Is Horseshoe Crab Edible? Make Your Favorite Foods with Horseshoe Crabs

Since we used to tell them crabs but they aren’t actually crabs. Research showed that horseshoe crabs belong to arthropods, Chelicerata, which make them closer to arachnids such as spiders and lobsters.

Horseshoe Crab is one of the few prehistoric living fossils that has survived on this planet for over 480 million years. So, it originated long before dinosaurs existed.

Horseshoe crabs are a type of crustacean usually found in sandy or muddy coastal waters. Though it can survive up to 4 days out of the water.

Can you eat a horseshoe crab? Yes, horseshoe crabs are edible but not acceptable as food to everyone. Compared to its gigantic size, this convulsive creature has nothing to eat except eggs. However, it has significant uses for medicinal purposes and is the subject of medical research and analysis.

Is horseshoe crab edible or not?

Is horseshoe crab edible or not

Yes, horseshoe crabs are edible but in terms of taste, they are not so much appreciated. Because of this, you can’t see the horse’s crab dish as usual. However, in seafood restaurants and some specific regions, it is considered the main item.

Despite its poor taste, it is still served as soups, salads,s or fried foods especially in China, Japan, Malaysia, and some restaurants in the US. Also, you can find it as the main item in Thailand, Malaysia, and Vietnam.

Horseshoe crabs have many benefits for both nature and humans aside from roe consumption. It plays a vital role in balancing low coastal areas’ ecosystems.

What do horseshoe crabs taste like?

It’s really interesting to know what horseshoe crabs taste like. Those who have eaten it have reported that the taste of roe is similar to lobster, rubbery, and has a chewy feel.

Horseshoe crab’s eggs don’t even taste like regular fish eggs or have any resemblance to anything else on earth. If you are trying it for the first time, you may get turned off looking at its unfamiliar appearance.

Still, it has got a larger fan base from different regions who like to eat horse crab roe with salads and other items.

Is horseshoe crab safe to eat?

Horseshoe crab’s blood is indeed called blue blood because of its anti-bacterial functions. It has a natural defense system against evil bacteria E-Coli as the blood is rich with copper.

This is why it is cultivated on aquaculture farms to make serum for bacteria industrially. Although it is widely used in restaurants as a delicious item, it is important to be aware that eating horse crabs can be toxic.

Especially, horseshoe crabs in the south ocean coastal areas were accused of tetrodotoxin poisoning in China and other regions.

Some people believe that the blood of horseshoe crabs is safe to eat, but there is no scientific evidence to support this claim. And, the roe can be a rich source of protein.

Is there any other use for horseshoe crab?

Horseshoe crabs have different uses for different purposes. Influencing biomedical research and ecosystems, it is still unknown to a large population and is being killed for no apparent reason.

Here are some of the main uses for Horseshoe crabs so you can understand its core values. 


The blue blood of horse crabs has the ability to fight E. coli and other bacteria. It also contains a compound called chitin which has a proven effect on weight loss. Therefore, it is being used to make serums for pathogens and drugs for weight loss.


Horseshoe crabs’ egg is served as a traditional food item in some places and some restaurants present delicious dishes made by it. Horseshoe crabs are scientifically safe to eat.


Before industrial fertilizer developed, it was used as fertilizer in the US and Europe. Records show that millions of crabs died before artificial fertilizer was made in the 1970s. Due to the mass production of Cancerine fertilizer with horseshoe crabs, it was significantly reduced at that time.


Fishermen used this special arthropod as bait to lure fishes like eel and conch. This is another reason for decreasing the number of natural horseshoe crabs in coastal areas.

Shoreline development

Horseshoe crabs come to low water coastal areas when it is low tide and float in the sea when the tide is high. A matured horse crab can spend up to 4 days on the shore. In this period, it roams over the shoreline in search of food. 

As a result, the sand is aerated and sediment is stirred up on the shore, which benefits the marine system greatly.

Why is horseshoe crab blood so valuable?

Why is horseshoe crab blood so valuable

Horseshoe crab blood is literally blue in color and is considered one of the most expensive liquids in the world. It costs $60,000 per gallon for blue blood and it is mostly used for medical purposes.

Since the blood contains high levels of Limulus Amebocyte Lysate (LAL) and copper, it contributes to different body functions such as digestion, disposal of wastes, fighting bacteria, and helps to form skeletal fibers and some cell types.

How do you cook horseshoe crabs?

Horseshoe crabs are usually served whole on a plate. It can be boiled or grilled to make the eggs worth eating. 

Also, you can take the eggs raw or mix them up with salads and other dry food items. In Vietnam, the roe is used combined with one of the popular ‘Yam Khai Maeng Da’ salads and chicken eggs.

Final thought

So, it is clear that being a prehistoric animal and living around 480 million years in the world, the horse crab has a lot to offer to mankind.

Yet every year about 600,000 horseshoe crabs have been killed by humans from the coastal region. Since their natural production and survival rate is very low, if they are killed continuously at this rate, they will become extinct.

However, the invention of aquatic farming methods brings high hopes for both. As soon as they come in people are interested in the fact is horseshoe crab edible or not. It is  now used to cultivate in selective mediums or nature to serve in restaurants and produce blue blood and LAL on a large scale.

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