What Is the Difference Between Dungeness Crab and Snow Crab?

There are approximately 4,500 species of crab in the globe, and many of them are used to make wonderful delicacies by various civilizations. Certain crab kinds, such as Dungeness crab and snow crab, are more well-known than others.

Although these are not the only two variants seen in American kitchens and restaurants, they are among the most common. Can they, however, be used interchangeably? What are the differences between Dungeness crab and snow crab, and how should you prepare them?

Difference Between Dungeness and Snow Crab

The biggest difference between these two crabs is the size of their legs. Snow crabs have meatier legs than Dungeness crabs, which have thinner and smaller bent legs.

It implies Dungeness crabs have less flesh in a single crab while having greater meat per weight, with meat accounting for 25% of their weight. Snow crab flesh accounts for just approximately 17% of their total body weight.

Dungeness crabs have a sweeter flavor than snow crabs, which have a mild flavor. Snow crabs, however, do not lack flavor. If you want to get the maximum taste out of them, choose the leg meat over the body meat. It has a more pronounced flavor!

Dungeness crabs are more frequent and generally accessible throughout the year in places such as Alaska, Washington, Oregon, and Canada. They are constantly in season, but the snow crab is only available from April to early November.

If you sat down to a dish of each crab, you would notice a significant variation in the crackability and durability of their shells. Snow crabs have softer, thinner shells than Dungeness crabs.

While eating Dungeness crabs, specific equipment are required to shatter their hard shells, particularly the claws.

Crab claw clamps will be required to open them without injuring your fingers! Snow crabs, on the other hand, have thinner shells that can be opened with one’s hands. It’s a sloppy yet pleasant experience.

Snow crabs and Dungeness crabs are treated in a similar manner, usually by cooking them in boiling water for around five minutes. They may also be cooked in a steamer basket or with a colander insert, roasted in heavy-duty foil, or boiled in a butter-water mixture.


Dungeness vs Snow Crab Comparison Table

  Dungeness Crab Snow Crab
Size Approximately 1.5 – 2 lbs Approximately 2 – 4 lbs
Appearance Four short legs and two claws Four long legs and two claws
Habitat Off the coast of Alaska, Canada, California, Oregon, and Washington Cold to temperate waters located in the northwestern Atlantic Ocean and the northern Pacific Ocean
Season Alaska:  from mid-June to September   Washington and Oregon: from December to August   Canada: All year, especially in May, June, September, and October From April to the beginning of November
Taste Moderate sweetness Mild sweetness
Shell Durability The shells of these crabs are hard and thick, thus special tools are needed to crack them The shells of these crabs are thin, meaning they can be cracked by hand
Price $25 per lb $35 per lb

Can You Substitute Dungeness for Snow Crab?

If you’re preparing crab meat, you may be asking whether you can replace Dungeness crab for snow crab or vice versa. The answer is dependent on why you are substituting them, what you are using them for, and how they are cooked.

While considering if one may be substituted for the other, keep in mind that the flesh of the body is favored for Dungeness crabs because their legs are so little, but the meat of the legs is chosen for snow crabs because their legs are so long.

Since claw and leg meat has a more powerful taste than body meat, you may be more likely to utilize snow crabs in this case.

Snow crabs are also not as sweet as Dungeness crabs, which have a mild but noticeable sweetness. This is a key consideration when determining whether they are interchangeable, since the sweetness will alter whatever dish you are cooking.

If you are less concerned with the location of the flesh and more concerned with flavor, you may be able to exchange these crabs for one another, despite the fact that Dungeness crabs have a sweeter taste. This is generally addressed by modifying other components in your recipe.

What Is Dungeness Crab?

Dungeness crabs, named after Dungeness Bay in England, where they were found, dwell mostly in sandy areas along the coastlines of Alaska, Oregon, Washington, and Canada.

Dungeness crabs have rectangular, broad bodies and short, curving legs. They may weigh up to 10 pounds and grow to be ten inches across or larger.

Male and female Dungeness crabs are not the same size, with females being around three times larger than males. Male variants often have a significantly thinner body, hence females are always more appealing to fishers.

In general, Dungeness crabs weigh two to four pounds on average, with flesh accounting for 25% of that weight. Vitamins B12, B6, niacin, riboflavin, copper, magnesium, phosphorus, selenium, and zinc are abundant in Dungeness crabs.

Dungeness crabs are also the most significant economically in the Pacific Northwest. They don’t live very long, with the average crab only surviving approximately ten years. As a result, fisherman must be cautious not to remove crabs that are too young from the sea, allowing them to grow and expand in size and taste.

How to Use Dungeness Crab

While choosing a Dungeness crab, you should always pay attention to the color of the shell, which will be an opaque gray tint.

Take notice of whether your Dungeness crab is male or female, since the tastes may change. Male Dungeness crab flesh is firmer and sweeter than female Dungeness crab meat.

The crab bib may help you determine if your Dungeness crab is male or female. A female Dungeness crab’s bib is bigger.

While you should avoid buying pre-cooked crab, if you do buy a cooked Dungeness crab, make sure it has all of its legs, since missing legs suggest that the crab has been overdone. The flesh on such crabs will be harder and more difficult to extract from their shells.

In terms of how to cook Dungeness crab, it may be used in everything from crab cakes to spaghetti, casseroles to salads. Its mild taste goes well with practically any classic seafood meal.

Keep in mind that cracking through your crab will need some effort, so you may not want to use it in recipes that call for a huge amount of crab flesh.

What Is Snow Crab?

Snow crabs get their name from the color of their flesh, which is snow white. Snow crabs are found in colder and more temperate areas, and they like deep and frigid water.

Snow crabs have tiny, spherical bodies and strong, thick legs that vary in length from 3.7 inches for females to 6.5 inches for males. Male snow crabs are often double the size of their female counterparts.

Snow crabs are low in fat and high in Omega-3 polyunsaturated acids, which help prevent heart disease and promote brain development. Snow crabs are also high in B12, phosphate, zinc, copper, and selenium.

Unlike the Dungeness crab, which has 25% of its weight in flesh, the snow crab contains just 17% of its weight in meat.

How to Use Snow Crab

When selecting a snow crab, look for one with a lot of elevated black markings on the shells. These black marks signal that this crab is mature and has lived a longer life, which means the flesh will be tougher and more flavorful than crabs with smoother shells.

When pressed and tested, the crab cover will be hard and strong. The Gulf of St. Lawrence produces the finest high-quality snow crabs. But, these snow crabs will be more pricey.

Prepare to spend a bit more for quality; you won’t be sorry when you bring your crabs home and cook them. Check for any damaged pieces and excess glaze. The industry guideline for fractured components is about 10%.

Snow crabs may be served in salads, casseroles, pasta dishes, or as a fun main item in a traditional seafood boil.

You may shatter the shells with your hands, and one of the greatest ways to appreciate their delicious taste is to boil or steam the crabs and serve them with corn, potatoes, and plenty of drawn butter.


Which is the best tasting crab?

Maryland Blue Crab is one of the top five best crabs to eat. At Cameron’s, we specialize in Maryland Blue Crab.
Soft-Shell Crab. Dungeness Crab. Snow Crab. Florida Stone Crab.
Maryland Blue Crabs may be purchased online.
Sep 17, 2017

Which crab legs taste better?

Blue crab is delicious, and it may be purchased frozen, live, cooked, or as plucked flesh. Many people believe that blue crab flesh is the sweetest and nicest tasting of all crab meats.

Does Dungeness crab have more meat?

2 pound of chosen meat. The flesh on the body is white and crumbly. Dungeness crab has a meat-to-shell ratio of around 25%, making it one of the meatier crabs available. The average yield for a 2 pound crab is one.

How is Dungeness crab different?

Dungeness crabs, which have a deep red hue with white spots, may grow to be more than 10 inches broad and weigh up to two pounds. They coexist with red rock crabs (another seafood staple), but Dungeness crabs are the largest of the two and easily identified by their enormous, fan-shaped shell.

Is Dungeness crab sweeter than snow crab?

When comparing the flavors of Dungeness crab with snow crab, Dungeness crabs tend to be sweeter than snow crabs.

Why is Dungeness crab the best?

Dungeness Crab is more flavorful than King Crab.

Dungeness crab has a sweet, delicious flavor that melts in your tongue. Legs of Dungeness crab are a great delicacy, with a stronger texture than body flesh. In contrast, King crab has a very subtle taste, almost generic.

What is the most popular crab legs to eat?

When it comes to crab flesh, the King crab is recognized as the finest of the best, and it is generally a delicacy eaten on its own or with a buttery dip.

Why is snow crab so expensive?

It is obtained internationally, yet a small supply constraint might cause prices to rise. This is simply a small portion of a much larger resource.” Amar claims that other variables, like as inflation and economic uncertainty, have influenced the price and availability of snow crabs throughout the years.

Does crab taste better than lobster?

Health Benefits of Lobster

Although lobster and crab flesh are almost identical, lobster tastes richer due to its firmer and meatier texture. Although both types of seafood are iron-rich and high in vitamins, lobster may help prevent cancer.

How many people will one Dungeness crab feed?

Calculate one and a half to two pounds of crab per person: This equates to 12 to 34 pounds of crab flesh. Benjamin suggests sharing one crab between two little eaters for children. “It’s simple to divide a crab in half, and each youngster gets his or her own set of legs, claws, and half the body,” he explains.

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