How to Cook and Prepare Live Crab: Recipe

preparing live crab

*Spoiler alert* this is not for the light hearted. That said, there is something very satisfying about preparing your dish start to end. Even if it is a little squeamish. Getting live crab isn’t always possible in London we had ours delivered from FishBox you can check out our review of their service on the link. We’re going to write out how to cook and clean your crab at home in a humane way. If you want to watch a video demonstration this is a great option.

Fresh crab really is unbeatable for taste. Once you’ve prepared your crab, if you can stop yourself from eating it straight away, you could try it in our crab linguine or crab samosa recipes.



1. Using tongs with the claws facing away with you place live crab in freezer for approximately 15 minutes. Freezing the crabs before you cook them puts them into a sleep state which is more humane and makes them a little less lively when getting them into the pot.

2. Find your largest pot (we use a casserole dish) and fill it with water. Salt the water and add a tablespoon of whole black peppercorns. Bring to a boil.

3. Remove the crabs from the freezer, from behind using the tongs again, and lower the crab into the boiling water. with the legs facing down. If you are cooking more than one crab do this one at a time.

4. Your going to cook the grab for 15 minutes, by this time they should float to the top – if in doubt give them an extra 2-3 minutes. While it cooks prepare an ice bath for the crab and once it’s done pop the crab into the water.


5. Let the crab cool before you start preparing or it will burn you.

6. Begin by removing the legs and claws, these should just twist off the crab.

7. Flip the crab over and locate the long, almost triangular section of shell running partway down the center. Use your fingers to hinge the piece backwards from below the eye sockets to remove it.

8. On the underside you’ll see the gills also know as dead men’s fingers. These should not be eaten so make sure you remove them. Using a knife pick out the white meat from this section.

9. Now for getting the meat out. Using a teaspoon, scrape out the brown meat inside the main body shell, both soft and hard.

10. Pull off the knuckles from the claws and pick out the meat with a skewer. Place the rest of the claws on a worktop and smash down with the back of a heavy knife until the shell cracks. You can use a clean towel to stop shell from flying around, but if not just try to be careful. Peel off the cracked shell to extract the meat inside. You can also push the meat out using your thumbs and fingers. Repeat the same process for the legs.

Congratulations – you’ve prepared a live crab!



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