There’s a reason they call it the king. Because while other types of crab are still delicious, there’s only one that offers the size and flavor worthy of a crown.
But what’s really the difference between King crab and other types of crab? Let’s take a closer look at how four other types of crab measure up.
The majority of this squat crab is caught along the west coast — primarily in California, Oregon and Washington — during the winter months. While the meat is known for having a distinct sweet and slightly salty flavor, the biggest distinction between Dungeness and King crab is the size. The body is bulky and almost heart shaped, but Dungeness crab legs are substantially shorter and contain far less meat than King crabs.
Named for the blue tint in their shells, Blue crabs are found along the east coast in the Chesapeake Bay and along the Gulf of Mexico. Blue crab season lasts from April to December, making these Maryland favorites nearly always in demand. While typically served up with Old Bay seasoning, these smaller crabs definitely make you work for your dinner. Served whole — unlike King crabs, which are typically served and sold as just the large, meaty legs — they’re known for being difficult to pick, with less meat coming with more work.
The most distinctive on this list, their name actually refers to crabs that have recently molted and haven’t regrown their exoskeleton yet. In fact, more often than not, soft-shell crabs are actually just blue crabs. In this stage, everything but the gills, mouthparts and abdomen are edible, making them ideal for deep frying and putting between two pieces of bread. Still, if you’re looking for a traditional crab-eating experience, soft-shell crab isn’t likely to deliver on that desire.
Hailing from both the North Atlantic and North Pacific, this cold water crab has the most in common with King crab — from their relative size, to their easy-to-eat claw clusters. While Snow crabs do tend to be a bit sweeter in flavor, they still aren’t quite as large as King crab legs. However, if you’re looking for a large leg with a great depth of crab flavor, you really can’t go wrong between the two.
And there you have it. Sure, everyone has their favorites…but we’re inclined to think the only people who wouldn’t put King crab on the top of their list are the ones who haven’t tried it.