The Easiest Whole Dungeness Crab Recipe

Whole Dungeness crabs are the simplest way to create a festive meal that looks totally elegant but is actually deceptively easy to prepare.
Servings 4 servings


  • 4 cooked Dungeness crabs about 2 pounds each
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 16 tablespoons 1 cup or 2 sticks salted butter
  • 1 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning
  • 1 lemon juiced
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1-2 teaspoons prepared horseradish to your taste
  • Fresh dill and parsley for garnish
  • Sliced lemon and limes


  1. Bring a large stockpot of water to a boil, season with 1 tablespoon kosher salt. Once the water comes to a boil, remove from heat. Immerse two of the crabs into the water for 5-10 minutes until the crabs are warmed through. Remove the crabs from the water and set aside to drain. Bring the water to another boil and repeat with remaining crabs.
  2. Clean the crabs while the other two crabs are warming in the hot water. Crack the legs with the back of a heavy knife. Serve on a platter with fresh dill leaves, parsley and sliced lemons and limes.
  3. In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Reduce the heat to low and skim the foam from the butter. Stir in the Old Bay Seasoning and the lemon juice. In a small bowl, mix the ketchup with the prepared horseradish. Serve the flavored butter and cocktail sauce alongside the crab.