How to Boil Crabs for Cooking

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Things You'll Need

  • Large pot with a lid

  • Water

  • Sea salt

  • Crab boil seasoning

  • Corn on the cob

  • Small red potatoes

  • Long-handled tongs

  • Crabs

  • Soft kitchen cloth

Boiling crabs, even blue ones, will turn them red.

Crustaceans such as crab and lobster look intimidating, but inside their tough shells is sweet, tender meat. A simple way to cook crabs is to boil them in salty, seasoned water. Whether you have collected fresh crabs from crabbing or purchased flash-frozen crustaceans from the grocery store, you can have a good meal in less than an hour. Add some vegetables to your boiling pot for a one-pot meal.


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Step 1

Put a large pot on the stove. Pour 2 gallons of water in the pot along with 1 cup of sea salt. Allow the water to come to a rolling boil.

Step 2

Add a packet of crab boil seasoning if you like a little spice in your crabmeat. If serving vegetables with your meal, put them in the water first since they take longer to cook. Cook the vegetables for 20 minutes on medium heat or until the vegetables are done.

Step 3

Remove the vegetables from the water and return the water to a rolling boil.


Step 4

Plunge the live or frozen crabs into the boiling water with your long-handled tongs. Add all the crabs to the water and make sure they are covered.

Step 5

Place the lid on the pot and boil the crabs for 20 minutes. Smaller crabs may cook faster, in just 8 to 10 minutes. The crab is done when the shells turn bright orange or red.

Step 6

Remove the crab carefully with your tongs. Place them on a soft kitchen cloth to soak up some of the cooking water. Allow them to cool before cracking and eating.


Dip your crab meat in melted butter and give it a squeeze of lemon before eating.


Toss out refrigerated cooked crabs after a day to avoid food poisoning.