March 5, 2020

We cover 5 different methods for reheating crab legs. If you bought frozen crab legs at the grocery store then this is how you can reheat crab legs quickly and easily.

Crab is my favorite food. Living in North Texas, it is hard to get fresh crab. Many of us aren’t lucky enough to have access to fresh crab legs.

This is why we resort to buying frozen crab legs to fulfill our crab meat cravings. Frozen store-bought crabs are usually pre-cooked before being frozen to increase their shelf life.

This is why you only need to warm them up a little before adding them to your stew and soup recipes. 

In this guide, you will learn how to reheat crab legs via 5 different methods – steaming, boiling, microwaving, baking, and grilling.

Can You Reheat Crab Legs?

It’s worth noting that crab legs don’t actually need to be reheated before you eat them. In fact, you can simply thaw them or serve them cold with tangy lemon wedges and delicious melted butter.

I use cooked and refrigerated crab in crab salads and cocktails all the time. You can even make delicious cold crab dip to serve with crackers as an appetizer to your guests. 

However, if you prefer to heat your frozen store-bought crab legs, then you can definitely do so. Just be mindful of one thing – be very careful not to overheat the legs as that will only ruin their taste and texture.

Make sure to only warm them up on medium heat to keep the crab meat tender and juicy. 

What is the Best Way to Reheat Crab Legs?

There are 5 different ways to reheat crab legs, and no single method has precedence over the other.

However, my favorite method is steaming as that way, they retain their juiciness and tenderness without getting excessively waterlogged, which is a risk when you boil them.

However, you can experiment with all the methods and choose one that best suits your taste buds. 

Pro tip: Always buy frozen crab legs. Make sure they are not thawed. Also, always thaw frozen crab legs before reheating them.

Crab legs cracked with lemon

How to Reheat Crab Legs in 5 Different Ways

Here’s how to warm up crab legs using 5 different ways:

1. How to reheat crab legs by steaming them

If you want to opt for steaming thawed crab legs, you are going to need the following things:

Things You Will Need

  • Crab legs
  • A bamboo steamer or a steamer pot
  • Water at room temperature
  • Beer (Optional)
  • A pair of tongs

Instructions

Here’s what you need to do to reheat store-bought crab legs:

  1. Fill the bottom basket of a steamer with equal parts water and beer (for a flavor boost) or just room temperature water.
  2. Place the steamer on a stovetop, cover it with the lid, and turn the heat on so that the water can boil on high flame.
  3. While the water comes to a boil, thoroughly wash the crab legs with tap water. 
  4. Once the water in the steamer starts boiling, remove the lid, and place the washed crab legs in the upper basket. If the legs are too big to fit inside the steamer, you can break them near the joints.
  5. Reduce the heat from high to medium, and let the crab legs warm up for around 5 minutes.
  6. When the legs are properly cooked, carefully remove them using tongs.
  7. Place the reheated legs onto a serving plate and season it according to your taste. 
crab legs in boiling pot of water

2. How to reheat crab legs by boiling

Boiling is another way to reheat crab legs.

Things You Will Need

  • Crab legs
  • A large pot
  • Water
  • A pinch of salt
  • Vinegar (optional)
  • Lemon juice (optional)

Instructions

Here’s how to reheat crab legs via boiling

  1. Fill up a large pot with about two-thirds of water.
  2. Add in a pinch of salt. You can also add some vinegar and freshly-squeezed lemon juice for some added flavor.
  3. Place the pot on your stovetop and bring the water to a boil on high heat.
  4. While the water boils, wash the crab legs.
  5. Reduce the heat from high to medium-low and gently add the crab legs into the pot.
  6. Boil the legs for about 4 to 5 minutes.
  7. Make sure to use tongs to adjust the legs for full coverage.
  8. When the legs are done, use tongs to replace them from the water.
  9. Place the cooked legs on a baking rack to drain.
  10. Serve them right away with a seasoning of your choice. 

Watch this video to learn how to reheat crab legs.

3. How to reheat crab legs in the oven

You can also reheat crab legs in an oven.

Things You Will Need

  • Washed crab legs
  • Glass baking dish
  • Water
  • Aluminum foil
  • Peeled garlic cloves and herbs (optional)

Instructions

Here’s how to warm up crab legs via baking:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Place the washed crab legs in a glass baking dish.
  3. Pour half an inch of water so that it can sit at the bottom of the dish.
  4. Add in peeled garlic and herbs for additional flavor.
  5. Cover the dish with aluminum foil.
  6. Place the dish inside the preheated oven for about 15 to 20 minutes.
  7. Once the crab legs are ready, carefully take the baking dish out of the oven and remove the aluminum foil.
  8. Gently take out the crab legs with a pair of tongs and serve them right away.

Pro tip: Poke a few holes in the foil with a fork so that steam can escape the dish and keep the crab meat tender and juicy.

crab legs on plate

4. How to reheat crab legs in the microwave

Another easy way to reheat crab legs is to microwave them.

Things You Will Need

  • Crab legs
  • Dill sprigs (optional)
  • Damp paper towels
  • Cling film

Instructions

  1. Wrap 3 to 4 crab legs with a couple of fresh dill sprigs.
  2. Damp a few paper towels and use them to cover each bundle of crab legs.
  3. Wrap each bundle in a cling film.
  4. Separately microwave each bundle for about 2 minutes.
  5. Gently take each bundle out and remove the cling film and paper towels.
  6. Serve the crab legs right away with the serving of your choice.
crab legs frozen on ice

5. How to reheat crab legs on the grill

For grilling, don’t thaw the frozen crab legs. Here’s how to reheat frozen crab legs via grilling:

Instructions

  1. Place the crab legs directly over the grates of your grill. Make sure to keep the thinner tips away from direct flame.
  2. Let them cook for about 5 to 8 minutes.
  3. Once they are nicely warmed up, you can carefully transfer them onto a platter.
  4. Serve the crab legs right away.
salad and crab legs

How Long Do Leftover Crab Legs Last?

Once you have thawed and reheated crab legs, you should eat them as soon as possible since that’s when they will taste the best.

However, if you can’t have them right away or if you cooked way too many, then you can keep the leftover crab legs in your fridge or freezer. 

Refrigerate the leftover crab legs in airtight containers within two hours of cooking them. They will easily last for 2 to 4 days, at the very least.

If you want to store crab legs for more than 2 to 3 days, then it’s better to freeze them in high-quality, sealed freezer bags. If you store them properly, frozen crab legs will retain their taste for about 9 to 12 months.   

So, how can you tell if your cooked crab legs have gone bad? The best way to do so is to look at them and smell them— you will notice a slimy texture and a sour smell. Make sure to discard crab meat that has that appearance and smell right away.

plate of crab legs

Final Thoughts

Now that you know all 5 of the common methods to reheat crab legs – boiling, steaming, microwaving, grilling, and baking – you can experiment with all of them and choose the one that you like the best.

We hope you found this guide helpful and that you will experiment with all these quick and easy ways to reheat crab legs. 

How to Reheat Crab Legs

How to Reheat Crab Legs

How to reheat crab legs in 5 different ways. If you bought frozen crab legs at the grocery store then this is how you can reheat crab legs quickly and easily.

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • Crab legs
  • Double boiler
  • Water
  • Beer (optional)
  • Tongs

Instructions

  1. Fill the bottom basket of a steamer with equal parts water and beer (for a flavor boost) or just room temperature water.
  2. Cover the pot with a lid and bring the water to a boil.
  3. While the water comes to a boil, thoroughly wash the crab legs with tap water. 
  4. Once the water in the steamer starts boiling, remove the lid, and place the washed crab legs in the upper basket. If the legs are too big to fit inside the steamer, you can break them near the joints.
  5. Reduce the heat from high to medium, and let the crab legs warm up for around 5 minutes.
  6. When the legs are properly cooked, carefully remove them using tongs.
  7. Serve and enjoy!

Did you make this recipe?

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About the author

Meet Go-Go-Gadget Renee'. Her passion for #kitchen gadgets is matched only by her love for tech. A real #foodie, she's all heart for red wine and delicious meals. #CookingChewTribe

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