Crab can be a daunting seafood when it comes to preparation, but it’s nowhere near as complicated as you think, and an incredibly satisfying process that will lead to some truly delicious fresh seafood for you to prepare as you please.

Here’s how to go about cleaning, cracking, and shelling crab at home. 

  1. Remove and discard the triangular flaps from the belly side of the crab 
  2. Turning the crab belly side down; pull from the rear of the crab to lift off the back shell. Drain and discard the liquid inside, and if desired, scoop out the golden butter and white fat into a small bowl.
    If you’re using the back shell as a garnish, break off the bony front section (mouth) and discard. Rinse the shell thoroughly and drain before using.
  3. Working on the body of the crab, pull off and discard the reddish membrane that covers the center, as well as any loose pieces. Scoop out the remaining golden butter and add to the bowl. Pull off and discard the long spongy gills from both sides of the body. Rinse the body well with cold water. 
  4. Twist the legs and claws from the body. Using a nutcracker or wood mallet, crack the shell of each leg and claw section. With a knife, cut the body into quarters.
  5. Break apart legs and claws, then using your fingers, a small fork, a pick, or a crab leg tip, remove the meat. Pull each of the body sections apart and dig out the pockets of meat. Once done, discard the shells. 

A single cooked and cleaned 1 3/4- to 2-pound crab (with back shell)  should yield approximately 7 1/2 to 8 ounces (1 1/3 to 1 1/2 cups) of meat; heavier crabs do not always have more meat. 

If you’re looking for the freshest crab to have a go preparing yourself, we have you covered.