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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  • Suzanne

    It was delicious & it was easy to prepare


  • Darren

    Made it and came out great.


  • Mark Downey

    I share the author’s concern for over-fishing, but the crash of the king crab fishery in Alaska in the early 1980s was also caused by a rise is sea temperatures. The shrimp fishery there crashed at the same time. Neither fishery has ever been the same. Conversely, the subsequent vacuum left in the Northern Pacific was filled by bottom fish: cod, halibut, etc.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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!!

  • 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.