Blue Crabs w/ Chipotle & Lime Brown Butter Sauce

There’s something about Summer that makes me crave seafood.

Maybe it’s spending time at the beach that does it, or just that seafood generally cooks quickly and nobody wants to slave over a hot stove when it’s 95 degrees out.  Whatever the reason, I really enjoy eating seafood at this time of year – especially shellfish.  Lobster is probably my favorite, followed closely by crab (all kinds) and then shrimp and clams – oh and mussels, can’t forget those!  So many delicious shellfish to choose from!
With the warmer weather upon us, you’ll be seeing more seafood recipes here for sure.  Now I know all of you don’t have easy access to live crabs, but this easy and delectable sauce will go just as well with shrimp, which is more widely available.  If you live in/near a larger city, check out your local asian supermarket – they often sell live blue crabs, and they are usually pretty inexpensive compared to lobster and other crabs.  Mostly because there isn’t a lot of meat in them, and what there is isn’t easy to get to.  But the super sweet morsels you can dig out of them (with a little patience) definitely makes it worth your time.  Otherwise, go with the shrimp.

Blue Crabs w/ Chipotle & Lime Brown Butter Sauce
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: Seafood
Serves: 3
  • 12 live blue crabs
  • 1 packet crab boil seasoning
  • ½ cup butter
  • 1 tsp red chilies, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp canned chipotles, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 2 Tbsp of fresh lime juice
  • ¼ cup cilantro, chopped
  1. In a large pot, bring about 8 - 10 quarts of water to a rolling boil. Add your crab boil seasoning to the water. Using tongs (the longer the better, these things are feisty!!!!) grab the crabs one at a time and plunge them face first into the water. Cook them for about 10 minutes.
  2. While the crabs are boiling, melt your butter in a large saute pan. Add the chipotles, coriander and cayenne pepper and cook on medium for about 4 minutes until the butter has lightly browned. Remove from the heat and add the chopped chilis, lime juice and cilantro. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. (If using shrimp instead of crabs, you can either cook then first and then toss them in the sauce, or just add them to the sauce raw (prior to the chilis, cilantro & lime juice) and simmer for 4 - 6 minutes until just done. Don't overcook them or they will be hard and rubbery. When the shrimp are cooked, remove from the heat and then stir in the lime and cilantro before serving.) If using the crabs, once they are cooked, remove from the boil and add them to the butter sauce. Stir and baste to make sure all of the crabs are coated with the sauce.
  4. Serve with lime wedges and lots and lots of napkins!
I'm calculating nutrition info based on the ingredients as listed in the recipe, but the truth is that most of the fat and calories come from the butter which coats the shell and ends up in the bottom of the pan so you are probably getting a lot less fat and calories than this.
Nutrition Information
Calories: 349 Fat: 31g Carbohydrates: 10g net Protein: 16g



  1. says

    Oh man I wish I still lived in the south and could get Blue Crabs!!! This sounds amazing!

    Did you ever have a source for good Blue Crabs when you lived in the Northeast?

    • says

      Hey Caveman, thanks for stopping by! Plentiful blue crab is one of the perks of living here in the South – it’s flat as all get out but maybe worth it for the seafood alone! When I lived in CT the Asian Markets were the place to go! I used to find them there all the time for $1 each which was totally worth it! It does work great with shrimp too though – you can baste it right onto them on the grill which is pretty awesome! :)

  2. says

    I so miss living near the ocean….going to the fishermen’s boats along the docks and buying big paper grocery bags full of steamed fresh crab and shrimp with a pint jar of freshly drawn butter. *le sigh*

    This looks fabulous and if my family loves it as much as they did your Cheaters Tandoori Chicken it’s going to be a hit!

    Hmmm, wonder how it would work with scallops…

    • says

      Hey Jacqueline! The fresh seafood is definitely one of the perks of living near the coast! I bet it would taste amazing on scallops – especially grilled! I need to get a hold of some fresh scallops and try it! Hope you guys like this recipe as much as the chicken! :)

  3. says

    My dad would have freaked for this one. He was such a seafood guy. We can’t do it cuz mini-me is allergic. Great idea to use the brown butter. Love!

  4. says

    I love blue crabs! Lots of taste, you get to use your hands to eat them, and then look at the mess you’ll create! Reminds me of being a toddler again. ;-) Nice post – thanks.

    • says

      Thanks – I’ve grown to love them too but I wish there was more meat in them like a Dungeness. It’s a lot of work for so little meat per blue crab but still fun and totally worth it. Need lots of napkins though! :)

  5. says

    I’m about to go low carb (having gained weight due to a broken leg: I should never be allowed on skis). I have been following this blog just because it’s delicious, but now I’m going to put the low carb wisdom into practice.
    From people’s real life experience, how much weight could I expect to lose low carbing? I have about 14 lbs to lose.

    • says

      Hey Bloom,
      Goodluck! My Husband & I have both lost 30 Lbs in 3 months. Our bloodwork is now perfect (before my cholesterol was high), and we feel great! Be aware, the first 2 weeks will be hard, and you’ll probably feel a bit lousy as you detox from all that sugar. After that, it’s smooth sailing!

    • says

      Hey Bloom! What Quill said! :)

      You’ll probably drop some weight quickly when you start but with only 14 to lose it might take some time to lose the last few pounds depending on how active you are. Either way you’ll hopefully be feeling great and eating delicious food! Keep us posted on your progress!

  6. says

    Thanks Mellissa, Quill, I’ve made a start (and yes, brain fog is an issue!). I am getting more active again too so hopefully that should help things along. I’d rather go the low carb route than the high carb/low fat alternative (too much diabetes in my family), but I need to keep a very strict eye on my carb intake as I seem to be cycling in and out of ketosis (hence the brain fog). Have been making some delicious recipes from the blog Mellissa so I am certainly not feeling deprived.

    • says

      Hey Bloom so glad your enjoying the recipes! Hope you stabilize and kick the brain fog soon! When I first started I had to be pretty strict at below 20g but now that I’ve been doing it so long I can easily go to 50 – 70g and stay in ketosis so it will get easier the longer you do it!

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