4100 Northpoint Blvd.
Baltimore, Maryland 21222

Call For Reservations: 410.477.1975

Why Are Soft Shell Crabs Soft?

Why Are Soft Shell Crabs Soft?

No matter what you do, one question still sticks out: why exactly are soft shell crabs soft in the first place?

Eating crabs is a delicious pastime that many Marylanders love, especially in the summer. Let’s suppose that you are passionate about eating soft shell crabs. You go to different restaurants and establishments, seeking out the freshest, tastiest ones. Then you use that experience as the basis of an online review or food for thought on your website. No matter what you do, one question still sticks out: why exactly are soft shell crabs soft in the first place

The Skinny on the Soft Shell 

The name soft shell crab is actually a tad bit misleading. These are simply hard shell crabs that are currently molting. As the crab grows, its shell does not expand to accommodate this change. This means that the crab has to shed its shell as it gets older. Special enzymes kick in to split the old shell from the newer shell growing underneath it. This new shell develops over the next few weeks. Then the crab drinks enough water to bloat up and ejects the old shell. Did you know that a king crab can molt 20 times during its lifetime? Once it reaches adulthood, it molts once a year. 

How They’re Harvested 

You might be wondering how these crabs are harvested. Water bloat affects the taste of the crab, so it throws off the flavor, and that’s not good! These crabs are captured and dunked in saltwater tanks before they can begin molting. Then the crabs are pulled out of the water before their new shells can start to harden. Spring and summer are the best times to enjoy soft shell crab!

Summer Recipe Ideas 

Let’s have a look at some recipe ideas to try out this summer. Your stomach won’t know what hit it! Soft shell crab sandwiches are a delightful way to enjoy this bounty from the sea. Bread, lettuce, tomatoes, and sauce take this sandwich to the next level. Another idea is to fire up the grill. Put the crabs over the fire. It’s a great way to eat healthier. They can be an entree, or be served as part of something else! Finally, consider plating fried soft shell crab. Here, the crab can be partnered with coleslaw, tomato salad, and some lemon wedges! 


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 any time 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, 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

    $20 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!

    $190 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

    $29 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