how to reheat crab legs

I’m sure that all lovers of seafood will agree that crab is an exotic dish that has its own unique appeal. When buying seafood, it is always best to buy fresh, but that is not always possible.

There is nothing better than fresh crab legs, but, depending on where you live, you may have to resort to the frozen store-bought variety. These will have been pre-cooked, and therefore you should know how to reheat crab legs.

Crab legs have a very distinct flavor. While similar to the white meat of a chicken, crab meat is softer and saltier. If you have a bag of crab legs in your freezer, it is important to reheat them correctly, so that they do not lose their flavor, and you can preserve the succulent texture of the meat. 

Do You Need To Defrost Crab Legs Before Reheating Them?

Crabmeat is a highly perishable food. Raw crab will go off very quickly. Therefore, most fishing companies have facilities on their fishing boats for cooking and rapid freezing of the crabs before packaging and distribution. 

If you defrost crab legs before reheating them, they may spoil very quickly. Eating seafood that has gone bad can give you a severe dose of food poisoning. Therefore it is advisable not to defrost the crab legs before reheating them. They will be fine if you reheat them straight from the freezer.

How To Reheat Crab Legs

There are numerous methods that can be used to reheat crab legs. Which one you choose depends on your personal preference. I played around with a few different ways to reheat crab legs before I found the method I like best.

In addition to eating them plain after reheating, crab legs can be added to other dishes, like stews and soups. When doing this, you should defrost and heat them slightly before adding them to your pot.

How To Reheat Crab Legs In Boiling Water

The easiest method of reheating crab legs is to simply drop the frozen crab legs into a pot of rapidly boiling salted water. Crabmeat is naturally salty, so I suggest that you should not have too much of a heavy hand with the salt. Bring the water back to a boil, and then simmer gently for about 5 minutes. The crab legs should then be heated through and ready to eat.

How To Reheat Crab Legs By Steaming

how to reheat crab legs

Steaming is a very successful method for reheating crab legs. Place about 3-4 inches of water in a pot and bring it to a boil. Place the frozen crab legs in a steamer basket and place them above the water level in the pot. Do not let the crab legs actually touch the water, otherwise, they will boil and not steam. Cover and steam for 10-15 minutes, or until heated all the way through.

You can use this same method in an electric food steamer. Fill the reservoir with water up to the water-level indicator. Place the crab legs in the basket and steam for about 10-15 minutes.

How To Reheat Crab Legs In The Oven

The oven is an easy way to reheat crab legs. Preheat the oven to 350°Fahrenheit. Lightly spray an oven-proof dish with non-stick cooking spray. Place the frozen crab legs in the dish, with some mixed herbs and a sprinkle of dried garlic powder. 

Cover with tin foil, but prick a few holes in the foil, to allow steam to escape. This will prevent the crab legs from becominglimp and soggy. Place the dish in a hot oven for 15-20 minutes. The crab legs will be full of flavor and soft and succulent.

How To Reheat Crab Legs On The Stove Top

If you reheat crab legs in a pan on the stove, it is a good idea to cover them with a sauce to prevent them from drying out. My family simply adore crab legs in a creamy garlic sauce. At the end of this article, I will share my secret recipe with you.

How To Reheat Crab Legs In The Microwave

how to reheat crab legs

Reheating crab legs in the microwave is probably the quickest method, but you can only do 3 or 4 at a time. Wrap them in a paper towel, place on a plate, and cover with cling wrap. Again, prick a few small holes in the cling wrap for the steam to escape.

Place the plate in the microwave and microwave on medium-high for 1-2 minutes. Allow them to stand for a minute before unwrapping and serving. 

Can You Reheat Crab Legs On A Barbecue?

Reheating crab legs on a barbecue will give them an unusual, delectable, smokey flavor. I like to brush them with a little bit of lemon-butter sauce to keep them moist and succulent. Do not defrost them first. Place the frozen crab legs on the hot grill, taking care not to let them get too close to the flame. Grill for 3-4 minutes, brushing with lemon-butter sauce once or twice. Then turn and repeat, to cook the other side.

All of these methods work well and will give you delicious crab legs, but my personal favorite is to heat them in a pan on the stove, in a smooth and creamy garlic sauce. 

Read Related Article: How to Reheat Rotisserie Chicken – A Quick Guide

Crab Legs In Creamy Garlic Sauce

As promised, here is my secret recipe. This recipe has been perfected through trial and error, and I promise you that there won’t be a single piece left behind when the meal is done.


  • 1½ – 2 pounds crab legs
  • ¼  cup unsalted butter
  • ½ cup fresh cream
  • 1 teaspoon dried onion flakes
  • 2 cloves of fresh garlic, crushed 
  • 1 teaspoon mixed herbs
  • Dash of salt and pepper


  • Melt the butter in a large pan.
  • Stir in the garlic and cook for a minute or two
  • Add the cream and mix well.
  • Add the onion flakes and herbs and spices.
  • Bring to the boil and add the frozen crab legs 
  • Simmer gently on low heat for 10-12 minutes. 
  • Serve piping hot.

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Peter's path through the culinary world has taken a number of unexpected turns. After starting out as a waiter at the age of 16, he was inspired to go to culinary school and learn the tricks of the trade. As he delved deeper, however, his career took a sudden turn when a family friend needed someone to help manage his business. Peter now scratches his culinary itch on the internet by blogging, sharing recipes, and socializing with food enthusiasts worldwide.

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