What Are the Best Crabs To Eat?

Crabs, those delightful crustaceans from the depths of the ocean, have always been a favorite among seafood enthusiasts. Their succulent meat and unique flavors make them a popular choice for seafood lovers worldwide. But with so many crab varieties out there, which crab is the best? There are over 4,500 species of crab, so, what is the best crab? Fear not, dear seafood aficionado, as we embark on an exciting quest to discover what are the best crabs to eat. From snow crab vs blue crab to the ultimate king crab legs, we’ll delve into the culinary wonders of these delightful creatures. 

The Taste of Crabs

what crab is best to eat

Describing the taste of crabs is akin to unveiling a delightful symphony of oceanic flavors on your palate. The succulent meat of crabs possesses a unique combination of sweet and briny notes, offering a delectable taste that is unlike any other seafood. Each crab variety showcases its distinct essence—snow crabs entice with their delicate sweetness, while blue crabs charm with their robust and flavorful profile. Dungeness crabs reveal a slightly nutty taste, reminiscent of the ocean’s bounty. The meat of king crab legs exudes a lusciously buttery flavor that perfectly complements their colossal size.

From the tender claws to the meat-rich body, every part of a crab offers a symphony of tastes that seafood enthusiasts can relish with delight. Whether steamed, boiled, pan-fried, or incorporated into mouthwatering crab cakes or cioppino, crabs beckon food lovers on a culinary voyage, enchanting taste buds and leaving a lasting impression of the ocean’s bounty. We’ll go into some more detail about the uniqueness of each of these crabs in this blog. 

Snow Crab vs. Blue Crab: A Clash of Crustaceans

Let’s kick off this crabby adventure with a face-off between two titans: snow crab and blue crab. Both these crabs have their own unique charm and flavors, making it a tough choice to pick a winner.

Snow crab (Chionoecetes opilio), often referred to as queen crab or opilio crab, is renowned for its sweet and delicate meat. These crabs boast long and spindly legs, which are packed with tender flesh. The snowy white color of their meat is not only visually appealing but also a treat for your taste buds.

On the other claw, we have the blue crab (Callinectes sapidus), an East Coast favorite known for its robust and flavorful meat. The blue crab’s sweet taste, tinged with a hint of brininess, is the reason why it’s a staple in crab shacks along the Atlantic coast.

So, which one is the winner? The truth is, it ultimately depends on your taste preferences. If you prefer a sweeter and more delicate flavor, go for the snow crab. But if you’re craving a meatier and more robust taste, opt for the blue crab. Both crabs will leave you satisfied and wanting more.

A Symphony of Flavors: Crab Cakes

Ah, crab cakes—a mouthwatering dish adored by seafood enthusiasts. The perfect blend of crab meat, seasonings, and breadcrumbs makes crab cakes an all-time favorite. But how long should you broil crab cakes to achieve that perfect, golden-brown crust?

The secret lies in timing and technique. How long to broil crab cakes is a question that puzzles many home chefs. The ideal time is around 4-5 minutes per side, but this can vary depending on your broiler’s heat intensity and the thickness of the crab cakes. Keep a watchful eye on them to prevent overcooking and savor that deliciously moist and flaky interior.

For those who prefer a different cooking method, you can also pan fry crab cakes to achieve a delectable crispness. So how long do you pan fry crab cakes? Just heat some oil in a pan and cook the crab cakes for approximately 3-4 minutes per side until they reach that perfect golden-brown hue.

Steaming King Crab Legs to Perfection

When it comes to indulging in the finest crab legs, king crab legs are the epitome of luxury. Their impressive size and sweet, succulent meat have earned them a spot on many seafood enthusiasts’ wish lists. But how long do you steam king crab legs to preserve their tender goodness?

To achieve that buttery softness and delightful taste, steam the king crab legs for about 6-8 minutes. This is the perfect amount of time to lock in the flavors while ensuring they don’t become rubbery. Remember to season the water with salt and other aromatic spices to infuse the crab legs with extra depth.

Alaskan King Crab Legs: The Jewel of the Sea

Among the different types of king crab legs, Alaskan king crab legs stand out as a true treasure. Fished from the frigid waters of Alaska, these legs are larger and more robust than other varieties, making them a favorite among seafood connoisseurs.

How long do you steam Alaskan king crab legs? The steaming process for these magnificent legs is quite similar to regular king crab legs. Aim for 6-8 minutes of steaming time to retain their exquisite taste and prevent them from becoming tough.

Dungeness Crab: The San Francisco Delicacy

crab on trays

When it comes to San Francisco’s culinary scene, one crab variety reigns supreme—the Dungeness crab (Metacarcinus magister). Considered a local delicacy and an integral part of the city’s seafood culture, the Dungeness crab captivates the hearts and palates of both locals and visitors alike.

What makes it the best crab to eat in San Francisco? It’s all about the exquisite flavor and abundant meat. The Dungeness crab boasts sweet, succulent, and slightly nutty-tasting flesh that is a true delight for seafood enthusiasts. Whether served whole, cracked, or as part of a sumptuous crab feast, its meaty goodness paired with the picturesque backdrop of San Francisco’s waterfront makes for an unforgettable dining experience. From crab shacks to upscale seafood restaurants, Dungeness crab dishes are an essential part of the city’s culinary tapestry, earning it the well-deserved title of the best crab to eat in the City by the Bay. If you are looking for the Ultimate Guide to Cooking Crab make sure to check out our blog, it’s full of tips and tricks for the home chef! 

Unlocking the Crab Cake Broiled Recipe

Crab cakes come in various shapes and sizes, but the broiled version adds an irresistible touch. The broiling method not only enhances the crab cakes’ flavor but also gives them a mouthwatering crispy exterior.

The crab cake broiled recipe is simple yet divine. Preheat your broiler, arrange the crab cakes on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, and broil for about 4-5 minutes per side. Keep a close eye on them to avoid burning and voilà! You’ll have a delightful plate of crab cakes with a perfectly charred top.

Embrace the Best Crab Legs to Eat

crab over steaming pot

Now that we’ve explored the wonders of crab cakes, let’s circle back to our initial question: what are the best crabs to eat? While it’s nearly impossible to pick just one, we can undoubtedly savor the rich and unique flavors that different crab varieties offer.

From the delicate sweetness of snow crab to the robust taste of blue crab, each variety has its allure. For those seeking the epitome of indulgence, the grandeur of king crab legs and the sheer magnificence of Alaskan king crab legs never disappoint.

So, the next time you find yourself pondering over the best crab to indulge in, remember that the answer lies in your own taste buds and the joy of exploring the diverse and delightful world of crabs. Happy crab-eating!


Pier Market: A Timeless Gem on Pier 39

waterfront dining room

Nestled along the bustling waterfront of San Francisco’s iconic Pier 39, Pier Market has stood the test of time and solidified its place as one of the best restaurants on PIER 39 for a multitude of reasons. When it comes to savoring the delectable Dungeness crab, Pier Market is a haven for seafood enthusiasts.

Our menu boasts a delightful array of crab dishes that showcase the very best of this local delicacy. Whether you’re craving the signature Crab Cake Dinner—a mouthwatering symphony of flavors with its tender crab cakes served alongside fresh vegetables and tangy tartar sauce—or the rich and savory Garlic Dungeness Crab, prepared with just the right balance of garlic-infused goodness. Make sure to try the crab melt, featuring dungeness crab on an open face sourdough bread. Pier Market has something to delight every palate. You can also add crab to any salad or to our award-winning clam chowder. 

Sustainability is Key

Dungeness Crab

While our crab dishes are a must try, that’s not the only reason to visit. One of the most compelling reasons to choose Pier Market is its unwavering commitment to sustainability. With Dungeness crab being a vital part of San Francisco’s seafood heritage, the restaurant takes great pride in sourcing its crab from sustainable fisheries. This ensures that the delicate marine ecosystem is preserved for generations to come while allowing diners to relish this local treasure with a clear conscience. As the restaurant celebrates 40 years of excellence, their dedication to serving fresh, sustainable seafood has only grown stronger, making every visit to Pier Market not just a delightful dining experience but also a meaningful contribution to the well-being of our oceans. So, if you’re seeking a taste of San Francisco’s culinary history, paired with a commitment to sustainability, look no further than the iconic Pier Market on Pier 39.

Pier Market is also an incredible location to celebrate any big milestones! From birthday restaurant ideas and celebrations, to an important business dinner, Pier Market has an extensive menu and our team can help make any event extra special. 

We can’t wait to see you for your next crab dinner!

Crabs: A Culinary Delight

Crab with a view of the water in the background

In the realm of seafood, crabs reign as a treasure trove of culinary delights, captivating foodies with their exceptional flavors and versatile preparation options. From the snow crab’s delicate sweetness to the blue crab’s robust taste, each variety presents a unique experience on the plate. The king crab’s majestic legs and the Dungeness crab’s rich meat elevate dining to an unparalleled level of indulgence. Amidst the ocean’s bounty, Pier Market stands tall as the best restaurant on Pier 39, offering a feast of sustainably sourced Dungeness crab dishes that celebrate San Francisco’s culinary heritage.

Whether you opt for the delectable crab cake dinner, the aromatic garlic Dungeness crab, or the comforting cioppino, Pier Market’s 40-year commitment to excellence ensures a dining experience that nourishes both body and soul. So, venture into the world of crabs, embrace their symphony of tastes, and let Pier Market be your gateway to the wonders of San Francisco’s vibrant seafood culture. From the salty sea breeze to the savory delights on your plate, every bite becomes an unforgettable ode to the ocean’s finest offerings. We hope more than anything that this helps you answer the question on what are the best crabs to eat!


Check Out Our Menu

Make a Reservation