If I’m not feasting on a big steak, seafood is my next love. Specifically, king crab legs and shrimp are at the top of my “most delicious” seafood list. I realize however, that we all have our own personal preferences. Think of this as a “not boiled seafood boil” if you will. My easy crab legs and shrimp recipe is a one pot no fail method for perfectly cooked flavorful seafood.
This post is written in partnership with Omaha Steaks. Rest assured all opinions are my own.
A lot of people don’t realize that Omaha Steaks has a wide variety of food besides steak. They stock a multitude of seafood and fish, pork, chicken, beef, side dishes and even wine and much more. The raw shell-on wild Argentinian red shrimp as well as the shell-off option they also carry are simply delicious! They taste like a cross between shrimp and lobster and have a texture I love. The king crab legs from Omaha Steaks come fully cooked and pre-split so they are much easier to eat.
The shell-on shrimp from Omaha Steaks are huge. You can see how large they are next to my finger in the pictures. You can use shell-on or shell-off shrimp for this recipe.
Note: Argentinian red shrimp are red when they are raw unlike other species of shrimp. Do not eat them right out of the bag as they must be cooked first.
The one step I do prefer to do prior to cooking the shrimp is to remove the legs first. For this recipe for crab legs and shrimp, I prefer the shell-on shrimp as I believe they are even more flavorful when cooked in the shell first. These shrimp are excellent thrown right on your hot grill grate until cooked as well. They only take a couple minutes so keep an eye on them as they cook quicker than other shrimp varieties.
To remove the legs, I simply just pull them off with my fingers or I grab onto them with a butter knife and to remove them. They come off really easy. It’s a much nicer eating experience when the seafood is finished cooking when you don’t have to also remove the legs. The shrimp shells pop off really quickly then.
How To Steam Crab Legs And Shrimp
The good news is, the king crab legs are already cooked so you’re just reheating them. In fact most commercially purchased king crab legs and even snow crab legs are cooked prior to coming to market. Because the shrimp cook in a matter of minutes, all of the seafood will be done at the same time.
I place a steamer basket in the bottom of a pot to hold the seafood elevated off of the liquid in the pot. It’s okay if a little pokes through. You can always remove some prior to cooking if the level is too high. If you do not have a steamer basket, a stainless steel strainer will work well. Add the seasoning to the pot and then add some water. Place the steamer basket in the pot and if needed, add a little more water to raise the level just under the basket.
The good thing about this recipe or method is that honestly, you don’t truly have to measure anything. You can eyeball the water level in the pot and even adjust the seasoning to your liking.
It doesn’t matter if you put the shrimp or the crab into the strainer basket first. When cooking pre-split crab legs, I do not like them submerged in fluid as it tends to dilute the flavor if the liquid is not seasoned heavily enough.
Take it from me, I ruined some crab legs years ago by doing exactly that. I had them in pot on the grill and the water level was too high. I should have went to get a strainer but didn’t. There wasn’t a lot of water in the pot, but the crab legs fell down into the liquid and diluted the flavor heavily. Learn from my expensive mistake.
Butter Makes It Even Better
While the seafood is cooking melt some butter in a little saucepan on low, or in the microwave. Just keep a close eye on it as you don’t want to brown the butter, you just want it melted. I melted two sticks of butter to pour over 2 lbs of crab legs and 2 lb of shrimp. It sounds like a lot, but much of that will remain on the shrimp shells and in the bottom of the serving dish.
I add a couple teaspoons of Old Bay to the melted butter then pour it directly on the seafood in the serving dish. It is great to dunk the crab and shrimp in once you remove the shells.
It truly doesn’t get any easier than that. Steaming shrimp and crab with seasoned water amplifies the flavor just like keeping the seafood in the shells does as well. I like to serve it with an extra side of Old Bay seasoning as well. If you’ve ever been to a crab shack in Maryland you know they never skimp on the seasoning.
This dish is great as an appetizer, for lunch or as one divine dinner. To fill your guests or family up even more, serve it with boiled potatoes in butter or a baked potato. Corn on the cob is great if it’s in season. With a traditional crab boil all of those ingredients would be mixed together. But if I’m being honest, I love having some separation of flavors.
Make This Recipe Your Own
Feel free to add some mussels or clams to the pot if you’d like as well. If you do, make sure you scrub the clams or mussels first. I fill a sink up with water and let them sit for a good 15 minutes prior to washing them. Add the mussels or clams to the pot first and give them a 4-5 minute head start prior to adding the shrimp and crab as they take longer to cook.
Easy King Crab Legs And Shrimp
- Steamer basket or insert
- 2 lb king crab legs or snow crab legs
- 2 lb shell-on or shell-off shrimp
- 2 sticks butter
- 2 cups water (may need more or less depending on pot size)
- 1/2 cup Old Bay Seasoning (plus extra on the side) (or alternate seafood boil seasoning)
- Thaw shrimp if needed. May thaw overnight in the refrigerator (spread out on a sheet pan) or place in a bowl with cold water for 30 minutes prior to cooking.
- In large pot, place water and Old Bay and bring to a boil. Add steamer basket and if needed you may increase the amount of water so that it is just below the basket level
- Add crab legs and shrimp to basket and place the lid on the pot. Cook the seafood for 3-4 minutes or until shrimp are opaque (and reach 140°F internally) and crab is warmed through thoroughly. Transfer the seafood to a serving bowl.
- Melt the butter and add 2 teaspoons of Old Bay to the butter then pour over the cooked seafood. Serve immediately.