How to Tell If Stone Crab Claws Are Cooked Properly

Updated: May 1, 2024

Stone crabs can be sold fresh or frozen, so they can be stored until you're ready to serve them. No matter how you purchase your stone crabs, it's important to know how to tell if stone crab claws are cooked so you know how to safely prepare them for your family or guests. Let's look at how to tell if a crab is cooked and how it can affect how you cook stone crab claws.

Why It Matters: Properly Cooking Seafood

Stone crabs can't be safely consumed without cooking them first. So, it's important to know whether they've been pre-cooked and chilled after to stop the cooking process. Since freezing the​​m significantly decreases the flavor, we like to sell them fresh at our market, where guests can be certain that their crustaceans have been caught, prepared, and sold by our local fisheries.

The Crab Shell Inspection Test: Check the Outside

If you're curious whether your stone crabs have been cooked, you simply check the outside of the shell. Luckily, you won't need to crack it to examine the meat inside. Fully cooked stone crabs have shells that are bright red or orange. If yours is green or brown, you can assume it has not been cooked.

How Can You Tell If Your Stone Crabs Are Fresh or Frozen?

Once you purchase stone crabs from the market, you may wonder, "How can I tell if my stone crab is fresh or frozen?" Luckily, it's fairly easy to determine. Fresh stone crab shells are shiny, and the texture of the meat is tender, juicy, and delicious. Frozen stone crabs will have a dull sheen, and the meat may be dry or stick to the shell.

Since stone crabs can be frozen to prolong their freshness, some fisheries try to sell them as fresh stone crabs. Here at Billy's Stone Crab, we own over 40 boats that supply fresh stone crabs to our fish houses in Summerland Key and Marathon, Florida, every day. This  way, we can manage the fresh seafood we catch and ensure that it's of the highest and freshest quality — always fresh, never frozen. 

How Should Stone Crabs Be Prepared?

Stone crabs can be prepared with a variety of savory sauces for dipping and drizzling, but they're usually cooked in one of three ways. Let's look at how to cook your stone crabs now that you know how to tell if stone crab claws are cooked.

Steaming / Boiling Stone Crabs

To steam or boil your stone crabs, you'll need a pot, two cups of water, and a colander. Bring the water to a boil and place the Florida stone crab claws into the pot. You don't even need to season them. Cover the pot and let them cook for about 10 minutes. Once the room begins to fill with the smell of cooked crab meat, remove them from the water and serve immediately. Don't cook any longer than necessary, or your crab meat will overcook, becoming chewy and tough.

Reheating Stone Crab Claws in the Microwave

If your crab claws are cold but not frozen, you can reheat them in the microwave. Spread one pound of stone crab claws onto a microwave-safe dish and heat them for about two minutes. Serve immediately and repeat the process for any other crab claws that are cold. 

It's important to note that if your microwave is high-powered, make sure you crack the claws before reheating them. Otherwise, they can explode, scattering precious crab meat all over the inside of your microwave.

Grilling or Baking Crabs

Grilling and baking your stone crab claws is a great way to ensure that it's tender, sweet, and less watery than if boiled or reheated in the microwave. To grill your stone crab claws, baste them with oil and cook each side for approximately five minutes. Maintain a steady temperature of around 300°F to 325°F for the best flavor.

For baking stone crabs claws, preheat the oven to 350°F. Arrange them in a single layer on a sheet pan or shallow dish and pour a cup of boiling water over them. Securely cover the dish with aluminum foil and bake your crab claws for around 10 minutes, checking frequently. Be careful not to overcook them, or the meat will be flavorless and tough.

A Platter of Crab Sauces and Vegetables with a Bottle of Wine

Billy's Stone Crab for the Freshest Seafood in Southern Florida!

We serve fresh, never-frozen stone crab claws full of tender, sweet-tasting meat at Billy's Stone Crab. We know how to tell if stone crab claws are cooked, and since we operate our fisheries, we can be certain that ours are always fresh and delicious. Check out our online shop to purchase stone crabs to prepare at home.

We'd love to have the opportunity to serve you fresh stone crabs at our restaurant. Check out our lunch and dinner menus and make a reservation today. Contact us with questions, and we hope to see you soon!