how to store live crawfish overnight

How to store live crawfish overnight? This is a good question to ask if you are wondering how to keep your crawfish alive till the next day. 

Crawfish is a flavorful, meaty, and tender crustacean that has a lot of lovers around the world, most especially in Louisiana, where they are often harvested. 

They look like a smaller version of Lobsters. Join me as we unwrap the secret to keeping your live crawfish overnight.

You can store live crawfish overnight by keeping them in a cool or damp place. You can put them in a bag and store them inside an ice-filled cooler or a container covered with damp towel papers and place them in the refrigerator.

Keeping Live Crawfish Overnight

keep live crawfish overnight

There are instances where you keep a live and active crawfish overnight till the next day because you were not able to cook the same day the crawfish was harvested. 

Before you buy crawfish to take home, make sure it is actively walking around and the color is translucent blue-green or brown.

You definitely do not want to take a half-dead crawfish home to make it easy to store.  

You do not have to kill or cook your crawfish before you store it because the best seafood is cooked alive, so if you can’t cook it the same day, try to store it overnight till the next day and cook it as live food.

Why Store Live Crawfish Overnight?

why store crawfish

Crawfish are often advised to be cooked alive. 

Apart from the fact that this ensures that you get maximum flavor, you are also avoiding the risk of food poisoning.

This happens when you eat a crawfish that has been dead for at least 2 hours.

Let me share with you some good reasons to keep crawfish alive before cooking


We all know the best seafood is cooked alive, and this also applies to crawfish.

You get to have a fresh taste of the ‘sea’ and enjoy your dish maximally. You don’t have to worry if the meat has gone bad or rotten when you cook it alive. 


Maximum Flavor

You get to enjoy the juiciest type of crawfish when you cook it live and eat it immediately.

If you cook a crawfish that has been dead for a while, the flavor would have been compromised and you might not want it all.

Tip: All the juicy fat in the head and legs are at its best taste when it’s cooked live.

Prevent Food Poisoning

food poisoning

It is strongly advised to avoid cooking dead crawfish due to the high risk of food poisoning.

There is a certain bacteria that are quickly activated and multiplies rapidly the moment a crawfish is dead. 

The fear is that cooking might not eliminate the bacteria entirely, and this can pose a serious threat to the consumer.

Tip: Storing your crawfish alive till the next morning will prevent this totally and you can cook it fresh and alive.

How To Store Live Crawfish Overnight

store live crawfish overnight

Crawfish can stay at room temperature for as long as 8 hours.

But since you can’t confirm the period it was harvested by the farmers, you need to find an efficient way to keep it alive. 

If you harvested it yourself, then no problem.

You can even safely keep it for up to two hours in the refrigerator.

This can help keep it alive but the best method of storing a live crawfish overnight is using the ice cooler method.

Storing Inside An Ice Cooler

For this method, you will need:

  • Cooler – it could be a small, medium, or big one, depending on the size and quantity of your crawfish.
  • Spray bottle – This should be filled with water 
  • Ice packs – You will need these for cooling purposes. 
  • Thermometer – this will be used to confirm and  regulate the temperature inside the cooler at any given time
  • Sacks – This is necessary if the crawfishes are in large quantities. You just place and arrange them carefully in the sack before cooling 
  • Cooler bags or containers – This is for a small quantity of Crawfish.
  • Newspaper or towels – You will use this to cover the container.
using cooler
Tip: Just try to get a cooler that would give the crustacean enough breathing and moving space.

After getting the necessary tools, follow these proven steps to store your crawfish with an Ice cooler.

Step #1: Cover The Crawfish And Spray Some Water

Cover the entire inside of the cooler with the Newspaper. Get your bag of ice packs and place them inside the cooler. 

For a uniform effect, you can place them on a wet burlap or towel. Get your crawfish active again by spraying them with some water with the spray bottle. 

spraying with water

This is to confirm that none of the crawfish is dead.

Once you notice that one is no longer moving, it is best to separate them from the living ones because it is not safe to cook a dead crawfish.

Step #2: Prevent The Crawfish From Getting Drowned

Place the bag of crawfish carefully on the pack of ice. Make sure they are not cramped together and there is more than enough space to breathe. 

Make sure that the cooler drain is always open.

This will help the melted water drain away from the cooler and prevent the crawfish from getting soaked or drowned in water.

This step is very important to avoid killing the crawfish.

Step #3: Regulate The Crawfish Temperature

regulate the temperature

Use the thermometer to confirm and regulate the temperature of the cooler at any given time. 

You need to make sure that the temperature is kept at 36°F to 46°F. That is the optimal temperature for storing your crawfish. 

The cooler lid must have an opening to let in air. There must be a crack for air circulation to avoid suffocation among the crawfish.

If you keep to these instructions, I can assure you that your crawfish will last a full night long or even extend their lives up to three nights altogether. 

But I advise you to cook your crawfish as soon as possible.

This is because the quality of the meat reduces the longer it stays alive outside of the sea without being cooked.

Tip: Make sure the cooler is not placed directly under sunlight. You want to ensure that the environment in which the cooler is placed is as cool as possible.

Best Way To Keep Crawfish Alive Overnight

keep crawfish alive

The best way to keep crawfish alive overnight is to use a cooler filled with ice packs with a drain.

This method has proven to be the best by people that have used it and also because it is cheap and very efficient. 

You can even use this method if you want to extend the period for up to 5 days.

You only need to change the sack containing the crawfish and refill the ice every now and then. 

Tip: You can spray fresh water on your crawfish with your spray bottle every now and then to ensure they stay fresh. 


Do you now understand how to store live crawfish overnight? 

In this article, I have highlighted the best methods to keep crawfish alive overnight.

It is not advised to cook a dead crawfish because of food poisoning, so you have to take extra measures to make sure that your crawfish is cooked alive. 

I have written the procedures that you would follow step by step to preserve it overnight.

Try this out and let me know what you think!