A garlic butter crab recipe to satisfy your seafood cravings. Extra garlicky, buttery, savory, slightly sweet with a hint of spicy. Definitely worth getting your hands messy!
Garlic Butter Crab Recipe
Craving for seafood and ready to get your hands messy? Then this recipe is absolutely for you!
It's essentially an Asian-style crab. You'll love this because:
- I will show you how to prepare and clean the crabs. Photos included! You're welcome 🙂
- The garlic butter sauce is so easy to make. No complicated steps.
- The sauce is so finger-lickin' good! Packed with bold Asian flavors that perfectly complement the crab.
Garlic Butter Sauce Ingredients
And here's what you need to make the sauce.
- Garlic - lots of it! I used two bulbs for maximum flavor.
- Butter - use pure unsalted butter for the best flavor.
- Sweet Chili Sauce - I used my favorite Thai sweet chili sauce.
- Oyster Sauce - for a bit of umami-ness.
- Chicken Bouillon or powder - for more depth of flavor.
How to Prepare the Crabs
I know this part is not everyone's favorite but IT MUST BE DONE!
Before anything else, make sure to buy LIVE or PRE-COOKED crabs for convenience. There's no third option. This means you need to absolutely avoid stale raw crabs. They're mushy and generally don't taste good.
As soon as you get home, soak the live crabs in tap water for 30 minutes to purge their internal system. Next place in the freezer for 20 to 30 minutes. This will put them to sleep before cooking.
How to Clean the Crabs
- Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add ginger, and black peppercorns. Add the crabs and cook for 5 to 10 minutes or until they start to float. Transfer to an ice bath to stop the cooking process.
- Start cleaning by removing the top shell.
- Cut in half with a knife. Don't discard the crab fat. Save it for the sauce later.
- Remove the gills with your hands.
- Finally, crack the claws with a mallet or a cracker. This will allow the sauce to steep inside and flavor the crab meat.
The BEST Garlic Butter Sauce
And here's how to make it:
Melt the butter in a pan over medium heat. Add the chopped garlic and cook until fragrant. Watch carefully to prevent it from burning.
Pour the seasonings–sweet chili sauce, oyster sauce, and chicken bouillon. Continue cooking over low heat. Taste and season with salt and pepper, to taste.
Add the crabs including the crab fat (butter).
Toss for a good few minutes until the crab is drenched in the sauce. Yum!
Enjoy it on its own with your favorite drinks or serve it as a main dish with rice, Asian-style.
Love Asian flavors? Try these recipes
- Easy Asian Meatballs
- Beef Stir-fry with Black Pepper Sauce
- Pork Fried Rice
- Sweet and Sour Whole Fish
- Thai Basil Beef Zucchini Stir-fry
- Quick and Easy Korean Beef Bulgogi
- Salmon Teriyaki Fried Rice
- Easy Korean Bibimbap
- Sweet and Sour Chicken with Pineapple
Garlic Butter Crab with Sweet Chili Sauce
- 4 med-size live crabs (see note 1)
- 1 thumb ginger (sliced)
- 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
- water for boiling
Garlic Butter Sauce
- 2 bulb garlic (finely chopped)
- 1 cup / 2 sticks unsalted butter (see note 2)
- ⅓ cup sweet chili sauce (I used Thai)
- 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
- 2 teaspoon chicken powder (or ¼ pc chicken bouillon cube)
- dash of liquid seasoning (optional)
- salt and pepper (to taste)
- ½ cup water (optional)
Prepare and clean the crabs
- Soak the live crabs in tap water for 30 minutes to purge their internal system. Next place in the freezer for 20 to 30 minutes before cooking.
- Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add ginger, and black peppercorns. Add the crabs and cook for 5 to 10 minutes or until they start to float. Transfer to an ice bath to quickly cool down.
- Start cleaning by removing the top shell. Cut it in half with a knife. Don’t discard the crab fat. Save it for the sauce later. Remove the gills with your hands. Finally, crack the claws with a mallet or a cracker.
Make the Garlic Butter Sauce
- Melt the butter in a large pan over medium heat. Add the chopped garlic and cook until fragrant. Watch carefully to prevent it from burning.
- Pour the sweet chili sauce, oyster sauce, and chicken powder. Continue cooking over low heat. Taste and season with salt and pepper, to taste. If you want it saucier, you can add water, about ¼ to ½ cup.
- Add the crabs including the crab fat (butter). Toss until the crab is drenched in the sauce. Simmer for 3 to 5 minutes. Serve and enjoy!
Recipe Notes and Tips:
- Types of crabs recommended: You can use blue crab, mud crab, Dungeness crab, snow crab, or king crab. Frozen pre-cooked crabs can also be used for convenience.
- Butter can be reduced up to ½ cup. Replaced with ¼ cup to ½ cup water to make the liquid saucier.
Claire Masters says
Thanks for reminding me to not discard the crab fat because it can be added to the sauce. My husband loves seafood so I've been on the lookout for good crab recipes that he may like because his birthday is in a few weeks. Since I'm not a very good cook, I'm afraid that I might end up butchering the recipe so I might just order food from a seafood restaurant nearby.
April Victorio says
First time I cooked mud crab and it was very successful .
Thank you for the recipe my husband loved it so much .He said its better than the restaurant. 😍