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Dungeness Crab vs. Snow Crab: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Janet White || Published on February 18, 2024
Dungeness Crab is a species of crab found on the West Coast of North America, known for its sweet, tender meat. Snow Crab is a crab species found in the North Atlantic and North Pacific, prized for its long legs and delicate flavor.

Key Differences

Dungeness Crab is native to the West Coast of North America, with a brownish shell and robust, meaty claws. Snow Crab, found in colder waters of the North Atlantic and Pacific, is smaller with a reddish shell and notably long, thin legs.
The meat of Dungeness Crab is sweet, tender, and slightly nutty, making it highly prized in culinary circles. Snow Crab offers a more delicate, slightly briny flavor, with a tender texture, especially noted in its leg meat.
Dungeness Crab is often the star of a dish, served steamed or boiled to showcase its flavor. Snow Crab is popular in various dishes, from steamed clusters to crab cakes, often celebrated for its ease of eating due to its long leg segments.
Dungeness Crabs are larger, averaging about 6-7 inches across, and harvested using crab pots. Snow Crabs, while having a wider leg span, have smaller bodies and are harvested in colder, deeper waters, often in large quantities.
The season for Dungeness Crab typically runs from late fall through early summer, with peak availability in winter. Snow Crab, though available year-round, has peak seasons that vary depending on the region, with a notable abundance in late winter and early spring.

Comparison Chart


West Coast of North America
North Atlantic and Pacific


Brownish shell, meaty claws
Reddish shell, long thin legs


Sweet, tender, slightly nutty
Delicate, slightly briny


Larger body size
Smaller body, longer legs

Harvesting Method

Using crab pots, near coastal areas
Deep water harvesting, often in bulk

Culinary Preference

Star of the dish, steamed or boiled
Versatile in dishes, easy to eat legs


Late fall to early summer, peak in winter
Year-round, peak in late winter/early spring

Dungeness Crab and Snow Crab Definitions

Dungeness Crab

A type of crab known for its sweet and tender meat.
The Dungeness Crab from the Pacific Coast was the highlight of our seafood feast.

Snow Crab

Prized for its delicate and slightly briny flavor.
The delicate flavor of the Snow Crab makes it a favorite among seafood lovers.

Dungeness Crab

A favorite in culinary circles for its distinctive flavor.
Dungeness Crab is often the centerpiece in gourmet seafood dishes.

Snow Crab

Often harvested in bulk from deeper ocean waters.
The fishing vessel returned with a large haul of Snow Crab.

Dungeness Crab

A crab species native to the western coast of North America.
Fishing for Dungeness Crab is popular in coastal Oregon.

Snow Crab

A species of crab known for its long, thin legs.
The Snow Crab legs were perfectly steamed and ready to eat.

Dungeness Crab

Harvested mainly using crab pots in coastal waters.
The fresh Dungeness Crab was caught using traditional crab pots.

Snow Crab

Found in the cold waters of the North Atlantic and Pacific.
Snow Crab fishing is a major industry in Alaska.

Dungeness Crab

Renowned for its large size and meaty claws.
He enjoyed cracking the meaty claws of the Dungeness Crab.

Snow Crab

Popular in various dishes, from clusters to crab cakes.
We served Snow Crab clusters at our dinner party.


Can Snow Crab be eaten year-round?

Yes, Snow Crab is available year-round, with peak seasons in late winter and early spring.

What is the ideal way to cook Dungeness Crab?

Dungeness Crab is best cooked by steaming or boiling to preserve its flavor.

What is the price difference between Dungeness and Snow Crab?

Prices vary, but Dungeness Crab is often pricier due to its size and meat quality.

Can Snow Crab be found in supermarkets?

Yes, Snow Crab is commonly available in supermarkets, often in pre-cooked clusters.

Is Dungeness Crab meat easy to extract?

Dungeness Crab meat can be extracted with some effort, especially from its claws.

How should Dungeness Crab be stored?

Live Dungeness Crab should be kept in a cool, moist environment, while cooked crab can be refrigerated.

Is Dungeness Crab sustainable?

Yes, Dungeness Crab is generally considered a sustainable seafood choice.

What are the health benefits of eating Dungeness Crab?

Dungeness Crab is a good source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids.

Are Snow Crab legs the most sought-after part?

Yes, Snow Crab legs are highly prized for their tender, flavorful meat.

How long can Snow Crab be stored in the freezer?

Snow Crab can be stored in the freezer for several months.

Can Snow Crab be boiled whole?

Yes, Snow Crab can be boiled whole, though it's often sold as leg clusters.

What is the peak season for Dungeness Crab?

The peak season for Dungeness Crab is during the winter months.

Can Dungeness Crab be used in sushi?

Yes, Dungeness Crab is often used in sushi and other Japanese dishes.

Are there any allergens in Dungeness Crab?

Like all shellfish, Dungeness Crab can be an allergen for some people.

Is it better to buy Snow Crab fresh or frozen?

Both are good options; frozen Snow Crab can be more convenient.

Can Dungeness Crab shells be used for stock?

Yes, the shells are excellent for making rich seafood stock.

What dishes are best made with Snow Crab?

Snow Crab is great in dishes like crab cakes, salads, or simply steamed with butter.

Are Snow Crab legs easy to crack?

Yes, Snow Crab legs are relatively easy to crack and extract meat from.

What wine pairs well with Dungeness Crab?

A crisp white wine, like Chardonnay, pairs well with Dungeness Crab.

What is the best method to thaw frozen Snow Crab?

The best method is to thaw Snow Crab in the refrigerator overnight.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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