Fried Crab Legs Recipe

While crab legs aren’t always the cheapest meat in the world, every once in a while they make a very special alternative to your more regular protein sources like fish or chicken, or even a nice change from most common fried snacks like shrimp.

Today we’re going to show you how to make some delicious, deep-fried crab legs seasoned with garlic, onion, cayenne, and old bay. They’re exceptionally simple to make and are guaranteed to enhance whatever you serve them with.

How to make Fried Crab Legs

Even if you never cook seafood, you’ll have no trouble frying these crab legs to crispy perfection.

If you’re not sure where to get ahold of soft shell crab, check the frozen section or your local supermarket, or even a local fish market. Alternatively, you can simply order them online, large retailers like Walmart offer great frozen food delivery.

Ingredients:

(2 servings)

  • 3 Alaskan King Crab Legs (snow crab legs also work)
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup of flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon of pepper
  • 1 ½ teaspoon of old bay seasoning (divided)
  • 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper (divided)
  • 3/4 cup of panko breadcrumbs

Instructions:

In this fried crab legs recipe there is a small amount of prep work to do before we can fry the crab legs. We’ll need to wash them, cut the shell and then extract the meat.

But don’t worry! It’s not as hard as it sounds and a quick search will show you a number of easy-to-follow tutorials on exactly how to do this.

Step 1:

Start with extracting the meat from the crab‘s legs, there is a special tool for this called a ‘lobster pick‘ which allows easy extraction of the meat. But don’t worry if you don’t have one, you can simply use a carving fork, or even a regular fork if that’s all you have.

Step 2:

Clean the now extracted crab meat with water and set it down on a paper towel. Fold the towel over and press down gently to absorb the water on the top. We need the meat as dry as possible for frying.

Step 3:

Now we’ll prepare the batter for frying. Take 3 large bowls and add 2 eggs along with 2 tablespoons of water. Stir thoroughly until they have completely combined.

Step 4:

Using the second bowl, we need to combine all the seasonings. This includes the flour, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, pepper, 1 teaspoon of old bay seasoning, and 1/2 a teaspoon of cayenne pepper.

Step 5:

Using the third bowl, add the panko bread crumbs together with all the remaining cayenne and old bay seasonings. Give it a quick mix to ensure even distribution and set it aside.

Step 6:

At this stage, we can start to heat the oil. Place a generous amount of vegetable oil in a dutch oven or deep frying pan. Keep an eye on it and ensure it doesn’t get too hot, we’re looking for around 350-375°F before it’s ready.

Step 7:

While the oil is heating we can bread the crab legs. Begin by coating them with the flour mixture and seasonings. Give them a gentle shake to remove the excess. Ensure the whole thing is completely covered before moving on.

Step 8:

Now dip them in the egg mixture, the easiest way to do this is by holding the end between your index finger and thumb and gently laying one side down in the bowl, then lift it up and flip it over giving it a second dip to coat the other side.

Let any excess egg drip off before moving on.

Step 9:

Cover the crab legs with the breadcrumbs next, gently pat the breadcrumbs onto them to help the bread to stick, and bind to the coated meat.

Something people like to do is ‘double dip’ when they fry things with breading on, which means to return the legs to the egg a second time and then bread it again. This yields a thicker outer crust.

Just remember you might need to scale the ingredients up a bit to accommodate this.

Step 10:

Place the legs into the oil and fry them. Do this by pinching one end and lowering them slowly into the pan away from you, this helps reduce any oil splashing that might otherwise come your way.

Flip them every 2 minutes until the entire coating is a nice, golden brown color.

Step 11:

Once finished place them on a paper towel to drain the excess oil.

They are now ready to serve with your favorite sides and sauces!

Ingredient substitutions

There are a number of great ingredient substitutions when it comes to fried crabs legs that can both enhance the flavor and accommodate various dietary requirements.

1. Cornstarch

Cornstarch is a popular flour substitute that is often used in Asian countries when deep-frying meat. It’s completely gluten-free too which makes it perfect for people with that dietary requirement.

2. Oil

If you need a dairy-free substitute for the egg, oil is a great choice as it of course assists in the frying process, and also helps the breadcrumbs adhere to the meat. Another good alternative is buttermilk depending on what kind of flavor you’re looking for.

3. Paprika

Old bay seasoning is essentially a combination of celery salt and paprika. So if you don’t have Old Bay to hand, you can simply swap it out for paprika and it produces a surprisingly similar result!

What to serve with Fried Crab Legs

As delicious as deep-fried crab is, to round off the meal perhaps you might want something a little extra. Luckily, there’s no end to the delicious sides you can serve with crabs legs and they can accommodate almost any style of meal you’re looking for.

Corn on the Cob

One of the most common pairings with crab‘s legs and is considered a classic duo. Add a little garlic and butter to the corn and you’ll have a deliciously complementary pairing.

Salad

Nothing balances out the heavier feel of fried food quite like a fresh salad prepared with garlic, balsamic vinegar, and perhaps some croutons.

Dipping sauces

Oftentimes we don’t need a ‘real’ side with the crabs’ legs, we just need a great sauce to dip it in. Our suggestions for the best sauces are BBQ sauce, Tobiko sauce, and Yum Yum sauce, give them a try!

How to reheat Fried Crab Legs

In the unlikely event, you haven’t devoured the whole thing the same day in a single sitting, here’s how to reheat your crab‘s legs.

How to reheat Fried Crab Legs in a pot

Pour a little oil into a skillet on medium to high heat and let come up to temperature.

Re-fry the legs for 2-3 minutes and then flip, fry again on the other side. We just need to warm them up so that should be an adequate amount of time.

How to reheat Fried Crab Legs in a microwave

Place every crab leg in a single microwave-safe dish and heat for 2 minutes. Check the temperature and if they are not fully warmed through yet, heat them for an additional 30 seconds.

How to reheat Fried Crab Legs in the oven

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Place the crab legs in a tray and heat them for about 6 minutes, flip them halfway through to ensure even reheating.

How to reheat Fried Crab Legs in an air fryer

Preheat the air fryer to 300°F.

Place the crab‘s legs in the fryer basket and fry for 3 minutes, take the basket out and give them a good shake/flip them, then fry for a further 2 minutes.

How to store Fried Crab Legs

It’s very easy to store crab legs for later use, we just need to ensure they are not exposed to the air and they will stay fresh for a good while!

Store in the fridge

Place the crab‘s legs in airtight containers, if you don’t have any that will adequately fit you can also wrap them tightly in aluminum foil or plastic wrap. Once refrigerated they will keep for 3-5 days.

Store in the freezer

Freezer bags are ideal for this to take up as little room in your freezer as possible. Place the crab legs in the bag and press all the air out, then simply put them in the freezer. Once frozen they will keep for 3-6 months.

fried crab legs recipe

Fried Crab Legs Recipe

Crabmeat is one of the most moorish protein sources around. Today we’re showing you how you can cook them with a delicious seasoned and fried breading that will give you a perfectly crunchy and golden brown finish.
5 from 10 votes
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Total Time 20 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 2 people
Calories 170 kcal
Equipment
  • 3 Bowls
  • 1 Skillet (or dutch oven)
  • 1 lobster pick (optional)
Ingredients
  
  • 3 Alaskan King Crab Legs (or snow crabs)
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1 and 1/2 tsp old bay seasoning divided
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper divided
  • 3/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
Instructions
 
  • Start with extracting the meat from the crab's legs, there is a special tool for this called a 'lobster pick' which allows easy extraction of the meat. But don't worry if you don't have one, you can simply use a carving fork, or even a regular fork if that's all you have.
  • Clean the now extracted crab meat with water and set it down on a paper towel. Fold the towel over and press down gently to absorb the water on the top. We need the meat as dry as possible for frying.
  • Now we'll prepare the batter for frying. Take 3 large bowls and add 2 eggs along with 2 tablespoons of water. Stir thoroughly until they have completely combined.
  • Using the second bowl, we need to combine all the seasonings. This includes the flour, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, pepper, 1 teaspoon of old bay seasoning, and 1/2 a teaspoon of cayenne pepper.
  • Using the third bowl, add the panko bread crumbs together with all the remaining cayenne and old bay seasonings. Give it a quick mix to ensure even distribution and set it aside.
  • At this stage, we can start to heat the oil. Place a generous amount of vegetable oil in a dutch oven or deep frying pan. Keep an eye on it and ensure it doesn't get too hot, we're looking for around 350-375°F before it's ready.
  • While the oil is heating we can bread the crab legs. Begin by coating them with the flour mixture and seasonings. Give them a gentle shake to remove the excess. Ensure the whole thing is completely covered before moving on.
  • Now dip them in the egg mixture, the easiest way to do this is by holding the end between your index finger and thumb and gently laying one side down in the bowl, then lift it up and flip it over giving it a second dip to coat the other side.
    Let any excess egg drip off before moving on.
  • Cover the crab legs with the breadcrumbs next, gently pat the breadcrumbs onto them to help the bread to stick, and bind to the coated meat.
    Something people like to do is 'double dip' when they fry things with breading on, which means to return the legs to the egg a second time and then bread it again. This yields a thicker outer crust.
    Just remember you might need to scale the ingredients up a bit to accommodate this.
  • Place the legs into the oil and fry them. Do this by pinching one end and lowering them slowly into the pan away from you, this helps reduce any oil splashing that might otherwise come your way.
    Flip them every 2 minutes until the entire coating is a nice, golden brown color.
  • Once finished place them on a paper towel to drain the excess oil.
    They are now ready to serve with your favorite sides and sauces!
Nutrition
Calories: 170kcalCarbohydrates: 19gProtein: 3gFat: 9gSaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 10mgSodium: 310mgFiber: 0.5gSugar: 2g
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