Why Are Crab Legs So Expensive? Tips for Saving Money


Crab legs are a delicacy that often comes with a hefty price tag. When you enter a restaurant and see them on the menu, you may wonder why they cost so much. In this blog, we’ll explore the reasons why crab legs might be more expensive than other seafood dishes, so you can make an informed decision when deciding what to order.

Crab legs are expensive because they are a delicacy and can be difficult to catch, harvest, and prepare. They are also in high demand, which drives up their price. Additionally, crab legs must often be imported from distant waters, which adds to the cost. Finally, the labor-intensive process of cleaning and preparing the legs can add to the final price.

Reasons why crab legs are so expensive

Limited Availability & High Demand

Limited availability is a primary factor that makes crab legs so expensive. Crab legs come from crab species found in specific geographical regions, which limits the number of people who can harvest them. As a result, the supply of crab legs is much lower than the demand for them. It also means that crabbers have to work harder and longer to get the same number of crab legs, which drives up costs.

High demand is another factor that contributes to the expense of crab legs. Because they are considered a delicacy, they are in high demand worldwide. People flock to seafood restaurants to get their hands on crab legs, and they are willing to pay a premium to get them. This high demand helps drive up prices and keeps them expensive.

The combination of limited availability and high demand makes crab legs so expensive. As long as these factors remain, crab legs will stay costly. However, if their demand begins to decline, the prices could drop. Until then, you can expect to pay a premium for delicious crab legs.

Process of harvesting

Crab legs are typically harvested by trawling, which is when a large fishing net is dragged along the ocean floor in search of crabs. This method can be incredibly labor-intensive and time-consuming, taking hours to retrieve just a few pounds of crab legs. Additionally, the nets used can cause great damage to the ocean floor and sea life, making it an environmentally unfriendly practice.

In addition to the labor-intensive harvesting process, crab legs can also be difficult to find in the wild. While there are plenty of wild crabs in the ocean, they are generally not large enough to provide the meaty legs most people want. This means fishermen must look for specific, large crabs typically found in deeper waters. The catch is that the deeper the water, the more expensive it is to fish, and the higher the price of the crab legs.

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Combining the harvesting process and the difficulty of finding the right-sized crabs makes crab legs an expensive delicacy. As more people become aware of the environmental costs of trawling, and the difficulty of finding large crabs, prices may continue to rise.

Processing Required

The process of harvesting and preparing crab legs starts with the fisherman catching the crabs in the wild, usually with a net or a crab pot. Once caught, the crabs are sorted and cleaned before being cooked and packaged for shipment. The crab legs are cut and cleaned before being frozen and shipped to various retailers or seafood restaurants.

When the crab legs arrive at the retailer, they are thawed and inspected before being placed on the store shelves. This process includes inspecting the shells, tails, and claws for any signs of damage or spoilage. This is important because any damage to the shells can mean that the crab meat inside is not edible.

Once the crab legs have been inspected and passed, they are packaged for sale. This process requires special packing materials and packaging tools to ensure that the crab legs arrive in the best condition possible. This process can also be labor-intensive since the packages must be carefully sealed and labeled to ensure that the crab legs stay fresh and tasty.

As you can see, many steps are involved in getting crab legs to your plate. All of this processing is what makes crab legs so expensive. By understanding the process involved in harvesting and preparing crab legs, you can better appreciate why they are so costly.


Most crab species are only available during certain times of the year, and when they are available, they can be expensive. Even if the species is plentiful, the demand for crab legs can spike around the holidays and during special occasions, leading to higher prices than usual.

Crab legs are typically harvested in the colder months, when the crabs are in their molting period, meaning they shed their hard shells and grow new ones. This molting process makes harvesting easier, but it also means that the crabs are only available during that time frame. This is why crab legs are more expensive during the colder months.


Crab harvesting is a regulated industry that requires strict adherence to rules and regulations. This includes governing the size of the crab that can be taken, the locations where they can be taken, and the time of year when they can be taken. All these regulations are in place to ensure the crab population’s sustainability and protect the environment.

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The regulations regarding crab harvesting also dictate the prices of crab. Depending on the region, the rules may vary, but generally speaking, the more stringent the regulations, the higher the cost of crab. This is because the more expensive the regulations, the more costly the products.

Environmental Factors

Crab legs are especially susceptible to environmental changes, such as temperature fluctuations and changes in salinity levels. Studies have shown that temperature increases can lead to a decrease in the body weight of crabs, which can affect their marketability. Additionally, changes in salinity, either from natural causes or human-induced factors, can also lead to a decrease in size and weight.

These environmental factors can also lead to a decrease in the availability of crabs in certain areas. For instance, crabs may migrate away from the area if the water temperature rises too much in a room, and the population may decrease. This can cause prices for crab legs to increase, as there is less supply, and the demand remains the same.

Additionally, overfishing is a major issue that can cause crab legs to be expensive. As the population of crabs in an area decreases, so does the availability of crab legs. This can create a shortage and ultimately cause the prices to increase.

Tips for Saving Money on Crab Legs

There are several ways to save money on crab legs without sacrificing quality or taste. Below are some tips to help you get the best deals on crab legs:

1. Buy in Bulk

Buying crab legs in bulk is one way to save money. You can often get a discount when purchasing more crab legs. This is especially true if you buy from a wholesale seafood supplier or a grocery store offering bulk discounts.

2. Look for Sales and Promotions

Watch for sales and promotions at your local grocery store or seafood market. Many stores offer discounts on seafood during certain times of the year or as part of weekly specials. You can also sign up for email newsletters or follow stores on social media to stay updated on the latest deals.

3. Buy Frozen Crab Legs

Frozen crab legs are a great option for those looking to save money. They are often less expensive than fresh crab legs and can be stored in the freezer for later use. Frozen crab legs can be just as tasty as fresh crab legs, especially if they are cooked and seasoned properly.

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4. Purchase Crab Legs Online

Another way to save money on crab legs is to purchase them online. Online seafood suppliers often offer competitive prices and can deliver the crab legs right to your doorstep. You can also compare prices and quality from different suppliers to get the best deal.

What is so good about crab legs?

First and foremost, crab legs are a great source of protein. Protein is essential for building and maintaining muscle mass, and crab legs are an excellent source. Just one serving of crab legs will provide up to 25 grams of protein! This makes crab legs a great choice for those looking to build muscle and maintain a healthy weight.

Not only are crab legs packed with protein, but they are also a great source of omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids are important for maintaining overall health, as they can reduce the risk of chronic conditions such as heart disease and stroke. Additionally, the omega-3 fatty acids found in crab legs can help reduce inflammation in the body, which can help reduce the risk of various chronic diseases.

Crab legs are also a great source of vitamin B12 and selenium. Vitamin B12 is important for maintaining healthy nerve and blood cells, while selenium helps to increase the body’s antioxidant defenses. These two essential nutrients play an important role in keeping your body healthy, and crab legs can provide an excellent source of both.

Crab legs are a delicious and nutritious seafood option that can make a great addition to any meal. Not only are they packed with protein and essential nutrients, but they also taste great! Whether you’re looking to build muscle or maintain overall health, crab legs are a fantastic choice. So, give crab legs a try next time you’re looking for a seafood option.


Overall, crab legs are an expensive delicacy that can be enjoyed as part of a special occasion or dinner. While the cost of crab legs may seem high, the quality and flavor of the meat is worth the price. The harvesting and preparation of crab legs also add to the cost, as the process can be time consuming and costly. Therefore, the high price of crab legs is not without its reasons.

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Ethan Smith is a seasoned marine veteran, professional blogger, witty and edgy writer, and an avid hunter. He spent a great deal of his childhood years around the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest in Arizona. Watching active hunters practise their craft initiated him into the world of hunting and rubrics of outdoor life. He also honed his writing skills by sharing his outdoor experiences with fellow schoolmates through their high school’s magazine. Further along the way, the US Marine Corps got wind of his excellent combination of skills and sought to put them into good use by employing him as a combat correspondent. He now shares his income from this prestigious job with his wife and one kid. Read more >>