Simple, perfectly-cooked grilled crab legs are a tasty way to mix up your summer menu – and in only 10 minutes! Pair them with an easy butter sauce and you’ve got a low-carb, keto-friendly, gluten-free, easy-to-make-Whole30 meal that feels like a real treat.
What Makes This Recipe So Good
- Grilling crab legs is SO, so easy. It’s maybe not quite as easy as cooking crab legs in the Instant Pot, just because you have to a little more hands-on work here, but still. SO easy. Most crab legs come pre-cooked and frozen, so you just need to defrost and throw them on the grill.
- The grill gives the crab meat an intensely rich smokiness that’s just unbeatable. Pair that with a simple butter sauce and some fresh herbs? You’re in flavor heaven.
- Crab legs are not only absolutely delicious – they’re high in protein, low in carbs, and rich in good-for-you vitamins and nutrients. If you’re keto or just prefer to eat low-carb, this recipe is a phenomenal option, and a great alternative to chicken and ground beef.
- This recipe is so fun for summertime! Grill season is in full swing, and sure, everyone’s expecting the staples. Ribs, burgers, corn on the cob, potatoes, chicken… But you show up with gorgeous grilled crab legs?! You’ll blow the whole crowd away.
- Grilled crab legs are an incredible main dish, but if that’s the only protein you’re planning, make sure you have enough for everyone. A good rule of thumb is 1 ½ pounds of crab legs per person. That is NOT 1 ½ pounds of crab MEAT per person – an important distinction. Those leg shells make up a lot of that weight, and you won’t be eating those.
- This recipe is written using king crab legs, but the same techniques and guidelines apply for both Dungeness and snow crab legs. Those are typically cheaper options than king crab legs, which is especially helpful if you’re feeding a lot of people.
- If you’re using frozen crab legs, make sure to defrost them before trying to grill them! Leave them in the fridge overnight, or put them in a sealable plastic bag (if they’re not in one already), squeeze out all the air, and submerge the bag in cold water for 25-30 minutes. Do NOT use hot or warm water to defrost – you don’t want to start cooking the crab legs before you’re ready.
- Too long on the grill will give you tough, rubbery crab legs, so keep a close eye on them. They should be reddish-orange with white, opaque meat. If they’ve crossed from reddish-orange to pink, you’ve overdone it.
Delicious Recipes To Pair With Crab Legs
- Instant Pot Cornbread
- Chick-Fil-A Coleslaw
- Roasted Chili Corn Salsa
- Southern Smothered Potatoes
- Bone-In Ribeye With Garlic-Herb Butter
For the Crab Legs
- 3 pounds king crab legs defrosted if frozen
For the Garlic-Butter Sauce
- ½ cup butter melted but not boiling, see Notes
- ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 pinch salt to taste
- 1 pinch freshly cracked black pepper to taste
- Kitchen scissors
- Small bowl
- Spoon or basting brush
- Preheat grill to medium-high heat, approximately 375° to 450° Fahrenheit. With kitchen scissors, carefully cut lengthwise through white part of leg shell to split crab legs open and reveal crab meat. Do not remove meat from shell. Set crab legs aside.
- In small bowl, combine melted butter, chopped parsley, minced garlic, lemon juice, salt, and pepper, whisking vigorously until ingredients are fully incorporated.
- With spoon or basting brush, drizzle approximately 50% of butter sauce over revealed crab meat inside legs. Reserve remaining butter sauce for serving.
- Place crab legs directly on grill grate with split-shell side facing up. Close lid and grill crab legs over direct heat for 7 minutes, then check doneness. Continue grilling as needed until crab legs are reddish-orange and meat is opaque and pearly white, no more than 10 minutes total.
- Carefully remove crab legs from grill and serve immediately with reserved garlic-butter sauce and desired sides.
- You may be able to find the crab legs already split. If you can’t, don’t skip that step – it’s key to getting the most flavor out of the crab meat.
- 1 pound of king crab legs typically yields ½-¾ pounds of actual edible crab meat. If crab is the main protein in your meal, a good rule of thumb is to purchase 1 ½ pounds of crab legs per person. If you’re serving it as a side, you can stick to just 1 pound of legs per person.
- Dungeness and snow crab legs can be used in place of the king crab legs. The instructions and timing remain the same regardless of crab type.
- Make it Whole30/Paleo: Use ghee instead of butter.
- Make it Dairy Free: Use a dairy-free butter.
Number of total servings shown is approximate. Actual number of servings will depend on your preferred portion sizes.
Nutritional values shown are general guidelines and reflect information for 1 serving using the ingredients listed, not including any optional ingredients. Actual macros may vary slightly depending on specific brands and types of ingredients used.
To determine the weight of one serving, prepare the recipe as instructed. Weigh the finished recipe, then divide the weight of the finished recipe (not including the weight of the container the food is in) by the desired number of servings. Result will be the weight of one serving.