Grilled Dungeness Crab

Grilled Dungeness Crab

The Spruce / Armando Rafael

Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 10 mins
Total: 25 mins
Servings: 4 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
190 Calories
8g Fat
11g Carbs
18g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 190
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 8g 10%
Saturated Fat 1g 6%
Cholesterol 81mg 27%
Sodium 355mg 15%
Total Carbohydrate 11g 4%
Dietary Fiber 0g 1%
Total Sugars 10g
Protein 18g
Vitamin C 8mg 40%
Calcium 81mg 6%
Iron 1mg 3%
Potassium 317mg 7%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

The grill adds great flavor to any kind of seafood. This recipe for grilled Dungeness crab is simple, yet quite delicious. You'll have these ready quickly and have enough time to dine and socialize with your guests.

This recipe details how to grill fresh live crabs. But those aren't always in season, and even when they are you may want the convenience of having someone else boil them for you. If the thought of live crabs is too much for you, then, by all means, purchase frozen crabs. Just make sure they are nice and thawed before placing them on the grill. Frozen crab can thaw overnight in the refrigerator or you can place it in a container of cool water for an hour or so.

If you are choosing live crabs, the ones you want are those that are active and alert. The sluggish ones are likely to be less healthy and less tasty. The larger the better to provide more luscious crab meat.


  • 1/4 cup (120 milliliters) white wine vinegar

  • 3 tablespoons (15 milliliters) sugar

  • 2 tablespoons (30 milliliters) olive oil

  • 1 tablespoon (15 milliliters) minced ginger

  • 1 jalapeño pepper, seeds removed, minced

  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed

  • 1 tablespoon (15 milliliters) cilantro, minced

  • 2 large Dungeness crabs, live

  • Lemon wedges, for serving

  • Drawn butter (aka clarified butter), for serving

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Grilled Dungeness Crab ingredients

    The Spruce / Armando Rafael

  2. To prepare the baste, mix vinegar, sugar, oil, ginger, jalapeño, garlic, and cilantro in a bowl. Cover and set aside.

    vinegar, sugar, oil, ginger, jalapeño, garlic, and cilantro in a bowl

    The Spruce / Armando Rafael

  3. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Drop the crabs, one at a time, headfirst into boiling water. Boil, then reduce heat and let simmer for 5 minutes.

    crabs in a large pot of water

    The Spruce / Armando Rafael

  4. Remove crabs from the water and pull off the triangular tab from the belly.

    pull off the triangular tab from the belly of the crab

    The Spruce / Armando Rafael

  5. Lift off the shell.

    lift the shell off the crab

    The Spruce / Armando Rafael

  6. Clean innards and gills from the crab. Wash, drain, and pat dry with paper towels.

    Clean innards and gills from the crab

    The Spruce / Armando Rafael

  7. Preheat grill for medium-high heat.

    charcoal grill

    The Spruce / Armando Rafael

  8. Place the crabs on the grill. Cook with the lid closed, brushing with basting mixture after first 2 to 3 minutes of cooking.

    crabs on the grill

    The Spruce / Armando Rafael

  9. Turn crabs over halfway through grilling, at the 6-minute mark, and baste again.

    baste the crab

    The Spruce / Armando Rafael

  10. The crabs are done when the meat in the leg is opaque, which in total will take about 10 to 12 minutes.

    crabs with herbs on a grill

    The Spruce / Armando Rafael

  11. Place the crab on a serving dish and spoon remaining basting mixture over the crabs. You can replace the shells before serving if you wish. Serve with lemon wedges and drawn butter, as desired.

    finished crab dish

    The Spruce


  • Be sure to have all of the crab-eating utensils (crackers and pick forks) handy for your guests so they can pick out all of the succulent crab meat. Bibs and extra napkins will be needed, plus access to hand washing facilities after the crab picking and eating is done. You'll also need dishes, a bowl, or a can for them to deposit the shells.
  • There is unlikely to be any leftovers, but if there are you should store the crab in the refrigerator and enjoy it within a day.

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