Food & Recipes

How to Reheat Crab Legs So None of That Deliciousness Goes to Waste


Get your plastic apron and tablecloth ready, because we’re about to teach you how to reheat crab legs so they taste tender, juicy, and delicious. If you’re still wondering, can you reheat cooked crab meat in the first place? The answer is yes.

Now you may be thinking, there’s no way these tasty crustaceans will still taste mouthwatering and fresh the next day. Well, it’s a good thing we asked two top-notch chefs who know a thing or two about crab how to make it taste just as marvelous as the first time you enjoyed it. Whether you use the oven, microwave, or the stovetop, read on to find out the best way to reheat all types of leftover crab.

How to Reheat Crab Legs in the Oven

One of the best ways to reheat king crab legs, according to chef Dan Churchill, host of Genius Kitchen’s Feast with Friends, is in the oven. When you use this method, Churchill says you’re essentially making a sauna for your crab, which makes it tender and warm all the way through. For delicious leftovers, try Churchill’s method for how to reheat crab legs in oven in six easy steps.

  1. Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Place your frozen or thawed crab legs in a deep glass baking dish (this is a good method to reheat frozen crab). 
  3. Pour about ½ an inch of water into your baking dish. Make sure it’s just enough so your crab legs are partially submerged.
  4. Cover the dish with aluminum foil. 
  5. Bake for 15 to 25 minutes (depending on if your crab is frozen or thawed). Churchill recommends poking a few holes in the foil to let some of the steam escape to keep your crab tender and delicious.
  6. Take your crab legs out of the dish, season with your favorite blend of spices, and enjoy!

How to Reheat Crab Legs in the Microwave

All you quick-heating microwave-lovers can finally celebrate: This convenient kitchen tool is actually a common method to reheat crabs. And whether you want to reheat frozen crab legs or reheat steamed crab legs, we’ve got you covered. Claire Sidoti, a chef at HelloFresh, shares these seven steps to reheat crab legs in the microwave. 

  1. Wrap crab legs with dill sprigs. 
  2. Cover each bundle of crab legs with damp paper towels.
  3. Before placing in the microwave, wrap the crab legs with Saran/cling wrap.
  4. Microwave each bundle of crab legs for about two minutes.
  5. Carefully remove the crab legs from the microwave.
  6. Remove the wrap and paper towels.
  7. Place alongside lemon wedges and melted butter and serve immediately.

How to Reheat Cooked Crab in its Shell

If your leftover crab is still in the shell, try boiling the meat on the stove-top. This is an excellent method to reheat snow crab legs. Start to finish, it takes about 10 minutes to reheat cooked crab legs in the shell. Below, Sidoti shares her eight-step process.

  1. Grab a large pot to boil water in.
  2. Add about 2/3 water into the large pot. 
  3. Add a pinch of salt.
  4. Once the water is boiling, add the crab legs. Make sure most of the crabs are covered with the boiling water.
  5. Let the legs heat for about four to five minutes. 
  6. Using tongs, adjust the crab legs as needed to ensure full coverage in the water.
  7. Remove the legs from the boiling water (using a long set of tongs).
  8. Serve and enjoy.

How to Steam Crab Leftovers

The stove top is a relatively quick and easy way to reheat steamed crab legs. In fact, Churchill says that steaming your leftover crab legs is a great way to get them cooked without drying them out or letting all of their delicious flavors escape, especially if you plan on leaving them in the shell. “The key is to use a ‘tester leg’ that you’ll be able to open up and gauge the internal temperature without a thermometer,” he explains.

One tip before you get started: If you want to reheat frozen crabs, let them thaw overnight in the refrigerator or place them under warm water for about 15 minutes before you plan on cooking them. Here, Churchill goes over the four steps to reheat boiling crab leftovers.

  1. Fill a large pot with about two inches of water and place your steamer insert on top. Note: Make sure your steamer insert isn’t submerged in water.
  2. Cover your pot and heat until it comes to a boil. 
  3. Place your crab legs in the steamer, cover, and leave for about six to eight minutes.
  4. Enjoy with some melted butter and your favorite seasoning.

This method also works well if you want to reheat cooked dungeness crab. Here, Sidoti explains the steps to reheat dungeness crab on the stove top (if the meat is in the shell), and in the oven (if the meat is out of the shell). 

Crab meat in the shell:

  1. Add water to a large pot and bring to a boil.
  2. Add in crab for about five to seven minutes (if in a shell).
  3. Serve.

Crab meat out of the shell:

  1. Preheat your oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. 
  2. Put the crab in a covered oven-safe bowl.
  3. Add a splash of white wine.
  4. Heat for two minutes.
  5. Serve.

How to Make Crab Legs Part of a Meal

Now that you know a few ways to reheat your tasty crab legs, it’s time to decide what to serve them with. If you’re looking for a family-friendly meal that the kids will enjoy, try pairing your crab legs with French fries and coleslaw. You can also swap out the fries for corn on the cob and a baked potato

But if you’re in the mood to get messy and eat crab legs the way they’re served at some restaurants, then all you need to do is grab a bib, a plastic tablecloth, and a whole lot of melted butter for dipping. Oh, and of course, dig in and enjoy!

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