Instant Pot Crab Legs — Dive into the world of easy and elegant seafood cuisine with our Instant Pot Crab Legs recipe! This crab leg preparation method is a game-changer, offering a fast, hassle-free way to cook this luxurious dish.

The Instant Pot cuts cooking time and ensures the crab legs are perfectly steamed, locking in their natural flavors and tenderness. 

Instant Pot Crab Legs -- Dive into the world of easy and elegant seafood cuisine with our Instant Pot Crab Legs recipe! This crab leg preparation method is a game-changer, offering a fast, hassle-free way to cook this luxurious dish. The Instant Pot cuts cooking time and ensures the crab legs are perfectly steamed, locking in their natural flavors and tenderness.
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Ideal for a special occasion, family dinner, or when you want to indulge in a seafood feast without the fuss, these Instant Pot Crab Legs promise to deliver a fine dining experience right in the comfort of your home. Get ready to enjoy succulent, juicy crab legs that are as simple to prepare as they are delicious to eat!

The Best Instant Pot Crab Leg Recipe

Embark on a culinary journey with The Best Instant Pot Crab Leg Recipe, a delightful experience that brings the elegance of gourmet seafood into your kitchen with incredible ease. This recipe is perfect for those who cherish the luxurious taste of crab legs but prefer a straightforward and efficient cooking method. Using the Instant Pot, this recipe transforms the often-intimidating task of seafood preparation into a simple, foolproof process. The high-pressure environment of the Instant Pot steams the crab legs to perfection, ensuring they come out succulently tender and infused with their natural, sweet flavors.

Imagine sitting down to a meal that feels like a celebration, where the crab legs are the star of the show, cooked just right, retaining all their juicy goodness. The beauty of this recipe lies in its simplicity and the ability to preserve the delicate texture and flavor of the crab. It’s ideal for a special occasion, an impressive dinner party, or a cozy family meal. Pair these beautifully steamed crab legs with your favorite sides like melted butter, lemon wedges, or a refreshing salad, and you’ve got a meal that looks spectacular and tastes divine. With The Best Instant Pot Crab Leg Recipe, you’re not just preparing a meal but creating an exquisite dining experience that will surely be remembered.

Can You Make Crab Legs In A Pressure Cooker?

Yes, you can definitely make crab legs in a pressure cooker, such as an Instant Pot. Cooking crab legs in a pressure cooker is quick and effective, ensuring they are evenly steamed and infused with flavor.

So, the next time you look for a quick way for an indulgent seafood feast, look no further than your trusty Instant Pot. Serve with Instant Pot Corn on the Cob or Instant Pot Mashed Potatoes. 

Instant Pot Crab Legs

Why You Will Love This Recipe!

This Instant Pot Crab Legs recipe is bound to be a favorite for several compelling reasons:

  • Quick and Easy: One of the biggest advantages of using an Instant Pot is the significant reduction in cooking time. This recipe offers a quick way to prepare crab legs, making it perfect for a speedy yet luxurious meal.
  • Perfectly Steamed: The Instant Pot steams crab legs evenly, ensuring they are perfectly cooked. This method maintains the crab’s delicate texture and rich flavor, making each bite succulent and delicious.
  • Convenience: Cooking crab legs in an Instant Pot eliminates the need for a large pot and constant monitoring. It’s a convenient, set-and-forget method that yields excellent results with minimal effort.
  • Flavorful: The high-pressure cooking environment helps to lock in the flavors, so the crab legs come out tasting fresh and sea-sweet. You can also infuse additional flavors by adding seasonings to the cooking water.
  • Ideal for Entertaining: This recipe is great for entertaining guests, as it allows you to easily prepare a gourmet seafood dish, giving you more time to focus on your guests.
  • Healthy Cooking: Steaming is one of the healthiest cooking methods, preserving the natural nutrients and flavors of the crab without the need for additional fats or oils.
  • Mess-Free: The Instant Pot contains all the steam and splatter, making the cooking process clean and mess-free, starkly contrasting to traditional stovetop boiling.

Whether you’re a seafood aficionado or trying crab legs for the first time, this Instant Pot recipe impresses with its simplicity, efficiency, and the delectable taste of perfectly cooked crab legs

Ingredients Needed For Instant Pot Crab Legs

Embark on a culinary adventure with this Instant Pot Crab Legs recipe, where simplicity meets elegance. With just a few simple ingredients, you can create a seafood feast that’s both delectively flavorful and incredibly easy to prepare. Let’s explore the key components that make this dish a must-try for any seafood lover.

Shot of clusters of crab legs against a white background.

Remember the step-by-step directions and detailed ingredient list are below, in the printable recipe card at the bottom of this post, as well as the nutritional information.

  • Crab Legs: The star of the dish, crab legs are renowned for their sweet, tender meat. Opt for pre-cooked, frozen crab legs for convenience, as they must be heated in the Instant Pot.
  • Water: Water is essential for creating steam in the Instant Pot, the cooking medium for the crab legs. It ensures even and gentle cooking, preserving the delicate texture of the crab. You can also use chicken broth or vegetable broth. 
  • Lemon Wedges (Optional): Adding lemon wedges to the water infuses a subtle citrus aroma, complementing the natural flavors of the crab without overpowering them.
  • Garlic Cloves (Optional): For those who enjoy a hint of garlic, adding whole cloves to the steaming water can add a mild, savory depth to the crab legs.
  • Old Bay Seasoning (Optional): A sprinkle of Old Bay Seasoning brings a classic seafood flavor, enhancing the crab with spices and herbs perfect for shellfish.
  • Butter (For Serving): Melted butter is a traditional accompaniment to crab legs, offering a rich, creamy contrast to the sweet meat.
  • Additional Seasonings (Optional): Feel free to experiment with other seasonings like fresh dill, kosher salt, black pepper, parsley, or a bay leaf to customize the flavor.

How To Make Crab Legs In Instant Pot

Making crab legs in an Instant Pot is a quick and simple process that yields delicious results. Here’s how to do it:

Crab legs in the instant pot.

Prepare the Ingredients:

Gather your crab legs. You might need to break them at the joints to fit them into the pot if they are large.

Have them ready if you use additional flavorings like lemon wedges, garlic cloves, or Old Bay seasoning

Add Water and Flavorings:

Pour 1 to 2 cups of water into the bottom of your Instant Pot. The amount of water may vary depending on the size of your pot, but you need enough to produce steam.

Add the lemon wedges, garlic cloves, and Old Bay seasoning (if using) to the water. This will infuse the crab legs with extra flavor as they cook.

Crab being placed in the instant pot.

Place the Crab Legs:

Place a trivet or steamer basket into the Instant Pot. Then, arrange the crab legs on the trivet. It’s okay if they stack, but try to leave some space for the steam to circulate.

Seal and Cook:

Close the lid of the Instant Pot and seal the valve.

Set the Instant Pot to manual high pressure, with 2-3 minutes cook time. You might need an extra minute if your crab legs are particularly large or you have a whole pot.

Quick Release:

Once the cooking time is up, use the quick-release valve to release the pressure. Be cautious of the steam.


Carefully open the lid and use tongs to remove the cooked crab. 

Serve immediately with melted butter or lemon juice for dipping and additional lemon wedges if desired.

This method for cooking crab legs in an Instant Pot is easy and ensures that your crab legs come out perfectly steamed and flavorful in just a matter of minutes. 

Crab legs on a white plate with corn on the cob and a lemon wedge.

Recipe Variations

Exploring Instant Pot Crab Legs recipe variations can add an exciting twist to this delightful seafood dish. Here are some creative ways to enhance and alter the basic recipe:

  • Beer-Steamed Crab Legs: Instead of water, use beer as the liquid base in the Instant Pot. The beer adds a unique, malty flavor to the crab legs, giving them a gourmet twist.
  • Spicy Crab Legs: Add a kick to your crab legs by including spicy seasonings like cayenne pepper or a few dashes of hot sauce into the steaming liquid. This will infuse the crab meat with a pleasant heat.
  • Herbal Aromatics: For a herby flavor, add sprigs of fresh dill, rosemary, or thyme to the water. The herbs will impart a subtle fragrance and flavor to the crab legs.
  • Garlic Butter Crab Legs: After steaming, toss the crab legs in a mixture of melted butter and finely minced garlic for a rich and savory experience.
  • Asian-Inspired Flavors: Create an Asian-inspired version by adding soy sauce, ginger slices, and star anise to the steaming liquid. Serve with a side of soy-ginger dipping sauce.
  • Lemon-Herb Crab Legs: Combine lemon slices, garlic, and a mix of fresh herbs like parsley and basil in the steaming water for a refreshing citrus and herb flavor.
  • Cajun Crab Legs: Add Cajun seasoning to the steaming liquid for a Southern-inspired flavor. You can also sprinkle extra Cajun seasoning on the crab legs after they’re cooked.
  • Old Bay and Vinegar: Mix Old Bay seasoning and a splash of apple cider vinegar in the steaming liquid for a tangy, spiced flavor reminiscent of traditional seafood boils.
  • Coconut-Lime Crab Legs: Use coconut water instead of regular water and add lime slices to the pot for a tropical, sweet flavor.
  • Mediterranean Style: Add a combination of white wine, lemon slices, garlic, and Mediterranean herbs like oregano and basil for a light and aromatic flavor.

Each of these variations brings a unique flair to the Instant Pot Crab Legs, allowing you to experiment with flavors and find the perfect match for your taste preferences.

Up close shot of crab legs with melted butter tucked under them.

Pro Tips

Cooking crab legs in an Instant Pot can be a simple yet rewarding experience. To ensure the best results, consider these pro tips:

  • Use Pre-Cooked, Frozen Crab Legs: Most crab legs sold in stores are cooked and frozen. Using them directly in the Instant Pot saves time and guarantees perfectly cooked crab legs.
  • Add Flavor to the Water: Enhance the steaming water with ingredients like lemon wedges, garlic cloves, or a sprinkle of Old Bay seasoning. This infuses the crab legs with extra flavor as they cook.
  • Don’t Skimp on the Water: Ensure there’s enough water in the Instant Pot to produce sufficient steam. Usually, one to two cups should suffice, depending on the size of your pot.
  • Arrange Crab Legs Properly: If the crab legs are too long, break them at the joints to fit into the pot. Place them on a trivet or in a steamer basket to avoid direct contact with the water.
  • Quick Pressure Release: Once the cooking time is up, use the quick-release method to release the pressure. This prevents the crab legs from overcooking.
  • Check for Doneness: When you open the pot, the crab legs should be hot and steaming. If they’re not quite heated through, you can seal the pot and steam for an additional minute.
  • Serve Immediately: Crab legs are best enjoyed hot. Serve them straight from the Instant Pot with sides like melted butter for dipping and lemon wedges for squeezing.
  • Experiment with Cooking Time: Depending on the size and quantity of the crab legs, you might need to adjust the cooking time. Start with 2-3 minutes and adjust in future preparations as needed.
  • Use Leftovers Wisely: If you have leftover crab meat, use it in salads, sandwiches, or pasta dishes.
  • Safety First: Be careful when releasing the pressure and opening the Instant Pot lid, as the steam can be very hot.

Faq’s Easy Instant Pot Crab Legs Recipe

​Can I cook fresh, uncooked crab legs in the Instant Pot? Yes, you can cook fresh crab legs in the Instant Pot. The cooking time might vary slightly compared to pre-cooked frozen crab legs. Generally, fresh crab legs will take a few minutes longer.

How much water should I use in the Instant Pot for crab legs? Typically, 1 to 2 cups of water is sufficient. The water shouldn’t touch the crab legs; they should be elevated on a trivet or steamer basket.

Do I need to thaw frozen crab legs before cooking them in the Instant Pot? No, you don’t need to thaw them. You can cook frozen crab legs directly in the Instant Pot, which is one of the conveniences of using this method. You can separate the clusters of crab legs before adding them to the bottom of the pressure cooker. 

How long should I cook crab legs in the Instant Pot? For pre-cooked frozen crab legs, a 2-3 minutes cooking on high pressure is generally sufficient. If they’re particularly large or you have a full pot, you might need an extra minute.

Can I overcook crab legs in the Instant Pot? While the Instant Pot reduces the chances of overcooking, it’s still possible if you leave them in too long. Stick to the recommended cooking time and use quick pressure release to avoid overcooking.

What are some good seasonings to add to the water for flavor? Lemon wedges, garlic cloves, Old Bay seasoning, and a bay leaf are popular. You can also experiment with other herbs and spices like dill or parsley.

How do I serve Instant Pot crab legs? Serve them hot with melted butter and lemon wedges. You can also include additional seasoning for dipping, like cocktail sauce or a garlic butter sauce.

Can I stack crab legs in the Instant Pot? Yes, you can stack crab legs in the Instant Pot but try to arrange them loosely to allow steam to circulate evenly.

What’s the best way to reheat leftover crab legs? To reheat, place them back in the Instant Pot with a cup of water and steam for 1-2 minutes, or gently reheat them in the oven.

How to store extra crab legs: Let the crab legs cool to room temperature, and either remove the crab meat from the large crab legs or place the leftover crab shells into an airtight container. The crab will last for 1-2 days.

Are Instant Pot crab legs healthy? Yes, steaming crab legs in the Instant Pot is a healthy cooking method as it doesn’t require additional fat and preserves the crab’s natural flavors and nutrients.

More Instant Pot Recipes

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Instant Pot Crab Legs -- Dive into the world of easy and elegant seafood cuisine with our Instant Pot Crab Legs recipe! This crab leg preparation method is a game-changer, offering a fast, hassle-free way to cook this luxurious dish. The Instant Pot cuts cooking time and ensures the crab legs are perfectly steamed, locking in their natural flavors and tenderness.

Instant Pot Crab Legs

5 from 6 votes
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 4 minutes
Total Time: 9 minutes
Servings: 4 Servings


If you love crab legs, there is no better place to make crab legs than the Instant Pot. Perfectly cooked or steamed, you get a great batch every single time.


  • 3-4 pounds crab legs
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt


  • Start by pouring the water and salt into the Instant Pot.
  • Then add your steamer basket.
  • Place the crab legs into the steamer basket. 
  • Add the lid on the Instant Pot, making sure the vent is in the “sealing position.”
  • Set the time using manual high pressure for 4 minutes.
  • When the time is up, do a quick release.
  • When the pin has dropped, and all of the pressure has been released, open up the Instant Pot.
  • Plate, serve, and enjoy!


  • Instant Pot Pressure Cooker, or Ninja Foodi Pressure Cooker


Serving: 1ServingCalories: 71kcalProtein: 16gFat: 1gSaturated Fat: 0.1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.1gMonounsaturated Fat: 0.1gCholesterol: 36mgSodium: 859mgPotassium: 174mgVitamin A: 20IUVitamin C: 6mgCalcium: 41mgIron: 1mg

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