Blue crab

Blue Crabs in an Instant Pot

You don’t need to spend a ton of time and lots of big bulky equipment in order to cook blue crabs. Grab your Instant Pot and get ready for the quickest and easiest way to cook blue crabs.

The best way to get blue crabs is to catch them

Russ setting his pot for crabbing

Guarantee the freshest crabs by catching them yourself! Read our Crabbing on the Gulf Coast post to find out how. But if that is not an option, check your local seafood section at the grocery or order online.

Use live blue crabs

According to Science Focus, blue crabs have a harmful bacteria that multiplies and releases toxins very quickly as soon as the crab dies. Cooking does not always eliminate the toxin so it is recommended to boil or steam live crabs.

The most important thing about cooking blue crab to note is that you cannot cook crabs that are dead; as soon as they die they start to rot and become toxic.

Cameron’s Seafood
Blue Crabs
Blue Crabs

TIP: Placing the crabs on ice for a short time before cooking slows them down and makes them easier to handle.

Prepping the pot for the crabs

For this recipe, we used our 6 qt Instant Pot. Place the trivet on the bottom of the pot and pour in one can of your preferred beer. Then add about a half a cup of vinegar (this helps the meat come out of the shell easier). Cut up an onion and a lemon into large chunks and toss in the pot.

Add the crabs and lots of Old Bay Seasoning

Preferably with tongs, grab the crabs and place them in the pot. As you place each one in the pot, liberally sprinkle Old Bay Seasoning on the crab. For this size Instant Pot, we can easily fit 8 crabs.

Place the cover on your InstantPot and set it on manual pressure for 5 minutes. When it is finished, do a quick release of the pressure.

Properly cooked crabs will have a bright red shell

Remove the cover of your Instant Pot and the crabs are ready for you to enjoy! A properly cooked crab will have its shell turn from the green/blue colors to a bright orange/red hue.

Cooked Blue Crabs

Not sure how to extract all that delicious crab meat? Watch this video with Chef Mark Smolen:

Blue Crabs Gulf Coast

Instant Pot Blue Crabs

The quickest and easiest way to enjoy blue crabs!
Course Appetizer, Dinner, Side Dish
Cuisine seafood
Servings 2 people


  • Instant Pot


  • 1 can any type of beer
  • 1 onion quartered
  • ½ cup vinegar
  • 1 lemon quartered
  • cup Old Bay Seasoning
  • 8 live blue crabs

Garlic Butter for dipping

  • 1 stick butter melted
  • 6 cloves garlic


  • Place trivet in Instant Pot and pour beer and vinegar into pot.
  • Cut onion and lemon into quarters and place in pot
  • Place crabs into pot one at a time, covering each crab with a generous amount of Old Bay Seasoning
  • Place cover on Instant Pot and set Manual for 5 minutes
  • Once the cycle is complete, use quick release method to vent steam.
  • After steam has stopped, open cover and remove crabs.

Preparation for garlic butter

  • Place stick of butter and peeled garlic bulbs into sauce pan.
  • Cook on medium-low heat for 7-10 minutes. Keep warm until ready to use with crab meat.
Keyword Easy, Instant Pot

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