4100 Northpoint Blvd.
Baltimore, Maryland 21222

Call For Reservations: 410.477.1975

How Are Soft-Shell Crabs Different From Regular Crabs?

soft-shell crabs

Do you know the different between soft-shell crabs and regular crabs?

The weather outside is reaching the perfect temperature for the first crabs of the season. If you are excited about digging into soft-shell crabs this year but unsure of the actual differences between soft-shell and hard-shell crabs, keep reading!

Soft-Shell Crabs 101

Soft-shell crabs are, unsurprisingly, soft-bodied blue crabs. Blue crabs are famous in Maryland for their delicious local flavor and abundance in the area. Blue crabs are found throughout the Atlantic region and have a lifespan of about three years. Throughout their lives, blue crabs go through molts and receive a soft shell for a few hours during that period. Crabs molt between 18-23 times throughout their lifespan, and molting almost always occurs during the period from May to September. Soft-shell crabs are sold fresh or live and are incredibly popular once they start hitting shelves (or plates). Since they are so delicious and popular, the entire box-to-plate process might only take minutes.

Soft-Shell Crabs vs. Hard-Shell Crabs

Hard-shell crabs are still absolutely delicious, but they aren’t typically as eager to give up the mean inside of them. Hard-shell crabs are usually cooked in stock or crab boil mix and then picked apart to get the meat inside. A mallet, picker, knife, and a good bit of Maryland technique are required for this part! Keeping the hard shell out of the meat is a constant struggle but hard-shell crabs still provide almost all of the commercial crab meat available.


Soft-shell crabs are much easier to prepare and eat. You can eat the entire crab, including the soft shell, and only need to remove a couple extra pieces that can be chopped off a seconds. Soft-shell crabs are ideal for those who don’t feel like lingering around a picnic table for hours breaking crabs apart or those who love the flavor of crabs but want less mess.

Delectable Soft-Shell Crabs from Costas Inn

Costas Inn has been a Baltimore tradition since 1971. You may recognize our restaurant, which was recently featured on the Food Network with Michael Symon on Burgers, Brew, and ‘Que! We were also voted the 2015 #1 Baltimore Seafood Restaurant by USA Today, as well as #1 Crab Restaurant 2014 in the Baltimore Business Journal. You may have also spotted Costas Inn during one of our 9 appearances on the Today Show or heard one of our many interviews on WJZ TV Channel 13 with Ron Matz and Marty Bass.

You can enjoy our famous crab cakes in-house or order them online for anytime eating. We also provide some of the best seafood catering in the Baltimore area! You can also get your fill from Costas even when you’re not in our dining room: follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, and YouTube!


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Taste a Baltimore Tradition!

You can now order our famous and award winning Maryland crabcakes online and we'll ship them fresh to your door. We will gladly ship them nationwide. Crabs, crab cakes, party packages, clothing, seasonings, and more available to order online now!

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  • Online Gift Card

    Online gift cards make a great gift that can be redeemed for any products available at costasinn.com only. Not redeemable at the restaurant.

  • More Information About Crabcake Delivery: What Are Some of Our House Policies?

    Costas Inn Gift Card

    A 10.95 charge will be applied for next day delivery on Gift Certificates. If you desire regular shipping via USPS, please call Pete at 410-477-1975.  

    $25.00 - $100.00 buy
  • 5 oz. Maryland Jumbo Lump Crabcake

    One 5 oz. Maryland Jumbo Lump Crab Cake  Garnish and roll not included

    $19.00 buy
  • 10 Pack 5 oz. Jumbo Lump Crab Cakes

    A Costas tradition since 1971: 5 ounces of all Jumbo Lump crabmeat made with Costas seafood spices. A local favorite!

    $180.00 buy
  • What Makes a Maryland Crab So Special?

    8 oz. Maryland Jumbo Lump Crab Cake

    One 8 oz. Maryland Jumbo Lump Crab Cake.  Garnish not included

    $28.00 buy
Costas Inn
5 stars - based on 699 reviews
4100 Northpoint Blvd. Baltimore , Maryland
410-477-1975 URL of Map Categories: Seafood Price Range: $$ Takes Reservations: yes
Costas Inn
5 stars - based on 695 reviews
4100 North Point Boulevard Baltimore , Maryland 21222
(410) 477-1975 URL of Map Categories: Seafood & Crabs Price Range: $$ Takes Reservations: yes