Maryland Crabs: A Guide to the East Coast’s Essential Summer Feast

Eating Steamed Hardshells

What’s Special About Maryland Crabs?

SteamedMaryland crabs are a special treat, and there are so many reasons why. First, Maryland has some of the best crabmeat in the world, thanks to its unique coastal environment.

The waters here are colder and more nutrient-rich, which helps to give Maryland crabmeat a delicious flavor.

Second, Maryland has a long history of seafood harvesting and crabbing. This tradition stems all the way back to colonial times when Marylanders relied on crabbing as a key source of food and revenue.

Today, Maryland is still one of the top states for commercial crabbing, with thousands of people involved in this historic industry. So if you’re looking for fresh and delicious crabs, there’s no better place than Maryland!


Male CrabsBlue Crabs are one of the most iconic delicacies of the state, and they are prized by locals and tourists alike. Whether you are looking for steamed crabs or delicious crab cakes, Maryland has some of the best crabs in the country.

At first glance, crabs can seem a bit intimidating to cook. After all, these crustaceans have hard exoskeletons and sharp pincers that make them seem quite formidable. However, with a little bit of know-how, you can easily cook these creatures at home.

What Happens When You Eat Crabs?

Picking CrabsWhether you enjoy your crab straight from the steamer or topped with a dab of butter and a squeeze of lemon, every bite will satisfy your taste buds and leave you craving more.

And while many people think of crabs as just being a tasty indulgence, they are actually quite good for you as well. Blue Crab meat is high in protein and beneficial vitamins and minerals, making it the perfect food for staying energized throughout the day.

Why Is Maryland Crab Famous?

Crab CakeMaryland blue crabs are a Maryland tradition dating back to the early 1800s when crabbing first began in the Chesapeake Bay.

Maryland blue crabs have sweet, tender meat and are a staple of Maryland cuisine. Every summer, Marylanders flock to crab houses and seafood restaurants to enjoy steamed crabs fresh from the Chesapeake Bay. Maryland blue crabs are also a popular ingredient in crab soup, crabcakes, crab dip, and other seafood dishes.

Steamed Crabs

Crab Cooking ContestIf you are new to cooking crabs, start with a basic steamed recipe. All you need is some newspaper, water, salt, and a pot with a steamer rack large enough to hold your crabs.

First, fill up your pot with water to just below your steamer rack and bring it to a boil over high heat. Carefully add your live crabs, Old Bay Seasoning, and cover the pot with its lid.

Let them steam for 18 minutes or until bright red all over. Serve them hot with some warm melted butter for dipping!

What Are Soft Shell Crabs?

What exactly is a soft shell crab?

Soft shell crabs are simply regular crabs that have molted, or shed their old shell. This process is part of the crab’s lifecycle – as they grow, they periodically shed their old shell and grow a new one.

The new shell is not fully hard when first grown, which is why soft shell crabs are a delicacy.

Maryland Crab Soup

Maryland crab soup is a deliciously tasty and iconic dish that has been beloved by Marylanders for generations. This delicious and warming soup has succulent crabs, fresh vegetables, and seasoning that perfectly complements the natural flavor of the crabmeat.

To make the soup, you will need fresh crabs, onions, celery, carrots, potatoes, salt and pepper, and other spices as desired. Begin by heating up some oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add your chopped vegetables to the pot, along with a few cups of water or chicken stock. Simmer the vegetables until they are tender, then add your crabs to the pot and simmer for another 15 minutes or so. Finally, season the soup with salt and pepper to taste and enjoy!

Where Should I Get a Traditional Crab Feast?

Somerset CountyFor a classic Maryland experience, nothing beats indulging in a Maryland-style crab boil. This hearty meal is traditionally enjoyed outdoors, with large pots of steaming crabs on tables covered with layers of newspaper.

You can also enjoy Maryland crabs in more upscale settings, such as fine seafood restaurants or local oyster bars.

No matter where you decide to feast on crabs, you are sure to have an authentic and memorable experience that will transport you straight to the Chesapeake Bay.

What Type of Animal Is a Crab?

State CrustaceanCrabs are a fascinating species of animal, known for their uniquely crabby behavior and appearance. This type of animal is in the class of invertebrates, meaning that it does not have a backbone or internal skeleton. Although there are many different types of crabs, they all share some common characteristics, including thick exoskeletons, pincers, and ten legs that are used primarily for movement.

At first glance, crabs may appear to be rather simple creatures, but in fact, they exhibit some very complex behaviors. They have highly developed sensory organs that allow them to sense and respond to changes in their environment. And perhaps even more impressively, their brains possess a type of memory known as “long-term sensitization.” This makes the crab’s brain ideal for scientific research and has led to many advances in neuroscience.

What Are the 3 Types of Crabs Used for Cooking?

Crab Picking ContestThere are three main types of crab used for cooking: Blue Crab, Dungeness Crab, and Stone Crab.

Blue crabs are the most popular type of crab in Maryland and can be found in the Chesapeake Bay. They’re small but pack a flavorful punch!

Dungeness crab is native to the west coast. They’re larger than blue crabs and have a sweeter, more delicate flavor.

Stone crab is found in Florida. They have large claws that are full of meat and are typically served with melted butter or mayonnaise.

Blue Crabs

Commercial CrabbersBlue crabs are a popular delicacy in the state of Maryland, known for their delicious flavor and rich history. This variety has a signature blue coloring, which comes from the carapace covering their bodies and pincers.

To prepare blue crabs for consumption, you first need to remove the crabmeat from its shell. There are several methods for doing this after steaming, ranging from simple cracking techniques to more advanced picking methods. In any case, though, the end result is always deliciously tender crab meat that is perfect for savoring on its own or adding to seafood dishes like crab cakes and bisque.

With its sweet flavor and versatility in recipes, it’s no wonder that blue crab has been a favorite seafood choice among generations of Maryland residents and visitors alike. Whether you enjoy eating them whole as a meal in a traditional crab feast or using them to infuse your culinary creations with a touch of coastal charm, one thing is certain: there’s nothing quite like biting into the sweet meat of a fresh blue crab!


Crab DipThe crab is a classic symbol of Maryland, and seafood lovers flock to our beautiful waterfront cities each summer to enjoy fresh-off-the-boat crab straight from the Chesapeake. The most beloved crab of all is undoubtedly the blue crab, whose firm and sweet meat is highly coveted by crab connoisseurs.

The blue crab’s scientific name is Callinectes Sapidus. It means ‘savory beautiful swimmer’.

Not only does this delicious crustacean have a rich flavor, but it also has fascinating anatomy that makes it one of the most unique creatures in the sea. In addition to its signature blue shell, this beloved crab boasts a surprisingly complex internal system, which includes tomalley and roe. Cooks and health nuts alike prize these nutritious components, as they boast powerful nutrients like Omega 3 fatty acids and B vitamins.

Is Maryland Known for Crabs?

Crab ImperialKnown all over the country for its delicious crab dishes such as steamed crabs, crabbing is a popular pastime in the state.

The blue crab is one of the most well-known species found in Maryland waters, and crab season runs from early spring to late fall. If you are looking for a great crab recipe to try, there are plenty of amazing options out there, from classic crab cakes to crab bisque and more.

What Crabs Live in Maryland?

Soft CrabsThe state is home to the blue crab, which is a favorite among crab lovers.

Maryland crab season usually runs from April through November, so if you’re planning a crabbing trip, make sure to check the schedules.

In addition to the blue crab, you’ll also find crab species such as the fiddler crab, hermit crab, and marsh crab in Maryland waters.

Maryland Blue Crab

Crab PotsThere’s something special about crabbing in Maryland. Maybe it’s the fact that the crab is such an iconic part of our state’s history and culture. Or maybe it’s because crabbing is just plain fun.

Whatever the reason, crabbing is a beloved pastime in Maryland, and there’s no better place to enjoy it than on the beautiful Chesapeake Bay or in the back bays near Ocean City.

What Time of Year Is Best for Crabbing?

Mature FemalesIf you’ve never crabbed before, don’t worry – it’s easy to learn. All you need is a hand line and net, or a crab trap, some bait, and a little patience.

The best MD crabbing season is during the summer months when the blue crabs are plentiful. Once you’ve caught your crabs, you can steam them, grill them, or even use them in a delicious crab cake recipe.

Where Is the Best Place to Crab in Maryland?

Chesapeake BeachThe Chesapeake Bay is home to the famed blue crab, and crabbers can find excellent crabbing spots all along the Bay’s shoreline.

In Baltimore, Canton Waterfront Park and Fort McHenry are both great places to crab. Or, head down to the Eastern Shore and try your hand at crabbing in Kent Narrows or Tilghman Island.

Assawoman Bay and Isle of Wight Bay, and their tributaries, near Ocean City also have great crabbing. The waters around Assateague Island are teaming with crabs. Wherever you go crabbing in Maryland, be sure to bring a crab net and some bait (raw chicken or bunker fish). And don’t forget a cooler to store your catch in! Happy crabbing!

Do You Need a License to Crab in Maryland?

Maryland DepartmentIf you’re looking to crab in Maryland, the good news is that you don’t need a license if you’re using a handling or dip net! Whether you want to crab from the shore or from a boat, anyone can crab in Maryland waters.

However, you do need a license if you use crab traps, net rings, or trotlines.

What Is Blue Crab Season in Maryland?

Jumbo LumpGenerally speaking, crab season runs from April through November.

However, the best time to catch crabs is from late May through early September.

During this time, the crab population is at its peak and the weather is perfect for steaming and eating crabs outdoors.