How to Cook Jonah Crabs

by Assia M. Mortensen

Breaking open a crab claw.

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Jonah crabs are oval in shape, similar to the Dungeness, but with very large claws. They have a reddish shell with a white underside. The meat is succulent, slightly sweet and flaky. Jonah crabs tend to be less expensive than species such as blue, Dungeness and stone crabs. They grow most plentifully in waters from the Georges Bank to North Carolina and are fished year-round. Jonah crab claws are delicious served in a garlic and sherry sauce.

Place a steamer insert inside a large pot. Fill the pot with water, just under the level of the steamer. Bring the water to a boil over medium to high heat.

Rinse the crab claws, and place them in the steamer.

Steam the claws for 10 minutes with the lid on. When tthey are done, the meat will be reddish white and no longer translucent.

Combine the sherry, olive oil, garlic and lemon zest in a large bowl.

Add the cooked crab claws to the sauce, and toss.


  • Serve Jonah crab claws either warm, or after chilling in the refrigerator for 20 minutes.

    Arrange the crab claws on a platter. Set lemon wedges around the crab, and sprinkle fresh parsley over the top of the dish.

Photo Credits

  • amanaimagesRF/amana images/Getty Images

About the Author

Assia M. Mortensen has over 12 years of experience as an editor and journalist, and has published hundreds of articles in magazines, newspapers and online at "The Santa Barbara Independent," "Frontiers Magazine," "805 Living Magazine," Huffingtonpost.com, LIVESTRONG.COM and many other outlets. Mortensen graduated from the University of California in Santa Cruz with a Bachelor of Arts in literature and creative writing.