Snow crab legs are perfect. They’re warm, sweet, salty, and usually dipped in butter. I don’t know what you can really complain about.
Unless you’re worried about the calories in snow crab legs. If you are calorie counting, then this article is perfect for you.
Before we dive into the various topics we’ll discuss in this post, let’s get the big question out of the way. Which is: How many calories are in snow crab legs?
A 6-ounce serving of snow crab legs, which is a pretty average serving size at restaurants, equates to roughly 200 calories. That is without the addition of butter or any other sauces you may enjoy the crab meat with.
We cover the following items in this post:
- Are Crab Legs High in Calories?
- How Many Calories Are in Snow Crab Legs?
- What Is a Serving Size of Snow Crab Legs?
- What About Steamed Crab Legs – Are They Healthier?
- The Calories in Snow Crab Can Depend on The Seasoning and Sauces Added
- The Silver Lining
- Final Thoughts On Snow Crab Leg Calories
Are Crab Legs High in Calories?
No, they’re not. Crab legs are considered low in calories.
We wrote an article covering whether crab meat can make you gain weight, and in it, we covered a comparison of king crab meat against other lean sources of protein. The short overview is that crab meat was actually lower in calories than chicken breast, shrimp, strip steak, and Atlantic salmon.
However, snow crab legs have slightly more calories than king crab meat. They have roughly 20 calories more for every 3.5 ounces of meat you eat.
As such, crab legs are just as low in calories, or lower than chicken breast, strip steak, and Atlantic salmon. We feel comfortable stating that they are low in calories!
How Many Calories Are in Snow Crab Legs?
Snow crab legs contain about 100 calories per 3-ounce serving (or per 100 grams).
Many restaurants serve snow crab legs in 6-ounce servings or even larger portions, and this means you’ll be consuming about 200 calories.
That’s fine if you aren’t eating enormous amounts of other calories in your other meals, but you should be careful of what’s accompanying the snow crab legs.
Snow crab legs are often served with warm, melted butter. And butter is where the calories sneak up on you. In my experience, a restaurant will give you roughly 1/2 a stick of melted butter with a serving of snow crab legs. That butter is essentially another 400 calories added to the meal, without including sides, drinks, desserts, etc.
Also, some restaurant servings will be even more than 6-ounce servings, so be cautious if you are watching your weight, and make this an occasional treat, rather than a regular occurrence.
However, with a low-calorie count, snow crab legs can be a great choice for a luxury meal without the guilt of calorie-dense foods.
What Is a Serving Size of Snow Crab Legs?
It depends on if you’re at a restaurant and how much they generally serve, or if you decide to eat crab legs at home and measure them yourself.
However, most restaurants serve about 6 ounces of snow crab legs.
In a 6-ounce or 170g serving, you’re getting the following nutrients from a serving size of snow crab legs:
- 200 calories
- 40g of protein
- 0g of carbohydrates
- 2.5g of fat
- 120mg of cholesterol
- 1173mg of sodium
What About Steamed Crab Legs – Are They Healthier?
Another way to phrase the question is: Are steamed crab legs calories lower than other ways of preparing crab legs?
The short answer is no. The popular ways to cook crab legs include:
- Steaming them
- Boiling them
- Baking them
- Grilling them
- Instant Pot cooking them
But the difference between these options really doesn’t change the calorie count.
You can steam or boil crab legs rather than baking them, but this will only make a significant difference to the total calories if you would usually bake them in a sauce. Sauces tend to be rich and often increase the number of calories in a meal significantly, so they should be avoided if this is a concern for you.
Steaming or boiling crab legs can be a great way to cook them without a sauce. A lot of people also feel that this helps to keep the flavor in the legs, especially if you steam them. Boiled crab legs are sometimes a little watery if they haven’t been drained well.
The Calories in Snow Crab Can Depend on The Seasoning and Sauces Added
When worrying about calorie intake, your chief concern with crab meat should be what the meat is served with, as the crab meat itself is very lean.
Dipping crab meat in butter or cooking it in a sauce is extremely common and it complements the sweet and salty flavor of the meat.
Unfortunately, these things add to the calories significantly. Without them, you might find the meat doesn’t stand out enough on its own, but with them, you make your meal a lot more calorie heavy.
Just a one-ounce serving of melted butter (a quarter of a stick) adds another 200 calories to your dish.
You need to think about the sauce when you consider the calorie content of the crab legs. If you are eating your snow crabs with a sauce, try to ensure you’re controlling the amount you eat so you don’t overdo it.
The Silver Lining
If you are worried about calorie consumption with snow crab legs, then remember that your body uses roughly 10% of your calories from the carbs and proteins you digest to aid in the actual digestion of that food. This food processing is a normal part of burning calories.
So, if you’re consuming roughly 2,000 calories a day, and your crab meat is about 200 calories, then it essentially was burned just by existing. But don’t use this math with dessert, as the numbers don’t work quite as well!
Final Thoughts On Snow Crab Leg Calories
Crab meat’s beautiful blend of sweetness and saltiness can have you wondering whether the calories are something to worry about. Especially if you’re accompanying your crab legs with warm, melted butter.
But don’t fret! Snow crab legs are extremely low in calories, fats, and carbohydrates. As long as your sides and dipping sauces aren’t too calorie-rich, or you’re controlling how much of those you eat, you shouldn’t have to worry about the calories in snow crab legs.
Your main concern should be whether you have the right tools to open them up and enjoy them!
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How Many Calories Are in 1 Snow Crab Legs?
If you bake or broil your snow crab legs, a single leg probably contains about 14 calories. This is before you add any sauce or accompaniments, so be aware of this.
How Many Calories Are In 4 Snow Crab Legs?
4 snow crab legs should contain about 56 calories. The size of the legs will make some difference to the calorie content, but this should be enough for a rough estimate.
How Many Calories Are In 3 Clusters of Snow Crab Legs?
Clusters of snow crab legs generally weigh 6 ounces or more, depending on the restaurant that serves them.
A cluster will often contain about 200 calories if eaten without the sauce. If you order clusters in a restaurant, you might want to ask about the weight, but 6 ounces is usually a good guess.
How Many Calories Are in 8 oz of Snow Crab Legs?
This comes out to roughly 270 calories. This math is based on the weight of the meat, and not the shell!
Is Crab Legs Healthy For Weight Loss?
They can be! Crab legs are very low in calories, fats, and carbs. If prepared with other foods complementary to a low-calorie diet, then crab legs can definitely assist in weight loss.
It’s worth noting that crab meat can be high in sodium. So, be sure not to overdo it and put too much sodium in your system.
Is Snow Crab Legs Fattening?
On their own, no. Snow crab legs essentially have no fat. 8 ounces worth comes out to about 3.4g of fat, which is roughly 5% of your day’s recommended fat intake.
If paired with something like melted butter, then they can be more fattening.