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11 Best Kinds of Crabs To Eat

Learn which crabs are edible and tasty before your next seafood boil.

Are you curious about all the different kinds of crabs out there? Do you want to know which ones are the best to eat?

Cooked Crabs On Black Plate

Check out these 11 different types of crabs and find out which ones are considered the tastiest.

Crab is a popular seafood dish that is enjoyed by many. There are many different kinds of crab, but not all of them are edible. Some crabs are poisonous, and others don’t taste good.

If you’re planning on having a seafood boil, it’s essential to know which crabs are the best to eat.

Types of Crab

Prepare the melted butter and garlic because you’ll want to try all of these delicious crustaceans.

Dungeness Crab

Dungeness crab is found in the Pacific Ocean, and it is a popular seafood item and seen as a delicacy. This is my personal favorite. The meat is dense and has a sweet, nutty flavor.

boiled dungeness crab with hammer

Dungeness crab is often boiled or steamed and served with melted butter or garlic sauce. The majority of the meat is in the claws and legs.

The purple shell turns red when cooked. I like to boil, steam, and grill these crabs before serving them with melted butter. Use the broken shells to make an outstanding fish stock.

This crab is named after Dungeness, Washington, where it was first discovered and commercially fished.


King Crab

King crab is a large, reddish-brown crab found in the cold waters of the Pacific and Atlantic oceans. The meat is dense and has a sweet flavor. King crab is often steamed.

King Crab with lemon and cilantro

The legs and claws are the most prized parts of the crab. There are over 40 king crab species, but only three come from Alaska for consumption: golden, blue, and red king crab.

Red king crab is widely considered the most prized, with its delicate flavor and firm texture.

I like to eat king crab legs with drawn butter and a squeeze of lemon. Crab bisque is also an excellent recipe.


Blue Crab

The blue crab is in many regional dishes, such as Chesapeake Bay crab cakes and Maryland crab soup.

Blue crab meat is a high protein and low fat food, and it is also a good source of omega-3 fatty acids.

The blue crab is found in the Chesapeake Bay and along the East Coast of the United States.

The crab is harvested from April to November. Blue crab meat has a sweet, delicate flavor. Blue crab is also known as soft shell crab when harvested during the molting process. It’s delicious to eat the shell and all.

I prefer blue crab steamed with Old Bay seasoning. I also like to make a crab Louie salad with blue crab meat.


Coconut Crab

The coconut crab is a type of crab found on the islands of the Indian and Pacific oceans.

The crab’s ability to crack open coconuts with its powerful claws gets its name. Coconut crabs are the largest land-living arthropods globally, with a leg span of up to 3 feet.

The crabs are nocturnal and spend their days hiding in burrows or among the trees. They come out to feed on coconuts, fruits, nuts, and small animals at night.

Coconut crabs aren’t good eating, as their meat is tough and has a strong flavor. However, the crabs sometimes work in curries and other dishes.


Peekytoes Crab

The peekytoe crab is a small crab prized for its sweet, delicious taste. Peekytoe crab meat has a sweet, delicate flavor that is great in salads and crabcakes.

These crabs used to be an unwanted byproduct of lobster fishing, but now they are prized in fine restaurants.

Use the peekytoes in simple recipes that let the crab meat take center stage. These crabs are too delicate to be shipped alive, so you must handle them with exceptional care.

My favorite way to eat peekytoe crab is in a simple crab salad with mayonnaise, lemon juice, and salt and pepper.


Brown Edible Crab

The brown edible crab is the most consumed in western Europe. Males have sweet white meat, and females have more savory brown meat.

This crab is best consumed during the winter months, and the meat works in soups and stews.

The brown edible crab resides in the North Sea, English Channel, and the Celtic Sea. Harvesting occurs year-round, but the peak season is from October to February.

The brown edible crab is a sustainable seafood choice. This crab is also known as the common edible crab and the European brown crab.

A great way to prepare this crab is to simply boil it and then serve with melted butter.


Florida Stone Crab

The Florida stone crab resides in the waters of the Gulf of Mexico. The crabs have sweet, delicate meat, which is considered a delicacy.

The meat is in the claws and legs, and the shells are a deep red when cooked.

Stone crab season occurs from October 15 to May 15. The crabs are harvested by trapping them in baited traps and boiling or steaming them.

Claws are available in sizes medium, large, jumbo, and colossal.

My favorite way to prepare Florida stone crab claws is to steam them and then dip in garlic butter.


Japanese Spider Crab

The Japanese spider crab is a species of crab found in the waters around Japan. They are the largest crab species in the world and can weigh up to 20 pounds.

Spider crabs can live to be 100. They have a reddish-brown body with long legs that span up to 12 feet wide. They are a popular seafood item in Japan.

The size and general unwieldliness of this crustacean make it challenging to cook. The crab is placed on top of a large pot of boiling water until steamed.

A nice idea is to serve the Japanese spider crab with a soy-based dipping sauce.


Horsehair Crab

The horsehair crab is a small, brown crustacean found in both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.

They typically range from 2-to-4 inches long, and their shells have a layer of fine hairs that give these crabs their name.

Many consider horsehair crabs a delicacy and are especially popular in East Asian cuisine. They can be steamed, boiled, or stir-fried and come with ginger and scallions.

Horsehair crabs are sometimes used in soup or as an ingredient in other dishes.

A delicious preparation of horsehair crab is to steam them and then top with a vinegar-soy sauce mixture.


Snow Crab

Snow crabs are a type of crab found in the North Pacific Ocean.

They are a deep-water species living at depths of up to 3,000 feet and they are a reddish-brown color and have a square-shaped body.

Snow crab legs are one of the most popular crab preparations.

It is recommended to steam these delicious appendages because it is easy to overcook the meat. Snow crab meat is sweet and delicate, but about half of what you purchase is the shell.

This ratio makes getting to the meat an art form with many tutorials on YouTube.

An excellent way to serve snow crab is to steam the legs and then dip them in clarified butter.


Bairdi Crab

The bairdi crab, also called the giant Alaska snow crab, is a large species of crab that resides in the waters of Alaska and Canada.

These crabs are prized for their sweet and tender meat, considered a delicacy. Bairdi crabs are a popular seafood item, with the legs and claws the most popular parts to consume.

Many consider the bairdi to be the best crab meat available. It lives at lower depths than many crab species, so it is harder to source and is expensive.

To maintain stability, crews may only catch mature males.

My favorite way to prepare this crab is to eat the claw meat as is. The sweetness of the meat pairs well with a glass of white wine.


Types of Crab

  1. Dungeness Crab
  2. King Crab
  3. Blue Crab
  4. Coconut Crab
  5. Peekytoes Crab
  6. Brown Edible Crab
  7. Florida Stone Crab
  8. Japanese Spider Crab
  9. Horsehair Crab
  10. Snow Crab
  11. Bairdi Crab

Final Thoughts

Crabs are delicious seafood prepared in many different ways. There are many other crabs to choose from, each with its unique flavor and texture.

There are so many ways to prepare crabs, and there’s sure to be a recipe that everyone will love. The next time you’re in the mood for some seafood, be sure to give crabs a try.

Whether you’re looking for a crab to eat fresh or frozen, I hope this list has provided you with some great ideas for where to start.

Learn about other types of shellfish you can add to your plate!

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Written by Erin Elizabeth

Erin lives in East Passyunk and enjoys checking out the local restaurants in South Philly and beyond. Her favorite restaurants are those with spicy food and outdoor seating so that she can bring along her dog, Miss Piggy.