Recipe courtesy of Jenn Louis

Dungeness Crab Boil

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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 40 min
  • Prep: 20 min
  • Cook: 20 min
  • Yield: 4 servings
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2 Tablespoons black peppercorns

2 Tablespoons kosher salt

2 cups dry white wine

4 sprigs rosemary

Water, as needed

4 live Dungeness crabs, each 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 pounds or 3 pounds

Drawn Butter, for serving, recipe follows

Tarragon Aioli, for serving, recipe follows

Aioli with Piment d'Espelette, for serving, recipe follows

Drawn Butter:

1/2 c. butter

Tarragon Aioli:

2 small cloves garlic

1/4 c. fresh tarragon leaves, removed from stem

1 egg yolk

1 lemon, juice and zest reserved 

3/4 c. plus 2 T. extra-virgin olive oil

Water, as needed

Kosher salt and black pepper

Aioli with Piment d'Espelette:

1 clove garlic, grated on a rasp

2 T. freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 tsp. coarse salt

1 large egg yolk

1/2 c. plus 1 T. olive oil

1/2 c. plus 1 T. canola oil

2 tsp. piment d'Espelette


  1. In a large pot, combine first four ingredients with enough water to submerge crabs. Do not submerge crabs at this point. Bring liquid to a simmer and add crabs headfirst to water. Cook the 1 1/2- to 2 1/2-pound crabs about 15 minutes, and the 3-pound crabs about 20 minutes. Strain cooked crabs into a colander and rinse briefly under cool water. Serve with Drawn Butter, Tarragon Aioli and Aioli with Piment d'Espelette.

Drawn Butter:

Yield: 3/4 cup
  1. In a small pan over low heat, melt butter and skim any solids that rise to the top. Pour butter into ramekins for use tableside, leaving behind any milk solids that have settled to the bottom of the pan. 

Tarragon Aioli:

Yield: 1 cup
  1. In the base of a blender or food processor, whirl garlic cloves, tarragon leaves and egg yolk to create a creamy blend. Add lemon zest and juice and blend again. With machine running, slowly drizzle in olive oil to create an emulsified, creamy consistency. Avoid adding oil too quickly or vinaigrette will separate. Add a teaspoon of water when emulsion becomes tight and then continue to add oil. Season to taste with salt and fresh pepper. 

Aioli with Piment d'Espelette:

Yield: 1 1/2 cups
  1. Place garlic, lemon juice, and salt in the bowl of a food processor; process to combine. Add egg and, with the motor running, slowly add oils until mixture is thickened and emulsified. Stir in piment d'Espelette and refrigerate.