When it comes to Alaskan King Crab, there’s one thing you can count on: Regardless of the color—it’s going to be delicious. However, while the shade of the shell doesn’t change the mouthwatering factor, there are some crucial distinctions between red and golden king crab that are helpful to know when planning your next crab feast.

Let’s take a closer look at these two varieties to understand what sets them apart.

Red King Crab

When you picture a bushel of king crabs, you’re probably picturing red king crabs. That’s because these popular beauties are the most well-known and widely eaten of the king crab varieties. While alive, their shells are a rich burgundy color, but when cooked, they take on the bright red hue we most commonly associate with crabs. They’re most famous for their delicate texture and meat-packed portions.


Golden King Crab

While they may be slightly smaller than red king crabs, golden king crab legs are still a feast in their own right, and enthusiasts celebrate their uniquely sweet flavor. Though, you’ll want to tool up with some shears as golden king crab legs are more prickly than their red counterparts. Due to their size, golden king crab legs also tend to be slightly lower in price. So, if you’ve already experienced red king crab, golden king crab legs are a great way to switch up the menu. Find some inspiration with this delectable linguine recipe!

Cooking Alaskan King Crab Legs

The bottom line? You really can’t go wrong with either variety. While there are slight differences in color, size, and flavor, you’re bound to be impressed by the hefty size and sweet flavor of both deep-sea kings.

But once you have your king crab in hand, what’s the best way to prepare your feast? Luckily, with such dynamic flavor on its own, a simple preparation does the trick. Here are few options to choose from:

  • On the grill: The ideal low-fuss cooking method, grilling king crab legs is great for flavor and even better for whoever is on dish duty. Simply brush the crab legs with oil and place them on a hot grill for about five minutes, turning once at the halfway mark. Serve with melted butter and lots of napkins.
  • In the oven: While not as cleanup friendly, your king crab legs can also be easily prepared in your oven. This is the best option for adding extra flavor during the baking process. Place the legs in an even layer on a foil-lined baking sheet, then squeeze a lemon and grate fresh garlic over top. Bake at 400 degrees for 5-7 minutes. Serve with more lemon wedges and melted butter.
  • Steamed: A classic choice, steaming will bring out the natural flavor of the crab legs. Simply place your crab legs in a steamer basket and fill the bottom of your pot with water. Bring to a boil and cover, letting the crab legs cook for 5-6 minutes. And again, don’t forget the melted butter.
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