Cooking your crab legs on the stovetop is one of the easiest ways to achieve that classic, can’t-beat flavor. In fact, many home chefs would argue that steaming on the stovetop is the best way to cook king crab legs. Ahead, we’re diving into the step-by-step cooking process for both steamed crab legs and boiled crab legs (and what makes each method distinctly different!).

Remember: When your Alaskan king crab legs arrive, they have already been cooked, glazed, and frozen. Fresh crab only has a shelf life of about five to seven days; but when properly glazed, frozen king crab is good for up to a year! The fresh taste is safely preserved by cooking the crab legs directly on the fishing boat on which they were caught, or immediately upon landfall — and our special glaze makes sure it stays delicious until you can dig in. When they arrive on your doorstep, you’re essentially just reheating the crab legs! And one way to do that is on the stovetop.  

How to Steam Your Crab Legs on the Stovetop

Steaming is one of the most popular (and most predictable) ways to cook king crab legs. Here’s how to do it:

STEP ONE: Place two cups of water and a tablespoon of salt in a large pot and bring it to a boil. (Depending on the size of your pot, you may need to adjust your water amount. The pot should be filled about one-third with water.)

STEP TWO: Next, place the crab legs in the pot on a rack or colander over the boiling water. The important component to remember here is that the crab legs are NOT submerged in the water, but hovering over it thanks to the rack. 

STEP THREE: Cover the pot with a lid and cook for six to ten minutes, or until the crab is completely heated. Your crab legs will start to give a delicious “I’m cooked!” smell, and that’s when they’re ready to eat. 

STEP FOUR: Dish ’em up with side bowls of garlic butter, lemon wedges, or your favorite dipping sauce!

How to Boil Your Crab Legs on the Stovetop

Boiling is another super simple method for cooking king crab on the stove. The key difference between steaming and boiling is that with boiling, the crab legs are cooked IN water, not just over it. Both preparation methods yield yummy results, but it’s important to know which you are doing in order to keep an eye on cook time. Here’s how to boil king crab legs:

STEP ONE: Fill a large saucepan half full of cold water and bring to a boil. 

STEP TWO: Add a tablespoon of salt and the seasoning of your choice (optional, depending on your taste!). 

STEP THREE: When the water reaches a rolling boil, add in the crab legs and then immediately reduce the heat to medium. 

STEP FOUR: Allow the crab legs to simmer for about six minutes, or until heated through. 

STEP FIVE: Remove the crab legs from the water, give them a quick rinse, and then plate for eating. Your favorite sauce or garnish is the cherry on top!

Pretty simple to cook crab legs on the stovetop, right?! All you really need is a pot and some water, and you’re in business. Of course, you can’t forget the most important ingredient: wild-caught king crab! 


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