All About Dungeness Crab: What to Know Before You Order


If you live in the Pacific Northwest, have traveled there recently, or love seafood of any kind, you’ve heard of Dungeness crab, one of the most sought-after delicacies in this region. But how much do you know about it? There’s more to this crab than its irresistibly sweet flavor, and this guide will walk you through the ins and outs of everything, from the different parts of its anatomy to the best way to cook and serve it at home so that you can get the most out of this delicious seafood treat!

Benefits of Eating Dungeness Crab
Benefits of Eating Dungeness Crab

A Dungeness Crab is a delicacy of delectable crustaceans, prized for its sweet and tender meat. Although it’s in abundance along both coasts of North America, you can only find true Dungeness crabs in Washington state and northern California—and only during certain months. Dungeness’s name comes from an area near Sequim Bay on Washington’s Olympic Peninsula, where sustainable harvesting of crabs occurs annually.

  • What are The Benefits of Eating Dungeness Crab?

Eating seafood is good for your health and lowers your risk of heart disease, and most seafood is rich in nutrients, healthy fats, and vitamins. Most shellfish like Dungeness crab is low in calories and fat but high in protein, making them an excellent option for losing weight. And because the crab is so tasty, you won’t feel like you’re missing out on anything!

When appropriately prepared, the crab can be an excellent source of many essential nutrients. Such nutrients include omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin B12, selenium, zinc, copper, and iron. The nutritional value of crab also depends on how you cook it. For example, if you boil crab meat or steam it without added salt or butter, it will have fewer calories than if salted or sautéed in butter before serving.

  • When Are They in Season?

There are two times a year when fresh Dungeness crab is readily available – in late December and January and again in May through September. You’ll have to settle for a frozen version outside of these months. That means that their availability is dependent on the time of year, so it’s crucial to know what time of year they’re in season.

The best way to figure out when the crab will be at its freshest? Ask a reliable supplier of crabs about their availability. They should be able to tell you when they’re most likely to have the crab on hand. However, the frozen crab can last for several months if stored correctly in a freezer, so don’t let an off-season scare you away from buying some. Frozen crab is still delicious!

  • How Do They Taste?

With a buttery, sweet, rich flavor, Dungeness crab is unlike any other. So when you’re at your favorite seafood joint or in your local seafood restaurant and notice it on the menu, you’ll want to know what makes it unique. They are tasty crustaceans that you can prepare in several different ways, but most people order them steamed, broiled, or sautéed.

If you’ve never heard of them before, consider yourself lucky—and make some plans to try them from a reliable seafood catch. When it comes to food choices for sustainability, wild-caught Dungeness crabs are hard to beat.

  • How Do You Eat a Whole Cooked Crab?

A whole cooked crab is a too much crab for most people- one whole crab serves 2. If you decide you like them and want more, ask your seafood provider for crab legs only. Hence, you can have a few without feeling like eating an entire crab. The meatier part of each leg (also called drumsticks) contains just as much flavor as a full-cooked crab.

When picking out crab legs, try to choose those about 1 inch wide. They should be firm and white or light yellow with no dark spots or browning around joints. Be cautious of extreme fishy or sour odor when choosing crab legs- it could mean it’s time to ditch them. However, a slight, fresh, sea-like, or fish odor may indicate freshness. Fresh, adequately cooked Dungeness crab has a sweet, clean taste.


Dungeness crab is a delicious delicacy with a sweet, succulent flavor and a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids and protein. Being rich in minerals, vitamins, and nutrients, it’s no wonder why so many people have grown to love crab as part of their regular diet. However, always ensure you purchase your seafood from reputable vendors and know what you buy before shelling out your hard-earned cash. Eat clean, fresh, adequately cooked,  and responsibly sourced crab for optimal health benefits, as with any food item.

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Paul Osborne