What Part of the Dungeness Crab Are Edible?


You may have ordered crab at a restaurant, such as crab cakes, or you may have been served a crab dish at a party; however if you’ve never cooked and cleaned a live Dungeness crab yourself, you might not be aware of which exact parts on the crab are edible. 

You might be thinking, “Isn’t any part of a crab technically edible?”

The answer to your technical question is...sure! Try it all out and tell us how you like it! 

But in reality, you might want to just stick with the parts that are good for you to eat and that you can actually digest normally. 

Choosing a nice-looking crab to eat is easy if you know what to look for. 

To ensure you’re getting a decent live Dungeness crab for your meal that will satisfy your taste buds, listen to the expert advice. 

First it is good to remember that Dungeness crabs should be larger in size compared to other types of crab--between 6 and 10 inches in length, which will yield you at least 25% of its body weight in meat. Ignore the smaller crabs in order to get the most succulent meat. 

Next, you want to be sure to choose a lively Dungeness crab; one that seems lethargic or isn’t moving around much or responding to stimulation may be sick. 

Once you've chosen which live Dungeness crab you want to eat, cook it, clean it, create a meal, and start eating.

Edible parts of the Dungeness crab include:

Dungeness Crab Claws

“Arguably the most delectable part of the dungeness crab is the claws. This is where you'll find the largest muscle of the crab and therefore the largest section of meat,” (Leaf). You can crack the claws’ shells by using fancy crab-cracking tools or by using really any hard utensil you have. Then simply peel off the shell. 

Dungeness Crab legs

Dungeness Crab Legs

“The subtle sweetness of Dungeness crab leg meat contrasts with the hint of saltiness. The leg meat separates easily from the soft shell,” (Leaf). Dungeness crab legs are low in saturated fat and are an excellent source of protein...so get cracking! 

Dungeness Crab Body

The body of the Dungeness crab is the most succulent and has the most meat, although it can take a tad more work to get to. “Once the legs are off, the fins removed and the top shell opened, you rinse the cavity clean and crack it in half, lengthwise. Use a hammer to break up the shell so you can pick out the tender white meat inside,” (Leaf). 

Dungeness Crab Shells 

Of course we are not recommending that you consume Dungeness crab shells! However, “if you toss all the broken shells in a stockpot and cover them with cool water, you can make a nice fish stock. Bring it up to a boil and then simmer it for about 10 minutes. Strain out the shells and use it for bouillabaisse stock, chowder or fish soup base,” (Leaf).

The next time you’re ready to eat whole Dungeness crab from Fathom Seafood, you now know which parts of the body are delicious and nutritious and ones in which you can make entire recipes out of. 

Fathom ships over 1.5 million pounds of live crab to customers like you each and every year. They can deliver seafood to you within 24 hours and have many live and frozen options for you. Check them out! 

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