What Is The Difference Between Dungeness Crab vs Snow Crab?

Crab is considered a common ingredient in seafood parties. Talking about crabs, we have many different types, and each species has a unique characteristic from shape to unique flavor. That is why the amount of each crab variety consumed is uneven.

If you are interested in crabs, you have probably seen many articles comparing king crab and snow crab because of their confusing appearance and the popularity of the two species. They always go together and compare with each other. However, in this article, we will compare a crab breed called Dungeness Crab vs Snow Crab to see what difference they have!

dungeness crab vs snow crab

What is Dungeness Crab?

Dungeness Crab is a crustacean with a characteristic hard shell, and they usually live in the Zostera seaweed bottom and the bottom of the West Coast of North America. They are called Dungeness Crab because they are named after a Dungeness seaport in Washington, D.C. Currently, the Dungeness Crab is highly valued in the fishing industry. It can be said that they are the most valuable species on the Pacific Northwest coast and the West in general, and they bring great economic value in marketing.

Every October in Port Angeles, Washington, the people here hold a special Dungeness Crab and seafood festival to honor and promote seafood, especially the Dungeness Crab line, to tourists worldwide when coming to tourism.

dungeness crab legs vs snow crab legs

Dungeness Crab can be pretty impressive in size, the width of an adult crab can be up to 25cm, but usually, they will fluctuate around 20cm. The shell is very thick and hard, the color is dark, making this species appear very fierce. Especially the clamping force of their claws, in contrast to the not very large claws, but the clamping ability scared all crab experts.

This species currently lives entirely in the wild, and they often eat plankton or small fish in the sea. People have to use iron cages and drop them deep on the seabed to catch them. Fisheries regulations prohibit the keeping of juveniles and offspring so that Dungeness crab populations are very sustainable for year-round distribution. Currently, this species does not have a farm or household farming model, so the meat of this crab is very typical.

Due to living in the natural environment, this species has a characteristic crab meat taste. Especially people say that this type of meat contains opium because just one try is enough to make people faint. I'm naive and "addicted" to this flavor when tasting them. Therefore, they have become one of the four most popular high-class seafood in the world today.

The nutritional content in Dungeness Crab is much higher than that of other seafood in general. They are high in protein and easy to digest. Every 100g of crab meat contains 12.3% protein, 4% lipid, calcium, phosphorus, iron, copper, zinc, vitamin B2, vitamin B1, vitamin PP, vitamin B6, melatonin, folate, omega 3. In addition, it also contains many minerals, fatty acids, calories and omega 3, magnesium, and vitamin B12. They have the effect of curing rickets, supplementing energy, very good for male physiology and abdominal pain in women.

What is Snow Crab? 

Snow Crab is a species in the family Oregoniidae, and they also have the scientific name Chionoecetes Opilio. This species is distributed mainly in the North Atlantic and North Pacific Oceans. This species has a habitat from a depth of 13-2187m, and the ambient temperature is harsh, and can range from 1-10 degrees Celsius. So the name Snow Crab is also a reference to them being a species living in cold places and their flesh color, rather than because they are white-shelled crabs.

dungeness vs snow crab

The special feature of the Snow Crab species is that they are often confused with the King Crab type, due to their similar structure, short and round body, especially in terms of their long legs. Therefore, another name for Snow Crab is Queen Crab and two species are closely related to each other.

Because they live in low temperatures, they have a special appearance that helps them adapt to this extreme. The shell of the Alaskan snow crab is very hard, and the legs are long. The color of the crabs is different from their name. On the contrary, they have light brown color with a slight red tint. Snow crabs are usually medium-sized, snow crab legs are slender, long, have four pairs of legs and two claws, have a fairly flat shell, often without spines, but instead have many scattered black spots. On the back

Snow crabs feed on other invertebrates in the benthic shelf, such as crustaceans, bivalves, brittle stars, hairworms, and worms. Snow crabs are also scavengers, and in addition to preying on other benthic invertebrates, they also hunt arthropods and mollusks. Cannibalism has been observed among groups of snow crabs, most often by females being larger than males.

Snow crab is one of the seafood animals with high commercial value, favored for its meat sweetness, delicious quality and high nutritional value. According to many scientific studies, snow crab meat provides a lot of essential nutrients for the body. Abundant amounts of calcium and phosphorus are essential factors in improving bone health and reducing muscle inflammation. In addition, substances such as vitamin B2, selenium, and omega-3 fatty acids found in crabs also support heart protection, are beneficial for the functioning of the nervous system, strengthen the immune system, and stimulate blood circulation. Complete and detoxify the body.

Comparison Table Between Dungeness and Snow Crab 

Snow Crab vs Dungeness Crab are both highly appreciated crabs in the culinary world, so they are popular among gourmets. Perhaps people will know more about the Snow Crab species in the world, but let's compare the Dungeness Crab species to see if there is anything better or worse.

If the above two sections give us a brief overview of these two crab strains, let's compare them together to have an objective view of these two crab species so that we can choose to suit the right palate, taste, hobby as well as your budget.


Dungeness Crab

Snow Crab


Approximately 1.5-2 lbs

Have an average weight of 2 - 4 lbs


Shorter legs, with 4 legs and 2 claws.

Has 4 pairs of elongated legs, along with 2 claws


This species is named after the habitat and place where it is found

Named after their habitat (low temperature environment) and their color


Zostera seaweed bottom and bottom layer on the west coast of North America

Off the coast of Alaska, Canada, California, Oregon or Washington (Depending on season)

Mainly inhabits cold, temperate waters located in the northwestern Atlantic Ocean and the northern Pacific Ocean.

Fishing season

Alaska: mid-June to September

Washington and Oregon: December to August

Canada: All year round, especially May, June, September and October.

From April to the end of October or the beginning of November


Crabmeat sticks into large, firm lumps

The meat is mainly located in the two claws and the body of the crab.

Crabmeat is red and white alternately when cooked

The meat will be pulled into fibers, easy to cut into small pieces

Crabmeat is mainly located in the legs


The shell is hard and thick, so crabmeat can only be removed with specialized tools and especially in the crab claws that can only be opened with specialized crab claw clamps

The shell has a thin structure that can be easily broken by hand


Delicate sweetness, will be sweeter than the meat of Snow Crab

A bit fat, light sweetness




In general, Snow Crab is widely known globally, but the most consumed is Dungeness Crab. The reason is that Dungeness Crab is easy to find and available year-round in each area, but Snow Crab is limited. Therefore, it is easier to buy and enjoy Dungeness Crab than Snow Crab.

Due to the largest consumption of Dungeness Crab globally, this type of crab is easily favored and has a price advantage, so we can easily buy and sell them.

Buying guidelines

For seafood, the quality of seafood is delicious or not depends on its freshness. Best and tastiest when they're alive and moving. This is a general rule when choosing seafood. However, for two species such as Dungeness Crab vs Snow Crab, in addition to the fact that they are alive and move flexibly, what characteristics should be based on to choose the best ones and where to buy them to make sure they are safe? Best quality guarantee? Let's learn together.

Dungeness Crab

When choosing Dungeness Crab, you should pay attention to the color of the shell having a characteristic opaque gray color, the big bib and pressing it with your hand will see that the shell is very sturdy and solid, then the crab is sure to be very meaty and delicious. Remember to pay attention to the crab's claws, legs, and shells that are loose from the body and have a bad smell. The crab meat will be peeled, stripped of meat, and the taste will be slightly open if used.


A special feature of the Dungeness Crab line, which is different from Snow Crab, is the choice to eat female or male crabs. The Snow Crab line that consumes the most is just the crab legs but often pays attention to the crab meat. But Dungeness Crab is eaten whole, the best part is the crab bricks, and the taste of female and male crabs is also different.

The male Dungeness Crab has firmer and sweeter meat. The way to recognize the male crab is to observe the crab bib, and they have a small triangle under the abdomen. Dungeness Crab female, the meat will be fatter, more brick, and the bib of the female crab is larger than that of the male crab.

Snow Crab

Snow Crab should choose those with a lot of dark spots on the crab shells because these are mature and long-lived ones, so the meat will be firm and will be tastier than those with smooth shells. If you can't find black spots on the crab shell, you can feel the firmness of the meat through the firmness or softness of the shell.



In addition to the above features, you also have to observe the crab cover, and this part must be firm and feel sturdy when squeezed. Since the crab bib also shows the inner layer of meat, the firm and sturdy crab bib shows that the meat is also very firm and meaty.

Through this article, I hope you can understand more about Dungeness Crab vs Snow Crab so that you can make the right choice to choose the product that suits your preferences, taste as well as budget. Both types of crabs can be served at parties or used as gifts for family, friends,...

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