Costco sells some of the best king crab legs! As someone who loves seafood, especially crab, I had to investigate how to prepare these and get the inside scoop to share with all you crab leg lovers out there.
To get them to that perfect melted butter dunking consistency, you need to heat them up properly. I’ve tried various methods over the years and finally have a foolproof way to prepare Costco’s king crab legs to flaky seafood perfection. So you bought a pack of king crab legs at Costco, and now you’re wondering:
Are Costco King Crab Legs Pre-Cooked?
They are steamed, meaning they come frozen and pre-cooked. I prefer to reheat them, but they can also be eaten cold.
Still, even though they are pre-cooked, this doesn’t mean you should just thaw them and chow down.
Costco King Crab Legs Cooking Instructions
Keep on reading for my step-by-step recipe to make the most of your king crab leg feast. Your taste buds will thank you.
Step 1: Thawing the King Crab Legs
Thawing the king crab legs is an essential first step if you buy them frozen from Costco. Personally, I like to plan ahead and thaw the crab legs in the refrigerator overnight. This gentle thawing method helps the meat retain moisture.
To thaw, simply place the frozen king crab legs in a rimmed dish or platter to catch any drips as they thaw. Allow 8-12 hours for every 1-2 pounds of crab legs. Turn the legs over halfway through thawing, and be aware that thawed crab legs will have a dull, wet appearance and feel heavier, with the meat inside moving freely when shaken.
Never thaw the crab legs on the counter, as this can lead to foodborne illness from bacterial growth. Also, avoid thawing in standing water, as this washes away the natural crab juices.
Step 2: Preparing the King Crab Legs for Steaming
Once thawed, use the crab legs immediately. Cook them the same day you thaw them. Boiling, steaming, and grilling are all great options.
To steam the crab legs, you’ll need a steamer basket and a large pot with a lid. I like to use my pasta pot for this.
Start by bringing a few inches of water to a boil in the pot and placing the steamer basket in the pot. Make sure the water doesn’t touch the bottom of the basket.
Arrange the crab legs in a single layer in the basket. Don’t overcrowd them.
Step 3: Steaming the King Crab Legs
Cover and steam until the crab legs are heated through, about 5 to 7 minutes, after which you should carefully remove the steamer basket from the pot. The crab legs will be extremely hot!
Use crab crackers and small forks to crack open the shell and extract the sweet meat. Don’t forget about the joints, which contain lots of delicious meat!
What to Serve with King Crab Legs?
When it comes to king crab legs, the sides are just as important as the main dish. Personally, I like to keep things simple, so the focus remains on the sweet, succulent crab meat.
You can’t go wrong with melted butter for dipping the crab legs. The rich, creamy butter enhances the natural flavor of the crab. I like to use unsalted butter and melt it with some fresh lemon juice, garlic, and herbs like parsley or dill.
A squeeze of fresh lemon juice is also a must for me. The bright acidity helps cut through the richness and complements the brininess of the crab. Lemons also make an excellent garnish for an attractive presentation.
Grilled corn on the cob is one of my favorite sides for king crab legs. The natural sweetness of the corn pairs perfectly with the crab. Brush the corn with some of the flavored butter for extra decadence.
And lastly, a simple salad of mixed greens, cucumbers, and a light vinaigrette helps balance a rich seafood meal. I often add some avocado, citrus segments, and a sprinkle of toasted nuts or seeds for extra nutrition and crunch.
How to Store Leftovers and Reheat Them?
Once you’ve enjoyed your delicious king crab legs, you’ll want to store any leftovers properly. Here are some tips to keep in mind:
As soon as you’re done with your meal, place any leftover crab meat and legs in an airtight container or ziplock bag and pop it in the fridge. King crab meat is highly perishable, so you’ll want to refrigerate it within 2 hours of cooking. Keep leftovers chilled at 40 °F or below.
For best quality and food safety, eat leftover king crab legs and meat within 3 to 5 days. While it may be tempting to keep them longer, seafood leftovers can go bad quickly and may cause foodborne illness if eaten after five days. It’s not worth the risk!
When ready to enjoy your leftovers, reheat them thoroughly until they reach an internal temperature of at least 165 °F (74 °C).
The best way to reheat king crab legs and meat is as follows:
- In the shell — Place the legs in a baking dish and reheat in a preheated 400 °F (200 °C) oven for about 10 minutes until heated through.
- Out of the shell — Gently reheat crab meat, stirring frequently, in a saucepan over low heat until heated through. You can also reheat crab meat in the microwave in short 30-second bursts, stirring in between, until it reaches 165 °F (74 °C).
How did you like these cooking instructions? I would love to know, so feel free to write it down in the comments below!
Costco King Crab Legs
- steaming basket
- 2 lbs Costco King Crab Legs
- 2 tbsp Butter (melted)
- 2 wedges Lemon
- Place the frozen king crab legs in a rimmed dish or platter to catch any drips as they thaw. Allow 8-12 hours for every 1-2 pounds of crab legs. Turn the legs over halfway through thawing.
- Once the legs have thawed, they're ready for steaming. So, prepare your steaming basket and a large enough pot with a lid.
- Start by bringing a few inches of water to a boil in the pot and placing the steamer basket in the pot. Make sure the water doesn’t touch the bottom of the basket.
- Arrange the crab legs in a single layer in the basket. Don’t overcrowd them.
- Cover and steam until the crab legs are heated through, about 5 to 7 minutes, after which you should carefully remove the steamer basket from the pot. The crab legs will be extremely hot!
- Use crab crackers and small forks to crack open the shell and extract the sweet meat. Don’t forget about the joints, which contain lots of delicious meat!
- Enjoy your meal with some of the side dish recommendations from the article!
Before diving into the nutritional details, please review our Nutritional Disclaimer page for important context and clarifications.