The interesting thing about what to serve with crab legs is that depending on where you are in the country, what goes best with crab legs can be completely different.
Along the eastern seaboard, it’s an Old Bay-heavy experience, with Maryland blues being the typical catch of the day.
But in the south, where crabbing brings in a Gulf catch, your crab legs dinner will pair up with many cajun recipes.
You might have a pail of boiled potatoes and corn bathed in a spicy red garlic sauce in one part of the country.
And in another, a huge platter of split, Dungeness crab or Alaskan King legs are slid in front of you with nothing more than a pot of melted butter and a cheesecloth-wrapped half of lemon.
And keep the butter hot and keep it comin’.
Tools for this culinary adventure include small hammers, picks, shrimp forks, and “crackers”—the things that look like pliers in reverse.
It is an imperfect eating experience, best explored with plenty of time to indulge, as there’s no getting to crab meat QUICKLY.
Crab legs are the safest bet for the newbie so that you don’t have to navigate the body, which has its own sweet meat but also organs, roe, lungs, and lots of somewhat unsettling green and black matter here and there.
And bibs are crucial no matter where you are eating.
It might even be wise to put the paper down at home because cracking crabs create a truly tornadic splatter. If you’ve never done it before, be prepared to find crab meat, claw shells, and such in your hair days later.
Whole bushels of crabs could once be had from sellers on every corner, and once visiting my mom, who adored crabs, we pulled over to get them live and still clicking in their wood pallets.
It was both a disturbing and delicious experience, on the one hand, tearfully beating back a big one that had clipped onto the side of the tall, steaming crab pot to escape.
On the other hand, giving thanks for one of the last dinners I’d have with my mom—one that highlighted one of her very favorite foods ever: freshly cooked crab.
To suit the eater reader here who has stopped by to get some ideas for what to eat with crab legs, I have pulled up as many as I could think of that I’ve enjoyed over the years.
So what goes with crab legs?
More seafood, for one.
Make it a trifecta of ocean jewels, especially so that you can get forkfuls of something while you pry back only your third claw in 30 minutes, and you’re STARVING.
Or get an appetizer on the table before the crabs are ready, a nosh to take the edge off
(Remember, crab legs are slow food. For fast crab, buy crab meat in a can and make crab cakes).
Whether you are pulling out a box of frozen snow crab legs or having a rare dozen or two live crabs delivered to your house, I hope you find a delicious crab legs side dish here that rounds out an exquisite dinner like crab legs.
What kinds of crab are perfect for a dinner of crab legs:
- Snow crab
- Alaskan King
- Blue crab
- Stone crab
There’s also the fact that you might want your crab legs chilled.
It’s a different experience altogether, and chilled crab claws are sweet and do well with an acidic bite.
I hope this list finds you well and happy.
Potatoes and crab legs are a match made in heaven.
Boiled potatoes add a satisfying, mild flavor and texture and become truly satisfying to everything they touch, including your favorite crab leg recipe.
This side is straightforward: Boil fresh shrimp, potatoes, corn, and sausage in a seasoned broth, and you’re done!
You can’t go wrong with our Garlic Mashed Potatoes–it’s luscious and comforting at the same time.
The robust tang of garlic and smooth texture of potatoes blend well with the distinct taste of crab legs.
What’s more, this recipe features plenty of butter, giving the overall dish that soft, creamy, and rich undertone.
3. Dirty Rice
Serving this Dirty Rice alongside your crab legs is the perfect decision you’ve ever made!
Rich and hearty, this sumptuous Southern side pairing is sure to steal the show at your next family meal.
It’s oozing with savory flavors thanks to the combination of sausage, ground beef, onion, celery, and a few spices.
This Cocktail Shrimp is a great pair for your crab legs, especially when you’re planning to impress your early guests.
The shrimps or prawns, which are seasoned with simple salt and pepper and then baked, are accompanied by a tomato-based and zesty cocktail dipping sauce–oh my!
It’s best for your seafood-themed party!
Another seafood-based side that’s excellent for your crab legs is this Garlic Shrimp.
The idea of creating the dish is incredibly simple: Sauté the shrimp in a flavorful lemon butter sauce, then serve it with lemon wedges–easy peasy!
Pro tip: If you’re feeling adventurous, add more cayenne pepper into the mix.
Why is this dish so good and great for your crab legs?
First of all, it’s filled with Cajun-inspired flavors, turkey smoked sausage, chicken breast, and rice.
And instead of using normal salt, the recipe includes celery salt, giving that slight aroma of celery and a mild pepper bite.
No celery salt on hand? Here’s our list of celery salt alternatives.
7. Clam Chowder
In this recipe, clams are transformed into delicious chowder.
This New England Clam Chowder offers tender clams, soft potatoes, and savory bacon, all submerged in a super creamy broth.
And there’s nothing quite as comforting as serving a warm bowl of New England Clam Chowder alongside crab legs–seafood overload indeed.
Try our homemade Seafood Chowder with a lightly creamy sipping broth!
This buttery Lemon Pepper Sauce recipe is one of the best sides for crab legs here!
Made with just 5 ingredients, the rich sauce is ready in mere minutes and also works citrusy magic on chicken, veggies, fish, and pasta dishes.
Pro tip: Use unsalted butter, so you have complete control over the seasoning.
9. Hush Puppies
These Southern Hush Puppies are the perfect side for any fried food, including your deep-fried crab legs!
They’re simply cornmeal dough formed into balls and then fried until crispy.
You’ll love them–golden brown on the outside and soft on the inside; to make it more extraordinary, serve these Hush Puppies with tartar sauce.
This Shaved Brussels Sprouts, Quinoa & Apple Salad is a delectable side that can take your simple crab legs up an extra notch.
The salad is loaded with fall and winter flavors, not to mention its divine sweet orange vinaigrette–what a glorious dish!
If you’re undecided about what to serve with crab legs, then these Cheddar Bay Biscuits can be your go-to side pairing.
This copycat version of the Red Lobster’s delight is incredibly soft, tender, and full of cheesy flavor–you won’t spot the difference, really!
Pro tip: Use real buttermilk to achieve that desired consistency and flavor of your batter.
The cheese, savory flavor of this Corn Casserole works well to offset the taste of your crab legs dish.
Adding bell peppers to the casserole is optional, but they’re sure to add more flavors and that pop of color.
To prepare for the great holiday, make this recipe in advance; store it unbaked in the fridge for 24 hours, and just bake it an hour before the big day!
Get a big list of Gluten Free recipes here.
13. Beer Bread
With its soft and tender inside and buttery crust, it’s no surprise that this Beer Bread can turn your crab legs into something out of this world.
This comfort food includes beer, giving the bread that delicious, yeasty flavor; also, the addition of salted butter brings a ton of flavor, so don’t skip it!
14. Beer Cheese Soup
The rich, cheesy flavor of the soup pairs well with crab legs, and the inclusion of spices such as bay leaf, cayenne, and mustard seeds helps bind the ingredients together.
But the key ingredient here is the sharp cheddar cheese–its tangy and smooth flavor stands up to the malty taste of beer and complements well the sweetness of veggies and umami coming from chicken stock.
15. Beer Cocktail
The malt taste of this Beer Cocktail pairs very well with your rich, savory crab legs dish.
This mixed drink recipe mixes beer, whiskey, and lemon–but adding simple syrup makes the difference.
A total game-day gem, this cocktail works best when made one at a time instead of creating a large batch.
Cold weather + potato chowder + crab legs is equal to HEAVEN!
The rich taste of comforting soup coming from tender red potatoes, sweet corn, chicken broth, and heavy cream makes it a good candidate to pair with your favorite crab legs.
Adding bacon incorporates more umami and sweet undertones that eventually add excitement to the chowder and your crab meat.
17. Seafood Chowder
If you still wonder what to serve with crab legs, then pull out a bag of cod and frozen shrimp, then make our Seafood Chowder today.
Everyone will love this soup as it’s laden with tons of tender (but not mushy) vegetables and chunks of seafood.
And since the base doesn’t call for flour, the broth is lightly creamy, but it’s pretty sippable and soothing.
18. Lemon Rice
Our Lemon Rice is a no-fuss recipe that requires 5 basic ingredients and 30 minutes of cooking time without compromising on flavor.
The secret is the fresh lemon zest and garlic, giving this side dish that nice citrus flavor profile and sweet undertone.
Pro tip: Use white rice or wild rice if you’re running out of basmati.
19. Corn On The Cob
These beautifully charred, golden yellow Corn On The Cobs are an obvious complement to crab legs!
Here, you’re going to learn how to prepare corn on the cobs in three, hassle-free ways: on the grill, in the microwave, and the boiling method.
Take your corn on the cob to the next level by mixing Mexican crema (or sour cream), mayonnaise, chili powder, lime juice, and cumin.
These Scalloped Potatoes offer a rich, creamy, and cheesy mouthfeel that effortlessly creates a harmonious and satisfying taste when combined with crab legs.
Use a thinly sliced onion to the layers instead of onion powder if everyone prefers eating the famous vegetable.
Though it’s a traditional pair for barbecue, coleslaw provides that crunch and flavor that also work great with crab legs.
Our No-Mayo Carolina Coleslaw isn’t your regular slaw with a homestyle mayonnaise dressing; this one features celery seeds with cider vinegar and mustard, giving that sweet and tangy bite in every bite.
The crunch of baby broccoli and the blend of olive oil, pepper, and lemon go wonderfully with your crab legs.
It’s indeed a simple dish, but it elevates everything it touches.
Furthermore, the broccolini receives its magical char and extra bits of flavor from blasting on high heat in the oven.
23. Asparagus Quiche
Asparagus is the highlight of this gluten-free delight!
The presence of ham, Swiss cheese, eggs, and milk brings a savory, creamy flavor profile that can tone down the slightly salty taste of crab legs.
This recipe can be frozen before cooking; combine all the ingredients in an airtight container, then store in the freezer.
Sometimes, the simple side is the best one, and this Prosciutto-Wrapped Asparagus proves that!
The recipe starts by wrapping each asparagus with a piece of prosciutto, then adding some olive oil and black pepper.
Once done, they’re baked until the veggies turn bright green and served with parmesan and lemon zest.
If you’re planning on having a feast full of crab legs, you may want to create a side that complements–behold, our Vidalia Onions With Bacon & Roast Garlic!
The recipe needs the magic of your oven and your grill, but every bite is packed with delectable flavor from sweet, succulent, and soft Vidalia onion and smoky bacon and garlic butter.
The bottom line
These 25 delectable side pairings are an excellent pair for any of your favorite crab legs dishes–whether it’s steamed, fried, or boiled–you can’t go wrong with these!
The important thing to remember in choosing the right side for your entrée is to ensure they won’t overpower the main.
After all, the star of the show is your crab legs.
So if you happen to prepare some crab legs for dinner, try some of these sides, too.
You’ll love our Corn On The Cob and Vidalia Onions as they’re simple yet big on flavors.
Planning to reheat store-bought crab legs easily? Check out this FAQ guide!
- Boiled Potatoes & Corn
- Garlic Mashed Potatoes
- Dirty Rice
- Cocktail Shrimp
- Garlic Shrimp
- Cajun Sausage & Chicken Rice
- Clam Chowder
- Lemon Pepper Sauce
- Hush Puppies
- Shaved Brussels Sprouts, Quinoa & Apple Salad
- Cheddar Bay Biscuits
- Corn Casserole
- Beer Bread
- Beer Cheese Soup
- Beer Cocktail
- Potato Corn Chowder
- Seafood Chowder
- Lemon Rice
- Corn On The Cob
- Scalloped Potatoes
- No Mayo Carolina Coleslaw
- Blasted Broccolini
- Asparagus Quiche
- Prosciutto-Wrapped Asparagus
- Vidalia Onions With Bacon & Roast Garlic
- Take a look at What To Serve With Crab Legs!
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