Quick Cooking Methods for Crab Legs

by Leigh Good

Frozen or fresh crab legs cook quickly, making for an impressive and tasty family meal in no time. Pick up crab legs from the freezer section and thaw them or cook them straight from their frozen state. Or, purchase fresh crab legs from a fish counter for an easy, fast meal.


Steaming crab legs is easy; just place a steamer basket in a large, lidded pot and fill the pot with water until it reaches the bottom of the basket. Set your fresh or frozen crab legs in the basket and place the lid on the pot. Bring the water to boil over high heat, then turn the heat down to low so that the water maintains a simmer. Steam fresh or thawed crab legs for seven minutes. If the legs are frozen, steam them for 16 minutes.


Broil thawed or fresh crab legs in a hot oven and the tasty, juicy crab meat will be ready to eat in a matter of minutes. Place the crab legs on a rimmed baking sheet and paint the crab with melted butter using a pastry brush. Slide the sheet onto the top rack in your oven so that it sits 6 inches below the top heating element. Set the broiler to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and broil the crab legs for three to four minutes or until all of the meat is hot.


Use your microwave to zap fresh or thawed crab legs in a jiffy. Wrap crab legs with damp paper towels and place the legs in a large, lidded microwave-safe dish. Cover the dish and place it in the microwave. Cook the crab legs on high for three minutes, then open the dish and flip the legs over. Close the dish and cook the legs on high for another three minutes, or until they are completely hot.


Give crab legs a smokey flavor by cooking them quickly on a hot outdoor grill. Prepare the legs for grilling by cutting them in half lengthwise using sharp kitchen shears. Preheat your grill to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Brush the hot grill grates with oil and place the thawed or fresh crab legs on top. Brush the crab legs with melted butter, then close the grill and cook the crab legs for 10 minutes, with the vents opened, until the meat is opaque and the shells turn bright red.

Quick Meal Ideas

Once the crab is cooked, toss the meat with a green salad, vegetables such as avocado and red onion, and a creamy dressing for a fast, healthy meal. If you're eating on the go, wrap the salad in a tortilla. For more traditional fare, serve the legs hot and whole for the family to break with nut crackers and enjoy pulling out the meat on their own. Add boiled or grilled corn on the cob and a green vegetable to round out the meal. Use leftover crab meat for omelets the next morning; beat the eggs with some dry ranch-flavored seasoning mix and add chopped vegetables and crab meat while cooking.

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About the Author

Leigh Good has been writing for magazines and newspapers for more than 10 years. Her work has been published in numerous print and online publications. Good has a bachelor's degree in print journalism from Georgia State University.

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