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Spicy Hot Mess Crab Legs

with Garlic, Butter, and Parsley

  • All Shellfish
  • Dungeness
  • Stir-fry
  • 20-minute meal
  • 10 ingredients or less
  • Active Time:20 min
  • Total Time:20min
  • Servings:2
  • Difficulty:Intermediate
Photo by Grace Parisi

If garlic bread and crab boil had a baby, this would surely be it! Sweet Dungeness crab gets tossed in the classic garlic bread mixture — garlic, butter, and parsley — and served with crusty bread to soak up any extra butter. It is a bit messy, but feel free to use the bread as a tasty napkin!


  • 3 to 4 Dungeness crab clusters, thawed Available In Our Premium Subscription Box

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced

  • ¼ to ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

  • Kosher salt

  • ½ lemon

  • Crusty bread for serving and dipping


Separate the Crab

Separate the crab legs from the body. Using a sturdy knife cut the bodies in half.

Steam the Crab

Place the crab into a wok or skillet with 1 inch of water and bring to a boil. Cover and steam just until heated through, 2 to 3 minutes. Drain well and wipe out the pan.


Return the pan to medium-high heat and add the butter, oil, garlic, and as much red pepper flakes as desired, and sauté just until sizzling. Add the crab, parsley, and a pinch of salt, and stir-fry until coated with the sizzling mixture. Transfer to a deep platter, scraping all of the butter and aromatics on top and add a squeeze of lemon. Serve right away with claw crackers, bread, and lots of napkins. Dip the crab meat and bread into the surrounding butter and enjoy!

Premium Seafood Subscription Box delivery of halibut and sockeye portions
Premium Seafood Subscription Box delivery of halibut and sockeye portions

Premium Seafood Subscription Box

$159 / box 4.5 lbs

Pro Tips

Pair it Up

Go for bubbles and a light acidy for freshness. A little sweetness helps balance the spice, too. A sparkling Riesling hits all the marks.

Spice It Up

Swap the crushed red pepper flakes with chipotle flakes for a smoky heat. Or add a teaspoon of Calabrian chile paste at the end for aromatic warmth.

Change It Up

Reserve any leftover crabmeat and shells separately. Make a stock with the shells and freeze. Fold the crabmeat into an omelet for breakfast or buttered noodles for dinner.

Lighten It Up

The beauty of this dish is the buttery sauce. But for less saturated fat, you can use olive oil and omit the butter altogether.


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