Roasted Dungeness Crab

Growing up California, Dungeness crab season has always been a favorite time of year.  It is its own season.  And having lived here my whole life, I know how crab is cooked.  Its steamed.  While it is yummy in simple foods like tacos, and disappears in casserole type dishes, the best way to eat crab is to just get your fingers messy picking apart a steamed crab. A little bread, some clarified butter for dipping, and a nice glass of wine.

In recent years, more and more restaurant reviews boast of delectable roasted crab.  Some are spicy, others garlicky, and others including with Vietnamese flavors.  But roasted crab?  Really?

This week, crab and chicken breasts sold for the same price at the grocery store.  What a perfect time to experiment with roasted crab at home.  This is certainly a departure from simple steamed crab and is scrumptious in its own way. The flavor of oranges with just a little heat from the chilies is a perfect match for the dungeness crab.  Messy?  You betcha.  Be sure to have plenty of napkins on hand.


  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1  shallot, minced
  • 2 teaspoons dried crushed red pepper
  • 3 large Dungeness crabs, cooked, cleaned, and cracked (about 4 1/4 pounds)
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme, divided
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley, divided
  • 2 oranges, juiced
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated orange peel


1.  Preheat oven to 500°F.

2.  Melt butter with oil in heavy large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Stir in garlic, shallot, and dried crushed red pepper. Add crabs; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon chopped thyme and 1 tablespoon chopped parsley over crabs. Stir to combine.

3.  Place skillet in oven and roast crabs until heated through, stirring once, about 12 minutes.

4.  Using tongs, transfer crabs to platter. Add orange juice and peel to same skillet; boil until sauce is reduced by about half, about 5 minutes. Spoon sauce over crabs. Sprinkle with remaining 1 tablespoon thyme and 1 tablespoon parsley and serve.


  • The cooking goes pretty quickly, so get all of the ingredients prepared and at your side before beginning.
  • For easier cooking and serving, separate the crab into pieces before adding them to the skillet.
  • Both the flavor and aroma are amazing!

8 responses to “Roasted Dungeness Crab

  1. Pass me a napkin please.

  2. There is nothing better than dungeness crab. We are huge fans of the stuff and like nothing better than to just grab a couple on the way home from work and diving in. We’ll have to try this, sounds wonderful!

  3. ooh, that looks fantastic! It’s been a little too long since my last crab feast, your recipe looks nicely decadent…

  4. Just made for dinner, only thing I omitted was parsley bc I didn’t have it. Otherwise it was fantastic and I can’t wait to make again. Seriously the best tasting crab I’ve ever had!

  5. our local premier seafoot market posted this recipe – so glad to find your site and can’t wait to make this! looks awesome and sharing this with friends.

  6. ooops…posted by our local seaFOOD market!

  7. recipe calls for cooked crab … confused … cooked first then roasted????

  8. Dear Friend
    I would love to use the crab picture above to create a poster for our Crab Feast fund-raiser in Sonoma. It benefits Children’;s Medical Aid Foundation.
    Our event is on April 22 so I need to work fast. is it possible for you to share the crab picture with me for use in promoting the Crab Feed?
    Thanks! I appreciated your consideration.

    Carol Vernal,CEO

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