A Guide to Buying and Cooking Crab

A Guide to Cooking Crab


Photo by: Theresa Raffetto ©Theresa Raffetto

Theresa Raffetto, Theresa Raffetto

The most commonly available types of crab, depending on where you live, include: blue crabs from the East Coast, Dungeness from the West Coast, king crabs from Alaska, and stone crabs from Florida.

Blue crabs are small, sold live and usually boiled, steamed or turned into soup. During spring, when the crabs molt, you can find soft-shell crabs sold cleaned. The entire soft-shell crab is edible, and it's superb when lightly floured, sautéed and served with lemon. Fresh-picked blue crab meat is sold as "lump," meaning large chunks (the most desirable and pricey), or "flake," indicating smaller bits.

Dungeness crabs are larger than blue crabs, and they are usually sold cooked, often frozen.

King crabs can weigh up to 25 pounds. The legs are usually sold cooked and frozen.

Black-tipped stone crab, a delicacy of Floridian waters, is hardly ever sold whole. When captured, one of the claws is broken off and the live crab is thrown back into the water to regenerate another smaller claw. The claws are usually sold cooked and frozen.

Crab Recipes

Next Up

How to Cook a Classic Maryland-Style Crab Feast

Learn how to host a real, genuine Maryland crab feast.

Prawns vs Shrimp: What's the Difference?

Their names are sometimes used interchangeably, but are they really the same thing?

How to Steam Shrimp

A step-by-step guide to steaming plump, juicy and flavorful shrimp.

3 Grilled Shrimp Marinades to Keep in Your Back Pocket

These all-season recipes make quick work of dinner on an outdoor grill or on a grill pan in the kitchen.

How Long Does Shrimp Last in the Fridge?

Shrimp is popular and easy to cook, but its shelf life is pretty short. Here's everything you need to know.

How to Shuck Oysters

A step-by-step guide to shucking oysters like a pro — with or without an oyster knife.

How to Eat Crawfish

The owner of a famous Creole cuisine restaurant answers all your questions.

How to Boil Shrimp

Get a step-by-step guide to boil any kind of shrimp, plus some of our favorite recipes for shrimp cocktail and more.

How to Eat Oysters Safely

An expert breaks down the potential food safety hazards to consider, especially when eating them raw.

How to Cook Scallops

Shop, prep and sear scallops like a pro.

Latest Stories