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This king crab salad is a delicious seafood salad served with grilled crab, creamy avocado dressing, boiled eggs, and mixed greens.
Have you tried King crab yet?
To me, these crawly sea monsters do NOT appear edible, and quite honestly are a little scary-looking, but I’m incredibly grateful to whoever figured out that they make a fabulous dinner!
Today we’re cooking with legs from red King crab, a crab that can grow up to 5 feet in length and golden (or brown) King crab, its slightly smaller relative.
I’ll walk you through how to open up the crab legs (even without a crab cracker!), and how to make a healthy and delicious King crab salad.
Want more crab recipes? Try crab nachos, a crab omelette, King crab Louie salad, Dungeness crab eggs benedict, crab fries and mini crab cakes.
Buying Crab Legs
What should you look for when you’re buying king crab legs?
For the most part, king crab is harvested off the Alaskan and Norwegian coastlines in the Barents Sea, and is considered a highly sustainably-sourced seafood.
King crab legs will almost always be sold frozen and precooked.
Red King Vs. Golden King Crab
For this recipe, use either (or both) red king crab legs or golden (brown) king crab legs.
What’s the difference?
The flavor is slightly different– some people claim red king crab is sweeter, and some claim that golden king crab is sweeter. The meat is interchangeable in this recipe, so use whichever you prefer!
How to Grill King Crab Legs
Grilling king crab legs is pretty straightforward– simply get your grill hot, brush the legs with oil, and set them on the grill in a single layer.
If you’ve let the frozen legs thaw, you’ll grill them for about 4 minutes, and if they’re still frozen, grill them for about 10 minutes. Use grill tongs to turn them about halfway through the grill time.
Want more tips about how to grill seafood? Check out this post on How to Grill Fish!
Can I Steam the Crab Legs Instead?
You sure can!
Cracking King Crab Legs
There are lots of different techniques to crack open crab legs. Here’s how I do it.
First, cut the crab legs apart at each joint.
Cut off the shoulder meat (but don’t throw it away!), and pull out the long plastic-like cartilage strips.
Next, use a seafood cracker, a nutcracker, or the back of a wooden spoon to crush the shell slightly. You can also use a knife or kitchen shears to split open the shells.
Once the shells are open, remove the meat. Hold onto the shells to make homemade seafood stock.
Need more help cracking the crab shells? Check out my tutorial on how to crack crab legs.
How to Make Grilled King Crab Salad
Once you’ve grilled the king crab legs and removed the meat, go ahead and start assembling your salad.
You’ll need lettuce (I like to use a spinach and romaine mixture), some boiled eggs, diced tomato, and a few lime wedges on the side.
For the avocado dressing, simply blend together an avocado, a little yogurt, and some lime juice.
Top the salad with the crab meat, and serve this salad at home, at a picnic, or wherever your crab-loving friends will be!
King Crab Recipe: Crab Salad with Creamy Avocado Dressing
- 1 pound King Crab Legs See Recipe Notes
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 4 ounces fresh spinach
- 1 Romaine heart, roughly chopped
- 4 boiled eggs (or more if desired), halved
- 1 large tomato, diced (or more if desired)
- 2 limes, quartered
Creamy Avocado Dressing:
- 1 avocado
- ½ cup plain yogurt
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- 1 lime, juiced
- Preheat grill to medium-high heat. Brush legs with olive oil to prevent them from sticking to the grill. Place crab legs on grill in a single layer, and grill 4-5 minutes total for thawed crab legs or 10-11 minutes total for frozen legs. Flip legs about halfway through grill time.
Removing Crab Meat:
- Use a crab cracker to remove crab meat from shells, or use a chef’s knife and kitchen shears. (Check the Recipe Notes for a tutorial link.)
Creamy Avocado Dressing:
- Add avocado, yogurt, lime juice, and salt to a blender basin. Blend until creamy. (This dressing is thick, allowing it to work as both a dressing and a sauce to dip the crab into. If you prefer a thinner dressing, add more lime juice.)
Assemble the Salad:
- Toss together the romaine hearts and spinach. Use the lettuce as a base for the salad, and then add the tomatoes, boiled eggs, and crab. Serve with limes and the avocado dressing.
Dawn - Girl Heart Food
I LOVE crab!! Especially when dunked in butter! I’ve never grilled it before, though! It’s a little bit of work, but oh so worth it! This looks fabulous Sarah 🙂
It IS a little bit of work isn’t it?! But Oh so worth it!!!
Meg | Meg is Well
I need to try more types of crab! I always eat Dungeness. I couldn’t agree with you more though, king crab is by far the freakiest of the crab species! I’ve also never grilled crab so I’d love to try it now.
I’ve got a Dungeness recipe coming for you in about a week and a half! 😀 And yessss they’re downright terrifying- 5 feet long!?! I’m glad I don’t have to catch them! And you could grill Dungeness too- King is perfect for grilling because it’s too big to fit inside any of my pots hahaha
Elaine @ Dishes Delish
I love king crab legs. Your salad looks simply divine. I want to make it soon! Like this weekend soon!
Lisa | Garlic & Zest
Well, this is a treat! I can’t remember the last time I had king crab… which means its been years. I’ve never tried grilling them before, but it seems like a much simpler preparation — especially for summer and delicious on a vibrant salad. That dressing sounds like a bit of awesome-sauce too. Seriously, why don’t you live next door?
Yeah you do!!! 😀 YUM
You have just made my husband so happy… I never open my own crab legs because I just didn’t even know how to start to get the meat out without sending shells everywhere.. so I would always make him crack it for me. Ive also never thought to grill the crab legs… Its still summer hot here for a while so I will definitely be trying them cooked that way… so much easier than steaming them like I usually do!
Haha.. maybe when you start cracking them you’ll wish you hadn’t told him you knew how 😛 I’d still be totally fine with having the hubs crack them all!!! 😀
And yessss these wouldn’t fit in any of my pots for steaming!
Oh I need to check and see if I can get this seafood anywhere nearby – I am sure our co-op has it. My 3yo is totally obsessed with crab, and every time we go to the store he has to get out of the cart and inspect the wares in the seafood cabinet. I actually let him pick one to buy last time and he was just over the moon. I am beyond sure that this dish would go down well in our house – looks so delicious!!
Aw thank you! And that’s so awesome that he loves seafood- he has excellent taste!
I keep walking past the King crab legs at Costco and drooling! This looks like the perfect way to serve them. I’m in love with the sound of that avocado dressing! I don’t own a crab cracker, so I am really grateful for the tutorial on how to open them up. I’m going to need to pick these up at my next Costco trip and make this salad…and I go to Costco pretty much constantly, so that will be very soon! 😉
I don’t own a crab cracker either!! I’m all about the knife and scissors on this one 😉
And Yay! Enjoy!!!
I got to eat the finished product from this recipe, and it was perfection! 😉 Highly recommend!
Yay!! Glad you liked!!
I also pinned it to my board! I will be making this when I find real crab that I can use for this! Thanks for inspiring me!
I’m so glad you loved it Cat! Thanks for letting me know! 😀