How to Cook Live Crab – Blue Crab Boil

How to Boil Blue Crab

Whenever I go to the ocean or the coast, I’m always craving crab. Usually, this means ordering crab legs. But crab legs, though delicious, aren’t enough to satisfy my seafood craving. I need more – more than just the legs.

The Vietnamese girl in me craves a good old-fashioned crab boil.

How to Boil Blue Crab

I grew up eating boiled crab . When I was little, after my family had moved to the United States, my mom would go to the Asian supermarket and bring home live blue crab. She’d boil it in the traditional way – with just salt and water. The family would feast, digging our fingers into every nook and cranny, even eating the inside of the shell that Americans usually discard. We’d make sure we got every little piece of crab meat, and it helped that our fingers were small enough to be able to get every piece out and into our bellies.

Now as an adult, from time to time, I crave eating blue crabs. Fortunately, for me, I live in a major city and have access to a large Asian supermarket. In the summer, there’s always live crab that can be found.

Blue Crab

This weekend, I bought a little over 4 pounds of blue crabs to bring home. To add a little spice, I used a package of Louisiana Crab and Shrimp Boil. Oh, it makes your mouth burn, but it was worth every bite.

Look at all the delicious goodness inside …

Eating Blue Crab

Spicy Blue Crab Boil


  • 4 Lbs Live Blue Crab
  • 1 Package of Louisiana Crawfish, Crab & Shrimp Boil
  • Water


Rinse the live blue crab with cold water to get any gunk off them. To avoid getting pinched, use tongs to rinse the crab under the kitchen faucet.

Fill a large saucepan with water - enough to cover all crabs. Add the package of Louisiana crab boil seasoning. Bring the water to a boil.

Add the washed crabs. Cover and allow to cook for 10 minutes, until the crabs are nice and pink.

Turn off the heat and allow the crabs to soak in the seasoned water. The longer they sit in the water, the spicier they will be.


Picking Meat from Cooked Blue Crabs

Picking and eating the blue crabs is fun, especially when you have company, though it does take some work – food “engineering” as I like to call it. Here’s how I’ve always done it:

1. Twist off all the crab legs and claws. Use a lobster cracker to crack the claws and remove the meat.

2. Turn the crab over and remove the tail flap (the apron of the crab). I use my fingers to pry it off. You can also use a knife to help you with this step. Discard the flap.

How to eat a blue crab

3. Using your thumb, pry open the top shell and remove it from the body. It should come apart pretty easily.

Opening Blue Crab
The Vietnamese love to eat all the internal organs and all the bits inside the top shell. They have a lot of flavor. It’s the fun part of eating whole crab. But if this grosses you out, discard it.

Remove the inedible gills along the sides of the crab body. Discard it. (My mom always said that if you ate this part, you would get a stomach ache, so this is the one part of the crab that we never eat.)

Blue Crab Split Open

4. Break the crab body in half and remove the meat from each pocket.

If you don’t like any of the organ bits that linger on the crab body, you can discard them (or eat them). Female crabs may have eggs inside. Toss if you don’t want to eat them.

Blue Crab Meat

Removing the crab meat should be easy from here on it. Just use your fingers to work them out. I eat as I pick.

Happy eating!

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