What to Season Crab Legs With: 10 Delicious Ways to Enhance Your Favorite Crustacean

How to cook crab legs, where to get them, what to look for, and how to serve them, step by step. This soft and tasty crab is great for parties, holidays, or other special occasions, and it’s very easy to make.

As kids, our family always had “surf and turf” for Christmas Eve dinner, which meant king crab legs and New York steaks with lots of tasty sides like twice baked potatoes. I’ve continued the tradition with my family and it’s a special meal we look forward to every year. It’s also one of the easiest ones to make!.

Since crab legs are pricey, I want to make sure you know how to cook them perfectly. They may sound scary, but crab legs are already cooked; all you have to do is heat them up. They’re simple and quick to make—the prep work only takes a minute or two, and they’re ready to eat in 30 minutes!

Crab legs are a delicious and indulgent seafood treat. Their sweet, succulent meat is naturally full of flavor. But adding seasonings can take your crab legs from great to extraordinary.

I love discovering new ways to enhance crab’s sweet brininess. Over the years, I’ve experimented with countless seasonings and cooking methods to unlock crab’s full potential Here are my 10 favorite ways to season crab legs along with tips to cook them to perfection

1. Old Bay

This classic crab seasoning is a tried-and-true favorite for good reason. Its balanced blend of spices like celery salt, paprika, and red pepper flakes beautifully accentuate crab’s natural sweetness. Just add a few shakes directly to your crab legs before boiling or steaming. The seasoned steam permeates the meat, pumping up the flavor. Old Bay also nicely doubles as a dipping seasoning after cooking. This versatile spice blend is a must-have for crab leg aficionados.

2. Lemon Pepper

Lemon and pepper make natural companions for seafood The brightness of lemon zest and juice cut through crab’s richness. A touch of pepper adds warmth This combo keeps the crab flavor front and center. For boiled or steamed crab, add lemon slices and fresh cracked pepper to the cooking liquid. For roasted or grilled crab legs, I love drizzling them with lemon juice and olive oil and rolling them in fresh cracked pepper before cooking. The hit of acid and spice enhances the sweetness of the meat.

3. Garlic Butter

Buttery, garlicky goodness takes crab legs over the top. Melting butter infused with minced garlic, parsley, salt, and pepper transforms into an irresistible dipping sauce. After boiling or steaming the crab legs, toss them right in the skillet with the garlic butter mixture to coat. The sauce seeps into all the crevices, amping up the flavor. I also love brushing crab legs with garlic butter before broiling or grilling. Bursting with herbal garlic flavor, this is an easy way to dress up crab legs.

4. Cajun Spices

For a touch of heat, Cajun seasoning adds plenty of big flavor. A blend of paprika, garlic, onion, cayenne, thyme, and other zesty spices pairs perfectly with crab. To boil, add Cajun seasoning to the cooking liquid for infused flavor. I prefer sprinkling it directly on the crab after cooking so I can control the heat level. Try mixing melted butter with Cajun spices for a kicked-up dipping sauce. It will have you wanting to suck every bit of meat from the shells.

5. Lemon Dill

Fresh and light, lemon and dill make a refreshing pairing with rich crab. Allow the crab legs to retain their unadulterated sweet flavor by boiling or steaming them simply with salt. Mix together melted butter, grated lemon zest, lemon juice, chopped dill, salt, and pepper. Use it as a light dipping sauce or drizzle it over the crab legs after cooking. Each bite pops with bright citrus and floral dill. This is an elegant way to serve crab legs for a dinner party.

6. Chili and Lime

Give your crab a touch of the tropics with chili and lime. Their bright, lively flavors work beautifully with crab. Include lime wedges and sliced chili peppers when boiling or steaming. The seasoned steam infuses the crab meat with zesty flavor. For a double dose of chili lime flavor, whip up a dipping sauce of melted butter, lime zest and juice, minced chili peppers, cilantro, and salt. I love the addition of cilantro’s fresh herbaceousness. The sauce adds a tangy creaminess while allowing the crab’s sweetness to shine.

7. Everything Bagel

This unexpected crab leg seasoning will make you feel like you’re eating crab cake on a bagel. Toasted sesame seeds, dried garlic and onion flakes, poppy seeds, and salt give these classic “everything bagel” flavors. Mix them together and roll boiled crab legs in the mixture to encrust the outsides. Broil until crispy to caramelize the seasonings. You’ll get sweet crab with a crispy, savory edge. Leftover seasoning also makes a fun dip for melted butter or mayo. Dip and devour the crab like an everything bagel sandwich!

8. Brown Butter and Parsley

For an ultra rich and decadent take on crab legs, brown butter adds deep toasted nutty flavor. Cook butter on the stovetop until it turns a nice brown color and gives off a nutty aroma. Remove from heat and mix in fresh parsley, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Pour the brown butter sauce over boiled, steamed, or grilled crab legs. Earthy browned butter and bright parsley complement crab beautifully. Every morsel is truly crave-worthy.

9. Soy Sauce, Ginger and Scallion

For an Asian inspired preparation, try using soy sauce, ginger and scallion to season your crab legs. Boil or steam the crab legs simply with salt first to lightly season the meat. In a pan, sauté minced ginger and sliced scallion whites in vegetable oil until fragrant. Add in soy sauce, oyster sauce, sesame oil, and sugar and let the sauce bubble for a few minutes. Remove from heat and stir in sliced scallion greens. Pour the sauce over the cooked crab legs for a savory sweet glaze.

10. Herb Compound Butter

Flavorful compound butter is one of my go-to ways to season crab legs. Making your own herb butter allows you to customize the flavors you love most. Soften some high quality butter and mix in any combination of fresh herbs like parsley, basil, tarragon, dill, and chives. Add minced garlic, lemon zest, crushed red pepper, and salt and pepper to taste. Chill the flavored butter so it’s easy to slice and place on hot crab legs for melting herbal goodness in every bite.

what to season crab legs with

Tips for buying crab:

Type of Crab: This recipe is for King Crab and is my absolute favorite. King Crab has the highest meat-to-shell ratio, which helps you get the most for your money. The meat from king crab is soft and breaks into big chunks. It tastes sweet and mild, and it’s absolutely delicious! You can cook snow crab the same way.

Where to Buy: Costco carries crab legs all year. If you can’t find them at your location, you can always order them through Costco with shipping. Most local grocery stores have them during the holidays.

What to Look For: It’s important to get big, thick crab legs. If you want to treat yourself to this treat, don’t skimp and buy skinny legs. If you do, you might find that there isn’t much meat in the shell. Get the hardiest shells you can find, typically the better ones cost a little more. To tell if the crab is fresh, the meat that you can see should be white and not slimy. It should also smell like fresh seafood and not stinky or strong.

How to Serve Crab Legs:

Crab legs are most often served with melted butter, and sometimes lemon wedges on the side. Some people like to add a little fresh minced garlic, salt and pepper to the butter. Keep it simple, to allow the delicious flavor of the meat to be the star.

We pass around kitchen shears to cut the shells open, or you can use a crab cracker (or this fun seafood shell cracking tool set set if you’re entertaining guests).

what to season crab legs with

You Won’t Want To Cook Crab Legs Any Other Way | Quick & Easy Garlic Butter Crab Legs Recipe

Can you add seasoning to crab legs after cooking?

Yes, you read that right — that’s an entire box of Old Bay. If you’d rather add seasoning once your crab legs are cooked, simply season the water with salt and then add additional flavors after, like melted butter, garlic and parsley. Or, consider switching it up with lemon, butter and dill.

Can You boil crab legs with seasoning?

If you’re boiling and steaming your crab legs, don’t be afraid to season the water with salt, pepper, lemon juice, lemon rinds, or the traditional Old Bay seasoning. We recommend using a ratio of Four quarts of water to Six ounces of seasoning if you intend to boil. What use does seasoning crab legs serve? It’s a personal choice.

Can you cook frozen crab legs before seasoning?

If your crab legs are frozen, defrost them first before seasoning. Next, for 5-8 minutes, steam and boil them in water. After cooking, you may season them to your taste by sprinkling your preferred spice and brushing them using melted butter or oil. Serve immediately. What should I use as crab seasoning?

How do you season crab legs with Old Bay Seasoning?

In a small saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Whisk in 1 tablespoon of Old Bay Seasoning, the lemon juice, and garlic. Reserve half of the mixture for dipping later. Using a pastry brush, brush crab legs with butter mixture. Season with to taste with additional Old Bay if desired.

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