How to Crack a Crab

Did you know there is a right way to crack a crab? These steps explain a method suggested by experts which should enable you to eat a crab so you enjoy every last bit of it.


  • Whole cooked crab that has been dunked in an ice bath to stop the cooking process to make it easier to handle
  • Small bowls of melted butter


  1. Image titled Crack a Crab Step 1
    Begin by removing all the legs and claws. Do this by holding the body in one hand and twist the class of the off with your other hand. Sometimes crab meat comes out of the legs and swimmer fin; you can eat that right up.
  2. Image titled Crack a Crab Step 2
    Throw out the legs (fins) and save only the claws. An explanation of how to eat the claws comes later.
  3. Image titled Crack a Crab Step 3
    Start on what you have left, the shell and the body of the crab. Flip the crab’s body on its back to open the apron. The apron looks like a tab or a flap. Discard the apron; we are not going to eat that.
  4. Image titled Crack a Crab Step 4
    Grab the top part and bottom part in each hand. Apply pressure gently to separate the shells. Be careful when taking the top shell off. Throw out the top shell.
    • Ensure you clean out the inside of the crab and remove the gills, lungs, and digestive organs.
  5. Image titled Crack a Crab Step 5
    Break the bottom half in two halves:
    • Take either halves and cut it in half again. You can do this using your hands or knife.
    • Press your palm down to break the chambers and pull apart if you decide to use your hands.
    • Eat! Any meat that is firm and white is edible. You can use your fingers or thing metal seafood picks to pull the meat out.
  6. Image titled Crack a Crab Step 6
    Pick off the chunks of meat in the body.
  7. Image titled Crack a Crab Step 7
    Crack the claws! Sometimes people tend to forget about the claws because they think there is not anything in them. However, there is very juicy and sweet meat in these legs that you can use for soups or crab cakes. To begin, take the hinged seafood cracker and hit the claws with a crab mallet, or use your knife. The easiest way to open a claw:
    • Take your knife and lay it with the sharp side down on the middle of the red side of the claw.
    • Use the crab mallet to gently hit the knife until it is halfway through the claw.
    • Lastly, swivel the knife to the side. The claw will open and make it much easier to grab the crabmeat.
    • Once you have snapped the shell open, eat the meat. Make sure you avoid the cartilage.
  8. Image titled Crack a Crab Step 8
    You now know how to properly eat crab. So now you can tackle that uncracked crab with confidence!

Things You'll Need

  • Seafood Scissors
  • Bowl for empty shells
  • Lots of napkins -- this will get messy!
  • Sturdy seafood/nut crackers
  • Thin metal seafood picks or small fork

Article Info

Categories: Fish and Seafood