Though often mistaken for king crab, snow crab is in a league of its own when it comes to flavor and texture. The crustacean is named for its meat, which turns from red to a beautiful snowy white once cooked. With a sweet, briny taste and a firm, fibrous texture, the snow crab is a fantastic addition to any meal, whether you’re a crab enthusiast or a first-time eater. If you’re interested in ordering snow crab legs online for your next special meal, the price comparison grid and guide below explains all you need to know. Looking for a different type of crab? Check out our main crab page to find what you need.
Snow Crab Legs Prices
|Crab Place||$31.35||3 lbs||4.7|
|Cameron’s Seafood||$49.99||3 lbs||5.0|
|Fulton Fish Market||$27.99||10 oz||4.4|
Snow Crab Sourcing and Features
There are seven species of crab marketed as snow crab, but the most commonly purchased in the United States is Chionoecetes bairdi, or the Alaskan Snow Crab. These are also referred to as Tanner Crabs, Queen Crabs, and Spider Crabs. Most snow crabs caught are of the opilio crab variety.
Snow crabs are decapods, which means they have ten legs with small pincer claws on the front pair. Their shells are a dull orange, but they brighten to a poppy red when cooked. Snow crabs can live for more than ten years, and most adults will grow to be between 1 and 4 pounds in adulthood.
Snow crabs, like king crabs, are subject to strict fishing quotas. Most of what you see for sale when you buy crab legs online are wild caught snow crab legs. The crab was overfished to the point of near-extinction in the mid-1980’s, but a Crab Rationalization Program introduced in the mid-2000s helped the species regain its population. The quota currently placed on snow crab fishing means you will likely pay more for this species than a more widely sourced crustacean, like the Dungeness crab.
Buy Crab Legs Online: Pricing and Options
You can most commonly find leg clusters of snow crab for sale online. A cluster is half the legs of a snow crab, consisting of four legs and one claw. Clusters are very easy to reheat and are a convenient serving size. Sometimes online sellers also sell whole snow crabs, which are great for presentation. While more rare, you may also find the occasional pre-picked snow crab meat for sale by the pound.
To buy crab legs online, you can reference our price grid above for good sellers. A reasonable snow crab legs price falls between $20 and $35 dollars. Of course, the price can fluctuate any given week for various reasons, but the range above is relatively constant. Keep in mind that these prices are independent of any shipping costs associated with your purchase. As is the case anytime you buy crab legs online, you can expect to add around $25 for shipping.
What Does Snow Crab Taste Like?
While more expensive than other species, many believe that snow crab’s unique flavor is worth the premium price. Snow crab legs are named for their snow-white meat, which is stringier and more fibrous than other crab variations. The meat pieces are typically long and can shred like pork or corned beef. Sweet snow crabs often have a delicate, lightly briny flavor, and the meat has very low oil content.
The crab’s texture will depend on the part of the animal from which it comes; shoulder meat is more tender, while the claws are often firm. Typically, the size of the crab — whether you order jumbo snow crab legs or 1 lb snow crab legs of a different size — won’t affect the flavor.
The Best Crab Legs Cooking Methods
Like king crab, snow crab is typically sold pre-cooked and flash frozen. All a home chef needs to prepare snow crab meat is heat it up. Warming the meat too much risks overcooking, which can make the crab dry and tough. Legs are often served cold as appetizers. To do this, simply move your crab from the freezer to the refrigerator and let thaw overnight.
Because snow crab legs are served pre-cooked, the most popular preparation methods are steaming and boiling. This will quickly warm the meat without overcooking it. Depending on the size of your crab, cook the meat or parts for 3 to 5 minutes in boiling water or steam. The shells are relatively thin, which means you can enjoy whole or shelled snow crab without using a special cracking tool.
Snow crab meat is excellent enjoyed alone, but it is also often used in chowders, crepes, casseroles, and quiches. If you want to serve your snow crab as part of a recipe, prepare the meal with frozen crab; it will warm as the rest of the dish cooks. You can also find general tips for cooking crab.
Here are some recipes ideas for crab legs:
Why It’s Better to Buy Crab Legs Online vs a Grocery Store
It’s fair to question whether it is better to buy crab legs online or at a grocery store seafood counter. When you buy crab legs online, you benefit from certain guarantees that are unavailable from your local grocery store. We will cover why we recommend online seafood sellers the next time you are looking to buy snow crab.
Shopping for crab legs online lets you browse without ever leaving your house and has the added convenience of orders arriving at your front door. At the grocery store, you are limited to the options at the seafood counter, but online seafood shops offer a fantastic variety of all sorts of seafood. Grocery stores do have the advantage of being able to pick out your seafood in person before buying. However, anytime you buy crab legs online, the seller ensures the quality of the order.
Online seafood sellers want to have continually fresh offerings, so their shipping process is very efficient. Many online crab leg sellers offer next-day delivery to get your order out fast. While the grocery store is the place to buy seafood on the same day you need it, planning what you need ahead of time allows you to buy much better snow crab online.
When you buy crab legs online, you are buying from small businesses who specialize in what they sell. Unless you go to a specialty seafood market, your local grocery store likely is not the place to go for top of the line seafood. It’ll do in a pinch, but do not expect prime snow crab. Buying online gives you access to information on where your snow crab originates, how the fishers caught it, and exactly how the crab makes its way from the ocean to your door.
Ultimately, we think you should buy crab legs online versus the grocery store. There’s no telling how long the crab has been sitting in the counter or its journey to the store. If you buy crab legs online, however, the supply chain is much shorter. The crab goes from the ocean, to the processing warehouse, and then to your door. The sellers take care that your crab freezes and remains frozen throughout its trip to your house for maximum freshness.
Order Snow Crab Legs Online
You can typically buy crab legs online from May until January when snow crab is in season. Frozen snow crab is usually available year-long, but if you see fresh snow crab out of season, it has likely already been cooked, frozen, and thawed. Seasons do vary by location (Alaska, Russia, and Canada), so if you want to buy snow crab legs, meat, or snow crab clusters online, especially in an off-season month, see if your provider gives any information about how the crab was processed.
Never trust cheap snow crab legs, as cheap prices may indicate an inexperienced or dubious business. Properly frozen snow crab legs are fully cooked and flash frozen prior to sale. Be wary of anyone selling raw, frozen crab legs. If you are looking to save some money when you buy crab legs online, you may find better deals on bulk snow crab legs. For example, at Cameron’s Seafood, the price per pound on snow crab legs drops as you buy more and you earn free shipping on orders that exceed a set amount. The Crab Place has a similar discount, too. Snow crab freezes very well, so if you buy more than you need to get a deal, you do not have to risk the crab going to waste.
You should aim to order 1.5 to 2 pounds of snow crab per person anytime you buy crab legs online. There are approximately 2 clusters per 1.75 pounds of crab. If you opt to buy a whole snow crab, 1 crab will feed 1 to 2 people. When you get your snow crab legs delivered, either keep them in the fridge to thaw if you are going to eat them within the next couple of days. Otherwise, store the crab in the freezer until you need it. This seafood is among our favorites, so we hope you like it when you buy crab legs online.
Learn more about cooking the different types of crab on our main page for buying crab online.
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