Classic Crab Boil

Dig in to Dungeness crab boiled in a special mix of spices. —Matthew Hass, Franklin, Wisconsin


2 tablespoons mustard seed
2 tablespoons celery seed
1 tablespoon dill seed
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
1 tablespoon whole allspice
1/2 teaspoon whole cloves
4 bay leaves
8 quarts water
1/4 cup salt
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 whole live Dungeness crab (2 pounds each)
Melted butter and lemon wedges


  • Place first seven ingredients on a double thickness of cheesecloth. Gather corners of cloth to enclose seasonings; tie securely with string.
  • In a large stockpot, bring water, salt, lemon juice, cayenne and spice bag to a boil. Using tongs, add crab to stockpot; return to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, covered, until shells turn bright red, about 15 minutes.
  • Using tongs, remove crab from pot. Run under cold water or plunge into ice water. Serve with melted butter and lemon wedges.