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Overhead shot of crab legs served on a large oval white platter with butter dipping sauce and lemon wedges.
5 from 1 vote

How to Cook Crab Legs

Learn to cook succulent crab legs at home with my easy-to-follow guide using various methods to choose from. Enjoy melt in your mouth crab legs anytime!
Author Diana
Servings 2 people
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes


For the crab:

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 ½ - 2 lb crab leg clusters frozen or thawed

Dipping sauce:

  • ¼ cup unsalted butter melted
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • ½ teaspoon old bay seasoning
  • salt and pepper


Instant pot method:

  • To the instant pot, add a cup of water then insert the trivet. Place the crab legs on top of the trivet (you might need to work in batches if you can’t fit all the clusters). Cover with the lid, and pressure cook on high for 2 minutes for fresh/thawed crab legs or 4 minutes for frozen ones.
  • When the cooking cycle ends, quickly release the steam and remove from the instant pot to serve.

Boiling method:

  • Bring water to a boil, salt it, submerge crab legs and boil uncovered for 5 minutes.

Steaming method:

  • Bring water to a boil in a large stockpot. Place crab legs on a trivet or steamer basket and steam covered for 5-7 minutes.

Broiler method:

  • Line a sheet pan with foil or parchment paper, brush with melted butter or olive oil, and broil 6 inches away from the broiler set at high for 6 minutes flipping halfway through.

Grill method:

  • Preheat grill to medium heat, brush with melted butter or olive oil and grill covered for 4 minutes.

To make the dipping sauce:

  • Combine all the ingredients in a small bowl, serve with the steamed crab legs.


  • You should plan for around 1 lb of crab legs per person if you’re serving them as a main course. If you’re serving them alongside other mains, or as a starter, ½ lb per person should be enough.
  • Leftover crab legs can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 2–3 days.


Calories: 410kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 42g | Fat: 26g | Saturated Fat: 16g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 160mg | Sodium: 1906mg | Potassium: 485mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 818IU | Vitamin C: 18mg | Calcium: 123mg | Iron: 2mg