How to cook frozen crab legs? | Tips for perfect results

Cooking crab legs is an easy and delicious way to enjoy seafood. Whether you are looking for a fantastic appetizer or main course, crab legs can add flavor and luxury to any meal. Frozen crab legs are convenient because they last longer than fresh, all while retaining much of their wild-caught flavor. In this blog post, we’ll be discussing how to cook frozen crab legs so that you can enjoy the succulent taste of freshly cooked seafood anytime.

What are frozen crab legs?

Frozen crab legs are a popular seafood item found in many grocery stores and fish markets. They are typically sold as either cooked or uncooked legs, which can then be prepared for eating. Cooked frozen crab legs can usually be served straight from the package after defrosting. Uncooked frozen crab legs will need to be thawed and steamed or boiled before serving.

What are frozen crab legs?

Different sizes and types of frozen crab legs

Frozen crab legs are available in a range of sizes and types. The most common type is the snow crab, which can be found in most supermarkets and fish markets. King crabs have longer legs than their snow crab cousins and boast a sweeter flavour. Dungeness crabs also feature prominently in seafood stores, but they tend to be more expensive due to their larger size.

Frozen crab legs typically come in several sizes, ranging from small to jumbo. Smaller legs are usually around 8-10 inches long, while larger ones can reach up to 18 inches in length.

How to choose the best-frozen crab legs for cooking?

When selecting frozen crab legs for cooking, it’s important to consider the size and type of crab. Smaller legs are usually preferable for dishes like salads and soups, while larger ones can be used for heartier meals such as stews or chowders.

The quality of the crab is also important, so check the label to make sure the legs are from a reputable supplier. It is important to look for those that are fresh and have a bright orange-red color. Avoid legs with an unpleasant smell or discoloration – these may be signs of spoilage. If you’re unsure, ask the staff at your local fish market or seafood store for advice.

Preparing and thawing the frozen crab legs before cooking

Before learning how to cook frozen crab legs, we should thaw them. This can be done by placing them in a refrigerator overnight or by running cold water over them for several minutes. Once thawed, remove any excess moisture from the legs and pat them dry with paper towels.

For uncooked crab legs, place them into a steamer basket or large pot with a tightly fitting lid. Fill the pot with enough water to cover at least halfway up the sides of the crab legs and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to low and steam for 8-10 minutes until cooked through, or until an internal temperature of 145°F (63°C) is reached.

For pre-cooked frozen crab legs, place them in a baking dish and sprinkle with some butter or oil for added flavor. Cover the dish with aluminum foil and bake at 350°F (176°C) for 10-15 minutes until heated through, or until an internal temperature of 145°F (63°C) is reached.

How to cook frozen crab legs?


Boiling is a simple and effective way of cooking frozen crab legs. Start by filling a large pot with enough water (or broth) to cover the crab legs. Bring the liquid to a boil, then add some salt and any other desired flavourings. Carefully lower in the crab legs and let them cook for around 5-7 minutes or until they turn bright orange.


Steaming frozen crab legs is an easy and healthy method of preparation. Fill a large pot with several inches of water, then place the steamer basket in the center with the frozen legs inside. Bring the liquid to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover the pot and let it steam for 8-10 minutes or until fully cooked.


Baking frozen crab legs is a great way to get the most out of their flavour and texture. Preheat your oven to 350°F (177°C). Place the frozen legs on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, then brush them lightly with oil or butter and season as desired. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the crab legs are cooked through and golden brown.


Grilling frozen crab legs is a delicious way to enjoy seafood, especially in the summer months. Preheat an outdoor grill or grill pan over medium-high heat and brush it lightly with oil. Arrange the frozen crab legs on the grill in a single layer, then cook for 8-10 minutes or until they are heated through and lightly charred. Serve with lemon wedges or your favorite dipping sauce.

These are just a few of the many methods for cooking frozen crab legs at home – experiment to find out which one you like best. With these simple techniques, you can enjoy delicious seafood dishes anytime without having to worry about defrosting beforehand.

How do you tell if frozen crab legs are done?

The best way to tell if frozen crab legs are done is by checking the internal temperature. They should reach an internal temperature of at least 145°F (63°C) for optimal safety. You can also use a fork to check if the legs are cooked through; they should be opaque and firm when done. Additionally, you can look for signs such as bright orange color and a nice aroma to confirm that the crab legs are cooked.

Finally, don’t forget to taste test every once in awhile. This will help you gauge if your frozen crab legs have reached their optimal flavour and texture. With these tips, you should be well on your way to enjoying delicious seafood dishes with ease.

Expert tips on how to cook the perfect frozen crab legs

To ensure the best results when cooking frozen crab legs, keep these expert tips in mind:

  • Use a thermometer to gauge the internal temperature of the crab legs; they should reach an internal temperature of at least 145°F (63°C) for optimal safety.
  • Add some acidity to the cooking liquid; this helps to tenderize the crab and bring out its flavour. Try using white wine, lemon juice or lime zest for the best results.
  • If you’re boiling frozen crab legs, add some aromatics such as garlic and herbs to the cooking liquid for extra flavour.
  • When grilling frozen crab legs, make sure to cook them over medium-high heat to ensure that they are fully cooked through.
  • To get the most out of your frozen crab legs, serve them with a variety of condiments such as butter, mayonnaise and hot sauce. This will add an extra layer of flavour and make the dish even more delicious.
Expert tips on how to cook the perfect frozen crab legs

What to serve with cooked frozen crab legs?

Frozen crab legs are incredibly versatile and can be served as a main course or side dish. Serve them with steamed vegetables, roasted potatoes, mashed potatoes or wild rice for a delicious seafood feast. For an even heartier meal, try pairing the crab legs with some grilled shrimp or fresh fish.

In addition to these sides, there are plenty of sauces that pair well with cooked crab legs. Try making a simple garlic butter sauce, or whip up some tartar sauce for a classic combination. You can also combine olive oil, lemon juice and your favorite herbs to make an easy and tasty vinaigrette.

How to store leftover cooked crab legs properly?

If you have any leftover cooked crab legs, make sure to store them in the refrigerator as soon as possible. Place the crab legs in an airtight container and cover with plastic wrap or foil. Cooked frozen crab legs will keep for up to two days when stored properly. Alternatively, you can freeze the leftovers for up to three months if desired. Simply wrap the crab legs in foil or place them in a freezer-safe container before popping them into the freezer.

How to store leftover cooked crab legs properly?

Conclusion: How to cook frozen crab legs?

Learning how to cook frozen crab legs is an easy and delicious way to enjoy seafood at home. Regardless of which cooking method you use, make sure the internal temperature reaches at least 145°F (63°C) for optimal safety. Serve with a variety of sides such as steamed vegetables, roasted potatoes or wild rice, and don’t forget to add some delicious condiments for extra flavor. Finally, make sure to store any leftovers in the refrigerator or freezer and enjoy within two days or up to three months respectively. With these tips, you can now confidently cook frozen crab legs anytime.

FAQ: Frozen crab legs

Should I buy fresh or frozen crab legs?

Deciding between fresh or frozen crab legs? Opt for fresh crab legs if you prioritize top-notch quality and exquisite flavor. Frozen crab legs may offer a slightly distinct texture and taste compared to their fresh counterparts. Why? Because freezing might result in the crab meat losing a bit of its natural moisture and sweetness.

Should I steam or boil frozen crab legs?

Typically, crab legs are already cooked and frozen quickly. To preserve their delicious flavor and texture, steaming is the ideal cooking method. The gentle, moist heat ensures the meat stays tender and maintains its sweet taste.

Can you cook frozen crab legs without defrosting?

Cooking frozen crab legs without defrosting is a hassle-free way to indulge in these delightful seafood treats. Whether you opt for steaming or boiling, the crucial step is to cook them thoroughly while preserving their mouthwatering taste.

Why are frozen crab legs salty?

Discover the surprising truth about why frozen crab legs tend to have a salty taste. Despite seemingly convenient availability year-round, these frozen delicacies come with an unexpected twist. Expert opinions reveal that all frozen king crab legs are intentionally seasoned with salt, which unfortunately masks the inherent natural sweetness of the crab. Don’t be fooled by the common misconception – the true way to experience the authentic flavors of king crab is through the untainted delight of fresh, unsalted crab.

Are all frozen crab legs already cooked?

The majority of frozen crab legs are pre-cooked, so you can save time and effort. All you need to do is heat them up to savor their deliciousness.

Can you overcook frozen crab legs?

Beware of overcooking frozen crab legs; they are typically precooked. Instead, focus on reheating them in boiling water to preserve their delicate flavor. Overcooking will result in toughened meat.

Should the frozen crab legs be cracked before or after cooking?

Cook frozen crab legs whole to keep the delicious flavor and texture intact. No need to crack them beforehand – simply cook and enjoy. Then, cracking open the shells will be a breeze with your hands or kitchen utensils.

How do you cook frozen crab legs without shells?

Want to cook frozen crab legs without shells? It’s easy. The process is similar to cooking shelled crab legs. Just boil or steam them for 3-4 minutes until they reach an internal temperature of 145°F (63°C). If you prefer baking, pop them in a preheated oven at 375°F (190°C) for 10-14 minutes. And voila! Enjoy a mouthwatering seafood feast.

What sauces go well with cooked frozen crab legs?

Elevate your dining experience with a tantalizing selection of dipping sauces for cooked frozen crab legs. Choose from an array of mouthwatering options including Garlic Butter Sauce, Tartar Sauce, and Homemade Cocktail Sauce. For a zesty twist, explore Green Cocktail Sauce or Wasabi Cocktail Sauce. If you crave a touch of spice, our Cajun Butter Sauce delivers a flavorful kick. And for a delightful fusion, savor the tangy Lemon Aioli or refreshing Ginger Sauce. Enhance your crab leg feast with these irresistible dipping sauces.

Can frozen crab legs be cooked in a slow cooker?

Learn how to easily cook frozen crab legs in a slow cooker. Just place them in the cooker, add water, and maybe some butter or oil for extra flavor. Then let them simmer on low heat for 2-3 hours until they’re perfectly heated.

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