Home » Recipe Index » Main Entrees

Instant Pot Crab Legs

You won’t believe how easy it is to make Instant Pot crab legs with garlic butter! Treat yourself to an indulgent seafood feast that’s ready in just 10 minutes.

Sweet and succulent crab legs placed around garlic butter sauce

This post may contain affiliate links. If you click on a link and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. For more information, please read my disclaimer.

Whether it’s boiling, baking, or steaming, everyone seems to have an opinion on the best way to cook crab. While I’ve tried plenty of methods myself, hands down, my favorite is super simple Instant Pot crab legs!

First of all, it couldn’t be easier. The Instant Pot does all the work for you, and clean-up is a breeze. Second, the crab turns out succulent and flavorful every time! Oh, and did I mention the whole thing takes about 10 minutes?

And if you love crab, try out our Air Fryer Crab Cakes recipe!

Here’s what I’m going to teach you in this post:

  • The best way to make Instant Pot snow crab legs
  • What to serve with crab legs
  • How many crab legs to serve per person
  • How to make Instant Pot frozen crab legs

Whether you’ve been planning a seafood feast for weeks or you happened to find crab legs on sale at the store, you’ll love how they turn out after steaming in the Instant Pot. Served with garlic butter, they’re simple perfection!

I made this recipe using my Instant Pot 6-Quart Duo Nova. It’s the perfect size for my family of four and makes releasing the steam so much easier than the standard Instant Pot.

prepared ingredients for instant pot crab legs

How to Make Crab Legs in the Instant Pot

A full printable version of this recipe with ingredient measurements is available at the bottom of this post.

STEP ONE: Pour the water into the bottom of your Instant Pot and place the trivet in the pot.

STEP TWO: Set the crab leg clusters on the trivet. Secure the lid and check that the valve is set to sealing.

place crab legs on trivet of instant pot

STEP THREE: Cook on Manual High pressure for 2 minutes. When the time is up, perform a quick pressure release.

STEP FOUR: Meanwhile, melt the butter in a microwave-safe bowl, then mix in the cloves of garlic. 

STEP FIVE: Serve the crab legs with the garlic butter dipping sauce and lemon wedges, if desired.

Tips to Steam Crab Legs in the Instant Pot

  • Crab is best enjoyed fresh, so you’ll want to buy the crab legs either the day you plan to cook them or the day before.
  • I typically use snow crab legs because they’re less expensive, but you could opt for king crabs if you prefer! The cooking instructions will remain exactly the same.
  • For bolder flavor, you can stir minced garlic or your favorite seafood seasoning into the water at the bottom of the Instant Pot before steaming.
  • As soon as the pressure gauge drops, serve the crab legs right away while they’re still hot.
  • A crab cracker makes eating your crab legs so much more enjoyable! I definitely recommend investing in one or two.
instant pot crab legs placed around garlic butter sauce

How Many Crab Legs Should You Have Per Person?

If crab is going to be the main dish, you should plan to serve about one pound per adult, which will be eight or nine legs. If the crab is part of a seafood boil or accompanied by lots of sides, a half-pound per adult is more reasonable.

What to Serve with Crab Legs

fork with piece of crab leg cooked in instant pot

How to Store Leftover Snow Crab Legs

If you have any extra crab, you want to get it in the refrigerator within two hours of cooking. I recommend storing it in a shallow airtight container or wrapped very tightly in heavy-duty aluminum foil.

How Long to Cook Crab Legs in the Instant Pot

Most crab legs you get from the store are pre-cooked, and then you can buy them either frozen or thawed from frozen. “Cooking” them is really just about heating them through, which won’t take very long!

You’ll set your Instant Pot to 2 minutes, but remember that it will take some time for the pot to come up to pressure before the cooking time starts. Once finished, you’ll perform a quick release, which will take about a minute. Start-to-finish, the crab will be ready in 10 minutes or less.

plate with instant pot crab legs and garlic butter sauce

Can You Overcook Crab Legs?

Yes! Overcooking is a sure way to take crab meat from succulent and delicious to stringy, rubbery, and lacking in flavor. 

Because crab legs are sold pre-cooked, all we want to do is heat the meat through before serving. That’s why I recommend only cooking them for 2 minutes if thawed or 4 minutes if frozen.

How Long to Cook Frozen Crab Legs in the Instant Pot

  1. Pour the water into the bottom of your Instant Pot and place the trivet in the pot.
  2. Set the crab leg clusters on the trivet. Secure the lid and check that the valve is set to sealing.
  3. Cook on Manual High pressure for 4 minutes. When the time is up, perform a quick pressure release.
  4. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a microwave-safe bowl, then mix in the cloves of garlic. 
  5. Serve the crab legs with the garlic butter dipping sauce and lemon wedges, if desired.

Other Instant Pot Recipes You’ll Love:

Love using your Instant Pot or Air Frying? Join our newsletter! You can also follow us on Facebook, Instagram, or join our free Facebook Air Frying Community.

Yield: 2-3 servings

Instant Pot Crab Legs

place crab legs on trivet of instant pot

Once you try Instant Pot crab legs with garlic butter sauce, you’ll never go back! Sweet, succulent, and ready in just 10 minutes.

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 2 minutes
Additional Time 10 minutes
Total Time 17 minutes

Ingredients

  • ½ cup water
  • 2 pounds snow crab legs
  • ¼ cup butter, unsalted
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Lemon wedges, for serving (optional)

Instructions

  1. Pour the water into the bottom of your Instant Pot. Place the trivet in the pot, then set the crab leg clusters on top. Secure and seal the lid and cook on Manual High pressure for 2 minutes. Perform a quick pressure release. 
  2. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a microwave-safe bowl, then mix in the garlic cloves. Serve the crab legs with the garlic butter dipping sauce and lemon wedges, if desired.

Notes

HOW TO COOK CRAB LEGS FROM FROZEN:

  1. Pour the water into the bottom of your Instant Pot. Place the trivet in the pot, then set the crab leg clusters on top. Secure and seal the lid and cook on Manual High pressure for 4 minutes. Perform a quick pressure release. 
  2. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a microwave-safe bowl, then mix in the garlic cloves. Serve the crab legs with the garlic butter dipping sauce and lemon wedges, if desired.

HOW TO REHEAT CRAB LEGS:

Crab legs are typically sold already cooked, so reheat instructions are the same as the original cooking instructions. I would not recommend reheating them more than one time, though, because they will become rubbery.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

3

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 492Total Fat: 20gSaturated Fat: 10gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 255mgSodium: 2094mgCarbohydrates: 2gFiber: 1gSugar: 1gProtein: 72g

This nutrition information is based on the exact products I used in this recipe. Brands and sizes of products could alter exact nutrition and should always be calculated independently.

Did you make this recipe?

Share a photo on Instagram tagging @EverydayFamilyCooking! I love to see your pictures!


samantha

About Samantha

I’ve always had a love of cooking and creating new recipes, so it only made sense to create a food blog so I could share those recipes with you. This site is designed to provide easy and flavorful recipes with as little ingredients as possible. That means you still get great flavor combinations without all that extra time and effort. Read more...

Leave a Comment

SEEN ON

as seen on promo graphic

SEEN ON

as seen on promo graphic
Skip to Recipe