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How to Clean A Crab

While the pincers may be daunting, cleaning crab is a cinch and quite fun. Here’s a step-by-step guide to digging into Dungeness crab.

Remove the apron

Remove the apron

Look for a pointy piece of shell on the underside of the crab, near the rear. This is the apron; pry it off with your fingers or a knife.


Remove the top shellRemove the top shell

At the space created by the discarded apron, place a thumb on the top and bottom shell. Separate the top shell – the carapace – by pulling it away from the body.

Tip: Careful, this is where things get messy.


Remove the gills, mandibles, and innardsRemove the gills, mandibles, and innards

Pull off and discard the gray, sponge-like gills and the mandibles. Rinse the body of any innards, poking around to dislodge them from the opaque, white meat.



Break the bodyBreak the body

Grasp the body and use the heels of your hands to push outward, breaking the body in two along the center.


Twist off legs and clawsTwist off legs and claws

At the joints, twist off the legs and claws. An inexpensive seafood cracker will make quick work of the legs.

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