Rating: 4.5 stars 4.7
211 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 173
  • 4 star values: 27
  • 3 star values: 7
  • 2 star values: 1
  • 1 star values: 3

An easy crab legs recipe with a garlicky butter sauce that's ready in just 20 minutes! I ended up getting some snow crab legs on sale at the market. I wanted something a little different from plain steamed, boiled, or grilled crab legs, so I ended up throwing a few things together to make this awesome crab leg recipe. This dish would be great with shrimp as well. Enjoy!

Recipe Summary

5 mins
15 mins
20 mins

Make any dinner a special occasion with homemade crab legs. Cooked in a flavorful garlic butter sauce, these Snow Crab legs are never a bad idea. 

Where to Buy Crab Legs

This recipe calls for Snow Crab legs, which are known for their mild flavor and easy-to-crack shell. Less expensive than King Crab legs, you should be able to find fresh or frozen Snow Crab clusters at your local grocery store or seafood monger. 

How to Cook Crab Legs

You'll find the full, step-by-step recipe below — but here's a brief overview of what you can expect when you cook these flavorful crab legs in garlic butter sauce:

Make the Sauce

Melt butter in a skillet, then add the garlic and cook until it's translucent. Add the seasonings and cook until the butter is bubbling.  

Make the Crab Legs

Cut a lengthwise slit into each shell. Add the legs to the butter mixture and simmer until the crabmeat is heated through. 

Crab Legs with Garlic Butter Sauce
Credit: Bren

How Long to Cook Crab Legs

The crab legs should be fully cooked after about five or six minutes in the bubbling butter mixture. The whole recipe, sauce and all, only takes about 20 minutes to make. 

How to Eat Crab Legs 

It's actually quite simple to eat Snow Crab legs — and you don't even need a special cracking tool. Just pull one of the legs off the cluster, bend at the joint, and pull the joints apart slowly. The meat should slide right out. Helpful hint: Make sure the legs are warm when you crack them, as it's more difficult to get cold crabmeat out of the shell. 

How to Reheat Crab Legs

Store the cooked crab legs in an airtight container in the refrigerator for three to five days. When you're ready to enjoy them again, brush the crab legs with butter (bonus points if you have leftover garlic butter) and bake in a 350 degrees F oven for about eight minutes. 

Allrecipes Community Tips and Praise

"You may be tempted to increase the sauce since it won't cover the crab completely, but as long as you crack the legs prior to putting them in the sauce, you shouldn't have a problem," according to mfreeman89. "The sauce will lend a wonderful flavor without overpowering the crab."

"This is my favorite way to prepare crab legs," raves Renee. "The buttery garlic flavor accents the flavor of the crab very well. It was also easy to make. Using pre-cooked crab legs was pretty convenient. Great recipe!"

"This was so easy and so good," says alylikestoeat. "My family LOVED it. Use all the excess butter after for the dipping sauce, if you even need it. It's already so good on its own."

Editorial contributions by Corey Williams


Original recipe yields 2 servings
The ingredient list now reflects the servings specified
Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Cut a slit, length-wise, into the shell of each piece of crab.

  • Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and cook until translucent, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in parsley, pepper, and salt. Continue to heat mixture until bubbling.

  • Add crab legs to the skillet; toss to coat with butter mixture. Simmer until completely heated through, 5 to 6 minutes.

Nutrition Facts

520 calories; protein 43.6g; carbohydrates 1g; fat 37.5g; cholesterol 274.2mg; sodium 1030.7mg. Full Nutrition