Dungeness Crab: Everything You Need to Know


Cooking + Recipes

School of Fish

Fishing + Sustainability

The Crustacean You'll Want to Get Your Claws On

In Alaska, they’re often called “Dungies,” a term of endearment for a seafood people adore. Dungeness crab meat’s delicate salty-sweet flavor, refreshing brininess and satisfyingly meaty texture make it a wild-caught seafood that crustacean lovers want to get their claws on. Highly prized by chefs and beloved by amateur foodies, the Pacific-dwelling Dungeness crab is nationally renowned for its incredibly delicious meat.

Dungeness crabs are named after a place in Washington called Dungeness Bay, a national wildlife refuge where the crabs are found in abundance. However, their habitat is vast, spanning the Pacific coast of North America, from the southernmost reaches of Alaska all the way down to the Baja peninsula of Mexico.

Averaging about six or seven inches across, Dungeness crabs are a bit smaller than king crabs, with much shorter legs and smooth shells. They are predators as well as scavengers, foraging on the ocean floor for other crustaceans, fish, worms and bivalves, and even other smaller dungeness crabs. Dungeness crabs are also an important source of food for other species in the food chain, including sea otters, halibut, salmon, octopus and humans.

Dungeness crab meat is a lean seafood that’s packed with nutrition, most notably rich in zinc and magnesium, which are both minerals that play important supporting roles in your health. 

Dungeness Crabs From Wild Alaskan

Our “snap and eat” dungeness crab legs and claws harvested from the best Alaskan fisheries, separated into individual legs, and pre-scored to make them easy for you to enjoy. They’re all natural, without any additives, chemicals, or preservatives.

The product comes frozen, but unlike our other offerings the Dungeness crab is ready to eat once it’s been thawed; pre-cooking (as opposed to offering raw product) helps to extend their shelf-life and preserve the best textures and flavors that Dungeness has to offer.

It’s best to thaw the Dungeness 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. After the crab legs are defrosted, you can just snap ‘em and eat ‘em chilled, with or without a dip. Or, while they’re still in their shells you can reheat the crab legs by steaming them, warming them in the oven, or popping them into the microwave for a minute or so until they’re piping hot. 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.

To chow down, you won’t need special tools or super strength to break into the crab — no crackers, no picks, just your bare hands. The Dungeness crab legs that we offer are scored along their biggest knuckle to make them easier to snap open. The smaller knuckles aren’t scored, but they crack apart quite easily, and the tips of their legs are thin and pointy enough that you can use them to help push or scrape out any morsels of crab meat that are out of reach of your fingers. You’ll get about ⅓ to ½ of a cup of crab meat from every two legs.

For Dungeness crab recipe ideas to get you started, check out our blog posts on mayo-free crab salad inspo and our selection of dips that go great with Dungeness meat straight out of the shell.

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