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Garlic butter crabs – A recipe inspired by my grandmother!

Garlic butter crab

Finger-licking garlic butter crab


Vietnamese version (bản tiếng Việt): click here!

It’s the fanciest recipe that I’ve ever made! To be honest, I like crabs a lot, but it’s not a dish that I can make everyday. I’ll be broke if I do so… I only wait until they are on sale to have some.

My garlic butter crabs would be so different than other recipes because it is prepared in an Asian style, with a unique flavor that I learned from my grandmother. I came up with this recipe when I was craving for the “sweet and salty crabs” cooked by my grandmother in Vietnam. I made a call with her to know the basic seasoning, then, combined with garlic and butter, and here it goes: the sweet and salty garlic butter crabs

Ingredients: (for 2-3 servings)

  • Snow crab legs: 1.5 lbs (About 3 crab legs)
  • Cooking oil: 1 teaspoon
  • Unsalted butter: 3 tablespoons (~ 42.5g)
  • Garlic: minimum 5 cloves (can add more if you prefer more garlic)
  • Shallot: 1 clove
  • Seasoning:
    • Salt: 1 teaspoon (for marinating)
    • Sugar: 1 teaspoon (for marinating) + 1 tablespoon
    • Fish sauce: 1 tablespoon
    • Black pepper: 1 teaspoon
    • Mushroom bouillon powder: 1/2 teaspoon
  • Hot rice (or bread) and cilantro when serving (optional)
Garlic butter crabs inspired from my grandmother’s recipe.


Total time: 45 minutes to 1 hour (depends on how long you want to marinate the crab)

And that’s it for this recipe! Hope you enjoy it as much as I do! It’s really a finger-licking recipe! Don’t forget to subscribe/follow the blog for more creative recipes!

Garlic butter crab

Garlic butter crabs – A recipe inspired by my grandmother!

One of the fanciest recipes that I’ve ever made! My garlic butter crabs would be so different than other recipes because it is prepared in an Asian style, with a unique taste that I learned from my grandmother.
Course Appetizer, Main Course
Cuisine Vietnamese
Keyword butter, crab, garlic, garlic butter crabs
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 3 servings
Calories 165kcal


  • Crab/Nut crackers


  • 1.5 lbs Snow crab legs about 3 crab legs
  • 3 tbsp Unsalted butter
  • 5 cloves Garlic can add more if you prefer more garlic
  • 1 clove Shallot
  • 1 tsp Cooking oil
  • Hot rice (or bread) when serving optional

Seasoning for marinating

  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Sugar

Seasoning for the sauce

  • 1 tbsp Sugar
  • 1 tbsp Fish sauce
  • 1 tsp Ground black pepper
  • ½ tsp Mushroom bouillon powder


  • Crack the crab shell as much as possible then marinate with 1 teaspoon each of salt and sugar in 15-30 minutes. If the crab was frozen, wait until it is completely thawed before cracking and marinating, otherwise you might hurt yourself.
  • While waiting for marinating, mince the garlic and chop the shallot. A tip to prevent “crying” when chopping shallot is that rinse the knife with water before chopping. You can rinse the knife with water again during chopping if you are about to feel burning in your eyes.
  • Add the cooking oil to a wok or a large pan/pot on medium-high heat. A purpose of using a wok or large pan/pot here is to fit all the crab and we could mix/stir them easily when seasoning was added later on.
  • Add all the garlic and shallot and stir them until fragrant.
  • Add the marinated crab legs and stir-fry well for 10-15 minutes on medium heat. By that time, the crab is fully cooked.
  • Add butter and stir the crab to coat it well with melted butter.
  • Mix sugar and fish sauce separately (in a small bowl) then add together to the cooked crab and stir-fry well for 10 minutes. Put the lid on and reduce the heat to medium-low heat, simmer for 5 minutes more. One more final stir before turning off the heat and the crab legs are ready to be served. The expected flavor would be sweet and salty, rich with garlic and buttery aroma. The sauce coated well on the crab that would make you lick every finger of yours!
  • The remaining sauce in the wok/pot/pan could be mixed with hot rice and served together with the crab (optional). This is how Vietnamese people enjoy it but we could also enjoy the crab itself (my boyfriend’s style) or with bread and the sauce is served aside.


The total cooking time can vary with how long the crab is marinated.
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