To clean, spread crayfish out on the counter and remove any dead ones. Put the rest in a
colander and spray with cold water to remove any sand or silt.
To remove the crayfish’s sand vein, boil briefly. When cool enough to handle, turn
the crayfish stomach up, firmly grasp and twist the tail until it cracks, then gently pull out
To boil live crayfish, fill a large pan with water and flavorings (herbs, spices, and vegetables, such as carrot,
onion, and celery), and bring to a rapid
boil. A few at a time, plunge crayfish into boiling water. Reduce heat and simmer until the
tail meat is opaque, about six to seven minutes. Serve crayfish in their broth.
To eat crayfish, pinch the sides of the tail until you hear them crunch, pull away the
shell, and pick out the meat. For small crayfish, twist off the head and suck the meat out of
Buying and storing tips
The freshest crayfish are alive and frisky. To check, stay well out of their claw range,
grasp them firmly by the sides, and hold them upside down. Live ones will wiggle.
Put live crayfish in a bowl, cover with wet paper towels, and keep in the refrigerator for
no more than 24 hours. Fresh crayfish is best cooked and eaten the same day you buy it, but
will keep safely in the refrigerator for up to two days after it is cooked.
To freeze, wrap crayfish meat carefully in freezer paper or plastic, and over-wrap with a
plastic bag. Store for up to two months. To thaw, unwrap, place in a bowl or pan and cover and
let thaw in refrigerator overnight. To thaw more quickly, wrap crayfish in waterproof plastic
and place in a sink with cool running water, allowing about 30 minutes per pound (454g). For
fastest thawing, place in a shallow microwave-safe bowl, cover and use the defrost cycle of
your microwave allowing three to five minutes per 1/2 pound (227g).
The red swamp crayfish, from the Mississippi delta in Louisiana, is the largest native
species. White river crayfish, from northern Louisiana, and Pacific crayfish from California
and Oregon, are slightly smaller but have a similar taste. Soft-shell crayfish, taken during
the molt, can be eaten shell and all, but don’t eat the two hard stones (gastroliths)
hidden in the head. Wild or farm-raised crayfish are available live or frozen whole, or you
can buy frozen shelled crayfish tail. Soft-shell crayfish are sometimes available.
Crayfish, 3 oz. (84.9g) (cooked, moist heat)
Total Fat: 1.02g
*Excellent source of: Selenium (31.2mcg), and
Vitamin B12 (1.83mcg)
*Foods that are an “excellent source” of a particular
nutrient provide 20% or more of the Recommended Daily Value. Foods that are a “good
source” of a particular nutrient provide between 10 and 20% of the Recommended Daily
The information presented in the Food Guide is for informational purposes
only and was created by a team of US–registered dietitians and food experts. Consult
your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any
supplements, making dietary changes, or before making any changes in prescribed medications.