Wondering what goes with stone crabs?
From classic mustard sauce to Cuban tostones, there are so many delicious side dishes to make your meal one to remember!
About Stone Crabs
Florida stands as the primary supplier of stone crabs in the United States. Whether it's the Florida Keys, where I call home, the southwestern region, or the Gulf Coast, these delectable stone crabs are a well-known culinary treasure in the state.
During the stone crab season, which spans from mid-October through May, these delectable crustaceans are at their peak freshness and flavor.
Stone crab meat is flaky, white, and sweet.
The claws are cooked immediately after harvesting them so when you buy them there is very little work to do.
Fresh stone crabs are on the pricy side, but one taste, and you'll see why people travel to Florida just to have a bite of the sweet and succulent dish that is famous worldwide. The first time you eat the sweet-salty crab meat, you'll be blown away by its distinct sweet flavor.
Joe's Stone Crab in Miami is a well-known stone crab restaurant that offers an upscale dining experience with higher prices. Down here in Key Largo, we're a lot more relaxed and you can get stone crabs at most of our restaurants, usually without a white tablecloth.
How Many Crabs Per Person?
Like shrimp, stone crab claws vary by size. Plan on purchasing one pound per person.
- Medium, 6 to 8 per pound
- Large, 4 to 5 per pound
- Jumbo, 3 per pound
- Colossal, 1 per pound
There could be a $60.00 per pound difference in price between Medium and Collasal, which makes the large claws much more attractive to many people (like me!)
How To Crack The Claws
Stone crabs have very hard shells so we have this manual "cracker" that makes cracking the shells a breeze.
You should make sure all three knuckles are gently cracked to easily access the meat.
Of course, you can always use a nutcracker or lobster cracker. A wooden mallet might be available or gifted to you when you purchase your crabs.
If you don't have a cracker, a mallet, or a nutcracker place the crabs on a solid surface, cover them with a few sheets of plastic wrap so you can see them, and one by one, crack the knuckles with a hammer.
If you have a lot of fresh stone crab claws in your future, the right cracking apparatus is worth the investment. You can pick up a stone crab cracker (affiliate link) on Amazon.
What To Serve with Stone Crabs?
When serving stone crabs, it's important to complement them with classic side dishes.
Here are some popular options for the best side dish to serve with stone crabs:
- Mustard dipping sauce, of course. The classic side for stone crabs is Creamy Mustard Sauce. Made with mayonnaise, Worcestershire sauce, and Dijon mustard, the tangy mustard sauce has just the right flavor. Mustard sauce is sold or served everywhere you get stone crabs.
- Melted butter
- Cocktail Sauce is good for people who don't like mayonnaise.
- Hot French Fries or roasted potato wedges
- Clam Chowder or Lobster Bisque.
- A classic Caesar Salad or a green salad with a simple vinaigrette would be a great side dish.
- Crisp and creamy Coleslaw is a refreshing complement to stone crab.
- Grilled vegetables are a perfect side.
- Fresh fruit salad would be perfect alongside the crabs. Fresh Mango with Chili Lime Salt, cut-up pineapple, or sliced watermelon would also be refreshing.
- Corn on the Cob
- For a taste of South Florida, put out some Cuban Tostones, Maduros, or even Rice and Black Beans.
- A Shrimp Cocktail with Key West pink shrimp would be a great side dish!
- Pair your stone crabs with a variety of chilled beverages, including sparkling champagne!
Wash the cooked crabs with cold water before eating them.
Before serving them, an adult should crack the crab claws.
To serve informally, you can put out a tray of crab claws on crushed ice with lemon wedges and a bowl of mustard dipping sauce.
For a more formal setting, the cracked claws can be plated with lemon wedges and individual bowls of mustard dipping sauce and melted butter. Cocktail forks would also be very helpful.
What food can you serve at a Michelin restaurant as well as a backyard cookout? The answer can only be Florida Stone Crab Claws.
From special occasions to lazy Sunday night dinners, stone crabs are always welcome on our table.
People come from all over the world to enjoy the fresh seafood of South Florida.
Stone crabs are a delicacy known for their sweet, briny flavor and are often served with a tangy mustard sauce, making them a sought-after seafood treat.
Dunk your stone crab claws in mustard sauce or melted butter and make the meal complete with French fries, cole slaw, Caesar salad, grilled vegetables, and fresh fruit.
Besides stone crabs, South Florida is famous for Key West Pink Shrimp, Mahimahi, and all kinds of Snapper.
Try These Florida Seafood Dishes with Stone Crabs
Yellowtail is so thin, it cooks quickly. For all of my yellowtail recipes, like my Fish Tacos, hogfish, mutton snapper, mangrove snapper, red snapper, or any thin white fish filet would work too.
Florida Keys Pink Shrimp Recipes
Yes, stone crabs are 100% gluten-free.
If you cook your own claws or buy them right after they're steamed, you'll get three days in the fridge. As the claws age, they start to get slimy. They have an off-taste like ammonia when they are no longer edible.
Stone crab season runs from October 15th to May 15th in the state of Florida. During this time, it is legal to harvest and catch stone crabs. Harvesting stone crabs must be done in accordance with size and possession limits to ensure sustainability and the preservation of the species.
Stone carbs can be purchased from Key Largo Fisheries. The fresh claws are packed in dry ice and sent to you in an overnight shipment. I highly recommend them!