How to Open a Whole Crab


Crab meat is delectably sweet, and whole crab is widely available when crab is in season. Cleaning and cracking a whole cooked crab may seem intimidating, but it's a simple process once you familiarize yourself with the crab's anatomy. The following technique works on both Atlantic blue crabs and the larger Pacific Dungeness crabs.

Things You'll Need

  • Whole cooked crab
  • Mallet
  • Flip the crab so that its underside is face up. Lift the triangular shell flap there, also known as the apron. Twist off the apron and discard.

  • Turn the crab back over. Pull off the top shell, or carapace, gently. Twist it a little if there is resistance. Save the shell and set it aside.

  • Remove and discard the gills, which are the clear feathery finger-like tissue found just above the legs.

  • Remove and discard the mandibles, or mouth parts, of the crab.

  • Remove the "crab butter," which is the soft yellow substance found around the white crab meat. Rinse the crab quickly if needed.

  • Strike each segment of the legs gently with a mallet to crack its shell.

Tips & Warnings

  • This process also works on raw crab.
  • Be careful not to cut yourself on the sharp shell edges.

Related Searches


  • "Fish Forever"; Paul Johnson; 2007
  • "West Coast Seafood"; Jay Harlow; 1999
  • Photo Credit dungeness crab image by Mat Hayward from
Promoted By Zergnet


You May Also Like

Related Searches

Check It Out

13 Delicious Thanksgiving Sides That'll Make Turkey Insignificant

Is DIY in your DNA? Become part of our maker community.
Submit Your Work!