How to Microwave Frozen King Crab Legs (Easy Guide)

Juicy, sweet, and tender crab legs make for a delicious meal. And not to mention – they’re healthy too.  

But the best thing about them is that they’re pre-cooked, so you don’t need to go through the hassle of cooking them. 

And since they’re flash-frozen, you can chuck them in the microwave for a few minutes before devouring them! It’s the easiest and quickest way of preparing crab legs and doesn’t involve the hassle of finding a large pot, boiling water, and waiting for the legs to be ready to eat.

So how do you microwave frozen king crab legs?

Here’s everything you need to know.

Can you microwave frozen king crab legs?

Yes, you can microwave frozen king crab legs, but you need to be a little careful doing so. You don’t want to spoil the texture of the meat by overheating it. 

As is the case with most seafood, microwaving crab legs isn’t very simple and straightforward. You want to make sure that you retain the suppleness and softness of the meat without drying it. This is why microwaving frozen king crab legs involves using water. 

frozen king crab legs

Is it safe to microwave frozen king crab legs?

Yes, it is absolutely safe to microwave frozen king crab legs. But you need to be careful when purchasing crab legs and only use a microwave-safe container. 

When you head over to the store to buy some frozen king crab legs, make sure you keep FDA’s food safety guidelines in mind.

You shouldn’t purchase a packet of crab legs that has ice crystals in it or is torn open. This is usually a sign of refrozen seafood, which means the crab legs aren’t fresh. 

In addition, to ensure that the microwaved frozen king crab legs are safe to eat, take them out of their original packaging and use glass or ceramic microwave containers. 

Avoid microwaving plastic since it can leech off harmful chemicals. And never microwave the plastic or styrofoam packaging the legs came in. 

How to microwave frozen king crab legs?

To microwave frozen king crab legs, first, defrost them either overnight in the fridge or in the microwave by nuking them for 2 minutes on low power. Once they thaw, microwave them on high for 2 minutes. If the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit, they’re ready to eat. Otherwise, you can nuke them for longer.

Since king crab legs are pre-cooked, you basically only need to reheat them to eat them. And if you microwave them the right way, you can get juicy, moist, delicious legs that everyone will love!

So, here’s what you need to do:

  • It’s better to thaw frozen king crab legs before getting started. You can defrost them either by leaving them in the fridge the night before or microwaving them for a few minutes. Wrap a damp paper towel around the legs and microwave them on defrosting setting for around 3 minutes per pound. If your microwave doesn’t have a defrost setting, set the power to low. You can also run the frozen legs under cold water to thaw them. 
  • If you have a small microwave and you’re unable to fit the long crab legs in it, you can cut the legs into 2-3 pieces. You can use kitchen scissors for this purpose. I recommend bundling 3 legs together and then microwaving them. 
  • Again, wrap the king crab legs using a damp paper towel. If you want, you can also put a layer of plastic wrap to trap steam and retain moisture. Alternatively, you can add some water to the microwave-safe container. A tablespoon is enough for around 8 ounces of legs. 
  • Microwave the legs for 2 minutes first to see if they’re hot. Usually, it takes around 3-4 minutes to heat a pound of legs. But this time also depends on your appliance’s power and the number of legs. It’s also better to microwave in shorter intervals so that you don’t overcook the legs. 
  • Stop microwaving when the internal temperature of the legs reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Serve them when they’re steamy and hot!

How long does it take to microwave frozen king crab legs?

microwave crab legs
The time it takes to microwave frozen king crab legs depends on the microwave’s power, the weight and number of legs, and if the legs are frozen or thawed. However, in general, you can expect to microwave a pound of average-sized crab legs for around 3-4 minutes. 

You need to be very mindful of the time. If you overheat the crab legs, the meat can become dry and unpalatable. And since they’re quite expensive, you don’t want to risk microwaving more than you need to. 

So how do you determine the right time?

Well, you first need to have an estimate. Of course, you’ll have to microwave frozen legs for longer than thawed legs. Similarly, two pounds of legs will take more time than one pound. 

Then, you need to take your microwave’s power into account. If you have a higher-powered microwave, you won’t need to nuke the legs for long.

To not risk anything at all, it’s best to microwave in intervals of around 30-60 seconds and keep checking on the legs after each interval. This will also prevent overheating.     

Tips to microwave frozen king crab legs

It’s easy to overcook seafood in the microwave and the same is the case with frozen king crab legs. To make sure you get perfectly cooked and juicy legs, here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • When defrosting crab legs in the microwave, it’s best if you microwave them in short intervals. This will make sure you don’t misjudge the time it takes to thaw the legs. Plus, if you defrost them for longer than necessary, they might dry out.
  • If your kitchen scissors aren’t sharp enough to cut the leg joints, you can use a nutcracker or a large knife. Breaking them into shorter pieces will make it easier to fit them in the microwave. 
  • Like defrosting, it’s also better to use short increments when microwaving the legs. This is because there’s a high risk of overcooking when it comes to crab legs. So, microwave in 30-second increments until the legs are at the right internal temperature. 
  • When wrapping the legs with a paper towel, make sure to add in 2-3 pieces of tarragon sprigs. This will add a nice flavor to the meat.  
  • For the best results, I recommend making one-pound bundles of the legs and microwaving them separately. 
  • While crab meat is quite delicious as is, you can add in fresh lemon wedges and clarified butter to further enhance the taste. 
  • You can crack the legs using a nutcracker and take a small fork to scoop out the meat. But it’s much easier to cut the shell using a knife. And split the legs vertically so that you have a nice, large piece of the juicy and tender crab meat.

Wrapping up 

Frozen king crab legs come ready to eat, and all you really need to do is microwave them the right way. It’s just like reheating frozen food for a quick and scrumptious meal.

You now know how to microwave frozen king crab legs. It’s a delicacy that’s best served hot so grab those legs, add in some lemon, butter, and herbs, nuke them for a few minutes, and enjoy!


microwave frozen crab legs

How can I prepare frozen crab legs?

To prepare frozen crab legs, first thaw them in the refrigerator overnight or under cold running water. Then, steam or boil them for 4-6 minutes until heated through. Serve with melted butter and lemon wedges.

Can I reheat thawed crab legs?

Yes, you can reheat thawed crab legs by steaming or boiling them for 2-4 minutes until heated through. Avoid using a microwave as it may cause the meat to become tough.

What is the best way to store leftover cooked crab legs?

The best way to store leftover cooked crab legs is to wrap them tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 2 days. To reheat, follow the same instructions as reheating thawed crab legs.

Are Alaskan king crabs better than other types of crabs?

Alaskan king crabs are known for their sweet and succulent meat, making them a popular choice among seafood lovers. However, taste preferences vary from person to person.

Can I use plastic wrap when steaming or boiling crab legs?

No, do not use plastic wrap when steaming or boiling crab legs as it may melt and contaminate the food. Instead, use a metal colander or basket placed inside a pot of boiling water.

How can I properly clean and prepare king crabs for cooking?

To properly clean and prepare king crabs, start by rinsing them under cold water. Then, use damp paper towels to remove any excess dirt or debris. Next, use a pair of kitchen shears to cut off the legs and claws. Finally, crack open the shells with a nutcracker or mallet and serve with lemon wedges and melted butter.

What is the best way to store blast frozen king crabs?

The best way to store blast frozen king crabs is in an airtight container in the freezer. Be sure to wrap them tightly in paper towels before placing them in the container to prevent freezer burn.

Can I substitute clarified butter for melted butter when serving king crab?

Yes, you can substitute clarified butter for melted butter when serving king crab. Clarified butter has a higher smoke point than regular melted butter which makes it ideal for dipping seafood.

How do I remove stubborn stains from my hands after handling king crab?

To remove stubborn stains from your hands after handling king crab, try rubbing them with lemon wedges or vinegar. If that doesn’t work, mix equal parts baking soda and water into a paste and scrub your hands with it using paper towels.

What are some creative ways to incorporate leftover cooked king crab into meals?

Some creative ways to incorporate leftover cooked king crab into meals include adding it as a topping on pizza or salad, mixing it into scrambled eggs or omelets, making King Crab Mac & Cheese or using it as filling for sushi rolls.

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