How To Cook Crab Meat Without The Shell

Crab meat is pretty delicate, and cooking it without the shell requires practice. But when you learn to handle and cook this delicacy expertly, you can save a lot on ordering seafood from outside.

So if you want to learn how to cook crab meat without the shell, read on further to get some professional advice. Crab meat is available without the shell in the market. Instead, you get thawed and frozen crab meat. This article shall discuss everything you need to know about cooking crab meat.

How do you Cook Crab Meat Without the Shell?

How To Cook Crab Meat Without The Shell

If you have crab meat with the shell removed, you can cook it in the following way:

  • Take a large stockpot and place a steam basket at the bottom with a cup of water. 
  • Add the crab legs to the stockpot and close the lid. 
  • Let the water boil, then cover the lid and steam until your meat gets cooked and is fragrant. 

It should take 5 minutes to cook thawed crab meat without the shell. Frozen crab legs without the shell will take 10 minutes to cook.

How do you Deep Fry Pre-Packaged Crab Meat?

Pre-packaged crab meat comes in the form of meat sticks. These are very delicate and quickly disintegrate if not handled properly. If you want to fry these deep, do not put all the crab sticks at once in the fryer. Instead, place a few of them to cook evenly in the hot oil.

How to Cook Crab Meat with the Shell?

How To Cook Crab Meat Without The Shell

Crabs cook best with moist heat, i.e., steam cooking. Here is how it is done:

  • Fill a large pot two-thirds with water. Add a pinch of salt to the water.
  • Let the water boil, and then add your crab legs.
  • Boil the legs for five minutes. You can use a thong to adjust or turn the crab legs while cooking.
  • Remove from the water and serve.

Large crabs might take around 15 to 20 minutes to cook, while the smaller ones will need only 8 to 10 minutes. The outer shell will turn bright orange when done.

If the shell is still greenish-brown, it is an indication that your crab meat is still raw. 

Is it Necessary to Cook Crab Meat?

Yes, you should always cook crab meat. It is best cooked as soon as it is killed. Never buy a dead uncooked crab from the market, as you do not know its freshness. You can, alternatively, purchase frozen crab meat from the market.

Should you Clean Crab Before Cooking?

It is always a good idea to cook the crabs before cleaning them. Some people boil crabs, and that removes all the dirt. You can then remove the shell and serve. 

Steaming is a better way to cook the crabs before cleaning or serving. Steamed crabs emerge from the steam pot with less water-logging and more filled with their delicious meaty juices.

You should never rinse crab meat, even if it is canned. Rinsing removes all the flavors of the crab meat, leaving you with a watery crab.

How to Cook a Frozen Crab?

A frozen pre-cooked crab can be cooked or grilled to get a delicious taste. First, you need to take your frozen crab and place it in aluminum foil. Then, heat it on the grill at 450 degrees Fahrenheit for 15-20 minutes. You can even steam it in a stockpot for the same time. 

How to Cook Crab Meat in the Microwave?

It is effortless to cook crab meat in the microwave. This is how it is done:

  • Put the crab and water in the bag, seal, and microwave at full power for 6 to 7 minutes.
  • Remove the crab from the bag, crack and serve.
  • If the crab is large, add 1 to 2 minutes more per additional ½ pound of the meat, up to 15 minutes maximum.

Do you Need to Thaw Frozen Crab Legs Before Cooking?

You need to always thaw frozen crab legs before cooking as it ensures even heating and cooking.

As crabs and other seafood are perishable food items, these should never be thawed on the counter or in hot water. These should never be left at room temperature for more than two hours. It is best to thaw them in the refrigerator. 

Is Crab Meat Healthy?

Crab is packed with protein, selenium, vitamin B12, and omega-3 fatty acids. All these nutrients play a vital role in overall health and preventing many chronic conditions. Protein helps in building and maintaining muscle tissue. 

Can you Eat Canned Crab Meat Without Cooking it?

Store-bought canned crab meat is fully cooked, and you can eat it straight from the can. There is no need to cook or heat this meat.

To freshen the flavor of canned crab meat, you can soak it in ice water for 10 minutes, then drain the meat and pat it dry. 


  • Can you cook dead crab?

Dead crab meat turns mushy and loses the delicate flavors that fresh crabs have. Therefore, it is recommended to cook dead crab meat within 10 to 15 minutes of dying if you want to eat delicious crab meat. 

  • Can you microwave steamed crabs?

The best way to reheat steamed crabs is to microwave them on a high setting for a minute. This method gives the crabs a little steamed flavor without drying them. However, reheating crabs in a steamer or oven can dry them out.

  • What Happens When you Overcook Crab?

Overcooking crab legs or letting them sit too long in the boiling water can turn the meat yellow in color and emanate a fishy odor.


The easiest way to cook crab meat without the shell is to place it in a stockpot with a steaming basket and let the crab legs cook for a few minutes. Frozen meat will take around 10 minutes to cook, while thawed meat will take about 5 minutes to cook this way.

Crab meat is very delicious and healthy. You can cook it in several ways. Remember to cook crab meat immediately after killing the crabs to ensure maximum taste and flavor. 

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