How to Cook Spider Crabs

Updated April 17, 2017

Spider crabs can refer to a variety of long-legged crabs, including the Japanese spider crab -- the largest crab in the world. However, while giant spider crabs are not the usual ones sold in grocery stores, spider crabs are known for their sweet flesh and spindly legs. They are easy to cook and prepare within minutes, and the cooking method varies on taste. Choose female crabs for finer, sweeter meat, although males tend to be heartier.

Rinse the crabs under running water to ensure anything remaining in the crab's cavity is removed.

Fill the large saucepan with water and add the salt and vinegar.

Place the saucepan on the stove and turn the burner to high. Bring the water to a rolling boil.

Drop the crabs into the saucepan and bring it back to a boil.

Cook the crabs for 20 minutes, as soon as the water comes to a rolling boil again.

Remove the crab to cool and crack the shell to remove the meat.


Cook 1 kg. crabs for 20 minutes and add 10 minutes per every extra kg. Dip the meat in melted butter and drizzle lemon juice over top.


Discard any crabs that smell off or have any spots or discolouration on their shells.

Things You'll Need

  • 1 kg. spider crabs, fresh, cleaned
  • Large saucepan
  • 2 tbsp salt
  • 1 tbsp vinegar
  • Small hammer
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About the Author

Based in Kingston, Canada, Samantha Lowe has been writing for publication since 2006. She has written articles for the "Mars' Hill" newspaper and copy for various design projects. Her design and copy for the "Mars' Hill" won the Associated Collegiate Press Pacemaker award in 2008. Lowe holds an Honors BA from Trinity Western University, and a MSc in Occupational Therapy from Queen's University where she is currently doing her PhD.