Spicy Hot Mess Crab Legs with Garlic, Butter, and Parsley

Spicy Hot Mess Crab Legs with Garlic, Butter, and Parsley
Photo by Grace Parisi

If garlic bread and crab boil had a baby, this would surely be it! Sweet dungeness crab gets tossed in the classic garlic bread mixture — garlic, butter, and parsley — and served with crusty bread to soak up any extra butter. It is a bit messy, but feel free to use the bread as a tasty napkin!

Spicy Hot Mess Crab Legs with Garlic, Butter, and Parsley | Sitka Salmon Shares

Prep time: 20 min
Total time: 20 min
Serves: 2


  • 3 to 4 Dungeness crab clusters, thawed
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • ¼ to ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • Kosher salt
  • ½ lemon
  • Crusty bread for serving and dipping


Separate Crab

Separate the crab legs from the body. Using a sturdy knife cut the bodies in half.

Steam Crab

Place the crab into a wok or skillet with 1 inch of water and bring to a boil. Cover and steam just until heated through, 2 to 3 minutes. Drain well and wipe out the pan.


Return the pan to medium-high heat and add the butter, oil, garlic, and as much red pepper flakes as desired, and sauté just until sizzling. Add the crab, parsley, and a pinch of salt, and stir-fry until coated with the sizzling mixture. Transfer to a deep platter, scraping all of the butter and aromatics on top and add a squeeze of lemon. Serve right away with claw crackers, bread, and lots of napkins. Dip the crab meat and bread into the surrounding butter and enjoy!

Ready to try this recipe?

Shop our seafood boxes for next week delivery.

Shop Seafood Boxes

Pro Tips

Pair it Up

Pair it Up

Go for bubbles and a light acidy for freshness. A little sweetness helps balance the spice, too. A sparkling Riesling hits all the marks. 

Spice it Up

Spice it Up

Swap the crushed red pepper flakes with chipotle flakes for a smoky heat.

Change it Up

Change it Up

Reserve any leftover crabmeat and shells separately. Make a stock with the shells and freeze. Fold the crabmeat into an omelet for breakfast or buttered noodles for dinner.

Lighten it Up

Lighten it Up

The beauty of this dish is the buttery sauce. You can use all olive oil and omit the butter altogether.


*The information displayed is our analysis of the recipe based on its ingredients and preparation, and should not be considered a substitute for professional nutrition advice.

Spicy Hot Mess Crab Legs with Garlic, Butter, and Parsley Recipe | Sitka Salmon Shares

Want more culinary tips + tricks?

Subscribe for more recipes, culinary tips & tricks, and exclusive discounts!

Join our community.
Subscribe Now
Join our community.
Subscribe Now