Understanding the Different Types of Crab and Their Characteristics

October 10, 2022
Last updated on January 11, 2023
Understanding the Different Types of Crab and Their Characteristics

Crab is a delicious and versatile seafood that can be enjoyed in many different ways. From King crabs to Dungeness crabs, there are several types of crab that are caught and enjoyed around the world. In this article, we will take a closer look at the different types of crab, exploring their characteristics, flavor, and best ways to enjoy them. Join us as we dive into the world of crab and discover the variety of options available.

5 Common Types of Crab

Let's dive deeper into the world of crab and take a closer look at the different types of crab and their best uses in culinary creations, providing you with a comprehensive understanding of this delicious seafood.

1. Dungeness Crabs

Dungeness crabs are a type of crab found on the West Coast of the United States and Canada. They have a hard, oval-shaped shell and are typically between 5 and 8 inches wide. 

Types of crab: Dungeness Crabs

They are known for their sweet, delicate meat and can be enjoyed steamed, in soups or salads. The meat from Dungeness crabs is sweet and delicate, with a delicate crab flavor and a slightly firm texture. The meat is found in the body and claws, and it's considered a delicacy due to its flavor and texture.

Way to Enjoy Dungeness crabs

The most popular way to enjoy Dungeness crab is steaming them whole, that way you can enjoy both the meat from the body and claws, and season them with butter, lemon or garlic to enhance the natural sweetness of the crab.

Dungeness crab can also be used in different dishes such as soups, stews, and casseroles. The meat can be removed from the shell and used in salads, sandwiches, sushi rolls or as a topping for pasta dishes. They can also be used as an ingredient in crab cakes, dips, and spreads.

When and How Dungeness Crabs are caught

The season for catching Dungeness crabs varies depending on the location, mainly based on the area, but also have quotas and regulations to maintain their populations. They are caught using traps, pots, or trawls, and the season starts during late fall, and ends during early summer, depending on the area. Dungeness crabs are considered a delicacy and can be found at seafood markets and restaurants during their season.

2. King Crabs

King crabs, also known as Alaskan king crabs, are a type of crab commonly caught in the Bering Sea and the Aleutian Islands, Alaska. They have a hard, red or orange shell, and can grow up to 10 feet across. The most desired parts for consumption are their large legs, the meat from the legs is sweet and flavorful, with a tender texture and a nice white color.

Types of Crab: King Crabs

King crabs have a strong and sweet taste, and the meat is firm and has a lot of flavor. They are considered a delicacy and are considered a gourmet food, which is why they are commonly found in high-end restaurants and seafood markets.

Way to Enjoy King crabs

King crabs have a high amount of meat per leg and are commonly served steamed, grilled, or in stews. They can also be enjoyed cold, in salads or sushi rolls.

When it comes to taste, King crabs are considered to have a sweeter and more delicate flavor than some other types of crabs, with a balance between the sweetness of the crab meat and a slight brininess. Also, their meat is more moist and less stringy than other crabs, making it easier to remove from the shell.

When and How King Crabs are caught

The king crab season varies depending on the area, they can be harvested all year round but the best time to catch them is during fall, winter and early spring. The methods of catching vary depending on the region, some are caught using pots, others with trawls or hook, and are regulated by quotas or limits to ensure sustainable fishing practices, to ensure their populations stay healthy.

3. Blue Crabs

Blue crabs are a type of crab found on the East Coast of the United States and in the Gulf of Mexico. They have a round, hard shell that is typically blue-green in color, and are known for their sweet and flavorful meat.

Types of Crab: Blue Crabs

Blue crabs have a slightly more robust flavor than Dungeness crabs and King crabs, and their meat is sweet and flavorful. The meat from the body of the blue crab is used for crab cakes, dips, and soups, while the claws can be steamed and eaten as a delicacy. Blue crab meat has a slightly more pronounced crab flavor and a somewhat firmer texture than some of the other types of crab.

Way to Enjoy Blue crabs

When it comes to cooking, Blue crabs can be enjoyed in many ways such as steamed, in soups, and salads, but also are commonly found in crab cakes and crab dips. These dishes, especially crab cakes, are traditional and popular in the East Coast and Gulf of Mexico regions. Blue crabs are also used as a topping for pizza, sandwiches and salads, they can be served cold, warm or at room temperature.

When and How Blue Crabs are caught

It's worth mentioning that, like other types of crab, the availability of blue crab can be dependent on the region, mainly based on the area, but also have quotas and regulations to maintain their populations, the seasonality of this species varies depending on the location. Also, there are different methods of catching, some areas use traps, others use pots or hooks. Overall, blue crab is a delicious and versatile type of crab that can be enjoyed in many different ways and is a staple in traditional seafood dishes.

4. Stone Crabs

Stone crabs are a type of crab found on the East and Gulf Coasts of the United States, mostly caught in the state of Florida. They have a hard, reddish-brown shell, and are typically smaller in size than other types of crab.

Types of Crab: stone crabs

image by Andrea Westmoreland

One of the most distinctive characteristics of stone crabs is their meat, it's located on their claws, which are the only part of the crab that is harvested. Their meat is sweet, delicate, and tender with a delicate flavor that is similar to lobster, and a bit of a nutty flavor.

Enjoying the Flavor of Stone Crabs

When it comes to flavor, Stone crabs are considered one of the most desirable types of crab, due to its delicate and sweet taste, and the texture of their meat which is quite firm, but easy to remove from the shell. This type of crab is often served cold, in salads, sandwiches or on its own, with a side of mustard sauce, which is a traditional Florida accompaniment. They are also used in different dishes like crab cakes, pasta or soups.

When and How Stone Crabs are caught

A unique characteristic of stone crabs is their sustainable harvesting practices. Only one claw is harvested from the crab, then the crab is released back to the sea, so the other claw can grow back. This is a regulated practice that helps to ensure the sustainability of the species, so that the future generations can enjoy this delicacy too.

It's important to note that stone crab season runs from October to May, and that the meat of the claw can be found fresh, cooked or pasteurized. When it comes to the market price, it's considered a high-end seafood delicacy and is often sold by the pound, and it can be more expensive than other types of crab.

5. Snow Crabs

Snow crabs, also known as queen crabs, are a type of crab that are typically caught in the North Atlantic around Canada and Alaska and in the North Pacific around Russia, Japan and Korea. They have a distinctive long and spindly legs, and can grow up to 8 inches in width across the shell.

Types of Crab: snow queen crabs

Enjoying the Flavor of Snow Crabs

Snow crabs have a sweet, delicate, and moist meat that is high in protein, vitamins and minerals. This type of crab is often enjoyed steamed, or in salads, or as a topping for sushi rolls. The taste of snow crab is less strong and less briny than other types of crab, making it a popular option for people who prefer a milder flavor.

The meat from the legs, claws, and body of the snow crab can be used in a variety of dishes, and is a versatile ingredient in seafood cuisine. Snow crab is often enjoyed as a delicacy and is considered a gourmet food.

The Different Forms of Crab

It's important to also mention that all types of crab can be found fresh, frozen or canned, each of those options has a different flavor and texture, but the nutritional value and health benefits are the same. 

Fresh crab can be enjoyed cooked or raw, but has a higher price than frozen or canned options. Frozen crab can have a texture and taste close to fresh crab, but have a longer shelf life and are more affordable. Canned crab can have a softer texture but is a convenient option for quick meals or recipes.

How Much Does Crabs Cost?

The cost of crabs can vary depending on several factors, such as the type of crab, the location it is caught, the time of year, and whether it is live, frozen, or canned.

King crabs are generally considered to be the most expensive, due to their large size, sweet and flavorful meat and their catch location. The market price for King crabs can be above $25 per pound.

Dungeness crabs, Blue crabs, Stone crabs and Snow crabs can also be considered expensive, depending on the location and time of the season they are caught. These types of crabs can also be harvested using different methods, which can affect their price. Prices can also vary depending on whether the crab is live, frozen, or canned.

It's important to note that the price of crab meat can also vary depending on where you are and the time of year, for example, during off-seasons prices may be lower. Additionally, some species may have restrictions or regulations due to conservation methods or populations, and that can affect the prices as well.


In summary, crab is a versatile and delicious seafood that can be enjoyed in many ways. The different types of crab, such as Dungeness, King, Blue, Stone, and Snow, offer a variety of flavors and textures to suit any palate.

 Remember to always check for the origin and sustainability of the crab, and consider trying different options such as fresh, frozen or canned. This way, you can expand your seafood experience while also supporting a responsible seafood industry.

See also: Navigating the Different Types of Lobster

Profil Picture Velma Fuentes

Velma is passionate about cooking and baking, and loves nothing more than creating new and exciting dishes in the kitchen. She is also an avid traveler and enjoys experiencing different cultures and cuisines from around the world.

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