild sea breeze aroma and moist, shiny meat. Avoid any with an ammonia odor or dried out meat.

Size – Bigger legs contain more luscious meat. Estimate 1⁄3 to 1⁄2 pound of crab meat per leg.

Shell Condition – Cracks or broken shell sections indicate drying and can lead to meat loss. Opt for intact, unbroken legs.

Fat Content – Crab leg meat contains healthy omega-3s. Plump, fuller legs have more flavorful fat.

Sustainability – Ask where the crab is wild-caught or look for sustainability certifications to support healthy oceans.

Tips for Cooking Crab Legs

Crab legs require minimal preparation for maximum reward. Here are some serving suggestions:

  • Steam over boiling water for 4-8 minutes until the meat is opaque.

  • Briefly boil for 2-3 minutes just to heat through if using leftover crab.

  • Crack the shell with a mallet or scissors before serving. Provide small forks for picking out the meat.

  • Serve crab legs hot with melted butter, lemon wedges, garlic bread, coleslaw and corn on the cob.

  • Refrigerate leftover crab legs up to 3 days. The meat makes excellent crab cakes.

Time to Indulge in Crab Legs!

Nothing beats indulging in piles of succulent, sweet crab meat pulled straight from the shell. Hopefully this guide provided you with a helpful crab leg overview so you can select the perfect type for your upcoming seafood feast! From Alaskan king crab to Dungeness and beyond, any high-quality fresh crab legs are sure satisfy your cravings in epic fashion.

what are the best crab legs

A. King Crab Legs:

King crab legs are the most popular and sought-after type of crab legs. These fish are from the cold North Pacific, and their meat is known for being sweet and delicate. King crab legs are usually large and can weigh up to 10 pounds. They have a bright red color with a spiky texture and are best served steamed or boiled.

C. Dungeness Crab Legs:

The West Coast of the United States is home to another type of crab legs called Dungeness crab legs. They have a slightly sweeter and milder flavor than king crab legs and are smaller in size. Dungeness crab legs are usually steamed or boiled and can be served with melted butter or garlic sauce.

Other types of crab legs include blue crab legs, stone crab legs, and Jonah crab legs. However, they are less common and may not be readily available in all markets.

Overall, when picking the right type of crab legs for your dish, you should think about what you like, what’s available, and how much money you have. Each type of crab leg has unique characteristics that can enhance the flavor and texture of your dish. So, try them all and see which ones you like best!.

Buying crab legs can be challenging, especially if you’re not familiar with what to look for. Here is some expert buying advice to help you choose the best quality crab legs for your dish:

We Tried $180 Alaskan King Crab Legs To See If They’re Worth The Money


What is the best tasting crab leg?

King crab is quite the delicacy. It is decadent while still being delicate and its meat melts in your mouth! Trust us, this is the crab meat that is most often said to taste like lobster! The king crab legs, although shorter than snow crab legs, are thicker.

Are snow crab legs or king crab legs better?

King crab has an undeniable reputation for its flavor. One bite will usually turn anyone’s taste bud into an undying fan. It has a sweet, mild flavor, and is often compared to lobster. Snow crab meat is also sweet, but bears a subtle briny flavor not found in king crab.

Which crab legs have the most meat?

The primary difference between king crab legs and snow crab legs is size. King crab legs are much larger, giving you more meat in each leg and claw. This size difference is why you’ll see such a hefty price discrepancy between the two, whether you order them from a restaurant menu or buy them at your local fish market.

How do you pick the best crab legs?

Fresh crab legs should have a sweet, ocean-like smell and a firm texture. Appearance: Choose crab legs with bright colors and shiny shells. Avoid crab legs with a dull or discolored appearance, as it may indicate that they are old or not fresh.

What are the different types of crab legs?

Here are some of the most common types of crab legs: King crab legs are the most popular and sought-after type of crab legs. They come from the cold waters of the North Pacific and are known for their sweet and delicate meat. King crab legs are usually large and can weigh up to 10 pounds.

Are coconut crabs healthy to eat?

Crabs are rich in omega 3 fatty acids, protein, vitamins like riboflavin and minerals like selenium, copper, phosphorus. Coconut crabs are not known to be poisonous. The fat in the abdomen and the egg inside the female are the delicious edible parts. It is prepared by steaming or boiling them in coconut milk. Consuming coconut crab along with sea mango, cerbera manghas may make the coconut crab toxic due to the presence of cardiac cardenolides(cardiac active steroids). This causes electrolyte imbalance that affects the electrical conductivity of the heart.

What are the best crab legs?

King crab legs are the largest and most expensive, but also taste the best, with a sweet flavor and buttery texture. They are the cream of the crop for making the best crab legs! Snow crab legs are smaller, with long legs, firm texture, and sweet, briny flavor.

Do king crabs have legs?

King crab legs are often sold by the individual appendage, rather than in multi-leg clusters, because of their size. The crabs’ shells are thick and spiny, so either a seafood cracker or a pair of sturdy kitchen shears is essential to extract the meat inside. The long legs of king crab hold large pieces of sweet, lobster-like meat.

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