Dungeness Crab


How to Clean, Prep, and Cook Dungeness Crab

Prepping Dungeness crab isn’t complicated. Here are the steps below.

  1. Remove the apron.
  2. Remove the carapace.
  3. Remove the tomalley. You can keep it or discard.
  4. Remove and discard the gills. Remove and discard the mouth parts. Rinse crab to remove dark body parts.
  5. For presentation and to prepare for cooking, place top shell back on the body. Affix a rubber band around both sides to hold the shell in place and to keep the legs together during cooking. By doing this, it makes it easier to keep the crab together during cooking – and retrieval when done.
  6. Cook the crab in salted water or a flavorful court bouillon. Once its cooked, it can be eaten immediately, or chilled for later.
  7. Remove the rubber bands and top shell. Crack body in half.
  8. Pull off the legs and begin removing the meat. Tip: slide closed scissors into the shell, then open them. This separates the shell making removal of the meat easier.
  9. Use the back of a heavy knife or use crab crackers to crack open the claws. Remove meat.
  10. Separate leg joints; remove the tips and discard. Use a rolling pin to press out the meat from the leg shells. For larger and heavier shelled legs, use scissors to cut them, and remove the meat.
  11. Pick out the meat from the body.
  12. Crab meat is ready to eat or use in recipes.



John Shelton, the Fishing Chef, will help you get ‘that’ fish onto ‘your’ plate. John’s motto is ‘release it unharmed or do it justice on the plate.’ Executive Chef, photographer, and surfer, John photographs ocean marine life when he's out fishing, and creates masterpieces in the kitchen with what he keeps on deck. His photo works have been used in OEHHA Fish Advisories, National Geographic presentations, and nonprofit marine life groups. When he's not fishing, he's making great BBQ. Visit him at johnsheltondesigns.com, and send him a message using the contact form using the link above.