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How to Clean and Crack Dungeness Crab Like a Pro

April 20, 2023

How to Clean and Crack Dungeness Crab Like a Pro

How to Clean and Crack Dungeness Crab

Do you love indulging in seafood but feel intimidated by the thought of cleaning and cracking a Dungeness crab? Fear not, we’ve got you covered! In this post, we will take you through the process of cleaning and cracking a Dungeness crab like a pro.

First things first, let’s gather all the necessary tools. You will need a large pot, a pair of tongs, a seafood cracker, and a sharp knife.

Step 1: Rinse the crab Place the crab under cold running water and rinse off any dirt or debris that may be on the shell.

Step 2: Remove the apron Flip the crab upside down and locate the apron, which is the triangular flap on the underside of the crab. Hold the crab firmly and pull the apron away from the body.

Step 3: Clean the crab Use a seafood brush or a toothbrush to clean the shell and remove any remaining debris.

Step 4: Remove the top shell Hold the crab firmly with one hand and use the other hand to lift off the top shell.

Step 5: Remove the gills Once the top shell is removed, locate the gills, which are the feathery-looking structures on either side of the crab. Remove and discard them.

Step 6: Remove the innards Locate the crab’s innards, which are located in the center of the body. Use a spoon or your fingers to scoop out the innards and discard them.

Step 7: Crack the legs and claws Use the seafood cracker to crack the legs and claws, being careful not to crush the meat inside.

Step 8: Serve and enjoy! Arrange the crab on a plate and serve with lemon wedges and melted butter.


Q: How do I know if the crab is cooked?

A: The crab shell will turn a bright orange-red color when it is fully cooked.

Q: Can I clean the crab before cooking?

A: Yes, you can clean the crab before cooking. However, it is recommended to cook the crab first as this will make the cleaning process easier.

Q: Can I use a regular knife to crack the legs and claws?

A: While you can use a regular knife, a seafood cracker is recommended as it is specifically designed for cracking shellfish.


Cleaning and cracking a Dungeness crab may seem daunting at first, but with the right tools and a little bit of practice, you’ll be able to do it like a pro. Remember to rinse the crab, remove the apron, clean the shell, remove the top shell and gills, scoop out the innards, and crack the legs and claws. With these simple steps, you’ll be able to impress your guests at your next seafood feast!

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