Classic King Crab

You could use olive oil instead of butter, but why would you want to?

  • Prep time: 5 minutes
  • Cook time: 8 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4.


  • 3-4 pounds Alaskan king crab legs and claws
  • 1 stick of butter
  • Lemon wedges for garnish


1 Melt the butter in a small pan and keep warm on its lowest setting.

2 Set a steamer tray inside a large pot and pour enough water inside to steam the crab. Remember, you are only reheating the crab, so you will only need about an inch of water, tops. Bring this to a boil before laying the crab legs on the steamer. Cover the pot and steam for 5 minutes.

3 Remove the crab legs and use kitchen shears to cut the shells. You can either totally remove the meat from the shell or just get each one started for your guests. Serve with the melted butter.

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  • todd hubbs

    Everytime I think about having some delicious king crab legs that have been flown in from Alaska my mouth begins to water. Thanks Hank for the recipe. Maybe you know my friend John. He started ? You should reach out to him and check out his blog and his amazing story.

  • Jo

    Oh Lorraine, Butter is your friend, not your fiend…its a healthy fat, welcome to 2015.

  • Lorraine

    Why not use pure butter? Some of us have enough trouble with cholesterol. I choose to add some olive oil, lemon, white wine or chicken stock, and fresh cilantro. Wonderful flavor and lower in fat!

  • Jono

    Head to the Asian market when the King Crab is in season, and you can get LIVE ones from the tanks, for optimal freshness.

    Steamed with lots of garlic, scallions, ginger, and a dash of cooking wine – DELICIOUS! Make sure you get all the juices with a bowl of rice on the side.

  • Gary

    LOL-recipe! We also need instructions for making toast! I think I’m putting it in the toaster slot wrong.

  • Norman LaBelle

    My future wife & I dated in the early ’80s, out to dinner for a mountain of crab for next to nothing. OH ! How we longlingly remember those days! Like others, we’ll make it at home now for Anniversaries and such. Simple is the only way to go.

  • Anna H.

    Woohoo, sustainable fisheries management!

    I could really go for some crab right now. Dang, how I wish that study about crustacean pain hadn’t just come out…

  • Jasmine

    Have you seen this beautiful food blog? I just discovered it today and feel like I need to tell everyone about it!


  • Virginia Penick

    I like king crab too but have never made it at home. Do you thaw it before you cook it?

    • Hank Shaw

      Virginia: Yep, I do thaw them, although it’s not vital. If you reheat them straight from the freezer, you just need to steam them longer.

  • Sarah @ Cubicle To Kitchen

    I just decided to do King Crab Legs for Valentine’s Dinner and this post was perfect timing as I have never cooked them before. Now I know how. Thanks!

  • Candice

    Simple and delectable! I’ll have to try these at home!

  • Mary
    That crab is really a pest in russia and northern scandinavia, some few fishermen see it as good thing but mostly its destroying all other crab species and enviroment. Its not natural in those waters like that wiki article shows. Its invasive pest wich should be get rid of in this side of atlantic.
    Thats the reason not to buy it from russian/norvegian source.

  • Paul Dulaney

    I can remember going almost every Sunday night to “Cork and Clevers” (Memphis) and eating King Crab for $7.95 all you can eat. Yum Yum …I think it was the early 80’s.

  • dawn

    so yummy! Almost made me leave the farm to go buy some!

  • Teresa

    Love king crab legs! Steaming is good, but my favorite way to prepare them is to toss those bad boys on the grill after the steaks are done. That smokiness really takes them to the next level….come on, summer!!

  • Barb

    OMG. Maine lobster is good even great but there is just something about dem tasty crab legs. I agree please buy American. I have been to the docks when they are bringing in their catch. Now I’m hungry for these. Btw photo is quite inviting

  • McMaggieMom

    love KC! It’s my treat when my husband’s out of town. I make up several packets, 2 legs each. The legs are first wrapped in wet paper towels,then plastic wrap. Zap each pack individually in the microwave for one minute as needed. This way it’s always nice and hot.

  • PepperReed

    Yuuuu-uummy! Pass the melted butter and napkins! The only thing I don’t like about KC, is how ‘pokey’ it is to hold. Small potatoes…