Alaskan Snow Crab: Everything You Need to Know


Cooking + Recipes

A Subtly Sweet-Flavored Crab Option Everyone Loves

One of Alaska’s prized crustaceans, the snow crab is named for its snowy white meat, a delicate and flaky treat encased in this coveted crab’s long, meaty legs. The flavor of wild, sustainably-caught Alaskan snow crab meat is pure and sweet, delicious on its own or as part of a complex dish. 

Known also as the Opilio crab, snow crabs thrive in the chilly northern seas of the globe, from the North Pacific to the Northwest Atlantic, scuttling along the sandy or muddy bottoms of the ocean floor. Here, they scavenge for bits of shellfish, worms, fish, other crustaceans, even smaller members of their own species. They also feed as predators upon anything that they can get their hefty claws on. 

Commercially, snow crabs are harvested during the fall and winter, but since the legs and claws freeze well, they can be enjoyed year round. The NOAA’s FishWatch considers snow crab to be an excellent choice of seafood due to its abundance, its sustainable management, and ocean-friendly harvest practices. Only the male snow crabs — nearly double the size of their female counterparts — are harvested for commercial purposes.  A fully-grown snow crab can weigh anywhere between 1-4 pounds. 

Snow Crabs from Wild Alaskan 

Our snow crab legs and claws are harvested from the best Alaskan fisheries. The product comes flash frozen and is ready to eat once it’s been thawed; by offering pre-cooked snow crab legs, we’re able to preserve the best textures and flavors that snow crabs have to offer. 

Our snow crab legs are separated into individual segments and pre-scored to make them easy for you to enjoy. They’re all natural, without any additives, chemicals or preservatives. Like other varieties of crustaceans in Alaska, snow crabs are a low-calorie, low-fat source of clean protein, containing about 500mg of omega-3 fatty acids per 3.5 ounce serving, a delicious and healthy seafood option for shellfish and seafood lovers. You’ll get about ½ of a cup of crab meat, or two ounces, from every five legs. 

It’s best to thaw snow crab legs under refrigeration overnight, but if you’re in a pinch you can defrost the crab in a bowl of cool water until it’s just thawed out. Or, for the laziest, easiest approach to enjoying your snow crab legs and claws, throw them unthawed into a pot with a little added liquid — water will do — to steam for a few minutes until hot. 

How to Eat Snow Crabs

The shell of the snow crab is thin and hard with gentle spikes, usually easy enough to snap apart with just your hands; with the rounder shaped claw, occasionally you might find that having a crab cracker can help you along. The meat of snow crabs can easily be scraped out of its shell with a claw, a chopstick, or whatever you have on hand. 

For the leg, remove the tendon by popping the leg backward where the joint is and gently pulling the tendon out. With your fingers in the middle of the crab leg section, give it a gentle snap — without breaking the shell all the way through, which helps keep the flesh structurally intact (and easier to eat). You'll know you've done it correctly if the flesh from the section easily comes out in one nice piece. You can do exactly the same with the small part, which also contains good meat.

For the claw, you can use your hands to crack it open as our snow crabs are pre-scored, but there's no shame in using a crab cracker here. Again here, avoid cracking the shell all the way through, which helps keep the meat inside the claw intact and easily extractable.

For the knuckle, you can gently use your fingers to work out the bits of meat from the knuckle segments; a crab fork, chopstick or even the crab's own sharp claw can do the trick.

Snow crab legs can be enjoyed chilled or warmed by steaming, boiling or baking. The meat itself is tender and light, readily flaked into delicate, springy fibers that work well with pasta. Just don’t leave them on the heat for too long, as you want the meat to stay moist and tender. Whatever you don’t finish or use can be stored in the refrigerator for three to five days.

In addition to trying out our delicious Alaskan snow crabs, give our Dungeness crab — the sweet and briny Pacific crustacean that chefs go wild over — a try, too, when they’re available. Each variety of crab has its unique qualities and flavor profile that make it ideal for different uses in your seafood meal rotation. And here's some dipping sauce inspiration for your crabbing delight.

Choose My Plan