How to Eat Blue Crabs

Maryland blue crabs are the perfect summer treat, but you don’t need to live near the ocean to enjoy them. Gather some friends and family and savor the tasty meat that you’ll crave all year long. This steamed delicacy must be prepared properly and can sometimes be a challenge for first-timers. If you’ve never prepared crabs before, read on for some tips and tricks:


You’ll need some tools and accessories if you and your guests are going to eat crabs the ‘proper’ way. Your most basic tools are:

  • Crab paper – to cut down on mess and make clean up a snap!

  • Crab mallet – to crack open the claws of hard shell crabs

  • Crabbing gloves – a must-have if you’re going to handle live crabs

Preparing the crabs

As a general rule, count on six crabs per person. Try to get fresh crabs whenever possible. Maryland crabs are in season from April to December. The most popular way to prepare crabs is to steam them. If you purchase them live you’ll have to steam them yourself; you can also buy them already steamed so that you have less work to do in the kitchen. If you get them already steamed, you can start pulling them apart as soon as you get them.


The crabs must be steamed live; steaming a dead crab is dangerous because they can spoil quickly.

  • If you refrigerate them for a few hours they will be easier to steam, because the cooler temperature causes them to be inactive

  • Use a crab steamer. You can buy one at most hardware stores. An average sized steamer can hold three or four dozen crabs at once

  • Fill the pot with about 2 inches of water, place the crabs in and close the lid

  • Cook anywhere from 30 – 60 minutes depending on the amount you are steaming

Blue crabs are a delicious way to celebrate summer with friends and family. For more information, visit Harbour House Crabs.