How to Cook Crab Legs (4 Easy Ways)

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Crab legs served on platter with butter dipping sauce
Learn how to make easy Crab Legs 4 ways; from the instant pot to steaming, baking and grilling. We love to dip crab meat into the incredible crab dipping sauce.
Skill Level: Easy
Cost to Make: $20-$25 (varies by season)
Keyword: crab legs
Calories: 397 kcal
Servings: 2 people


What You Will Need to Cook Crab:

  • 2 lbs snow crab legs (4 clusters)
  • 1 cup water (for Instant pot or steaming methods)

Ingredients for Crab Dipping Sauce:


How to Make Crab Dipping Sauce:

  1. In a medium saucepan melt 4 Tbsp butter and add 2 minced garlic cloves, 1/4 tsp salt, and 1/8 tsp black pepper. Stir 30 seconds until fragrant then remove from heat. Off the heat, squeeze in 1/2 Tbsp lemon juice. Divide between ramekins to serve.

Instant Pot Crab Legs:

  1. Place a trivet in a 6 qt Instant Pot and add 1 cup water. Add 3-4 clusters of fresh or frozen crab legs per batch folding the legs to fit more in (thawed are easier to fit than frozen).

  2. Close the lid, set vent to sealing position and cook on manual high pressure 4 minutes then switch vent to venting position and do a quick release* of remaining pressure.

Steamed Cook Crab Legs:

  1. Place wire rack or basket at the bottom of a large stockpot. Add 1 cup of water. Place crab legs over the rack (as many as your pot will accommodate). Bring the water to a boil then cover and steam cook until fragrant and steaming hot (5-10 minutes). Frozen crab legs will take longer, thawed crab legs cook faster).

Grilled Crab Legs:

  1. Using heavy-duty aluminum foil, create a foil pack with 4 clusters of crab legs. Using a long sheet of foil with the crab legs in the center, bring the two ends together and fold them together twice. Fold the other two ends together twice to seal the foil packet. Do not add water since it will steam cook with the natural moisture from the crab legs.

  2. Grill over medium/high heat at 450˚F for 15 minutes if frozen or 10 minutes if thawed. Crab legs are ready when you see steaming as you open the foil pack.

Oven-Baked Crab Legs:

  1. Create the same foil pack of 4 crab leg clusters. Place on a baking sheet and onto the center rack of a preheated oven at 450˚F for 25 minutes if frozen or 15 minutes if thawed. The crab legs are ready when you open the foil pack and they are steaming.

Recipe Notes

*Pro Tip: Set up your Instant Pot outside or to depressurize under the range vent. otherwise your kitchen will be quite fragrant! Also, You can repeat with a second batch right away using the same water at the bottom.