Food & Cooking Recipes Ingredients Seafood Recipes Pan-Fried Soft-Shell Crabs Be the first to rate & review! Savor summer with this easy soft-shell crab recipe. By Martha Stewart Test Kitchen Martha Stewart Test Kitchen The recipes developed by our test kitchen team have undergone a rigorous process of development and testing, ensuring that every element is optimal, from ingredient amounts to method and cooking time. This process includes triple-testing recipes to ensure they meet our high standards. The many stellar cooks and food editors who have been part of our team include Sarah Carey, Lucinda Scala Quinn, Jennifer Aaronson, Shira Bocar, Anna Kovel, Greg Lofts, Riley Wofford, Lauren Tyrell, and Lindsay Leopold. Editorial Guidelines Updated on June 5, 2023 Print Rate It Share Share Tweet Pin Email Servings: 6 No summer seafood feast is complete without a soft-shell crab recipe. This pan-fried version is particularly easy, as it involves nothing more than dredging the crabs in flour and cooking them in butter. Once fried to crispy perfection, the crabs are garnished with fresh parsley and tangy lemon. Since the season for soft-shell crabs is short—usually ranging from late spring to early summer—it’s worth enjoying them while you can. Try this crab recipe with salad, coleslaw, or grilled corn at your next summer gathering. For a tasty sandwich, serve fried soft-shell crabs in buttery brioche buns with lettuce, tomato, and tartar sauce. How to Cook, Clean, and Eat a Crab the Right Way, According to Experts What Are Soft-Shell Crabs? Soft-shell crabs aren't a different species from regular edible crabs. They're simply crabs that have molted, or shed, their hard shell. They're caught right after molting. Ingredients 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour 2 teaspoons coarse salt 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper 12 soft-shell crabs, cleaned 12 tablespoons vegetable oil 6 tablespoons unsalted butter ¼ cup loosely packed fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped 3 lemons, cut in half Directions Combine flour, salt, and pepper: Whisk flour, salt, and pepper together. Place on a dinner plate. Coat soft-shell crabs in flour mixture: Dredge 2 soft-shell crabs in flour mixture, shaking off excess (make sure crabs are completely coated). Cook crabs: Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a medium sauté pan over medium-high heat. The oil should be very hot but not smoking. Place flour-coated crabs, back side down, in sauté pan; reduce heat to medium if pan starts to smoke. Sauté crabs until golden and crisp, about 3 minutes (do not stand too close to pan; crabs tend to spatter during cooking). Turn crabs over, and cook 2 minutes more. Add butter, parsley, and lemon: Add 1 tablespoon butter and a large pinch of parsley to skillet. Squeeze the juice of half a lemon over crabs. Keep warm in a low oven. Repeat process until all the crabs are cooked. Frequently Asked Questions Do soft-shell crabs taste like hard-shell crabs? Generally, soft-shell crabs taste briny and buttery, just like hard-shell crabs. The main difference is the texture of the meat, as soft-shell crabs tend to be more juicy and tender—almost creamy. They also have a slight crunch from the shell, which adds a satisfying contrast to the meat. Can you eat the whole soft-shell crab? Yes. Soft-shell crabs need to be cleaned before cooking; this process removes some body parts, including the gills and mouth. Once the crab is cooked, every part can be eaten. Try These Other Crab Recipes: Crispy Soft Shelled Crabs with Bean Salad Grilled Soft-Shell Crab, Corn, and Asparagus with Arugula Pesto Soft-Shell Crabs with Sliced Sweet Onion Hot Crab Dip Chive Crab Cakes Rate it Print Updated by Kirsten Nunez Kirsten Nunez Kirsten is a freelance writer for MarthaStewart.com.