Seafood is often seen as a luxury dish available only in high-end restaurants, and king crab legs are among the most expensive. This, however, is not always the case.
Today, this delicacy is available frozen at your local grocery store for all tastes and budgets.
However, the art of cooking them can be intimidating to the uninitiated. Luckily, a microwave allows you to cook these crustaceans with minimal effort and fuss.
Here’s how to microwave frozen king crab legs.
Remove the crab legs from their packaging and place them in the refrigerator to thaw overnight. Cut them into portions if they’re still too big. Wrap them in damp paper towels and place them on a microwavable plate in a single layer. Cover with plastic wrap and cook on high for 3-4 minutes, until they turn red or reach 165°F.
For more insights on how to microwave king crab legs, cooking tips, how long they take to cook, other alternative cooking methods, and much more, continue reading!
Can You Microwave Crab Legs
You can microwave king crab legs for a quick, easy dinner or appetizer. However, you must exercise caution, or the meat will dry and toughen.
So, why exercise caution?
Well, first, they overcook easily. King crab legs are a delicate dish and thus should be handled with care. Their meat is softer than other crustaceans such as lobster and shrimp and should not be cooked any longer than necessary.
Second, they come pre-cooked. Due to their scarcity, king crab legs often come pre-cooked and flash-frozen to preserve freshness. As a result, they only require reheating before serving. Subjecting them to heat for too long or at too high a temperature will dry out the flesh and make it tough.
Third, microwaves tend to cook unevenly. This means cold and hot spots in your food, resulting in undercooked or overdone pieces. Also, the high microwave temperatures can break down proteins in crab legs, causing them to become mushy.
Finally, because king crab legs are categorized as meat, improper cooking may increase the risk of foodborne illness. As a result, you must thoroughly cook them to eliminate any potentially harmful bacteria. The disadvantage is that they could lose texture and flavor in the process.
So, how do you strike the perfect balance between overcooking the meat and preserving its natural flavors?
Read on next for tips and tricks to microwaving king crab legs successfully.
Tips for Microwaving King Crab Legs
Every cooking process or recipe has a set of rules that you must follow, and microwaving frozen king crab legs is no exception. So, here are some tips for reheating them in the microwave:
- Purchase only vacuum-sealed king crab legs from reputable seafood suppliers. Check the package for tears or ice crystals, as these can indicate freezer burn or spoilt meat.
- Do not microwave your crab legs in their original packaging because they’ll melt, leaching toxins into the food. Instead, use a microwave-safe plate large enough to hold all the pieces without overlapping.
- If the legs don’t fit on the plate, split them so that each one can heat evenly. A nutcracker makes quick work of this task, but if you don’t have any on hand, a sharp knife will suffice.
- King crab eggs come frozen; therefore, the need to thaw them first before microwaving. The best way to do so is by leaving them overnight in the fridge or microwave on defrost. If you choose the latter, heat in short bursts to avoid drying them out.
- Wrap your crab legs in a damp paper towel or napkin to keep them moist while they cook. If desired, cover with microwavable plastic wrap to trap moisture and reduce splatter.
- Throw some tarragon sprigs over the legs before microwaving. The herb’s flavor will complement the dish well. Serve with lemon wedges, melted butter, and salt and pepper to taste.
Best Method of Cooking Frozen King Crab Legs in the Microwave
The best way to cook frozen king crab legs in the microwave is by cooking in short bursts to prevent drying out. Thaw them first, then wrap them in a damp paper towel to keep them moist.
Frozen king crab legs come pre-cooked, making them a great option for busy weeknights. Plus, they’re flash-frozen to lock in freshness and flavor, so all you have to do is pop them in the microwave for a few minutes. Here’s how.
What You’ll Need
- One bag of frozen king crab legs (you can buy these from your grocery store)
- A microwave-safe dish or plate
- Paper towels
- Microwavable plastic wrap
- A pair of kitchen scissors
- A nutcracker
- A few sprigs of tarragon
Instructions On How to Cook Frozen King Crab Legs in Microwave
Step 1: Remove from its packaging and thaw your frozen king crab legs in the refrigerator overnight or under cold running water until they are no longer stiff. However, if you defrost the microwave, wrap them in a paper towel to prevent drying out.
Step 2: Cut the legs into smaller pieces using your pair of kitchen scissors, preferably 2-3, before microwaving to ensure they fit better in your microwave dish.
Step 3: Wrap your crab legs in paper towels and place them on a microwave-safe dish. Then, if desired, place a layer of microwavable plastic wrap over the top of the dish. In the absence of paper towels, add a tablespoon of water to the bottom of the dish. Use the ratio of 1 tablespoon of water per 8 ounces of seafood.
Remember not to overfill your dish with too many legs at once, as it will take longer to cook—instead, microwave in batches of 8 ounces (1 pound) of crab legs at a time.
Step 4: To add flavor to your dish, toss some chopped herbs such as tarragon. However, you can try your favorite herbs or leave them out entirely.
Step 5: Set your microwave to high power and cook for 2 minutes. See if they’re hot enough by poking one of the legs with a fork. If not, put them back in the microwave and heat in 30-second intervals until a temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit is reached.
Step 6: Remove from the microwave and serve while still warm with melted butter, tartar sauce, or lemon wedges. Alternatively, crack open the leg shell with a nutcracker and scoop the meat with a spoon to enjoy the tender, succulent flesh.
How Long Do You Microwave Frozen King Crab Legs
One pound of frozen king crab legs will take 3-4 minutes to microwave on high power. However, the time may vary depending on your microwave power rating, weight, and the number of crab legs.
Time is of the essence when microwaving crab legs because it only takes a few minutes for them to go from edible to overcooked. For this reason, keep a close eye on them and stop the cooking process as soon as they reach the desired temperature.
Cooking them longer than necessary will result in dry and tough meat. A good rule of thumb is to microwave in 30-60 second increments until the temperature reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
Alternative Methods of Cooking Frozen King Crab Legs
If you don’t have a microwave or prefer not to use one, there are other ways to cook frozen king crab legs. You can boil, steam, or bake them.
Before we get into the specifics of each of these cooking methods, there are a few steps that will apply to all three.
The first step is to thaw the frozen king crab legs. There are numerous methods, including running cold water over them or leaving them in the refrigerator overnight.
The next step is to cut your crab legs into smaller pieces that will fit in your pot, steamer, or baking dish.
Now, let’s look at each method and the corresponding steps.
- Fill a large pot with enough water to cover the frozen king crabs and add salt.
- Bring it to a boil over high heat.
- Submerge your frozen king crab legs in the boiling water making sure not to overcrowd the pot. A pair of tongs may be helpful when lowering the crab legs into the pot, as they’ll often flip out.
- Reduce the heat to medium, and start the timer when water starts to simmer again. Allow the frozen king crab legs to cook for 5-7 minutes, or until thoroughly heated. They’re done when they turn red and emit an alluring aroma.
- Remove them from the pot using tongs or a slotted spoon and serve while hot with butter and lemon wedges on the side.
- Put a large pot filled with 1/2 inch of water on medium-high heat and bring it to a boil.
- Season the water with salt, ginger, garlic, or soy sauce if desired.
- Add the frozen king crab legs to your steamer basket and lower them into the pot so that it barely touches the water’s surface.
- Cover the pot and steam the crab legs for 5-10 minutes until vibrant red and fragrant.
- Serve while hot with butter and lemon wedges on the side.
- Preheat the oven to 350 ℉ (176 ° C) for 5-10 minutes.
- Place your frozen king crab legs in a single layer on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Pour some hot water onto the cookie sheet (if desired) to create a moist environment for the king crab legs.
- Brush melted butter, garlic, or olive oil onto the king crab legs. Season them with salt and pepper if desired.
- Cover the cookie sheet with aluminum foil and place it in the oven.
- Bake for 8-12 minutes until they turn deep red and emit a delicious smell.
People Also Ask On How to Microwave Frozen King Crab Legs
1. Are frozen crab legs already cooked?
Frozen crab legs are pre-cooked before packaging to preserve and maintain their freshness. Once you remove them from the freezer, they will only need a few minutes in the microwave to finish cooking.
2. Do you need to thaw frozen crab legs before cooking?
Although not necessary, thawing frozen crab legs ensures they cook evenly and quickly. You can either leave them in the refrigerator overnight to thaw or place them in a pot of cold water for about 30 minutes.
3. Can you put frozen crab legs in the microwave?
You can microwave frozen crab legs, but be careful not to overcook them. The FDA recommends that they be cooked to an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
4. Can you defrost crab meat in the microwave?
You can, but you run the risk of overcooking your crab meat. As a result, microwave in short bursts or use the defrost setting.
5. How do you reheat Costco king crab legs?
You can boil, steam, bake, grill, or microwave your frozen Costco king crab legs. In each case, you must defrost the frozen leg(s) before cooking them. The good news is that these methods are fairly quick and easy.
For more detailed instructions, refer to our post for various ways to cook frozen king crab legs.
Although there are numerous ways to cook frozen king crab legs, microwaving is your go-to choice for a quick, easy meal. However, you must exercise caution, or the meat will become tough and rubbery if cooked too long.
First, thaw your frozen crab legs to cook evenly and quickly. Second, wrap them in wet paper towels to prevent them from drying out while cooking. Third, microwave in 30-60 second increments to avoid overcooking.
Finally, cook them thoroughly or until an instant-read thermometer reads 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
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