Alaskan Snow Crab Stock – Instant Pot or Stove Top

Recipe card at the bottom of post!


Generally, I like to use all usable parts of produce and meats for one purpose or another. A great example would be making chicken stock from bones that were leftover from dinner that week. Even when I would buy rotisserie chicken at Costco –  I would pick all the meat off that day and boil the carcass simply with onions, carrots, seasonings (salt, peppercorns, bay leaf), tbs of vinegar, and water. What it yields is a wonderful and easy home made stock packed with tons of flavor you can use in upcoming meals or soups. (You can even freeze bones until you have enough, and also freeze the stock in smaller portions to use as needed).

This stock, however, is a bit different from what I have done before. I usually don’t have 2 lbs of Alaskan crab shells lying around, however a friend gifted us a bunch of crab so I thought, why not!? I used the meat for a Copy Cat Yard House California ‘Roll’ which was also AMAZING, if you have crab (or even shrimp) try that recipe out!

Anyways – so I have these crab shells, and thought, what a great base for a stock I can use later in the week for a soup of some kind! Not sure what I will make with it yet, but it came out rich and delicious. ***UPDATE: I made Paleo Gumbo, and it was amazing!!!

Heres my method:


Crab shells (can definitely use shrimp or other crustacean shells – mine filled up a gallon freezer bag about 3/4 of the way)

1 onion, rough chop – skin on

Handful of carrots, rough chop

2 stalks of celery, rough chop

4 cloves of garlic, cut lengthways – skin on

1 tsp black peppercorns

1 tsp parsley flakes

2 bay leaves

2 – 4 sprigs fresh thyme

2 tbs tomato paste

3 liters, plus 1/2 cup water



To start, place all of the shells, onion, carrot, and celery onto a baking sheet and roast under the broiler for 5-10 minutes, until the shells and veggies get a nice brown color.


While shells are browning, heat the bottom of the instant pot on sauté with 2 tbs olive oil (if making on the stovetop instead, follow the same directions in a large stock pot). When oil is heated add in the tomato paste and sauté until fragrant and rust colored.


Next, add in the garlic cloves, peppercorns, parsley, bay leaves, and thyme (they will start to stick to the bottom, don’t worry).


Stir around a bit, and then add 1/2 cup water to the bottom of the pan. Be careful because it may splatter! Scrape and deglaze the bottom with a spatula.


Dump in the browned shells and veggies, toss around to coat in the herbs / sauce.


Pour in 3 liters of water, stir again.


If your using an instant pot, place lid on, close valve to sealing, and set the pot on manual for 80 minutes. NPR for 10 minutes, then quick release the steam – carefully! Strain the shells / veggies / herbs from the stock. Salt the stock to taste.

For a normal stock pot, I would boil for a few hours, checking the flavor periodically. When the flavor is to your liking, remove pan from heat and strain. Salt to taste.


This stock turned out wonderfully, and could be used in a variety of ways! I am thinking about making some sort of paleo shrimp chowder – or maybe a gumbo! I will post the recipe I make later in the week. Enjoy!


Alaskan Snow Crab Stock  .png


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