how to reheat cooked crab in its shell

How to Reheat Cooked Crab in its Shell

Reheating crab in its shell is a fantastic way to enjoy seafood that might otherwise go to waste. If you’ve got leftover crab from a previous meal, you can reheat it in a variety of ways and serve up a tasty treat that’s full of flavor and goodness. Here’s our step-by-step guide to reheating cooked crab in its shell.


Cooked crab is a delicious and nutritious seafood that’s enjoyed by many people across the world. When it comes to reheating crab, there are many different methods that can be used, depending on personal preferences and equipment available. In this article, we’ll take you through the steps involved in reheating cooked crab in its shell so that you can enjoy it all over again.

Benefits of Reheating Crab

The benefits of reheating crab in its shell are numerous. Firstly, it is an excellent way to ensure that the leftovers from your previous meal do not go to waste. Secondly, reheating crab helps to revive the original flavors and maintain its tenderness even after being heated. Lastly, cooking the meat while still inside the shell increases the overall flavor as the crab absorbs all the juices and other elements while heating.

Brief Outline of the Steps Involved

  1. Selecting your Crab
  2. Preparing your Crab for Reheating
  3. Choosing a Reheating Method (Baking method, Steaming method, Grilling method)
  4. Serving your Reheated Crab

Step 1: Selecting Your Crab

The first step towards reheating your crab in the shell is selecting the right one. Always go for crabs that are freshly caught and well cooked, with their shells still intact. You can also buy already-cooked crabs from seafood stores or markets. When purchasing live crab, look out for the following:

  • The Crab’s Appearance: Choose crabs that have shiny and bright outer shells, indicating that they are fresh.
  • The Crab’s Weight: A heavier crab with firm legs indicates that it has more meat inside.
  • Gender of the Crab: Female crabs have sweeter meat than male crabs.

Different Types of Crabs to Reheat

You can rehear common types of crab that include The Dungeness crab, The Alaskan King crab, The Blue crab, and Red Rock crab. Each has its unique flavor, size, and texture and can be reheated using different methods.

Step 2: Preparing Your Crab for Reheating

Once you’ve selected your choice of crab, take time to prepare it well before reheating it. Here’s what you need to do:

  • Remove their Gills: Take a pair of scissors and trim off the gills under the sides of the shell.
  • Clean the Shell: Use running water to clean off any debris stuck on the shell then pat dry with paper towels.
  • Crack the Claws: Place both palms on either side of each claw and press them firmly until they crack slightly or use the backside of a heavy knife to gently crack them open.

Tools Needed to Prepare Your Crab

To prepare your crab effectively, these tools would come in handy:

  • A pair of scissors or pliers.
  • Heavy-duty gloves for protection from sharp claws.
  • A cutting board or any flat surface to place the crab when prepping it.

Step 3: Choosing a Reheating Method

There are various methods that you can use to reheat crab in its shell, and each method has its advantages and disadvantages. Below is an overview of the three most common techniques:

Baking Method

The baking method generally requires an oven and is usually preferred because it takes the least amount of prep time and personal attention.

  1. Preheat the oven: Heat your oven to about 350-400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Place the Crab in a Baking Dish: Put the crab in a shallow baking dish with its belly lying facing upward.
  3. Add Liquid and Flavors: Add any liquid such as seasonings, oil, herbs or butter after loosening up some parts of the shell but not fully removed so that they seep into the meat evenly while heating.
  4. Cover Baking Dish : Use aluminum foil or a lid to cover the baking dish with small holes on top for venting steam pressure.
  5. Bake for Suitable Time: Insert the dish into the oven and let it cook for about 10-12 minutes.

Steaming Method

Steaming is another great option for reheating crab. However, you will need special equipment which includes some pots and a metal steamer basket

  1. Add Water: Pour water into your pot to a depth of about an inch and then place it over medium heat.
  2. Place your crab on the Steamer Basket: Ensure its belly faces upward and reaches no contact with the water in the pot.
  3. Cover the Pot: Add a tight-fitting lid over the steamer basket to steam the crab fully.
  4. Steaming Time: Cook for about 4-7 minutes until it’s well heated through.

Grilling Method

This method is one that requires a bit more work than the rest to achieve optimal flavors. It’s best if you try this option when looking for something extra special for your crab.

  1. Spray Oil: Brushes some little oil at various parts of the shell to enhance effectiveness
  2. Place Crab on Grill Grates: Place your crab upside down on your grill grates, letting it cook for around 6-8 minutes before turning it around gently.
  3. Grilling Time: Cook for an additional six to eight minutes, then remove from the grates once it gets crispy and bronze.

Step 4: Serving Your Reheated Crab

The final step here should involve decorating your crab and serving it in a tasteful manner. This can be challenging since any errors might undo all the hard work done reheating it. Here are some tips;

  • Add Sides or Dips: Consider adding complementing sides such as potatoes, roasted vegetables, buttery bread, or mayonnaise dips.
  • Presentation On A Platter: Place your reheated crab on a plain-white platter and decorate with coriander leaves or even colorful fruit saucers


Crabs can be a bit challenging to reheat if done improperly, but this guide should give you the skills and structure necessary to succeed. As we have discovered, there are many ways of reheating crab in its shell. Each method has its distinct advantages and disadvantages, so it’s essential to choose the one that works best for you. So choose your crab, prepare it well, select your preferred reheating method, add your desired sides, and voila! Enjoy your reheated crab like never before.

Can you reheat cooked crab in its shell?

Absolutely! You can reheat cooked crab in its shell as long as it has been stored at the right temperature. It is important to remember not to overcook it, as this can result in the crab becoming dry and rubbery.

What is the best method for reheating cooked crab in its shell?

The best way to reheat cooked crab in its shell is to steam it. Place the crab in a heatproof dish and put it over boiling water. Cover the dish with a lid or foil and leave it to steam for about 7 minutes. Check the crab regularly to make sure it hasn’t dried out.

Can I reheat crab in the microwave?

While it is possible to reheat crab in the microwave, it is not recommended. Microwaving can cause the meat to dry out and become tough. If you must use a microwave, do so on low power, checking frequently to avoid overcooking.

How long can I keep leftover cooked crab?

Leftover cooked crab can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to three days. Make sure to check for any signs of spoilage before reheating and eating. If you are unsure whether your crab is still good to eat, trust your instincts and dispose of it.

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