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Patta With King Crab

The Nine Best Edible Crab Species and How to Prepare Them

Crab is one of the most popular seafood dishes around the world. With so many different types of crab, it can take time to know which ones make for the best culinary experience. This blog post will explore the nine best edible crab species, where they come from, and how best to prepare them for eating. Let’s get started! 

Blue Crab

Native to estuaries in the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts of North America, blue crabs are a popular choice for both cooking and eating. They have a sweet, delicate flavor that pairs well with many sauces and seasonings. To prepare blue crabs for eating, steam or boil them until they turn bright red. 

This is a picture of a Maryland Blue Crab in a bushel basket.

King Crab

Found in cold waters off Alaska and Russia, king crabs are an iconic delicacy with a sweet yet salty taste. They have a tender texture that melts in your mouth when cooked correctly. To prepare king crab legs for eating, simply steam or boil them until they’re hot throughout. Our favorite is a Cajun-style seafood boil.

Patta with a King Crab

Snow Crab

Native to the North Pacific Ocean near Japan and Russia, snow crabs are prized for their sweet flavor and tender texture. They can be eaten raw or cooked; if you choose to cook them, steaming is the recommended method, as it helps preserve their natural sweetness. 

Snow Crab underwater in the St. Lawrence River in Canada

Dungeness Crab

Common along the West Coast of North America from California up to Canada, Dungeness crabs are known for their sweet flavor and firm texture. When preparing them for eating, steaming is recommended as it helps bring out their delicate flavor without overcooking them. 

A close-up of a male Dungeness crab on a dock

Red King Crab

Harvested from icy waters off Alaska and Russia’s Kamchatka Peninsula, red king crabs have an intense briny flavor that pairs well with creamy sauces or rich spices like garlic butter or Old Bay seasoning. To prepare red king crabs for eating, simply steam or boil them until they turn bright red in color.  

Red King Crab underwater

Spider Crab

Found along the coasts of Europe and North Africa, spider crabs are a delicacy with a sweet taste reminiscent of lobster meat. They can be served whole or cut into sections; when preparing them for eating, boiling is often recommended as it allows all of their natural flavors to shine through without being overpowered by other seasonings or sauces.   

Orange spider crabs with long legs crawl on rocks.

Stone Crab

Native to shallow waters off Florida’s coastlines, stone crabs have a mild but distinctive taste that makes them perfect for adding complexity to any seafood dish. To prepare stone crabs for eating, simply crack open their claws and remove the meat, then serve with melted butter, lemon wedges, or your favorite dipping sauce.

Large Stone Crab sits on the seashore.

Velvet Swimming Crab

Found in coastal areas around Europe, velvet swimming crabs have a mild but distinct taste similar to lobster. To cook velvet swimming crab, first clean out any sand from within its carapace before boiling or steaming. Once cooked through, serve with melted butter or your favorite dipping sauce.   

A portion of velvet swimming crabs cooked.

Horseshoe Crab

Commonly found on sandy ocean floors around Japan, China, and Korea, horseshoe Crabs have a unique flavor profile that combines brininess with sweetness. To prepare horseshoe Crabs for eating, boil or steam until just cooked through before serving with a zesty lemon butter sauce or your favorite dipping sauce.

horseshoe crab in the shallow water of the Atlantic ocean


Crab is one of the most versatile seafood dishes you can enjoy, with endless cooking possibilities. From blue crab on the East Coast of North America over to velvet swimming crab on European shores—and everything in between—there’s something special about each type of edible crab species that makes it unique and delicious in its own right. So next time you order some fresh seafood at your local restaurant—or try making these dishes yourself at home—experiment with some different types of edible crab species so you can find out which ones make your taste buds sing. Happy feasting!