Steamed Chesapeake Blue Crab

Spring marks the arrival of Chesapeake Blue Crab season in Delmarva. Celebrate this local delicacy with family and friends, where everybody gets a little messy and has a lot of fun!

March 17, 2017


In a pot with a raised rack (minimum of 2 inches high) add equal quantities of water and vinegar to just below level of rack. Bring to a boil.

Using tongs, carefully layer live crabs, belly-side down, on the steam rack. Generously sprinkle each layer with Old Bay and salt. Cover tightly to steam for 15-30 minutes (check at 15 minutes, then regularly until the crab shells turn bright red-orange.)

Cover the table with newspaper or butcher's paper, and serve crabs with bowls of butter and/or white vinegar for dipping the meat and cold beer as the perfect accompaniment (see page 12 for local spring favorites.)

Add corn on the cob, cole slaw, fried chicken, and Smith Island Cake for a true Chesapeake spring feast!

About this recipe

Recipe adapted from Old Bay, McCormick & Company, Incorporated.


  • Beer (or water will do)
  • Vinegar (apple cider or white)
  • 1 dozen live blue crabs (choose male crabs, called jimmies, for the most meat)
  • ½ cup Old Bay® Seasoning
  • ¼ cup Kosher, rock or coarse salt
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