What Does Snow Crab Taste Like?

The taste of snow crab is not just sweet but also carries a hint of the sea, a gentle reminder of its oceanic origins. This unique combination of sweetness and brininess sets it apart from other seafood.

This article will explore its taste, texture and how it can be used in your home cooking.

How Does Snow Crab Taste?

Snow crab has a taste that can be described as sweet along with a hint of brininess.

What Does Snow Crab Taste Like

This sweetness is not overpowering but rather subtle, enhancing the overall flavor of the crab. On the other hand, the brininess gives it a slightly salty undertone, suggestive of the sea from where it originates.

The taste of snow crab is further complemented by its fibrous texture. The meat is firm yet tender and can easily be shredded into pieces.

Varieties Of Edible Snow Crab

There are several varieties of snow crab:

  • Opilio Snow Crab: Also known as Chionoecetes opilio, this variety is the most common type of snow crab. It has a sweet, delicate flavor with a hint of saltiness.
  • Bairdi Snow Crab: This variety, Chionoecetes bairdi, is larger than the Opilio and is known for its rich, sweet flavor and firm, succulent meat.
  • Tanner Crab: While technically a different genus (Chionoecetes tanneri), Tanner crab is often marketed as snow crab. It has a slightly more robust flavor than the Opilio and Bairdi but still maintains the characteristic sweetness of snow crab.

What Does Snow Crab Compare With?

Snow crab can be compared to several other types of seafood in terms of taste:

Does Snow Crab Smell Fishy?

Snow crab doesn’t have the strong, overpowering fishy smell that some seafood is known for. Instead, it has a mild, almost sweet aroma that is quite pleasant.

The aroma of snow crab plays a significant role in its taste. Our sense of taste is closely linked to our sense of smell, and snow crab’s mild, sweet aroma enhances its overall flavor profile.

So, while snow crab doesn’t smell fishy, its aroma is integral to its unique taste experience.

How To Eat Snow Crab

Snow crab is a versatile seafood that can be enjoyed in a variety of ways. Whether served as the dish’s star or used as an ingredient in a complex recipe, its sweet, briny flavor shines through.

Steamed Snow Crab

Steaming snow is one of the simplest and most popular ways to enjoy snow crab. Steaming preserves the delicate flavor of the crab and makes the meat easy to remove from the shell. It’s often served with melted butter and a squeeze of lemon to enhance its natural sweetness.

Snow Crab Legs

boiled snow crab legs opened

Snow crab legs are a favorite among seafood lovers. The legs are usually cracked open, and the sweet, tender meat is pulled out. It’s a hands-on, fun, and delicious way to enjoy snow crab.

Snow Crab Sushi

In Japanese cuisine, snow crab is also used in sushi. The sweet, delicate flavor of the crab pairs well with the vinegared rice and seaweed. It’s a unique way to enjoy snow crab and a must-try for sushi lovers.

Snow Crab Salad

Snow crab also makes a great addition to salads. It’s sweet flavor and firm texture add a touch of luxury to a simple salad. It pairs well with creamy dressings and fresh, crisp vegetables.

No matter how you choose to enjoy snow crab, its sweet, briny flavor and firm, fibrous texture make it a delightful culinary experience.

How To Buy Snow Crab

When buying snow crab, remember a few things to ensure you’re getting the best quality. Whether you’re buying from a grocery store, market, or restaurant, these tips will help you make an informed choice.

fresh snow crab market


First and foremost, check for freshness. Fresh snow crab should have a mild, sweet aroma. Avoid any crab that has a strong, fishy smell, as this is a sign that it’s not fresh.


Look at the crab’s appearance. The shells should be shiny and free of any discoloration or spots. The legs should be intact and not broken. If you’re buying snow crab legs, they should be heavy for their size, which indicates a good amount of meat inside.


Check the labels. Snow crab is sometimes sold under names, including Queen and Spider crab. Make sure you’re buying the right type of crab for your recipe.


Consider the source. Snow crab is a cold-water crab, so it’s often sourced from the northern Pacific and Atlantic oceans. If possible, opt for crab that’s been sustainably sourced.


If you’re buying from a restaurant, ask if the crab is fresh or frozen. While frozen crab can still be delicious, fresh crab will offer the best flavor.

Buying snow crab can be a bit of an investment, but with these tips, you can be sure you’re getting the best quality for your money.

Snow Crab FAQs

What does snow crab taste like?

Snow crab has a sweet, slightly briny flavor. The sweetness is subtle, not overpowering, and the brininess gives it a slightly salty undertone. The taste of snow crab is further enhanced by its firm yet tender texture.

Why do people like snow crab?

People enjoy snow crab for its taste, its meat is tender, and it easily shreds into pieces. Plus, it’s a fun, hands-on food to eat, especially when cracking open the legs.

What does crab taste similar to?

Crab, including snow crab, is often compared to lobster due to its sweet, delicate flavor. However, each type of crab has its own unique taste profile. Snow crab, for instance, has a sweet and slightly briny flavor that sets it apart.

About Justin Micheal

Hey, I’m Justin and the home cook behind Food Meets Flavor. I have a passion for cooking and making food delicious. So, I started this blog to help others understand what different types of food taste like and how to make everyday meals taste even better.