King Crab vs. Snow Crab

What's the Difference?

King Crab and Snow Crab are both popular types of crab known for their delicious meat. However, they have some distinct differences. King Crab is larger in size, with its legs spanning up to six feet, while Snow Crab is relatively smaller, with legs reaching around two feet. King Crab has a rich and sweet flavor, with a firm and tender texture, making it a favorite among seafood enthusiasts. On the other hand, Snow Crab has a delicate and slightly sweet taste, with a more flaky and softer texture. Both crabs are highly sought after for their succulent meat, but the choice between them ultimately comes down to personal preference.


AttributeKing CrabSnow Crab
Scientific NameParalithodes camtschaticusChionoecetes opilio
SizeCan reach up to 6 feetUsually around 2 feet
WeightCan weigh up to 10 kgUsually around 1 kg
ColorReddish-brownLighter shades of brown
HabitatDeep cold waters of the North Pacific OceanShallow cold waters of the North Atlantic Ocean
Leg SpanCan have a leg span of up to 5 feetUsually around 2 feet
Claw SizeLarge and powerful clawsLong and slender claws
Commercial ValueConsidered a delicacy and highly valuedHighly valued in seafood markets

Further Detail


Crabs are a popular seafood delicacy enjoyed by people around the world. Among the various types of crabs, King Crab and Snow Crab are highly sought after for their succulent meat and unique flavors. While both belong to the same family, they have distinct attributes that set them apart. In this article, we will explore the differences and similarities between King Crab and Snow Crab, from their appearance and habitat to their taste and culinary uses.


King Crabs are known for their impressive size, with some species reaching up to 6 feet in length and weighing over 20 pounds. They have long, spindly legs and a large, spiky shell that is reddish-brown in color. On the other hand, Snow Crabs are comparatively smaller, typically measuring around 2 feet in length and weighing around 2-4 pounds. They have shorter legs and a smoother, rounder shell that is light orange in color.


King Crabs are primarily found in the cold waters of the northern Pacific Ocean, particularly in Alaska and Russia. They inhabit deep-sea floors and are often caught at depths of 200-400 feet. Snow Crabs, on the other hand, are commonly found in the northern Atlantic Ocean, particularly in the waters off the coast of Canada and Greenland. They prefer shallower depths, typically ranging from 150-600 feet. Both crabs are known for their ability to withstand extremely cold temperatures.

Taste and Texture

When it comes to taste and texture, King Crab and Snow Crab offer distinct experiences. King Crab meat is renowned for its rich, sweet flavor and tender, succulent texture. The meat is firm and slightly fibrous, with a delicate buttery taste that is often described as the epitome of luxury seafood. Snow Crab, on the other hand, has a slightly milder flavor compared to King Crab. Its meat is tender and flaky, with a slightly sweet and briny taste. While both crabs are delicious, King Crab is often considered more indulgent and prized for its exceptional taste.

Culinary Uses

Both King Crab and Snow Crab are highly versatile in the kitchen and can be used in a variety of dishes. King Crab legs are often steamed or boiled and served with melted butter or a tangy dipping sauce. The large size of King Crab legs makes them perfect for impressive seafood platters or as the centerpiece of a decadent crab feast. Snow Crab, on the other hand, is commonly used in dishes like crab cakes, crab bisques, and crab salads. The smaller size of Snow Crab legs makes them easier to handle and incorporate into various recipes.

Availability and Cost

Due to their different habitats, the availability and cost of King Crab and Snow Crab can vary. King Crab is generally considered more expensive and less readily available compared to Snow Crab. The limited supply and high demand for King Crab contribute to its higher price tag. Snow Crab, on the other hand, is more widely available and relatively more affordable. It is often considered a more accessible option for those looking to enjoy the flavors of crab without breaking the bank.


Considering the importance of sustainable seafood practices, it is worth noting the sustainability of King Crab and Snow Crab fisheries. King Crab populations have faced challenges due to overfishing in the past, leading to stricter regulations and quotas to protect their numbers. Snow Crab, on the other hand, has generally been managed more sustainably, with careful monitoring of catch limits and fishing methods. Both crabs are now harvested using traps or pots, which minimize bycatch and help maintain the overall health of the marine ecosystem.


In conclusion, King Crab and Snow Crab may belong to the same family, but they have distinct attributes that make them unique. From their appearance and habitat to their taste and culinary uses, each crab offers a different experience. King Crab impresses with its large size, rich flavor, and tender meat, while Snow Crab delights with its milder taste and versatility in various dishes. Whether you prefer the indulgence of King Crab or the accessibility of Snow Crab, both crabs are sure to satisfy seafood lovers with their delectable offerings.

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