How to Tell if Crawfish have gone Bad?

When looking at a crawfish jar, you may want to know how to tell if it’s gone wrong. Crawfish can be troublesome if they’re alive, and you don’t want to waste your money on lousy crawfish! Fortunately, there are ways to tell whether or not crawfish are wrong, and one of them is to check their pooper tubes. One of the easiest ways to know if your crawfish has gone wrong is to look at the texture of the meat. To understand how to tell If Craw fish has gone bad, read ahead.

How to Tell If Craw fish Have Gone Bad?

It should be firm and not mushy because this indicates that the shellfish is full of bacteria and must be cooked immediately. Cooking shellfish after it’s dead will kill off the bacteria in the flesh. Aside from that, it is best to keep them on ice for the first two or three hours after death.

Before you boil crawfish, it’s best to “purge” them first. This will help you to remove some of the swamp gunk. To purge your crawfish, use the kitchen sink and a stopper. Soak the crawfish for two minutes and repeat the process two more times. If you find that one crawfish has gone wrong, it’s time to throw out that crawfish.

How to Tell if Crawfish have gone Bad?

Here are the four different ways to tell whether your crawfish have gone wrong:

1. Best-by and Sell-by Date

  • Checking product dating is the simplest way to detect if your crawfish have gone wrong.
  • The packet of crawdads offered at the store has a best-by and sell-by date.
  • These dates will most likely inform you how long the seafood will taste and feel its best.
  • “Purchase the product before the sell-by date,” advises the FDA.

2. Appearance

Another great way to tell if your crawfish is already wrong is to check its appearance.

  • The shell and meat of a poor crawfish are discolored.
  • The majority of crawfish have a deep moss-green color with a tinge of brown or subdued orange.
  • On the other hand, other types have red, blue, or black colors.
  • Avoid grey crawfish since they are most likely rotten. The uncooked meat is grey, but it will turn bright red when cooked with clean, white meat.
  • Many people assume that once your fried crawfish have straight tails, they are likely dead before reaching the boiling point.
  • However, keep in mind that this is only a theory, and you shouldn’t rely on the straight tail to identify elderly crawdads.

The crowded conditions in the boiling kettle might sometimes prevent the live crawfish’s tail from curling. In other words, not all dead-cooked crawfish have straight tails.

3. Smell

  • Fresh crawfish should have a fresh, seashore aroma that isn’t too fishy, whether whole or tails.
  • If your crawfish has a fishy odor, it’s better to discard it and replace it with a new one.
  • If it smells like ammonia or bleach, throw it out right away because bacteria grow on the seafood.

Pro tip: If a crawfish has an off odor, don’t eat it because it could induce food sickness, which you don’t want.

4. Texture

  • Raw crawfish meat must be firm and not so soft that it crumbles or macerates when pressed.
  • If your crawfish has mushy flesh and a slimy shell, throw it away immediately because it’s already rotten.
  • Remember that a new crawfish’s shell should be rough with smooth areas.


How to Store Crawfish?

Crawfish/crayfish can be purchased live from a fishmonger or in the seafood area of your supermarket or as a cooked and packaged product. Here are some helpful hints for keeping your crawfish in great shape.

Crawfish in the Fridge

How do you keep your crawfish alive and fresh? Then place them in a large, high-sided container with a damp cloth. You can keep them like this for 1-2 days!

Do not cover them with a lid or seal them in! If you’re storing cooked crawfish, keep it in an airtight container and eat it within 3-4 days.

Crawfish Storage in the Freezer

his option is only available if you have already cooked your crawfish, as you should never freeze live crawfish. If you need to freeze some of your crawfish for later use, do so as soon as you get them home – don’t put them in the fridge for 1-2 days first, but get them ready to freeze as soon as possible.

To freeze crawfish, follow these steps:

  • Bring a large pot of water to a roaring boil, and then carefully put the still-alive crawfish into the boiling water.
  • Dead crawfish should be discarded; they are unsafe to cook and eat.
  • Remove the cooked crawfish from the boiling water and dip them into iced water once they have become scarlet.
  • When the crawfish has cooled, store it in freezer-safe, airtight containers, removing as much air as possible before placing it in your freezer. It’s essential to keep track of the day you freeze them, so you don’t store them for too long.

Crawfish Storage on the Countertop

The ambient temperature is unfavorable for raw or cooked crawfish, so don’t store them on the counter. If you must serve them on the counter, keep them as cold as possible (on a bed of ice).

How Long will Crawfish Last in the Refrigerator?

Crawfish that have been freshly cooked and stored in an airtight container can last up to four days in the refrigerator. Crawfish that are alive and kept in the fridge should stay longer than two days, but cooked seafood kept in the freezer can keep up to three months. It may easily survive 3 to 4 days in the refrigerator, and make sure to put it in the fridge within 2 hours of cooking. Also, while storing cooked crawfish, keep them refrigerated in airtight containers.

Keeping your crawfish in the freezer allows you to enjoy them for days, weeks, or even months. However, it’s recommended to cook the crawfish first and then freeze the tail meat within two hours.

Freezing live crawfish is inhumane, and it is strongly advised against it. Cooked crawfish will stay indefinitely at -17 C/0 F. However, it’s preferable to eat them within three months for the most excellent flavor and quality.

What Is the Shelf Life of Crawfish on the Countertop?

This is the worst possible scenario. Crawfish should only be left on the counter for a few minutes before cooking. The ambient room temperature will not help them, and it may even be harmful to the still-living crawfish.

Cooked crawfish should not be left out on counters to decompose since this will speed up the decomposition of the meat. If it needs to be kept out, it should be kept on ice and protected from airborne bacteria and insects.

How to Tell if Crawfish is Bad When Cooked?

While it is acceptable to preserve leftover cooked crawfish (see below for more information), there are a few warning signals to look for before eating them.


After removing the shell and any inedible parts, examine the meat closely. Crawfish meat that seems mealy, such as wet ground almonds, should be avoided. This mealy appearance indicates that the meat’s protein has begun to spoil and should be destroyed.

Crawfish meat has become ‘blue’ in some recipes, such as etouffee or stews, although this is OK to eat. However, it’s OK to toss it out if you’re unsure.


Even if you or your chef utilized a lot of herbs and spices throughout the cooking process, the smell of a crawfish that was dead before the cooking began would not be disguised.

Even with all of the extra spices at the cook’s disposal, crawfish that were dead before being put in the pot will still smell terrible or rotting. Don’t eat the crawfish if it smells ‘odd’ to you.


Is it a little squishy and readily ripped apart, or is it hard to the touch? Even when squeezed, crawfish meat should stay firm and bouncy, but any meat that easily smushes or rips apart with little effort is transparent that the crawfish is no longer safe to consume.


Crawfish flavor has been described as addicting, and anyone who has tried them will attest to this. Crawfish that have gone rotten, on the other hand, will leave a lasting impression. The rotting crawfish will taste nasty, rotten, and utterly awful rather than sweet and juicy with a trace of shellfish.


Crawfish that have just been cooked should be vividly colored, with iridescent scarlet shells and vibrant orange-red legs free of growths.

Crawfish kept in the fridge or elsewhere for an extended period might develop growths and leak liquids when the proteins in the meat break down. Any crawfish, cooked or raw, with any growth or liquid pouring from it should be discarded.


Another critical step in breaking crawfish is to break them in their natural middle. While this may not be as safe as breaking them anywhere else, it is still better than breaking them. If you’re unsure how to break a crawfish, try breaking them in the middle of its natural shell. This will make it much easier to eat the rest. Then, you can add the spice you like to your crawfish boil.

When you buy crawfish, you may want to check if the eyeballs are clear and bright. If they are dull or cloudy, the crawfish has likely gone bad. To buy them live, you should check their eyes and eat them. If they’re dull or cloudy, they’re probably dead. Luckily, most crawfish are sold alive and can be eaten all year round!