Make Thai Chili Crab at Home

Thai chili crab

The Spruce / Darlene Schmidt

Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 30 mins
Total: 50 mins
Servings: 4 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
398 Calories
12g Fat
19g Carbs
49g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 398
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 12g 16%
Saturated Fat 1g 6%
Cholesterol 169mg 56%
Sodium 4336mg 189%
Total Carbohydrate 19g 7%
Dietary Fiber 2g 9%
Total Sugars 9g
Protein 49g
Vitamin C 45mg 223%
Calcium 200mg 15%
Iron 3mg 19%
Potassium 1016mg 22%
*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.)

Have dinner guests you'd like to impress? Your house will smell divine after cooking this dish, and you just might get promoted to gourmet chef status by your dinner companions. Either frozen or fresh crab (in the shell) can be used—king crab or snow crab are both delicious, or keep it simple and make it with crab legs. This dish is so good, it is likely to stay in your recipe files forever and be made often. 


  • 2 tablespoons oil (or 1 1/2 to 2 cups oil if deep-frying)

  • 2 shallots, minced, or 1/2 cooking onion, chopped

  • 4 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 fresh red chile, minced

  • 1 thumb-sized piece galangal or ginger, sliced into matchstick-like pieces

  • 3 to 4 tablespoons white wine

  • 1 1/2 cups chicken broth

  • 2 teaspoons to 2 tablespoons chili sauce, to taste

  • 1/4 cup ketchup, or tomato sauce

  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce

  • 3 tablespoons fish sauce

  • 2 pounds fresh or frozen snow or king crab

  • 1 large egg

  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch, dissolved in 4 tablespoons water

  • 3 spring onions, finely sliced

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Set a wok or frying pan over medium-high heat. Drizzle in 2 tablespoons oil and swirl around, then add the shallots or onion, garlic, red chile, and galangal or ginger. Stir-fry 2 to 3 minutes, adding a splash of white wine to the pan when it becomes dry.

  3. Add chicken broth, chili sauce, ketchup (or tomato sauce), soy sauce, and fish sauce. Stir well over medium-high until combined. Set aside until crab is cooked.

  4. Cook crab using one of the methods below. Add cooked crab to the sauce. Using 2 large utensils, gently turn the crab in the sauce to coat.

  5. Break the egg into a cup and combine it with the cornstarch dissolved in water. Whisk with a fork.

  6. Add the egg mixture to the pan. Stir well to combine (sauce will thicken). Turn heat to low, continuing to stir.

  7. Taste test for salt and spice, adding more fish sauce if not salty or flavorful enough. If too salty, add a squeeze of fresh lime juice. If too spicy, add a little more tomato sauce (or tomato juice).

  8. To serve, use tongs to lift crab out of the pan onto a serving platter or large serving bowl. Pour the sauce over and sprinkle with green onion. Serve with finger wipes (you must use your hands to eat this dish).

To Deep-Fry the Crab

  1. Place 2 cups oil in wok or large frying pan over medium-high heat. Test the oil by dipping one end of a crab leg into the pan. The oil should sizzle and easily bubble around the crab (if nothing happens, the oil is still not hot enough). Make sure your crab is thawed and dry before placing it in the oil, or it may splatter.

  2. Using tongs, fry the crab until the shells turn bright red (1 minute or less). You may have to cut some of the legs to fit in the pan. Fry in batches of 4 to 5 legs. Be careful to stand back in case the oil splatters. Drain on paper towels.


  • Provide a nutcracker if you have one, as the shells can sometimes be difficult to crack. Also, satay sticks are very useful for pushing the crabmeat out of the shell.

Recipe Variations

  • To Steam the Crab: Place crab in a steamer or a colander set over a pot of boiling water (you may have to break it into smaller pieces). Steam for 7 to 9 minutes. Be careful not to over-steam or the crab will lose its tenderness.
  • To Bake the Crab: Simply wrap in tin foil and bake at 350 F for 7 to 9 minutes (avoid overbaking or crab will turn rubbery).

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