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The Best Way To Cook Fresh Or Frozen Crab Legs In An Air Fryer

a pile of crab legs
a pile of crab legs - Rasimon/Getty Images

Harnessing the power of the air fryer to prepare crab legs, whether they're fresh or frozen, is a revelation that will not only save you time but will also yield delectably succulent results. Forget waiting forever for a giant stock pot of water to come to a boil or watching the minutes tick by while they bake in the oven. The air fryer cooking method is remarkably simple and gives you the freedom to seal in whatever flavors float your boat.

Start by whipping up a butter drizzle to baste over the legs before cooking. Combine melted butter with garlic, lemon, Old Bay seasoning, or whatever else you'd like, and brush over the crab clusters on both sides. For fresh crab legs, wrap them in foil and arrange them in a single layer in the air fryer basket. Set the air fryer to a temperature of around 370 degrees Fahrenheit and cook for approximately five to seven minutes, flipping halfway through for even cooking. When dealing with frozen crab legs, either thaw them beforehand and follow the same procedure or add a couple of minutes to the cooking time. To check doneness, take a peek at the "shoulder," where the meat should appear nice and white.

Read more: 13 Tips To Make Your Shrimp Taste So Much Better

What Kind Of Crab Legs Work Best In The Air Fryer?

crab legs in foil in an air fryer
crab legs in foil in an air fryer - Stay Snatched/YouTube

Snow, king, Dungeness, blue, stone — there are a lot of options when it comes to indulging in crab legs. As for what type of crustacean works best in the air fryer, it's more a question of what will fit and how many people you are serving.

Standard air fryers typically boast a capacity between 3 and 6 quarts, although there are ultralight large and smaller models available. Snow and king crabs are the most sought-after species for their leg meat. Snow crabs are smaller, with eight legs and two claws, while king crabs are bigger and spiny, with six long legs and two claws.

You may have trouble fitting more than a couple of clusters of king crab legs in a standard air fryer because of their size. So, you may be better off going the instant pot or oven route for that species when cooking for more than two people. Dungeness or snow crab are both good options that work nicely with the air fryer cooking method because of their more compact size.

Tricks For Easy-To-Crack Crab Legs

person demonstrating the crab peeling trick
person demonstrating the crab peeling trick - Joshua Weissman/YouTube

Crab legs, no matter how they're prepared, are notorious for the effort required to crack the shells to enjoy the succulent meat inside. Even if you know the proper steps to cracking crab legs, it can be labor-intensive.

However, there are a couple of clever tricks that make the process more manageable without the need for the trusty crackers. Before cooking, try using kitchen shears to cut the leg into smaller segments which will make it easier to extract and enjoy the meat once the legs are cooked through. You can also try making strategic cuts along the length of the crab legs. These incisions provide convenient entry points for removing the meat after cooking.

Another trick, demonstrated by food YouTuber Joshua Weissman, takes the segmenting a step further. After separating the legs at the joint and cutting into segments, let gravity work for you by holding each segment in one hand and tapping it hard on your other hand. The force sends the meat inside the leg catapulting out in one whole piece ... most of the time, at least.

Read the original article on Daily Meal.