How to Freeze Boiled Crawfish, According to a Chef

Freezing boiled crawfish is a good way to make sure you have access to the seafood any time you want it.
Image Credit: GMVozd/E+/GettyImages

Louisiana is known as one of America's great culinary capitals, and crawfish are among the most celebrated of Louisiana's cuisine. From December until June — and especially during the spring when they're most plentiful — crawfish are a mealtime staple.

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They're used in a variety of ways, but one of the tastiest preparation methods is simply boiling the crawfish in seasoned water. Once they're boiled, leftover crawfish can be frozen to enjoy later.

Here's how you need to prep your crawfish by boiling if you plan to freeze it, says Chef Dephon Robinson, the culinary director of Escobar Restaurant & Tapas and Esco Seafood.

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Things You'll Need

  • Crawfish

  • Large pot

  • Water

  • Seasoning mix of choice (lemon pepper or Cajun are recommended)

  • Freezer-safe container

  • Zip-close bags

1. Boil and Season Water

Start by filling your pot about 1/2 to 3/4 full. There should be just enough water to cover the crawfish, according to Robinson. Add your seasoning to the water and stir to dissolve it.

"In the grocery store, there are different seafood mixes for boils," Robinson says. "You can also use lemon pepper seasoning or Cajun seasoning."

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2. Boil the Crawfish

Bring the water to a boil and add the crawfish. Cover the pot and allow them to cook. "Crawfish should be boiled no longer than 4 minutes, more like 3 minutes," Robinson says.

3. Remove Crawfish From Water

Take the crawfish out of the boiling water. "When you remove them from the boiling water, they will continue to cook," Robinson says. "They are done when they turn a red color."

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After the crawfish are done boiling, you can put them in a container and shake them to get them properly covered in seasoning, Robinson says.

4. Freeze the Crawfish

You can freeze the whole crawfish or you can separate the tails to freeze just those. The preferred method is to freeze just the tails, according to Robinson. If you freeze the whole crawfish, you might notice small changes in quality.

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The more important thing is how quickly you freeze the crawfish. "To preserve the safety and texture of the crawfish, try to freeze them immediately after eating or preparing them," Robinson says.

Place the crawfish in zip-close bags and remove any air before sealing them tightly. "If sealed properly, crawfish can last for a few months," Robinson says. "When they are not cooked, they can only last two weeks in the freezer."

Uncooked crawfish can also get freezer burn, which can affect the seafood's taste and texture (but note that food with freezer burn is still safe to eat!).

Can You Freeze Live Crawfish?

Yes, you can freeze live crawfish. But you have to make sure the crawfish are, indeed, alive. "If they die before [freezing them], toxins released from their organs can spread to the meat and get you sick when you eat them," Robinson says.

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