How many calories is 1 snow crab?

Snow crab is a popular type of crab that is found in cold, northern waters. It is prized for its sweet, tender meat and flaky texture. Snow crab legs and clusters are a favorite item on many seafood restaurant menus and buffets. But many people wonder, just how many calories are in a snow crab leg or cluster? Here is a comprehensive look at snow crab nutrition facts and calories.

What is Snow Crab?

Snow crab, whose scientific name is Chionoecetes opilio, is a species of crab that lives in the cold waters of the northern Pacific and northern Atlantic oceans. It goes by many other names including Queen crab, spider crab, tanner crab, and more. Snow crab is found from Alaska to Newfoundland and Siberia to Japan.

Some key facts about snow crab:

– Snow crabs have a brownish coloring with white spots or speckling, which helps provide camouflage in their cold, snowy environment. This is how they got their name “snow crab.”

– They have long, thin legs compared to other crab species, which can span up to 5 feet! Their legs are also very light and flaky, making them perfect for eating.

– Snow crabs are quite large, commonly 5-6 inches across but can grow up to 9 inches in width.

– Males are larger than females and can weigh up to 6 pounds. Snow crab clusters contain 4-5 connected snow crabs.

– Snow crabs are cold water creatures, living in waters with temperatures from 28-50 ̊F. They live up to 650 feet deep.

– Snow crabs are omnivores, feeding on worms, mollusks, crustaceans, sea anemones and even fish.

– Snow crabs are hunted commercially in the waters off Alaska, Canada, Norway, Russia and more. Snow crab fishing season runs from January to May.

Snow Crab Nutrition Facts

Now that you know what snow crabs are, let’s look at the nutrition facts and calories found in snow crab.

Here are the nutrients found in 100g of steamed snow crab meat:

Nutrient Amount
Calories 84
Protein 16.7g
Carbohydrates 0g
Fiber 0g
Sugar 0g
Total Fat 0.7g
Saturated Fat 0.2g
Cholesterol 37mg
Sodium 209mg
Calcium 50mg
Iron 0.5mg
Potassium 221mg
Vitamin A 60IU
Vitamin C 1mg

As you can see, snow crab is very low in fat, carbohydrates and calories. It gets most of its calories from protein.

A 3 ounce serving of snow crab contains about 70-80 calories, depending on the exact preparation method.

Some key nutrition facts:

– Snow crab is high in protein. Protein helps build muscle mass and repairs body tissues. The protein in snow crab comes primarily from the meat in the legs and claws.

– It contains vitamins and minerals like vitamin B12, selenium, phosphorus and zinc. These provide health benefits and help your body function.

– Snow crab contains omega-3 fatty acids like many other types of seafood. Omega-3s are linked to improved heart and brain health.

– Snow crab is naturally low in fat, sodium and carbohydrates. This makes it a great option if you are watching your weight.

– Snow crab legs are cholesterol-free, while the claw and body meat does contain some cholesterol. But overall it is low compared to many other proteins.

So snow crab provides an excellent source of lean protein and important vitamins and minerals, without too many calories or fat.

Calories in Different Serving Sizes

Now let’s take a look at the calories in different serving sizes of snow crab:

Serving Size Calories
3 oz snow crab legs 70-80
1/2 lb cluster 150
6 oz cluster 180
1 lb cluster 300
8-10 oz crab leg section 100-120
5.8 oz can 90

As you can see, a typical 3 ounce snow crab leg serving contains 70-80 calories. Since snow crab legs are the leanest part of the crab, the claw and body meat contains slightly more calories.

A whole snow crab 1/2 pound cluster contains about 150 calories. The larger the cluster, the more calories it will provide.

Canned snow crab meat contains a bit less meat than fresh cooked snow crab, so it has slightly fewer calories per serving.

In general, a serving of snow crab ranges from 70-150 calories depending on the exact serving size.

Calories Compared to Other Proteins

How do the calories in snow crab compare to other types of protein foods?

Here is a comparison of the calories in 100g of other proteins versus snow crab:

Food Calories
Snow crab 84
Alaskan king crab 82
Dungeness crab 86
Lobster 89
Cooked shrimp 99
Ground beef 80% lean 287
Chicken breast 165
Tofu 145
Canned tuna 116
Salmon 208

As you can see, snow crab is very low in calories compared to most other protein foods. It contains far fewer calories than chicken, beef, pork or salmon.

The only proteins lower in calories than snow crab are white fish like cod and flounder. But snow crab still provides over double the protein content of white fish.

So if you are looking for a high protein, low calorie food, snow crab is an excellent choice. You can eat a good sized portion of snow crab without racking up too many calories.

Ways to Enjoy Snow Crab

Here are some delicious ways to enjoy snow crab that can help you manage calories:

– Steam snow crab legs and dip in melted butter. Steaming is a healthy cooking method.

– Use crab in a salad with low calorie ingredients like cucumbers, tomatoes, celery, lemon juice and light dressing.

– Make a crab cake with light mayo, whole wheat breadcrumbs and fresh herbs. Bake instead of frying.

– Top a salad with fresh snow crab meat. The salad greens bulk up the meal for fewer calories.

– Make crab stuffed mushrooms using lump crab meat and reduced fat cheese.

– Enjoy snow crab legs with fresh lemon instead of heavy butter and cocktail sauce. The lemon adds brightness.

– Use crab in lettuce wrap tacos instead of fatty tortillas. Load with veggies for extra volume and nutrients.

As you can see, there are many options for enjoying snow crab as part of a healthy, low calorie meal. Be mindful of heavy sauces, mayo and butter than can add excess calories. Keep your side dishes light as well.

Cost and Availability of Snow Crab

Snow crab is available year round, but is most abundant and at its peak from winter through early summer. This coincides with snow crab season when they are actively caught.

You can find snow crab legs frozen or fresh at most major grocery stores. Fresh snow crab is available seasonally at local fish markets and seafood stores, especially in northern regions.

Snow crab can be one of the pricier types of seafood. Expect to pay:

– Snow crab clusters: $15-30 per pound

– Snow crab legs: $12-15 per pound

– Canned snow crab meat: $7-10 per 5 ounce can

Buying snow crab legs in larger bulk quantities generally saves significantly. Freezing what you don’t eat right away also helps maximize value.

You may also find discounts or seasonal specials on snow crab around peak fishing times.

While not the most budget friendly, snow crab is affordable as an occasional splurge or special meal. The combination of its lean protein, low calorie count and unique flavor make it worthwhile for many.

Should You Eat the Yellow Mustard?

You may notice a yellow substance inside snow crab legs and wonder if its edible. This yellow goo is called crab mustard and is perfectly safe to eat.

The mustard is part of the crab’s digestive system – it’s where they store their fat. So the mustard will have a creamy texture and distinct flavor.

While you can eat the crab mustard, some people prefer to scrape it out before eating legs and clusters. The mustard has a very fishy, ocean-like flavor that not everyone enjoys.

If you don’t mind strong flavors, the crab mustard is nutritious and contains healthy fats. But if the flavor is unappealing to you, feel free to remove some or all of it before eating the crab.

Health Benefits of Snow Crab

Beyond being low in calories, what are some of the top health benefits associated with snow crab? Here are some of the top nutrients and what they do for you:

Protein for Muscle

Snow crab is an excellent source of lean protein. Protein provides amino acids that help build and maintain muscle mass. Protein is also important for healing wounds and body tissues.

Selenium and Antioxidants

Snow crab contains the mineral selenium which has antioxidant properties to protect your cells from damage. Other antioxidants in snow crab include astaxanthin and vitamin A.

Vitamin B12

Snow crab provides vitamin B12 which is important for nerve function, blood cell formation and DNA synthesis. Vitamin B12 is primarily found in animal foods.

Anti-Inflammatory Omega-3s

The omega-3 fatty acids in snow crab reduce inflammation which can contribute to chronic diseases when uncontrolled. Omega-3s also benefit heart and brain health.

Bone-Strengthening Minerals

Snow crab contains phosphorus, magnesium and calcium to support bone health. These minerals are especially important for preventing osteoporosis.

So by enjoying snow crab in your diet, you get a lean and satisfying protein plus many nutrients that contribute to overall good health.

Potential Downsides of Eating Snow Crab

While snow crab provides some excellent nutrition, there are a couple potential downsides to consider:

High Sodium

Like most seafood, snow crab tends to be high in sodium. A 3 ounce serving contains about 600-700mg sodium, which is 25-30% of the daily recommended limit. People with high blood pressure may want to limit sodium intake.

Risk of Heavy Metals

Since snow crab lives in cold northern waters, there is a potential risk of heavy metal accumulation. Certain metals like lead or mercury are known neurotoxins. However, snow crab tends to be lower risk compared to larger, long lived fish. Consuming a variety of seafood helps minimize any negative effects.

Possible Allergic Reactions

Some people may have an allergy to shellfish including crab. Reactions can range from mild to severe. If you have any food allergies, exercise caution when trying new seafood.

Can Spike Cholesterol

Snow crab contains higher amounts of dietary cholesterol compared to lean meats like chicken or plant proteins. Individual responses vary, but very high cholesterol foods may negatively impact blood cholesterol levels in some people. Moderating serving sizes is important.

So while snow crab provides some excellent nutrition, there are a few cautions to keep in mind. As with any food, moderation and variety is key to balancing benefits and risks.

Sustainability of Snow Crab Fishing

With the rising popularity of snow crab, some questions have emerged around the sustainability of snow crab fishing. Is snow crab being overfished? Here is some information on snow crab populations and conservation efforts:

– Snow crab numbers fluctuate year to year based on environmental conditions. Their populations are considered sustainable if well managed.

– There are strict size regulations in place to protect juvenile and female snow crabs during mating and reproduction.

– Responsible snow crab fishing methods are being implemented to preserve habitats. Traps are designed to minimize bycatch of other species.

– The Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch lists most snow crab as a “Good Alternative” but ranks some sources as “Avoid”. Purchase snow crab from sustainable sources when possible.

– There are ongoing monitoring and restoration efforts by organizations like the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) to ensure healthy snow crab populations. The MSC has certified many snow crab fisheries as sustainable.

So while snow crab stocks can be vulnerable to overfishing, well managed fisheries using responsible catching methods allow snow crab to remain a sustainable seafood choice overall. But it’s still important for consumers to consider the source and opt for suppliers adhering to preservation practices when possible.


Snow crab is a delicious and nutritious type of seafood prized for its sweet taste and tender meat. A 3 ounce serving of snow crab legs contains 70-80 calories, making it a protein-packed meal that is low in calories compared to other high-protein foods.

Snow crab provides an excellent source of lean protein as well as important vitamins and minerals like selenium, vitamin B12 and omega-3 fatty acids. Potential downsides can include high sodium levels, risk of heavy metals, and allergies in some individuals.

When choosing snow crab, consider sustainability. Well managed snow crab fisheries allow it to remain an ecologically sound seafood choice. But it is still important to source snow crab from responsible suppliers practicing preservation methods when possible.

Overall snow crab can be enjoyed as part of a healthy diet in moderation. Its combination of nutrients and great taste make it a cherished seafood treat.

Leave a Comment