There is nothing as exciting as enjoying a meal that’s both healthy and delicious. Picture this: you get to solve your long-time craving with well-cooked meat and benefit health-wise from the dish.
And that’s precisely what you get when you eat the King crab legs: a mouth-watering dish with valuable minerals and vitamins. And while you can buy this meal from various restaurants near you, it’s more exciting to cook the King crab legs in your home.
If this is your first time cooking the King crab legs at home and you are worried about how the meal will turn out, don’t fret. This post will discuss everything you need to know about cooking frozen King crab legs.
Let’s dive right in!
Fresh crab vs. frozen crab legs
Most King crab leg meat is sold pre-cooked in grocery stores. This means the crab legs are cooked for a short time while it’s fresh, then immediately frozen to lock the freshness. If you are using frozen King crab legs, leave them in the refrigerator overnight to thaw or increase the cooking time by ten minutes.
How do I cook frozen king crab legs?
As mentioned above, the King crab legs arriving at your doorstep are already pre-cooked, glazed, and frozen. They’ll have either been cooked on the fishing boats or immediately upon landfall to preserve their fresh, delicious taste.
So, you can thaw the frozen king crab legs overnight (8-12 hrs.) or cook them longer. Let’s go through the various ways you can cook the crab legs:
Method #1: Instant pot crab legs
This is one of the easiest methods for cooking King crab legs; you only need the frozen fresh crabs, an instant pot, and a cup of water to make this fancy, no-hassle seafood at home.
Then, you can proceed to cook the meat as follows:
- Place a trivet into an instant pot and add one cup of water. Then, add 3-4 clusters of frozen crab legs per batch.
- Close the lid and cook on high pressure for about 4 minutes with quick release. You can cook another batch with the same water right after the first one is ready.
- You can serve the King crab legs by dipping them in melted salted butter or adding a squeeze of fresh lemon for added flavors.
Tip: Set up the instant pot outdoors or leave it to vent under the stove hood to avoid filling your kitchen with steam.
Method #2: Steamed crab legs
Steaming is one of the best methods for cooking King crab legs. It allows the crab flavor to stay inside the shell rather than leaking into the cooking water when you boil it.
Here is a step-by-step guide to steaming the King crab legs:
- Add about 2 cups of water to one-third full and one tablespoon of salt to a large pot
- Boil the water
- Place a steaming basket, colander, or a rack over the boiling water, add your King crab legs and cover them
- Leave the crab legs to steam for about 5-10 minutes or until you smell their sweet “cooked” odor or aroma
- Using oven mitts or tongs, remove the crabs from heat and serve
Note: If you prepare fresh, uncooked King crab legs, steam them for about 20-24 minutes. Once ready, serve the meal with lemon wedges and garlic butter, and enjoy!
Method #3: Grilled crab legs
Grilled crab legs are among the simplest meals to make and so worth it for their incredible flavors. The dish is such a treat in the summer and is perfect for cooking outside in the sun.
Here is how to grill crab legs:
- Preheat your grill to medium. Brush olive oil on all sides of the King crab legs. This prevents the crabs from sticking
- Then, place the crab legs on a hot grill set at 300 degrees F for about five minutes
- Turn the crab legs and cook the other side for another five minutes until they are heated all the way through
- Using a pair of tongs, remove the crab legs from the grill and serve how you like it. We recommend using garlic butter sauce, lemon wedges, or creamy lemon butter sauce.
Method #4: Boiled crab legs
Boiling is yet another very straightforward method of cooking King crab legs. If you know how to boil water, you are already 90% aware of how to cook the crab legs.
Here is how you boil the crab legs:
- Fill a large saucepan or pot (half to two-thirds full) will cold tap water and add a tablespoon of salt and other seasonings you like; bring it to boil.
- Add four 4-8-ounce crab legs to the boiling water, ensuring that they are covered by water as much as possible. You can bend and tuck them if they aren’t fully covered by water.
- Reduce the heat to medium and leave them to cook for about 4-6 minutes. Use long tongs to adjust the legs occasionally to ensure they heat evenly.
- Remove the crab legs from the water using the long tongs. Then rinse the legs and drain them well before serving.
There you have it, folks: easy ways to cook frozen King crab legs by boiling them. Have fun!
Method #5: Oven-baked crab legs
If you want to capture the flavor of lemon and herbs in the cooking process, baking King crab legs is the go-to cooking method. To bake the crab legs;
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Place the King crab legs in a shallow baking pan in single layers
- Add hot water to the pan, covering 1/8 inch of the pan
- Cover the pan using aluminum foil and bake for about 8-10 minutes.
Remove the crabs from the oven and enjoy!
Tip: King crab legs, Dungeness crab, blue crab, and snow crab are the best for making baked crab legs.
How do I buy crab legs?
Buy high-quality King crab legs from trusted vendors and treat them with care. In most cases, the crab legs will already be cooked and frozen to preserve their freshness.
Here are a few tips to help you buy perfect King crab legs:
- Consider your saucepan or pot size when buying the crab legs
- Choose the crab legs that are fairly thick for good meat and ease of eating
- Avoid the frozen King crab legs that have been frozen for too long. These are crabs with a lot of ice crystals.
Which is the best crab dipping sauce?
Experts recommend using various crab dipping sauces to make your meal tastier. Among the best sauces is a combination of garlic, butter, and lemon – which seems to pair well with all seafood.
Here is how you make this sauce:
- Melt about four tablespoons of butter in a small saucepan
- Add two minced garlic cloves, an eight tablespoon of pepper, and ¼ teaspoonful of salt
- Stir for about 30 seconds and take it off heat
- Squeeze in ½ tablespoon lemon juice.
- Dip your king crab legs and enjoy!
Tips for cooking King Crab legs
King crab is among the tastiest and biggest types of crabs used in cooking. However, you’ll need to do a few things to enjoy its full taste and flavors.
Here are a few tips for cooking crab legs:
- Avoid boiling: Boiling King crab legs is among the most used cooking methods but not the best. Boiling in water dilutes your crab’s meat flavors, and you will likely end up with a watery mess, especially if it’s your first time.
- Cook until fragrant and steaming: Regardless of your cooking method, the crab legs are ready for eating when they are steaming. So, extend the cooking time if no hot steam comes from the crab legs.
- Cook until the shell turns color: Another way to tell if the crab legs are cooked is to check and feel their shell. They should have turned to bright orange color and should also be hot to the touch.
- Serve hot or cold: The crab leg meat is sweet when served hot or cold, so don’t worry when you leave them to turn cold.
- Use kitchen shears, a nutcracker, or a crab cracker: The King crab shells can be sharp and tough, especially at the claw.
How do I store King crab legs?
You can store the King crab legs in the refrigerator and maintain their freshness and flavor for 1-2 days. You can also store the crabs in the freezer and last for up to three months after cooking.
Here are tips for storing your King crab legs:
- Refrigerate the King crab legs within two hours of cooking them.
- For freezing, place the cooked crabs in airtight plastic containers or heavy-duty freezer bags.
- Refrigerate cooked King crabs by placing them in a dish with saran wrap loosely over the top. You can also add ice to the saran wrap to maintain the freshness.
The bottom line
The succulent meat from crab legs is a meal that takes any fancy dinner to the next level. Yes, there is the sticker shock when buying this fancy meat, but it’s so simple to make that you can’t help but buy it.
This article provides you with the five best and easiest methods to cook King crab legs. Good luck as you use it to showcase your cooking skills to your family and friends.