Let me show you how ridiculously easy it is to make an amazing crab leg dinner at home.
We take you through every step so you’ll know how to choose quality crab legs, how much to buy, and the absolute best way to cook them.
You are watching: What Goes With King Crab Legs
Make amazing crab legs at home for half the cost of dining out.
Menu prices vary, but you can expect to pay somewhere between $35-$55 for a crab legs dinner at a restaurant, depending on the type of crab and weight offered.
If you have a Costco or Sam’s Club membership, it’s worth checking there for a reasonably sized package. Often on the weekends, Costco has crab legs available individually at their seafood kiosk rather than in larger quantities.
Kroger and Whole Foods are also accommodating in this way which makes it easy to buy just what you need and is far better on a budget.
The prices at any of these stores range between $16-24 per pound, depending on the type of crab and seasonal sales.
How much crab meat do you get from crab legs?
The yield for crab legs is about 50% meat, so if you purchase 16-24 ounces for two people, you will end up with between 8-12 ounces of crab meat.
That is roughly 4-6 ounces per person.
Calculating TIP: If you’re figuring amounts for more than two, Simply adjust the servings in the recipe below and it does the math for you!
For us, that is always enough because the meat is so rich and we prepare two side dishes or save room for dessert.
Do you know how easy it is to cook crab legs?
It’s ridiculously easy. In the oven for less than 15 minutes, easy. Barely enough time to sip a little wine, easy.
No kidding. I wouldn’t even call it cooking since they’re already cooked, and you’re simply reheating (recipe below).
Yes, they’re all pre-cooked unless you’re buying live crab.
As long as your side dish is quick too, dinner is on the table in under 20 minutes because garlic butter doesn’t take long to melt and release its heavenly bouquet.
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Steps to Prepare a Crab Leg Dinner
Buying Crab Legs
The yield for crab legs is about 50% meat, so if you purchase 16-24 ounces for two people you will end up with between 8-12 ounces of crab meat, roughly 4-6 ounces serving size per person.
Snow Crab (shown in the second photo) has a smooth shell that is relatively easy to handle or even cut with scissors before serving.
It is harvested during the winter from January through March. The meat is sweet and silky, delicately hidden but easy to capture.
King Crab (shown in the first photo) is quite a specimen with its spiny, hard shells, and considerably longer legs.
It is harvested from the North Pacific and the Bering Sea from November through February, and during brief periods in July and September.
The meat is sweet and substantial due to the size of the legs—once you get to it, you’ll have prized, man-pleasing bites of crab.
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We’re talking about frozen or previously frozen crab here—it’s already cooked—and the most readily available.
If you are lucky enough to live in a location where live crabs are coming off the boat and your fish monger is cooking them fresh for you, kudos!
For the rest of us, they ALL arrive frozen at the store and the ones you see in the case at the seafood counter have simply been defrosted.
Unless I am preparing the crab legs the same day, I buy them frozen. You want them to taste as fresh as possible, so it’s best that they aren’t lounging in the fridge long after being defrosted.
Look for crab legs bright in color and relatively free of clumps of ice crystals or freezer burn. In the photo below you can see the ice looks more like a glaze, which is ideal.
Crab meat is delicate and won’t taste fresh if the crab has been in the freezer too long or allowed to defrost and refreeze (which means you don’t want to refreeze yours either).
Cooking and Reheating Crab Legs
You can grill, boil, or steam crab legs but there is nothing easier than the oven method described below, and it’s the best way to keep them warm without drying them out if you’re waiting for a side dish.
Oven Method: Allow crab legs to defrost in the refrigerator overnight and briefly rinse with cold water. Score or cut King Crab shells before heating with crab & seafood shears or a good pair of kitchen shears. Snow Crab shells are softer and easier to break and eat at the table.
Tips for Cracking Crab Legs
Depending on the type of crab, getting through the shell barrier can land somewhere between frustrating and painful.
Scoring or cutting King Crab shells before reheating with crab & seafood shears or a good pair of kitchen shears will make cracking them at the table a breeze.
Provide two extra cloth napkins (one for each hand) or small towels for each person when serving King Crab. Even if you score the shells, a napkin helps protect hands.
It’s okay if you don’t have crab cracking tools, a nut cracker works too (it’s what we use).
Side Dishes for Crab Legs Dinner
When choosing a side dish for your crab leg dinner you want bright, clean flavors to balance the richness of the crab and easy to eat with your fingers.
You can just feel stress melting away, right?!
Side dishes you can eat with your hands.
- Roasted Asparagus
- Brussels Sprouts
- Rosemary Roasted Fingerling Potatoes
- Risotto Cakes
- Sweet Potato Fritters
- Cheesy Quinoa & Broccoli Patties
- Crispy Smashed Roasted Potatoes
- Crudité Platter
They’ll even taste good dipped in the garlic butter.
If you don’t mind picking up a fork, these side dishes balance the sweet crab:
- Roasted Beets with Blackberry-Ginger Balsamic & Feta
- Spinach-Strawberry Salad
- Citrus Salad with Maple Candied Walnuts and Orange-Dijon Dressing
And don’t forget dessert!
We love Double Chocolate Truffles and Cheesecake Strawberries because they are crazy good, simple to make, and maintain the eat-with-your-hands theme.
Bring even more WOW with one of these Valentine’s Day Desserts to impress from start to finish.
Serving Tip: All you need now is a hot, damp towel for your hands—simply wet washcloths with warm water and keep warm in a slow cooker until dinner is done.