Can you eat a coconut crab?

In this brief article, we will answer the question, “can you eat a coconut crab?” in addition to explaining the coconut crab cooking technique.

Can you eat a coconut crab?

Yes, you can eat a coconut crab. The coconut crab is considered a delicacy on many islands, and the species’ survival has been threatened in certain areas due to overharvesting and poaching.

What is a coconut crab?

To claim that coconut crabs are enormous would be an exaggeration of the truth. The coconut crab, on the other hand, is the largest crustacean that spends its whole adult life on land, as recorded by a Guinness World Records entry. In addition, it is the biggest land-dwelling arthropod, which is a class of invertebrates that includes insects, spiders, and centipedes, among other things.

Coconut crabs may live for up to 60 years and reach sexual maturity at the age of five, according to some sources. Their mating season is between May and September, and the females then lay their eggs in the water.

After hatching, the larvae travel for four to six weeks on floating coconuts, logs, or other rafts, where they breed and reproduce. They then transform into shrimp-like creatures known as glaucophane, which descend to the seabed in search of a suitable snail shell with which to protect themselves against predators. They will then go closer to the shore, where they will spend another four weeks at the high tide line before developing into juvenile crabs.

What is the best way to cook coconut crab?

  • To begin, it’s essential to realize that the front claws of a tarantula are very powerful, and they’re employed to break apart the fibrous coconut shell. After grabbing anything, the crab in Photograph 1 would not release go of it, even if it was attached to the lid of the plastic box in which it was kept. To pick it up, you must grab it across the back while simultaneously grasping the front (biggest) two legs of the object being lifted. You don’t want one of your fingers to get caught in it.
  • Bring a big pot of salted water to a boil (half seawater, half freshwater is best), add the live crab, cover, and cook for 10-15 minutes, depending on the size of the crab. Remove the crab from the water and set it aside. Check on the crab often – it is ready when it has acquired a lovely red color, as seen in the main image, and is ready to be eaten. If you overcook it, the abdomen may split apart, spewing the oily contents into your water and producing an enormous mess.
  • Remove the crab from the pot and put it aside for 15 minutes to cool down a little.
  • The crab has a tail that resembles the tail of a Spiny Lobster, however, it is empty of flesh and has no meat on it. The shape is more like the abdomen of an insect, soft and squishy, and filled with a thick liquid or paste that the locals believe to be a delicacy. In a twisting motion, pull the abdomen away from the rest of the body. 
  • Squeeze the abdomen now, and a light brown paste will come out the hole, which may be spread on a nice piece of bread to serve as a sandwich spread. The indigenous Polynesians like it and refer to it as “Fois Gras” – it’s somewhat bitter and is claimed to have a coconut flavor, but it’s a learned taste that requires practice.
  • Remove the legs and claws, as you would with any other crab or lobster, and split the body apart. Also visible on the plate is some flesh at the place where the legs and torso come together on one side. Separate the plate from the main body to get at the meat. There is a distinct coconut flavor to the flesh, which is soft and delicate in texture and somewhat sweet in flavor.

The strength of a coconut crab

Those of you who have ever tried to open a coconut will understand how tough it may be. Coconut crabs, equipped with two enormous and powerful pincers, have little trouble pounding and tearing their way through the thick shell of a mature coconut.

If people try to pick up the animals from the front rather than the back, they may get familiar with crab pincers. Due to their role as teeth on the front claws of coconut crabs, the pincers of these crabs are equipped with a serrated edge, which is often referred to as “teeth.” They are used in the opening of coconuts.


In this brief article, we answered the question, “can you eat a coconut crab?” in addition to explaining the coconut crab cooking technique.


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Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.