How to Cook Crabs in a Slow Cooker

Slice cooked crab legs open horizontally along the leg for easy access to the meat.
Slice cooked crab legs open horizontally along the leg for easy access to the meat. (Image: Jupiterimages/ Images)

Crab is typically prepared by quickly steaming or boiling on the stove top, but this exquisite crustacean can be prepared in a slow cooker. Pre-cooked frozen crab legs from snow or king crabs tend to be the most readily available and make the ideal addition to your slow cooker. Simply add thawed crab legs, water and butter to your slow cooker, and a few hours later, you'll have moist, succulent crabs legs that no one will believe were slow cooked.

Things You'll Need

  • Butter
  • Lemon wedges (optional)
  • Spices (optional)

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Rinse the crab legs under cold running water. Place the rinsed crab legs in your slow cooker. Add water until the crab legs are barely submerged.

Melt the desired amount of butter -- from a half to a whole stick -- and pour over the crab legs in the slow cooker. Add seasonings such as garlic, dill and parsley to the melted butter, if desired.

Put the lid on your slow cooker and cook the crab legs on high for about 4 hours. Since frozen crab legs are pre-cooked they are ready to eat when they are heated through.

Remove the crab legs from the slow cooker and serve immediately with melted butter and lemon wedges.

Tips & Warnings

  • Depending on the model of your slow cooker, it may cook slower or faster than another. The 4-hour recommended cooking time is a suggestion, but keep an eye on your crab legs while they cook to determine whether they need more or less time to finish cooking.
  • Thaw frozen crab legs overnight in your refrigerator prior to slow cooking.
  • Don’t overfill your slow cooker as this can affect cooking times. In general, don't fill your slow cooker more than two-thirds full; this varies among brands, so consult your owners manual for your specific model.
  • Keep the lid on during cooking. Removing the lid lets the heat escape, which prolongs the cooking process.


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