Maryland blue crab is a fan-favorite crab from the eastern coast of the United States. It is a fantastic crab to cook with because the meat brings a bold flavor to the plate. You may be roughly familiar with how to properly prepare crab. We wanted to make this guide specifically for cooking Maryland blue crab since there are some subtleties to consider. Below, we talk more in-depth about the Maryland blue crab and give you popular ways to cook the crab.


About Maryland Blue Crab

Maryland blue crabs are a key feature of the Chesapeake Bay region and culture. As the name implies, these crabs have bright blue claws with an olive shell. Unlike other types of crab, fishers catch blue crab both in their soft shell and hard shell phases.

Maryland blue crabs have a distinct crab flavor that is stronger than most types of crab. The meat has a high fat content making it very rich and delicious. The taste of blue crab makes it an excellent crab for steaming and boiling.

Blue crab is best enjoyed freshly steamed and poured out onto brown butcher paper. Invite some friends over and be prepared to get messy cracking open the shells. You can order live Maryland blue crab by the bushel to have enough to go around. Learn how to cook Maryland blue crab next with a couple easy methods.


How To Cook Maryland Blue Crab Different Ways


Steaming Maryland blue crabs is the most classic way to prepare them. Using aromatics in the steaming water helps infuse the crab with more flavor. The cooking times in these steps are for live crabs. Here’s how to cook Maryland blue crab by steaming.

  1. Mix ½ cup Old Bay seasoning, ½ cup salt, 3 cups beer and 3 cups distilled vinegar in a large pot. Bring mixture to a simmer over high heat.
  2. Turn the crabs upside down and insert a knife through their shell, just behind the mouth.
  3. Place crabs in a steamer tray over the liquid in the pot.
  4. Cover the pot and steam the crabs for 20 to 30 minutes. The crabs should be bright orange.
  5. Serve the crabs with additional seasoning and melted butter.



Similar to steamed crabs, boiled crabs will absorb the flavor of the liquid they cook in. Serve these boiled crabs alongside corn, potatoes, and sausage for a complete boil. The following steps show you how to cook Maryland blue crab by boiling.

  1. Combine beer, onions, lemon, garlic, and Old Bay seasoning with enough water to fill a large stock pot halfway. Bring this mixture to a boil over medium heat.
  2. Add the live crabs to the pot and cover the pot.
  3. Boil the crabs for 12-15 minutes or until they are bright orange.
  4. Remove the crabs from the pot and serve with additional seasoning and lemon wedges.


Here’s a great video that shows how to boil and eat Maryland blue crabs.

YouTube video


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