October 20, 2020 by CC Staff

How to Eat and Clean a Crab – A Basic Guide for Beginners

Eating seafood is terrific. You have an array of delicacies to choose from, including shrimp, crawfish, lobster, and crab. As difficult as it might be to get through these crustacean’s shells, tasting it’s fine, soft flesh is absolutely worth the trip.

When it comes to eating crab, in particular, expect to go on an adventure of your life just to achieve its juicy meat. Patience is key in this effort, as opening it up is only the beginning, you’ll have to get through the entire body to truly get to the good stuff.

If it’s your first time eating an entire crab, then you’re in for one amazing ride! To help you maximize the experience, then here are the basic steps to eating and cleaning out a crab perfectly:

1. Remove the Legs

Begin by picking apart all of the legs and claws of the crab. To do this, simply tear them apart from the base of each leg! Once you’re done, place the legs aside so you can deal with them later.

2. Eliminate the Bottom

Now it’s time to flip the crab over so the bottom is facing you. A male crab has a fine pointed plate, while a female crab has a broad triangular-shaped scale. Grab the scale by inserting your fingers under it and peeling it off the crab. Continue to hold the base and remove the entire portion out.

3. Expose the Body

To open the crab’s body, start by inserting your thumbs on opposite sides of its body before cracking open its top shell. Separate them by pulling the cover away from its bottom. Once you’ve done this, the meat should now be exposed.

4. Dispose of the Lungs

Since the lungs of a crab don’t taste good at all, it’s time to dispose of them. The lungs look like feathery cones found on both sides of a crab’s body. You can simply tear them off and throw them away.

5. Extract the Insides

There will be all kinds of slimy parts you can find inside a crab’s body. You can choose to either eat them or remove them, depending on what you prefer.

On the other hand, you may be tempted to throw away the orange substance inside the shell—but don’t! This substance inside a female crab is its roe. It’s edible and tastes scrumptious; give it a try for a true treat!

6. Break the Body Apart

Now that the hard parts are all away, it’s the moment you’ve been waiting for: the crab’s meat. It’s located on both sides of a crab’s body, hidden under its cartilage. You can break them apart to expose the fleshy meat—but picking them out requires patience. Take your time as you sift through bones, acquiring and eating the flesh as you go.

7. Open the Claws and Legs

After you’ve cleaned out the crab’s body, it’s time to move on to the claws. You can open them up by removing the bottom part of each claw off, in hopes of taking the meat with it. It will also have a thin bone attached to it as well, so be careful when taking a bite!

As for the legs, you can break open the joints backward to reveal the meat inside, which also comes with a thin bone.


It may seem hard at first, but picking apart a crab and achieving all its meat is worth it in the end. It only takes a matter of practice and dedication to get all that a crab has to offer, providing you with a finger-licking experience that you’re sure to enjoy doing all over again.

Are you looking for the best crawfish and crab restaurant in Houston to satisfy your seafood cravings? Crawfish Cafe is an award-winning restaurant serving an array of mouthwatering seafood for the past seven years. We are widely known for our variety of crawfish, crabs, clams, shrimp, and more. Get in touch with us and order online today!

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