Why You Should Steam Your Own Crab Legs At Home

You could pay $30 at a restaurant for a steam pot meal that includes a cluster of snow crab legs and lots of other things that aren’t snow crab legs, or enjoy them at home for far less.

This month, Jake requested crab legs for his birthday. The thought of preparing crab legs at home had always intimidated me, so I never attempted it, even though friends claimed it was really easy. Over the years, I’ve asked people how to prepare crab legs at home. Some suggested steaming. Another friend her mom bakes them in the oven. After reading through this blog post by the Cooking Fishmonger listing six ways to cook crab legs at home, I felt brave enough to just go for it. I love how the post ends with the advice: “Some common sense will help in cooking your snow crab.”

Ordering crab at restaurants is a pricey treat. Sometimes the crab hasn’t tasted so fresh and other times the shells are really soggy. Plus, the amount of crab you actually receive is small. The seafood we’ve bought from our local fishmonger Bob’s has always tasted fresh. All they sell is seafood, so I figure they take extra care to store it and ensure its freshness. Plus, their employees are happy to answer questions about cooking the seafood or storing it in one’s fridge and pack everyone’s order on a big bag of ice with a fresh lemon. I bought two bags (a little over two pounds total) of frozen, pre-cooked snow crab legs for $12 per pound. Frozen crab legs are usually available at most grocery stores and bulk stores like Costco. I see advertisements for crab leg sales from time to time.

At home, I let the frozen crab sit in my refrigerator until dinner time. Then, I cooked (or reheated) the legs by throwing them into a pot semi-filled with boiling water until warmed through. I gave each cluster a gentle shake to eliminate excess water and tossed them with lots of Old Bay seasoning. It was that simple.
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For $26, we both enjoyed a snow crab leg feast with more clusters than we’d ever been served at a restaurant. I found inexpensive crab crackers and pick sets at my local Asian market. Next time I will take my friend Tracy’s suggestion to steam crab legs with beer and fresh lemon. “Why didn’t I try this before?” I wondered.

Have you ever steamed crab legs at home? I’d love to hear about the most recent, new food you tried preparing at home. 


  1. S

    I do them in the microwave ala Alton Brown. Since crab legs are already cooked no need to do anything fancy. http://www.altonbrownrecipies.net

    • Jeni

      Thanks for the tip!

  2. Donna Hup

    Sounds like you all had a feast! Happy bday, Jake!

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