How much will 10 pounds of crab legs feed?

Crab legs are a delicious and popular seafood choice for many consumers. When buying crab legs to serve at a dinner party or other event, it’s important to purchase enough to adequately feed all your guests. But how much crab leg meat yields from a certain weight, and how many people will that feed? Here’s a closer look at how to estimate crab leg portions.

What is the edible meat yield from crab legs?

When purchasing crab legs, you’re buying the whole leg, including the shell. Only a portion of that weight will be edible crab meat. The meat yield percentage can vary based on the type and size of crab legs:

  • King crab legs – Approximately 33% meat yield
  • Snow crab legs – Approximately 20% meat yield
  • Dungeness crab legs – Approximately 25% meat yield

For a rough estimate, you can calculate around 25% meat yield from most crab legs. That means for 10 lbs of crab legs purchased, you can expect approximately 2.5 lbs of edible crab meat.

How much crab leg meat per serving?

To determine how many servings you can get from 10 lbs of crab legs, you’ll need to know the typical serving size of crab leg meat. Here are some general crab leg meat serving size guidelines:

  • Appetizer serving – 3-5 oz meat
  • Entree serving – 6-8 oz meat
  • Hearty serving – 8-12 oz meat

For a dinner party or special event, plan for 8-12 oz of crab meat per person for a hearty appetizer or entree serving. If also serving other appetizers or side dishes, 6-8 oz may be sufficient.

How many people will 10 pounds of crab legs serve?

Based on 2.5 lbs of edible meat from 10 lbs of crab legs and a serving size of 8 oz, here is how many servings and people it can feed:

  • 2.5 lbs crab meat = 40 oz
  • 40 oz / 8 oz per serving = 5 servings
  • So 10 lbs of crab legs can provide 5 hearty individual servings

The exact number of people 10 lbs of legs will feed depends on serving sizes and appetites. But you can safely estimate that 10 lbs of crab legs will provide a hearty appetizer or entree for around 4-6 people.


Crab Leg Weight Meat Yield Servings People Fed
10 lbs ~2.5 lbs 5 x 8 oz 4-6

For most types of crab legs, you can expect around a 25% edible meat yield. Ten pounds of legs will produce around 2.5 pounds of crab meat, which is enough for 5 hearty 8 ounce servings, or 4-6 people.

Tips for Crab Leg Quantities

Here are some additional tips for successfully determining how much crab to buy:

  • If also providing other appetizers, side dishes, or entrees, you may be able to drop the crab leg serving size to 6 oz per person.
  • For big eaters or true crab lovers, consider 10-12 oz servings, which would serve 3-4 people from 10 lbs of crab legs.
  • Having extra is better than running short! It’s always wise to buy a bit more than your exact serving estimate.
  • Crab legs can often be found pre-packaged in clusters or sets of a certain weight. Try to buy your crab this way rather than having legs weighed individually.
  • Ask your fishmonger or seafood counter for recommendations on how much to buy for your party size.

Pairing Sides and Sauces

Crab legs on their own can make for a delicious appetizer or meal, but can also be paired with complementary sides and sauces.

Here are some popular pairings for crab legs:

  • Butter – Melted butter for dipping is a classic pairing with crab legs. Provide a ramekin of melted butter per person.
  • Lemon – Fresh lemon wedges help cut the richness and bring out flavor. Allow 1/2 lemon per person.
  • Aioli – Garlic or flavored aiolis are creamy condiments that stick nicely to crab meat.
  • Mustard – Spicy mustard, Dijon, or whole grain mustards also complement crab’s sweetness.
  • Cocktail Sauce – The tangy horseradish in cocktail sauce balances the crab’s richness.

In addition to sauces, some popular crab leg side dishes include:

  • Corn on the cob
  • Coleslaw or potato salad
  • Baked potatoes
  • Garlic bread
  • Rice pilaf or risotto
  • Grilled asparagus

Choose 1-2 sauces and 1-2 vegetable or starch side dishes to offer a completer crab leg dining experience for your guests.

Preparing and Cooking Crab Legs

For the best flavor and texture, follow these tips for prepping and cooking crab legs:

  • Thaw frozen crab legs overnight in the refrigerator if needed. Do not thaw at room temperature.
  • Use kitchen shears or scissors to cut through crab shells lengthwise. Cut between each leg segment.
  • For snow and king crab legs, use a wooden mallet to crack shells further so meat is accessible.
  • Cook crab legs 5-7 minutes in boiling salted water, just until opaque and cooked through.
  • For quick grilling, brush crab legs with butter or oil and grill for 4-5 minutes per side until lightly charred.
  • Bake crab legs at 375°F for 15-20 minutes with lemon-butter drizzled on top.

Serve crab legs warm with dipping sauces and condiments on the side. Provide small bowls for discarding empty shells and cracked crab legs when guests are finished.

Crab Leg Choices

There are a few popular varieties of crab legs available. Each has its own unique flavor, texture and size:

King Crab Legs

  • Very large legs, with sweet delicate meat
  • Most expensive option, best for special occasions
  • Delicious served simply with melted butter

Snow Crab Legs

  • Smaller legs with sweeter, denser meat
  • A budget-friendly option with classic crab flavor
  • Great with spicy cocktail or chili sauce

Dungeness Crab Legs

  • Mid-sized legs with flaky, moist meat
  • Relatively affordable, good choice for large gatherings
  • Milder flavor pairs well with garlic butter or aioli

Try a variety for a crab leg sampler platter, or stick with your guests’ favorite for a crowd-pleasing appetizer.

Budgeting and Shopping for Crab Legs

Crab legs are one of the more expensive seafood options, thanks to the time and effort it takes fisherman to harvest crabs. Here are some tips for getting the best value:

  • Check sales and stock up when crab legs go on discount.
  • Buy crab legs frozen for maximum savings. There is little quality difference from fresh.
  • Shop at warehouse stores like Costco or Sam’s Club for bulk buys and lower prices per pound.
  • Compare per-pound pricing between different crab leg varieties and sizes.
  • Consider splitting the total crab needed between two smaller packages to meet budget.

With some smart shopping, you can serve gourmet crab legs without breaking the bank. Follow portion guidelines carefully so you buy just what you need without overspending.

Crab Leg Appetizer Ideas

Beyond steaming and dipping in butter, crab legs can be incorporated into a variety of party-ready appetizers. Here are some crab-packed ideas perfect for passing around:

Crab Stuffed Mushrooms

Large mushroom caps baked with a crabmeat stuffing.

Crab Cakes

Pan-fried patties of lump crab meat, bread crumbs, and spices.

Crab Salad on Endive

Chilled crab salad served in Belgian endive leaves.

Crab and Artichoke Dip

Hot crab, artichoke and cheese dip served with crostini.

Crab Rangoon

Crispy wontons filled with crab meat and cream cheese.

Let guests experience the flavor of crab in new ways be elevating parts of the leg meat into easy finger foods.

Main Dishes Featuring Crab Legs

For a more substantial crab-centric meal, crab legs can star as the protein in main dishes like:

Linguine with Crab

Crab meat sauteed in garlic-butter and served over pasta.

Crab Boil

Crab legs, shrimp, sausage and potatoes boiled in a spicy broth.

Crab Louis Salad

Shredded crab atop mixed greens with hard boiled egg and avocado.

Crab Cakes

Seared, pan-fried crab patties as an entree with rice and veggies.

Crab Fried Rice

Rice stir fried with crab meat, egg, and Asian vegetables and flavors.

Get creative with how you use crab in main courses. The sweet meat pairs well with bold spices, greens, noodles, rice, and more.

Leftover Crab Leg Uses

Looking to use up any uneaten crab legs? Here are some ways to repurpose them:

  • Refrigerate shelled meat in an airtight container up to 2 days.
  • Add crab meat to salads, sandwiches, pitas, flatbreads or lettuce wraps.
  • Mix into dips, spreads and pasta or potato salads.
  • Fill omelets, frittatas or scrambled eggs.
  • Stir into risottos or crab fried rice.
  • Fold into canned soups like tomato, corn chowder, or bisques.

With some creativity, leftover crab won’t go to waste. Get the most value by reusing the prepped meat in other recipes.

Storing Unused Crab Legs

For any uncooked crab legs you don’t finish, store them properly to enjoy later:

  • Place uneaten crab legs in an airtight freezer bag or container.
  • Remove as much air as possible and seal tightly.
  • Label package with contents and date.
  • Freeze up to 2 months for best quality.
  • Thaw again overnight in fridge before using.

With proper freezing techniques, you’ll have delicious crab legs ready for your next seafood meal.


Planning crab legs for a group can seem daunting when estimating portions. But following rough guidelines of a 25% meat yield and 6-8 oz servings per person, you can confidently buy, prepare, and serve the perfect quantity of crab legs for any occasion. Arm yourself with the right portion knowledge plus creative serving ideas, and your next crab feast will be a crowd-pleasing success.

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