Boiled whole Dungeness crab with garlic butter

The most popular way to cook Dungeness Crab is by boiling. If you have access to clean fresh seawater this is a great option for filling your pot. For everyone who is a little further from the shore, you can add one cup of salt for every gallon of water. You can either boil your crab whole or “half back” it by cleaving it in half and removing the top shell, gills and guts.


  • 2 Live BC Dungeness crab, whole or half-back
  • 8 tbsp salted butter
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced


  • Bring a large stockpot of water to boil.
  • Add in your whole Dungeness crab making sure they are all fully submerged in water. Put the lid back on to bring it back to boil.
  • Remove the lid and cook for seven minutes per pound (use the average weight if cooking multiple crabs).
  • Immediately transfer the crab to ice water until they are completely cooled down to prevent them from overcooking. Filling your sink or another large pot with ice and water is usually the easiest method.


  • Add the butter to a saucepan and cook on med-high heat until melted.
  • Turn the heat to low and add the minced garlic. Cook until fragrant (1-2 minutes).
  • Remove the garlic butter from the heat and serve immediately (or keep it warm until serving).


  • Start by removing the carapace (top shell), gills and innards. Some people like to keep and eat the innards (also called crab butter).
  • Remove the mandibles and apron. You will be left with the body meat, claws and legs.
  • Rinse the body clean if you are not going to eat the crab butter.
  • You can cut the crab in half down the midline (front to back) with a large knife or break it apart yourself. To do so, flip the crab upside down and grip it with one hand on each side. Place your thumbs on the midline and push up while pulling the crab down.
  • You can pick apart and pull out all of the meat from the body. There are designated crab shears, cracking tools and picks you can use on the legs and claws. Kitchen scissors also will work for the legs. You can even use the little nail at the end of each leg as your very own crab meat picking tool.
  • Enjoy!
  • Bonus: You can save/freeze the crab leg and claw shells to create your own seafood stock.
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