The Best Way to Reheat Crab Legs: Expert Tips

Crab legs are a delicious indulgence for holidays, special events, or just a meal to treat yourself. Although the long, thin legs require some effort and patience when picking out fragments of tender meat, you would likely agree that it’s well worth it. Whether you like to steam crab legs and dunk them in butter or boil the legs to use the meat for crab cakes, there are tons of ways to enjoy the crustacean. After paying for and preparing them, no one wants to let leftover crab legs go to waste.

But cooking seafood well and reheating it safely can be nerve-wracking if you’ve been unfortunate enough to experience food poisoning from it before. That is why it is essential to understand how to most effectively and carefully reheat crab legs before digging in again. And you can still enjoy leftover crab easily or put them to good use in other dishes.

Boil them in hot water

crab legs in boiling water

Some of the very best methods for reheating crab legs are similar, if not the same, as to how you might have cooked them in the first place. The top methods involve using more water to avoid drying out the crab meat. No one wants tough or chewy crab legs, and that’s why boiling them to heat them up is an excellent way to revive leftovers.

According to City Fish Market, boiling crab legs is incredibly fast and easy. All you need to do is fill a large pot with enough water to cover the crab legs you want to reheat and let the water come to a boil. Once the water is hot and bubbling, submerge the crab legs in the water. It should only take up to five minutes for the crab legs to get heat through. And once they are, it is time to dig in.

Steam them in a large pot

steaming crab leg

A similar method to boiling crab legs for reheating is to steam them in a pot instead. Steaming crab legs is almost exactly like boiling them, but this technique requires a lot less water. The great thing about this method is that it only requires a few minutes for the crab legs to reheat fully.

According to Cooking Chew, all you need to do is fill just enough water inside a steamer pot or a pot outfitted with a metal colander to hold the legs. Be sure to cover the bottom of the pot with a couple of inches of water. Cooking Chew also recommends using beer for added flavor. You could also incorporate other liquids to flavor the crab legs, such as sherry, white wine, or broth. Once the liquid begins to boil, place the crab legs over the water and cover. Let the legs steam for up to five minutes, then serve and enjoy.

Place them in the oven

crab legs on baking sheet

If you’re afraid you can’t fit all of your crab legs into a pot to steam and you prefer to keep them whole, then you might want to consider using the oven to reheat the legs. While simply sticking them in the oven alone would dry out the crab legs, you can use a technique to steam them in a pan instead of on the stovetop.

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According to Cooking Chew, you can lay crab legs in a baking dish filled with just ½ an inch of water in the oven to steam the legs whole. You can also add your favorite seasonings to the water for added flavor. Once you have the crab legs prepared in the dish and the oven is preheated to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, cover the dish with foil and place it in the oven. Within 20 minutes, the crab legs should be ready to eat.

Grill leftover crab legs

crab leg on grill

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According to Cooking Chew, if using the oven is too slow, and you don’t want to wait on the water to boil, you can turn to your trusty grill. This is an especially great method if you plan to grill up some dishes to serve on the side, like corn or sliced potatoes in a foil packet. The grill can be your one-stop cooking method for an entire meal.

To reheat crab legs on the grill, heat your grill as you usually would and just place the legs right on the metal grate. The only thing you need to avoid is placing the legs directly over the flames — especially for the thinner parts of the legs, too. This will help prevent the crab from getting too dry. It should only take about 10 minutes for the crab to heat through. This method provides the crab legs with a delightful smoky taste.

Try using the microwave the right way

cooked crab legs on plate

Finally, the microwave works as a last-resort option, though you won’t get the same flavor you would from the other reheating methods. According to City Fish Market, you can still get great, supple crab meat from the microwave so long as you don’t overcook the legs. You can have perfectly reheated crab legs from the microwave in just two minutes with a simple trick.

The key to using the microwave is locking in moisture around the crab legs using wet paper towels and cling wrap to ensure the moisture stays trapped. This method allows you to steam the crab legs in the microwave. First, wrap the crab legs in wet paper towels. Next, wrap them with the cling wrap, and set the timer for two minutes. Be careful removing the legs because they will be piping hot.

No matter which method of reheating crab legs you choose to use, you should always thaw frozen crab legs completely before reheating. Ultimately, you can easily enjoy crab in just minutes using any one of these techniques.

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