Crab meat is a delicious and simple delicacy, which you can easily at home on your stove. Let us have a look at how to boil crab, how you can cook crab claws and legs, and how long it will take you to cook without making crab meat rubbery.

How long do you cook a crab?

Boiling time depends on the size of crabs you have decided to prepare. It can take you from several minutes for a small specimen to half an hour for the big ones. This parameter is the most important one, as you do not want to overcook your crabs. Meat becomes rubbery and uneatable. Now, we will give you a specific list, where you can check how long you need to boil different types of crabs in a stockpot on the stove:

  • How long do you boil small crabs (approximate weight up to 500 grams/1 lb.)? It will take you around 7 minutes to get small crabs boiled on the stove.
  • How long do you boil medium crabs (approximate weight from 0.5 to 1.5 kg/from 1 to 3.5 lbs.)? When water reboils in the stockpot, you need to wait for 10-15 minutes for your crab to cook.
  • how long to boil crabs, large in size (more than 3.5 lbs./1.5 kilos in weight)? You need to boil large crabs on the stove for 30-40 minutes.
  • How long to boil crab meat? Crabmeat is boiled for an average of 10-15 minutes until cooked. You need to set your timer after the water boils again.
  • How long to boil crab legs and claws on the stove? Legs and claws from small crabs are cooked for 7-10 minutes, legs and claws of large specimens can be boiled for 15-20 minutes.

If you bought frozen whole crabs or frozen crab legs and claws, and they are red, then you already have pre-cooked crab. You do not have to boil them. You can place them into boiling water with the chosen type of seasoning for 2-3 minutes or steam crabs for about 5 minutes to make their meat warm.

This was a quick guide for those searching for cooking time for crabs and crab legs. Now let us have a look at the recipe for how to boil crabs on the stove.

How do you boil crab at home?


There is one satisfying thing about this recipe; it doesn’t matter what type or size of crab you bought, as the technique of boiling always stays the same. This is an easy recipe, but you need to follow it step by step.

It is important to adhere to the recommended cooking time for crabs. If they are undercooked, you can get food poisoning. If the meat is overcooked, it becomes rubbery. The main sign of crabs’ readiness is the bright red color of the shell. Another key to a perfect boiled crab is an ice-water bath: place crabs immediately after boiling into a bowl with ice-cold water to stop the meat from overcooking.

Boiling is a great way how you can cook crab without a steamer. Here is a simple classic recipe for those who want to learn how to cook a frozen crab or a fresh crab at home.

Easy Boiled Crab Recipe

Learn how to cook crab in boiling water on the stove!
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time25 mins
Total Time40 mins
Course: Seafood recipe
Cuisine: Mediterranean
Keyword: boiled crab recipe, boiling crab, how long to boil crab, how to cook frozen crab, how to season crab
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 96kcal


  • 5 l water
  • 1 kl crabs small
  • sea salt (1 tbsp. for 1 liter)
  • 2-3 bay leaves
  • black peppercorns
  • ½ lemon
  • paprika to your taste


  • The first thing is to determine whether a stockpot you have can fit all the crabs you have. You need 5 liters of water for every 1 kilo (2 pounds) of crabs.
  • Fill a pot with water and put it on high heat to boil.
  • When water boils, add sea salt (1 tbsp. for 1 liter) and preferred seasoning (most classical ones will be bay leaves (1 leaf for 1 liter), black pepper (2 corn for 1 liter of water), squeeze half of a lemon, also you can have paprika, wine, beer added to the recipe). Let it boil for 5 minutes.
  • Now is the time to put a crab into the stock. Always have your crabs scrubbed under running water beforehand; you can even use a brush with a handle. If you have large crabs, specimens over 1.5 kilos in weight, you also need to get gills out before boiling.
  • When water reboils after you drop crabs into it, lower the heat down and let your crabs cook for the necessary amount of time.
  • When you are sure that your crab is ready, put it carefully with tongs into a bowl with ice-cold water for several minutes. When you give a boiled crab a shock-bath, you prevent crab meat from overcooking.


*calories per 100g

How much crab to buy? It is not an easy task to determine accurately how much any person can eat per serving, as there are different types of eaters. Well, you can’t please everyone, so here’s a rough estimate. If you have crab legs prepared, then you need about 3 lbs. or 1.5 kilos of crab legs to serve 4 people. In addition, if you have a whole crab cooked for a serving, then I say that you need to buy 1.5 lbs. (700 grams) per person.

You may also like: How to cook shrimps in a pan or in a pot on the stove?

To summer up, we can say that cooking a crab does not take much time and effort. If you liked our recipe, please share it with your friends. If you have any advice on how you can cook a perfect carb dish, leave all your comments in the section below. Love getting feedback from you!

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