This Air Fryer Crab Legs recipe is a simple yet sophisticated dish perfect for weeknight dinners and weekend cookouts. You can make this yummy air fryer seafood recipe in under 15 minutes and with just a few ingredients!
When the heat is on outside, it's the air fryer to the rescue inside! Sunshine and seafood is always a welcome summer combo, and this Air Fryer Crab Legs recipe lets you enjoy the seafood in the sun without breaking a sweat.
Why you'll love cooking crab in the air fryer
I grew up going crabbing at the Oregon coast with my family. So I've cooked crab several different ways over the years. Air frying is my absolute favorite way to cook crab legs, and I think you'll love it, too!
- It's less messy. The crab and sauces are contained in aluminum foil, so clean up is a breeze.
- Air fryers cut down on cooking time, so the crab legs are cooked faster. You can make a batch in under 15 minutes, including prep time!
- You get BIG flavors when you air fry crab legs! The circulating air helps the yummy garlic butter sauce and seasoning soak into every ounce of crab.
- Air fryer recipes help you keep your cool on hot summer days when you don't want to turn on the oven or stand over a hot grill all day.
Crab legs - Most grocery stores and seafood shops sell packages of crab legs, so you don't even need to break down the whole crab. Just buy the crab legs!
You can use Snow Crab legs or Dungeness Crab legs. I use Dungeness Snap and Eat Crab Legs shipped directly to my home from Premier Catch. I love it because the legs come individually scored, which make it super easy to "snap and eat." Dungeness crab have a sweet, mild flavor and tender meat.
Garlic - I use minced garlic because I love the flavor that fresh garlic cooked in the air fryer gives the crab legs. But you can also substitute a half teaspoon of garlic powder if you prefer.
Old Bay Seasoning - Old Bay seasoning adds so much nice flavor to any seafood, and especially to crab legs! You can also use a homemade Cajun seasoning if you prefer a little more kick.
Check out how EASY it is to make delicious crab legs in the air fryer!
Pat the crab legs dry with a paper towel, then place onto a sheet of aluminum foil that is just large enough to wrap around the crab legs.
In a medium bowl, add the olive oil, melted butter, garlic, parsley, Old Bay seasoning, and lemon juice. Give it a good whisk.
Brush the mixture over all sides of the crab legs. Make sure you especially brush sauce on the exposed crab meat.
Then bring the sides of the aluminum foil up to wrap the seasoned crab legs up like a bundle. Place into your air fryer basket.
Air fry at 370° for 5 to 7 minutes. I usually air fry a pound of crab legs for 6 minutes, and that ends up being perfect. Every air fryer is different, so yours may take just a little bit longer or cook a little bit faster.
When the time is up, very carefully lift the basket out of the air fryer.
Safety tips: use tongs and/or wear oven mitts to carefully open the aluminum foil. Also, make sure your face is not directly over the foil because you don't want to get burned from the hot steam that escapes as soon as you open the foil.
Plate the crab legs and serve with lemon wedges, additional chopped parsley, and additional melted butter, if desired.
Sure! I recommend using Dungeness crab legs or Snow crab legs, as they tend to fit well inside of air fryer baskets. You can use King crab legs, but they are a bit longer and bigger, so you may need to break them up a bit so they fit into the air fryer basket.
This crab is best eaten soon after it's cooked. However, you can allow the crab to cool completely at room temperature, then store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to about 3 days. You can reheat in the microwave or air fryer.
What to serve with crab legs
You could seriously chow down on air fryer crab legs on their own and make it a full meal and snack. It's so good! But, there are many delicious side dishes that go so well with this yummy air fryer seafood recipe.
- Consider enjoying this dish with potatoes, such as Instant Pot Mashed Potatoes or Baby Potato Salad with Bacon.
- This dish is also delicious with either rice or noodles. Try serving them with Instant Pot Garlic Rice or with Paprika Noodles.
- Of course, crab legs made in the air fryer are also wonderful with a side of nutritious vegetables. Try this easy Air Fryer Broccoli or Lemon Garlic Asparagus.
Kitchen tools and equipment
You can use any standard size air fryer to make this recipe. I use my Ninja Foodi 10-quart Dual Zone Air Fryer, which I LOVE because it's so easy to clean and air fries quickly. But you can use any 6-quart or 8-quart basket-style air fryer or tray-style air fryer.
Best wine pairings for crab
These crab legs have a rich, seasoned garlic butter sauce that calls for either an ice cold beer or a bright, refreshing white wine.
You'll want to pair this dish with an Albariño, a Vinho Verde, or a dry to off-dry Riesling. You could also pair this dish with a Sauvignon Blanc.
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Air Fryer Crab Legs
- 1 pound crab legs
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 1 Tablespoon chopped parsley
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1½ teaspoons Old Bay Seasoning
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- Pat the crab legs dry with a paper towel, then place onto a sheet of aluminum foil that is just large enough to wrap around the crab legs.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the olive oil, melted butter, garlic, parsley, Old Bay seasoning, and lemon juice.
- Brush the mixture over all sides of the crab legs. Bring the sides of the aluminum foil up to wrap the seasoned crab legs up like a bundle. Place into your air fryer basket.
- Air fry at 370° for 5 to 7 minutes. Serve with lemon wedges and additional melted butter, if desired.
Nutrition information is a general estimate. Actual nutrition details may vary depending on the exact foods & brands you use to make this recipe. It does not take into account any substitutions, toppings, or optional ingredients.