Sweet and Spicy Beer Steamed Rock Crab

Live rock crab on a scale
Foodcollection / Getty Images
Prep: 5 mins
Cook: 15 mins
Total: 20 mins
Servings: 3 to 4 servings

Here's a delicious way to add extra flavor to your crabs, crab legs, or crab claws whether they're already cooked or raw—steam them with spiced beer!

An amber or 'red' beer is best for this recipe; it gives a depth of flavor without being too assertive.

Rock crab claws are becoming more available in markets. Similar to blue crabs, US-produced rock crabs are sustainably harvested and have a nice sweet crab flavor. You can use this recipe for any type of crab, though.

If they aren't already, make sure to lightly crack each leg or claw before steaming so the flavor can get inside.


  • 1 bottle beer (amber, preferably flat)
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons seafood seasoning (such as Old Bay)
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • Optional: 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2-3 pounds crab claws, crab legs, or whole crabs

Steps to Make It

  1. In a large covered stockpot, bring the beer, sugar, seafood seasoning, vinegar, and spices to a boil over medium-high heat.

  2. Add the crabs and stir well.

  3. Cover and steam 5-7 minutes (10-15 for raw crabs), stirring well a few times.

  4. Remove crabs and serve hot, sprinkled with a little extra seafood seasoning, if desired.