Classic Crab Boil

Total Time

Prep:10 min. Cook: 30 min.


2 servings

Updated: Jun. 27, 2023
Dig in to Dungeness crab boiled in a special mix of spices. —Matthew Hass, Franklin, Wisconsin
Classic Crab Boil Recipe photo by Taste of Home


  • 2 tablespoons mustard seed
  • 2 tablespoons celery seed
  • 1 tablespoon dill seed
  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
  • 1 tablespoon whole allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole cloves
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 8 quarts water
  • 1/4 cup salt
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 whole live Dungeness crabs (2 pounds each)
  • Melted butter and lemon wedges


  1. Place first 7 ingredients on a double thickness of cheesecloth. Gather corners of cloth to enclose seasonings; tie securely with string.
  2. In a large stockpot, bring water, salt, lemon juice, cayenne and spice bag to a boil. Using tongs, add crab to stockpot; return to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, covered, until shells turn bright red, about 15 minutes.
  3. Using tongs, remove crab from pot. Run under cold water or plunge into ice water. Serve with melted butter and lemon wedges.

Nutrition Facts

1 crab: 245 calories, 3g fat (0 saturated fat), 169mg cholesterol, 956mg sodium, 2g carbohydrate (0 sugars, 0 fiber), 50g protein.