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Dungeness crab (Cancer magister)

Dungeness crab
Dungeness crab

Scientific name for Dungeness crab

Cancer magister

Common name(s) for Dungeness crab

Dungeness, market crab, San Francisco crab

Market name

Dungeness crab

Other language names for Dungeness crab

  • French: Dormeur du Pacifique
  • German: Pazifischer Taschenkrebs
  • Italian: Granchio
  • Japanese: Danjinesukani
  • Spanish: Cangrejo Dungeness

Introduction to Dungeness crab

According to legend, the Dungeness crab gets its name from a tiny fishing hamlet on Washington’s Strait of Juan de Fuca. Additionally, it is referred to as the “San Francisco Crab,” since the species has been collected off the coast of that city since 1848. Dungeness crabs are often offered live, fresh, or frozen as complete “cooks,” pieces, or clusters, as well as single legs and selected flesh. Dungeness are found in the intertidal zone and to depths of over 1,000 feet from Santa Barbara, California, to the eastern Aleutian Islands off Alaska. Typically, the biggest producers are California, Oregon, and Washington, followed by Alaska. Commercially, only males with a minimum shell size of 6 1/4 inches are collected; market size ranges between 1 1/2 and 3 pounds. Male and female juveniles are released to the water alive to guarantee future harvests. Crabs are captured in circular steel traps called pots with a diameter of 36 to 48 inches.

Product Profile for Dungeness crab

Dungeness crab has been compared to the shellfish counterpart of an artichoke heart because it is sweet, aromatic, and semi-nutty. The meat of the crab is said to be similar to that of a Maine (American) lobster, although it is more soft. The flesh in the legs is somewhat harder than the meat in the torso. Dungeness crabs are a purplish-brown hue while alive. The shell develops a brilliant orange color when cooked. The cooked meat exhibits a translucent white color. In holding tanks, live crabs should be active. The shell color of entire cooks should be brilliant red, with no cracks at the rear and all legs intact.

Nutrition for Dungeness crab


Calories: 86
Fat Calories: 8.11
Total Fat: 0.9 g
Saturated Fat: 0.1 g
Cholesterol: 59 mg
Sodium: 295 mg
Protein: 17.4 g
Omega 3: 0.3 g

Cooking tips for Dungeness crab

Boil live 2- or 2-1/2-pound Dungeness crabs for 18 to 20 minutes before chilling in cold water. Allow to cool before serving with melted butter or a sauce. Crabs that have been cooked can be eaten hot or cold. The meat may be used in seafood stews or soups, sautés, salads and appetizers, bisques, creamed dishes, salads, and casseroles, as well as bisques, creamed dishes, salads, and casseroles.

Cooking methods for Dungeness crab

Boil , Steam

Primary Product Forms for Dungeness crab

Live

Fresh: Whole cooks, Meat

Frozen: Whole cooks, Cooked sections, Cooked meat, Blocks (meat)

Value-added: Canned meat, Pasteurized meat, Snap-’n-eats

Global Supply for Dungeness crab

Canada, United States, Iran