Snow Crab Legs vs King Crab Legs: 10+ Key Differences

Snow crab legs and king crab legs differ in size, flavor, uses, price, habitat, sustainability, nutrition, health benefits, dietary needs, and cooking methods, offering varied culinary experiences.

snow crab legs vs king crab legs Snow Crab Legs vs King Crab Legs: 10+ Key Differences

Crab lovers around the world have long debated the merits of snow crab legs and king crab legs. Both types of crustaceans boast succulent, flavorful meat that can elevate any meal. However, there are key differences between these two popular varieties of crabs that can impact your dining experience.

Disclosure: As an Amazon Associate, this site earns from qualifying purchases. Thank you!

Size and Weight

where does snow crab come from Snow Crab Legs vs King Crab Legs: 10+ Key Differences
Snow Crab

One of the most noticeable differences between snow crab and king crab is their size. Snow crabs typically weigh between 2 and 4 pounds, while king crabs average about 6 pounds, with some reaching a staggering 20 pounds!

King crab in Alaska
Massive King Crab

This difference in size is also reflected in the length of their legs: king crab legs are generally thicker and longer than those of snow crabs. Consequently, king crab legs yield more meat per leg than snow crabs, which can be a factor to consider when choosing between the two.


Both snow crab and king crab offer delicious, sweet, and tender meat. However, there are subtle differences in their flavor profiles.

Snow crab legs have a slightly saltier taste, while king crab legs are often described as having a richer, more robust flavor. This difference in taste can be attributed to factors such as diet, habitat, and species variation.

Culinary Uses

Both snow crab and king crab legs can be used interchangeably in a variety of recipes, from crab salads and soups to crab cakes and seafood boils.

Some chefs and home cooks may prefer the delicate flavor of snow crab for lighter dishes, while others might opt for the meatier king crab legs in more robust recipes. Ultimately, it comes down to personal preference and the specific dish being prepared.

Price and Affordability

King crab legs are generally more expensive than snow crab legs due to their larger size and higher demand in the market. Additionally, king crabs are considered more challenging to catch, which can drive up their price.

Although snow crab legs are usually more affordable, both types of crab legs can be enjoyed as a luxurious treat or as part of a special occasion meal.

Habitat, Fishing Season, and Availability

Snow crabs and king crabs inhabit different regions, which can affect their availability and fishing seasons. Snow crabs are typically found in colder waters, such as those off the coast of Alaska and Canada, while king crabs prefer deeper, colder waters in the Bering Sea and around the Kamchatka Peninsula in Russia.

As a result, the fishing seasons for these two types of crabs may vary, with snow crab season generally taking place between January and April, and king crab season occurring during the fall months.

The different habitats and fishing seasons can impact the freshness and availability of these crabs in your local market.


Both snow crab and king crab fisheries are subject to strict management practices to ensure the long-term health and sustainability of these species.

However, some concerns have been raised regarding the bycatch associated with certain king crab fishing methods, such as bottom trawling.

It is crucial for consumers to research and support sustainable seafood options when purchasing crab legs or any other seafood products.

Nutritional Benefits

Crab meat is a nutritious and healthy protein source, offering essential vitamins and minerals such as vitamin B12, zinc, and selenium. Both snow crab and king crab provide similar nutritional benefits; however, the meat from king crab legs may contain slightly more calories and fat per serving than snow crab meat. Regardless, both types of crab legs can be enjoyed as part of a balanced and varied diet.

Health Benefits

In addition to their nutritional value, crab legs offer several health benefits. Regular consumption of crab meat has been linked to improved heart health, reduced inflammation, and increased brain function.

Additionally, the omega-3 fatty acids found in both snow and king crab meat can support immune system function and promote healthy skin and hair. Despite these potential health benefits, it is essential to consume crab legs in moderation, as they can also be high in cholesterol and sodium.

Dietary Considerations

Crab legs can be enjoyed by most individuals, regardless of dietary preferences or restrictions. However, those with shellfish allergies or specific dietary concerns, such as low-sodium diets, should exercise caution when consuming crab legs.

It is also essential to consider the preparation methods and additional ingredients used when cooking crab legs, as they can affect the overall nutritional profile and suitability for specific diets.

Cooking Methods and Preparation Methods

Both snow crab and king crab legs can be prepared using various cooking methods, including boiling, steaming, grilling, and baking. The choice of cooking method will depend on personal preference and the specific recipe being followed.

Regardless of the method chosen, it is crucial to avoid overcooking the crab legs, as this can lead to tough, dry meat. When it comes to cracking crab legs, a seafood cracker or a small fork can be used to extract the delicious meat from the shells.

Cracking Snow and King Crab Legs

The best way to crack snow and king crab legs will vary depending on the thickness of the shells. For snow crab legs, which have thinner shells, you may be able to use your hands to break the shell and extract the meat.

For king crab legs, which have thicker, spikier shells, a seafood cracker or a pair of kitchen shears will likely be necessary. In either case, patience and care are required to avoid injury and ensure that you extract as much meat as possible.

Personal Preference and Unique Flavors and Textures

Ultimately, the choice between snow crab legs and king crab legs comes down to personal preference. Some individuals may prefer the slightly saltier taste and tender texture of snow crab legs, while others might enjoy the meatier, more robust flavor of king crab legs.

By experimenting with both types of crab legs and various recipes, you can determine which variety best suits your palate and culinary preferences.

Which is better snow crab or king crab legs?

Determining which is better between snow crab and king crab legs depends on personal preference. Snow crab legs are more delicate in flavor, while king crab legs are larger and have a richer taste.

Does king crab taste better than snow crab?

Whether king crab tastes better than snow crab is subjective. King crab has a stronger, richer flavor, while snow crab is milder and more delicate.

What is the best type of crab legs?

Identifying the best type of crab legs depends on individual taste. Popular options include king crab, snow crab, and Dungeness crab, each offering unique flavors and textures.

Which crab has more meat, snow or king?

Comparing snow and king crabs, king crab typically has more meat. King crab legs are larger and contain more substantial portions of meat.

What is better, lobster or crab?

Deciding what is better between lobster and crab relies on personal preference. Lobster has a firmer texture and a slightly sweeter taste, while crab can be more tender and delicate.

Is lobster considered a crab?

Lobster is not considered a crab. Although they are both crustaceans, lobsters and crabs belong to different groups within the crustacean family.

Are lobsters and crabs in the same family?

Lobsters and crabs are not in the same family, but they are both crustaceans. They belong to separate groups within the crustacean class, with lobsters being part of the Nephropidae family and crabs belonging to the Brachyura infraorder.

Final Thoughts

In summary, while snow crab legs and king crab legs share many similarities, they also have distinct differences in size, flavor, culinary uses, price, habitat, fishing season, sustainability, nutritional benefits, health benefits, dietary considerations, and cooking methods.

By understanding these key distinctions, you can make an informed decision when selecting crab legs for your next seafood dish or dining experience. No matter which type of crab legs you choose, you are sure to enjoy a delicious and satisfying meal!

Similar Posts