Crab legs is my son’s favorite dish. And this dish can be prepared with our trusted oven. The crab leg cook time and temperature is key for a good outcome. The common question that I hear often is this. How long to bake crab legs in the oven at 400 degrees? Let’s cover the answer in this guide as well as some tips on perfecting the recipe for oven baked crab legs.
It takes 20 to 25 minutes to bake crab legs in the oven at 400 degrees Fahrenheit. The crab leg cooking time depends on the size of the crab. If you use king crab legs, then it’s going to take 25 minutes of the cooking time since they are a bit bigger. At this temperature, the crab legs can cook perfectly. The crab meat is cooked evenly through without any burning. We definitely don’t want the crab meat to get burnt as it will turn into a dry, squishy piece of mush. The crab legs also crack more easily when they are baked just right and the process doesn’t take too long because most commercially sold crab has already been cooked. It is easy to tell by the color, mainly an orange or red hue.
I have tried cooking the crab legs at 375 degrees, but I find that they take an unnecessarily long time to cook. The crab legs can also be baked at 425 degrees. I tend to like this temperature better because the crab comes out well and you only have to bake it for twelve minutes. Baking at a higher heat brings the naturally sweet flavor out of the crab. It also gives the crab more of a roasted texture. When I cook the crab at 425 degrees, I am also sure that all of the extra water, coming from the frozen moisture in the crab, has evaporated and will not compromise the look or taste of my meal.
There are many crab leg recipes online. However, I particularly like this one easy crab leg recipe. And here’s how to cook crab legs in the oven.
The first step to take when cooking crab legs in the oven is to preheat the oven to the preferred temperature. If I do not do this step, the crab legs will not be fully cooked and they will not turn out the way I want them to.
If I have bought the crab legs frozen, I let them thaw in the refrigerator overnight, but if I do not have time for that and want to cook them as soon as possible, then I just place them under cool running water for a few minutes. Do not try to bake them frozen or the crabs will have too much water within them.
I typically use a 9×13 oven dish when making crab legs. Additionally, to add flavor, I brush the crab legs using a silicone cooking brush, with a mixture of oil or butter. Ghee, butter, olive oil, coconut oil, and avocado oil are all good choices.
I usually season the oil or butter with a plethora of spices to get the flavor to soak into the meat of the crab legs. Some of my favorite seasonings to use are lemon, garlic (I prefer for it to be minced), parsley, and some kind of cajun seasoning or an old-time favorite for seafood, Old Bay. If I want to up the spice, then adding sriracha, about a teaspoon or more if desired, is a must!
Tip : I avoid using plain old salt when I’m making crab legs because the crabs are already salty and if I am using cajun seasoning or old bay, as suggested, those seasonings already have salt incorporated into them.
Then, I just cover the baking dish in aluminum foil and put the crab leg on it and then cover a foil over it. Covering the food with a piece of foil stops the crab meat in the legs from drying out.
Then I put them into the oven to bake at 400 degrees for twenty to twenty-five minutes.
If we want to make this dish even more scrumptious, and we always do, use the leftover seasoning mixture from before and brush another coat onto the crab legs after it has been in the oven for ten minutes. After that just cover the baking pan with the foil again and finish cooking the crab legs for an additional ten to fifteen minutes.
I like to make an extra serving of the seasoning mixture to use as a dipping sauce for after I crack the crab. It is more rewarding and satisfying than just plain old butter, what you would typically get if you ordered crab legs from a restaurant. Then there is nothing left to do, but just sit back and enjoy my delicious and savory crab legs.
If you want something more convenient, you can also purchase some tartar sauce. Tartar sauce goes really well with crab meat.
The best side dish to serve with crab legs is rice. It’s rich in carbohydrates and completes the protein-packed crab legs. The meal will be complete with some veggies and you’ve got a well-balanced meal. We also suggest you to serve crab legs with a corn casserole. The sweet and creamy corn goes good with the savory sweet taste of the crab meat. An alternative to rice is the classic baked potatoes. Mac and cheese, cheddar tomatoes, and cheesy zucchini are other side dishes that goes well with the sweet crab legs too.
I normally prepare 1 pound of crab legs per person in a serving. My family of crab lovers find this portion just nice for a satisfying and filling meal.
Crab legs taste the same as the meat in the claw. The taste is sweet and the meat is firm and tender.
To speed up the cracking process, I usually crack the crab right after baking, when it is the easiest to do so. If the crab sits too long after baking, it takes forever to crack and becomes a big hassle. Also note that if you use king crab legs, then you are going to need to add an extra five minutes to the cooking time since they are a bit bigger.