how to tell if frozen crawfish is bad

Understanding how to tell if frozen crawfish is bad would help you better when properly storing and preserving frozen foods.

We all have gotten into that situation where we buy more food than we actually need and end up storing it for another day. 

Simply putting crawfish in the freezer is not enough to guarantee its safety as it can easily go bad if done improperly.

In this article, we cover everything you need to know about storing crawfish, so do read on.

The major way of telling if frozen crawfish has gone bad is through appearance. Other factors like smell and texture can also be used.

Can You Store Crawfish In The Freezer?

store crawfish in freezer

Storing crawfish in the freezer is a little bit unorthodox as most people might argue that these crustaceans shouldn’t be exposed to such low-temperature levels. 

Well, the truth is crawfish can indeed be stored in the freezer. They can be frozen and still retain their texture and taste, but it has to be done the right way. 

Simply placing crawfish in the freezer could lead to it spoiling, especially if stored in a pile.

Dead crawfish could further affect the quality of the good crawfish regardless of whether it has been frozen. 

The best way to store crawfish in the freezer would be only after they have been boiled, to have their tails removed and stored in separate bags.

We’ll go into much more detail later. 

Note: Aside from being stored in the freezer, there are other options for storing crawfish, the refrigerator is one, and another is storing them in a cooler.

How Long Can Frozen Crawfish Last?

frozen crawfish last

Now that you know crawfish can be stored in the freezer, the next is how long can crawfish last while being frozen. 

If done the right way, crayfish stored in the freezer under the right temperature can last for up to 6 months without going bad. 

With that being said, it is very important to your health that you know how to tell if crawfish have gone bad.

Not only does this save you the stress of eating spoiled fish, but it also keeps other items in your freezer safe if you can properly detect bad crawfish. 

How To Tell If Frozen Crawfish Is Bad

The process of detecting spoiled crawfish can be done with ease, and it can be done in 4 ways.

how to tell crawfish bad

These are:

The Appearance Of The Crawfish

As we have stated earlier, crawfish, irrespective of the fact that it has been kept in the freezer, can still go bad.

And one of the easiest ways of noting this can be through the appearance of the crawfish. 

Ideally, the color of a crawfish shell should be a bit brown with green or sandy red. So it can be so easy to notice a bad crawfish as it would feature an odd color. 

Seeing a gray-colored crawfish is a sure sign that it has gone bad, if it features dark blue hues.

You should take them out of the freezer immediately, as they can easily affect other food items stored in the freezer. 

crawfish appearance
Note: Some might argue that frozen crawfish with straight tails are spoiled. But this is untrue, as there are lots of factors that can lead to crawfish having straight tails. 

The Expiry Date

For most store-bought or packaged crawfish products, there usually is an indication of the crawfish expiry date located on the packaging of the crawfish.

This is a simple yet great way to tell if frozen crawfish has gone bad, as the date tells you when the crawfish might lose its desired texture and appearance. 

However, this is only true for packaged crawfish purchased in a store.

Raw or fresh crawfish that might be gotten straight from a fisher’s market may not always come with such packages or dates. 

raw seafood expiry date

It is highly recommended by the FDA that you purchase and make use of packaged or processed crawfish before the expiry date. 

Tip: Call the attention of the store manager or any staff if you notice that they sell expired crawfish in their store. 

The Smell Of The Crawfish

Smell is a very strong method of how to tell if crawfish is bad. 

Although the fact that it is frozen might make you notice the smell a bit hard, it does, however, become easy if you pay close attention.

Always check for an overly fishy smell or odor when dealing with frozen Crawfish. The smell can be quite different from fresh crawfish. 

crawfish smell

The smell majorly resembles that of bleach or ammonia, it is rotten and generally unappealing.

Toss it away in the trash can and do not taste it to confirm, as you might be risking food poisoning.

The Texture Of The Crawfish

The final method of telling if a crawfish has gone bad would be by feeling the crawfish and telling its texture of it. This would need some basic attention. 

Fresh or good crawfish does present a good, firm texture which isn’t really affected by the fact that it is frozen. 

Spoiled or bad crawfish is rather the opposite as it has a squishy texture and is quite soft when felt. It should also be slimy and a bit smooth.

check texture of crawfish

If you notice all these, please ensure you discard the crawfish immediately. 

The Proper Way To Store Crawfish In The Freezer

Now that we know how to detect spoiled frozen crawfish, we have to figure out how to properly store crawfish in the freezer to avoid them going bad.

Follow the steps listed below to get this done. 

Required Materials

  • Large pot
  • Salt 
  • Crawfish 
  • Freezer bags 
  • Coriander
  • Bucket filled with water
  • Ice Cubes
proper way storing crawfish

Step #1. Soak The Crawfish in Water

The first step to properly storing crawfish in the water is by placing them in a bucket filled with cold water for some time. 

You can add the ice cubes to make the water colder and then leave them in there for at least 2 hours.

Step #2. Add Salt And Stir

After the 2 hours have elapsed, you can add salt into the bucket with fresh crawfish and stir the mix for a maximum of 3 minutes, then leave. 

Note: You can repeat the first two steps twice to get your Crawfish ready for the freezer. But drain the water first. 

Step #3. Parboil The Crawfish

parboil the crawfish

With the crawfish properly drained and kept. Pour some water into a large pot and boil it for some time. 

Once properly boiled, add the crawfish to the pot and boil for at least 5 more minutes and then drain.

Once done, twist the parboiled crawfish with a colander and then wash them with clean water. 

Step #4. Remove The Shells

Be cautious when doing this. Twist off the crawfish with your hands (after washing them) and dispose of the removed crawfish shells. 

Once done, collect the fresh crawfish and place them in a bowl for some time.

Step #5. Place Them In Air-tight Bags

airtight bags and freeze

Get your air-tight ziplock freezer bags and place the crawfish inside them and seal them off. Always separate the crawfish into tiny portions. 

Check the zip lock bags to be sure they do not have any signs of air in them.

Once done, place them in a portion of the freezer so they do not transfer their smells to other food items in the freezer. 

And that is all. At that constant temperature, they should be good for another 6 months without spoiling.


Keeping your edible crustaceans in the freezer shouldn’t always result in them going bad.

Luckily the content in the article should be well handy when storing crawfish in the freezer and also help in figuring out how to tell if frozen crawfish is bad.

Luckily, that’s all we have for you in this article, it does help to check out our previous articles as we cover a lot, and you would always learn something new.

Always keep learning.