Are Costco King Crab Legs Worth Buying?

Getting Costco’s king crab legs is one of the most expensive culinary delights, as king crab legs are one of those otherworldly favors you can do yourself and your loved ones. But, without fearing ruining them, grilling them successfully is another win.

Yeah, Costco’s king crab legs and grilling make a fantastic combo.

But you must know why these beautiful, delicious king crab legs are worth grilling and how you can grill them.

How can you learn that?

This article will do the favor.

In this ultimate guide to grilling Costco’s red king crab legs, we’ll share expert tips with you.

Here we come.

Costco King Crab Legs: How Good Are They?

Before appreciating the king crab legs available at Costco, it’s essential to clear up a few things about Costco king crab legs:

A Few Facts about Costco’s King Crab Legs

  • Yes, Costco sells king crab legs at about 40% cheaper prices.
  • King crab legs sold at Costco are from wild-caught crabs.
  • Costco sells its Kirkland Signature king crab legs at Costco physical stores–they’re a bit challenging to find online.
  • You can also get King crab legs from Northwest Fish Southern Red King Crab legs; and Alaskan Gloden king crab legs. But these king crab legs have mixed reviews. Most customers who ordered them online weren’t happy due to faulty transportation, i.e., packaging.
  • These red king crab legs are not from Alaskan king crabs.
  • Buying at Costco’s physical stores is better than online. Even if you want to get king crab legs at Costco online, please don’t do this in summer. Otherwise, you might complain about the packaging and, hence, about the quality.
  • Kirkland Signature’s King Crab legs are better than Northwest Fish Southern Red King Crab Legs and Claws available at Costco online.

I hope by now you know more about Costco’s king crab legs.

Why not move further?

So why are Costco King Crab Legs worth buying?

  • First, it’s the price—shhh…I won’t say that it’s quality; that’s obvious! As a warehouse club, Costco offers bulk quantities of king crab legs at competitive prices. These are about 40-45% cheaper than any store across the USA. Even if you want to get them in small quantities, it’s best to go with Kirkland’s Signature King Crab legs.
  • Second comes the quality and size. If you want large, meaty king crab legs, Costco stores must be your go-to place. Their generous, meaty portions are worth appreciating. They’re incredibly fantastic when you want to grill them because grilling thin meat gets you nothing except charred ends.
  • Third, it’s the taste–Being wild-caught, the king crab legs at Costco have better taste and texture than farmed crab. These crab legs have a sweet, succulent flavor and tender meat.
  • In stores, the packaging is also excellent. The king crab legs are usually pre-cooked and flash-frozen. It ensures freshness and makes it convenient to prepare at home. 

A few cons

However, aside from some facts I’ve shared about king crab legs at Costco, you might face a few more challenges.

  1. Costco’s stock of king crab legs may vary depending on location and season. So, you might not find them available at your local Costco–beware not to buy them online.
  2. Although Costco typically sources wild-caught king crab legs, if you prioritize sustainability, they can disappoint you. Preferably, you should verify the sourcing and look for certifications such as the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) to check the producer’s responsibility towards fishing practices.
  3. If you’ve already tasted fresh king crab legs, you might not like the taste of frozen ones.

In short, the experience of buying king crab legs at Costco can be memorable for you, but please avoid getting them online. Also, remember these crab leg suppliers have no certification of sustainability. We hope they get it in the future. 

Why is Grilling the Best Way to Cook Costco King Crab Legs?  

You can cook king crab legs in several ways. Yet, grilling can prove to be the best way to enjoy the delicious king crab legs. Here are a few reasons:

Flavor enhancement

Grilling imparts a unique smoky flavor to the crab legs that you don’t get with other cooking methods. The high heat also caramelizes the natural sugars in the crab meat. It enhances its natural sweetness and creates a delicious contrast with the smoky flavor.

Besides this, the leg shells are also rich in flavors. This flavor is directly released into the meat when you allow the carb legs to kiss flames.

Even cooking

The grill’s direct heat ensures that the crab legs are cooked evenly from all sides. The exposed meat is also cooked quickly, producing a tender and juicy texture.

Infusion of seasonings

Grilling allows you to baste the crab legs with melted butter or other seasonings during cooking. Add the seasonings directly to the exposed meat of crab legs.

Unlike other processes like steaming, grilling allows you to infuse the additional flavors into the meat as much as you want. This enhances the overall taste and aroma of the dish.

More aesthetic appeal

Grilling gives the crab legs an appetizing, slightly charred appearance that adds to their visual appeal. The bright orange-red color of the cooked shells also adds to the presentation.

Fun-filled cooking experience

Grilling king crab legs is a great way to enjoy outdoor and indoor cooking and dining–it’s a fun and interactive cooking method. 


Since the king crab legs are already cooked, you can also grill them on K-BBQ grills indoors or arrange fun cooking in your backyard.

Hence, you can enjoy it with your friends and family–it becomes a memorable dining experience.

However, ultimately, the “best” way to cook king crab legs depends on your personal taste and the experience you’re looking to create.

What Part of the King Crab Legs Should You Grill?

When grilling king crab legs, you’ll want to focus on the largest, meaty sections of the legs. These are typically found in the following parts:


The merus is the largest segment of the crab leg, ideal for grilling.

It’s located closest to the body of the crab. It has the most meat and is the most prized part of the leg. The thick, tender meat from this section is ideal for grilling.

However, the grilled portion from this part is less aesthetically pleasing. Another reason is that you can’t add much seasoning to it if you love basting the seasoning repeatedly during grilling.


The carpus is the middle segment of the leg and has a good amount of meat. The meat in this section is still quite tender and flavorful. You can also grill it if your king crab legs are extra large. So, overall, it’s also suitable for grilling.


The propodus is the third segment of the leg, and while it has less meat than the merus and carpus, it can still be grilled if you love exploring the meaty shells in leisure. But you can cut the shell to expose meat for infusing the seasonings during grilling.


The dactylus is the last and smallest segment of the leg, also known as the “foot” or “tip.” It has little meat and can be challenging to grill because of its size. 

It’s generally not the focus when grilling king crab legs, but if you’d like, you can still cook and serve it alongside the other sections only to keep it aesthetically appealing.

To put it simply, the merus is the preferable part to grill. You can cook other parts using some other cooking methods. 

How to Cut and Prepare Costco Red King Crab Legs for Grilling?

You can’t simply thaw and grill the king crab legs. Before resting them on grill grates, you must prepare them so that they pick the seasonings quickly.

You can prepare and cut the king crab legs by following these steps:

Thaw the crab legs

If you’re working with frozen crab legs, make sure to thaw them thoroughly in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours or overnight. 

If you don’t have enough time, you can put them under cold running water for 30-60 minutes. Please avoid putting them in cold water in a pot; it won’t be helpful.

Also, remember that using a microwave is not a good idea because it’ll treat the crabs like it does to your food. Uneven thawing will result in disgusting cooking–would you love to ruin the precious meat?

Rinse and pat dry.

Whether or not the crab legs are already cleaned, rinse them under cold running water. It’ll get you shiny, clean crab legs by removing any debris or residue.

Then, pat them dry with paper towels.

Cut with kitchen shears and expose the meat.

No… please don’t hold your knife–the best tool for cutting king crab legs is a pair of sturdy kitchen shears. With the help of kitchen shears, you can cut through the tough shell without damaging the delicate meat inside. Here is how to do it properly.

  • Hold the crab leg firmly with one hand, and with the other hand, use the kitchen shears to cut along the length of the shell. 
  • Start from the thicker end and work your way toward the thinner end. Please follow the natural curve of the leg. Be careful not to cut too deep; you don’t want to slice through the meat. Your only aim is to expose the meat so that you can brush the drip seasoning on them.
  • Once you’ve made a lengthwise cut along the shell, gently pry the shell open to expose the crab meat. Use your fingers or a small knife to carefully separate the shell from the meat. It’ll make it easier to season the meat and ensure it’s evenly cooked.
  • Inspect the exposed crab meat for any cartilage or membrane that may be present. If you find any, carefully remove it with your fingers or a small knife.

Once the king crab legs are correctly cut and prepared, they can be seasoned and grilled according to your preferred recipe.

How Should You Grill Costco King Crab Legs?

Grilling king crab legs is a fantastic way to enjoy their rich, succulent flavor. Here are some tips to help you achieve the best results

Get the ingredients.

  • King crab legs, preferably the merus part
  •  Salted butter
  • Seasonings like garlic, ginger, and herbs (optional)

Preheat the grill.

Preheat your grill to medium-high heat (about 350-400°F or 175-200°C). And if you’re using a charcoal grill, let the coals turn white before starting.

Put the crab legs on the grill.

Start by arranging the crab legs on direct heat and cooking them for a few minutes.

Season the crab legs.

Brush the exposed crab meat with butter or olive oil. You can also melt the butter to season your crab legs using a brush–it’ll be more convenient. 

You can also add a few seasonings of your choice to the butter, like garlic, lemon juice, parsley, salt, and pepper. But please don’t overdo it. Go with only 1-2 seasonings you like–in this way, you’ll enjoy the crab meat’s natural flavors more. Keep adding the seasoning while grilling.

Cook them for about 5-7 minutes. Then flip and cook them for an additional 5-7 minutes. The shells should turn bright orange-red, and the meat should be opaque and heated through.

Keep the crab legs upside.

Yeah, keeping the naked meat side up is important so that the crab legs don’t stick to the grill.

Check for Doneness

Use an instant meat thermometer to ensure the crab meat has reached an internal temperature of at least 165°F (63°C). They’re already cooked, so why look for the optimum internal temperature?

It’ll ensure they’re safe to eat, for you don’t know if the company has cooked them properly. You’re also unaware whether they haven’t been contaminated if not stored or packaged properly.

Serve immediately

Now it’s time to serve the tasty grilling Costco King Crab Legs. You can serve them with any condiments. Yet, the best way is to enjoy them with simple condiments.


What condiments go best with king crab legs?

King crab legs are not complicated to overload with sauces. They have their unique sweet flavor. However, you can pair them with a few simple options.

  • Soft butter can add a lot of magic to the rich flavor of crab meat without overpowering it. You can use unsalted, salted, or clarified butter, depending on your preference. 
  • With its garlicky flavor, Aioli is an excellent choice for enhancing the taste of the meaty bites from king crab legs. 
  • Another flavorful sauce to serve with grilled king crab is lemon-dill mayo. The tanginess of the lemon and the freshness of the dill complement the sweetness of the crab meat. 

You can prepare it by mixing 1 cup mayonnaise, 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, 1 teaspoon lemon zest, 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh dill, and salt together. To infuse all flavors, rest the sauce for 30 minutes before serving it. 

Are Costco king crab legs cooked?

The king crab legs sold at Costco and most other stores are typically pre-cooked. Afterward, they’re flash-frozen prior to packaging. It helps maintain their freshness, flavor, and texture in transit and storage. Grilling, steaming, boiling, or baking are all methods you can use to reheat and enhance the flavor of pre-cooked king crab legs.

Are Costco king crab legs wild or farmed?

Costco king crab legs are typically sourced from wild-caught king crabs, not farmed. King crabs are usually caught in the cold waters of the Bering Sea and the North Pacific Ocean, particularly near Alaska and Russia. Wild king crabs have a natural diet and live in their native habitat, contributing to their superior taste and texture. 

Can I pan-fry Costco King Crab Legs?

Yes, of course! Pan frying is the most convenient and quick way to cook king crab legs. You can follow all the instructions for grilling king crab legs. The only thing you’ve got to do is, use a skillet/pan over the stove to cook them.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, Costco king crab legs offer a fantastic opportunity for seafood lovers to enjoy the mouthwatering taste of premium quality king crab without breaking the bank.

These succulent crab legs provide you with an unforgettable dining experience to keep you coming back for more. 

So, why not gather your friends and family for a fun, interactive feast? Grill or pan-fry those delectable Costco king crab legs and serve them with a scrumptious sauce like lemon-dill mayo. 

Bon appétit!

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Cashmere Muhammad
Cashmere Muhammad

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