Stone Crab Claws – 3 Ways

Picture of Author: Rich Barnhart

Author: Rich Barnhart

Everyone Serves Chilled Claws, Try Something New!

Its stone crab season again! If you’ve ever had stone crab claws in South Florida then you’ve probably had them chilled with mustard sauce. That’s how many of the restaurants serve them, and they are delicious, but stone crabs can be cooked too. Here are a couple ideas for cooking your claws, and tips for the traditional method as well.

Florida Stone Crab
Stone crab claws with lemon butter and mustard on a plate as photographed in south beach miami florida


  • During the season you can buy stone crab in many supermarkets including Whole Foods, but if you want to make sure they are fresh, try a local fish market like the Fish Peddler in Fort Lauderdale or Papa’s Seafood World in Lighthouse Point.
  • If you’re going to serve them cold right away you can ask the market to crack them for you, but if you plan to cook them or eat them much later, then its best to crack them as you eat them.
  • Stone crab claws are flash-cooked before they are shipped, so you shouldn’t cook them too long, and overcooking them will quickly ruin the flavor.
  • Its usually not worth the money to buy colossal or jumbo claws. They are more expensive because they are rare and they require less cracking and peeling. The flavor is generally the same no matter what the size.
  • Rinse and dry the claws, and then keep them in the refrigerator until ready to cook.
  • Cracking stone crab is easier than you think, but your typical “crab cracker” doesn’t really work. You can use a hammer, a large knife blade or even the handle of a butter knife to gently tap the shell. Don’t hit it too hard or you’ll crush the shell into the meat and ruin it. Check out YouTube for how-to videos on crab shell cracking.


Put a couple cups of water in a large pot or steamer pot and use a colander to keep the claws out of the water. Cover and and steam the claws for 10 minutes only and remove them immediately. You don’t need to use any spices because the meat is already so sweet, but some people like to use Old Bay seasoning when steaming or boiling their claws.


Grilling is any easy way to cook claws if you’ve already got the grill fired up for the rest of your meal. Grill the claws about 5 minutes per side over medium heat and baste the claws with olive oil while grilling. Simple, they’re done!

Traditional Chilled

Keep your claws chilled until you’re ready to serve. Pull them out of the fridge, crack them and enjoy!


Personally, I can eat stone crab right out of the shell, no sauce required. But most people enjoy their claws with a mustard sauce or maybe some drawn butter with your favorite herbs (cilantro is nice). Fresh lemon or lime wedges is a nice garnish too. If you like mustard sauce then its worth the effort to make your own. Here is the famous recipe from Joe’s Stone Crab in Miami Beach.

Joe’s Mustard Sauce Recipe


Blog Author:

Rich Barnhart

Rich is the broker and owner of By The Sea Realty and a frequent contributor to the company's real estate blog.
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