Contrary to popular belief, there are many types of crabs. Crab varieties vary depending on snow crab seasons, whether they're from the Pacific Ocean or the Atlantic Ocean, and how they've been raised. Snow crabs and king crab legs are often the ones you find at the local grocery store, and you can also get Dungeness crabs and stone crabs if you search hard enough. All crabs have unique identities, and crab taste can be a point of 'shellfish' contention among seafood lovers. Grab the lemon wedges, crab claws, and clarified butter, because we're about to break down the differences between snow crab vs king crab.
The first obvious difference only takes one look, and that's their size. Snow crabs are very small compared to king crabs.
Izzy Cooking shares that "...the weight of a king crab could be over 20 pounds, while a snow crab weighs 1-3 pounds on average." That's a pretty huge difference, if we say so ourselves. You can definitely get more king crab meat if you opt for one over a snow crab.
Their Texture and Taste
With such a significance in their sizes, their textures are pretty different too. King crab is much softer, with a sweet flavor, while snow crab meat has a sweet taste as well but with a briny flavor to it. It is also firm enough to break into pieces, making it great for dipping.
Snow crab legs will be more budget friendly, due partially to their smaller size. "Due to its superior lobster-like flavor and limited availability, king crabs are much more expensive than snow crabs," Izzy says. Bigger size and bigger flavor means more cash.
Their Best Seasons
Cold water is important for crab growth, but that's not all there is to crustacean season. "While frozen snow crab legs and king crab legs are available year-round at the grocery store, the harvesting season for snow crab is from late fall to the early summer. Alaskan king crab fishing usually occurs during the fall and winter months. Most king crabs are harvested in the North Pacific and Bering Sea," Izzy adds.
Crab Leg Cracker Tool
If you're planning to go out to Alaska for fresh crab, whether it's these two varieties or red king crab, blue crab, other crustaceans, or even clams, make sure you pick the right time of year. It seems like different species of crabs pop up at different times. For something as delicious as crab cakes or fresh lobster meat, we can't help but think that all that planning is worth it. All you need now is to pick your favorite from the snow crab vs king crab showdown, grab some melted butter, and enjoy the feast.