If you’re a fan (read: diehard lover) of crabs, then you’ve come to the right place!
I love crabs more than I’ve ever loved any other seafood. This is because they have such a unique flavor that tastes oh-so-good with creamy and buttery sauces.
Whether you cook them whole or cook only crab legs, they make an excellent dinner meal. With that said, when I first started cooking crabs, I was a bit confused about whether you’re supposed to cook them before freezing and if you can even freeze cooked crabs.
Now that I’ve learned the right way to go about it, I cook crabs with utmost ease and without any hesitation.
So, can you freeze cooked crab? Read on to find out!
Can You Freeze Cooked Crab?
Yes, you can absolutely freeze cooked crab! When it comes to fresh crabs, cooking before freezing is the recommended way to go.
This is because cooking the crab ensures that you don’t experience seafood poisoning when you eat the defrosted and reheated crab, particularly if you aren’t too keen on cleaning its insides before freezing it.
You can also turn that leftover crab into crab cakes.
How to Freeze Cooked Crab
Even though cooked crab is fairly easy to freeze, you need to think a few things through, such as whether to freeze it in the shell or without it.
Follow these steps to make sure that your frozen crabs maintain the best quality for a long time:
Things You'll Need
- A large pot
- A pair of tongs
- Large colander
- Freezer bags
- Plastic wrap
- Aluminum foil
- The first step is to cook the whole crab before freezing it so that when you store crab in the freezer the meat doesn’t discolor. To cook the crab, fill about 3/4th of a big pot with water and throw in a pinch of salt. Bring the water to a roaring boil and use a pair of tongs to add the fresh crabs into the pot. Cook them for about 25 to 30 minutes.
- Drain the cooked crabs in a large colander and put them under cold running water so that they can cool down to room temperature.
- Put the drained crabs on a towel to dry.
- Use kitchen shears or your fingers to snap off the pointy ends or claws of the crab legs so that they don’t puncture the freezer bag. Pull off the top shell and rinse the inside of the crab with cold water as well. Pull out the stomach and gills and discard them. Make sure to pull off the flap and mouth and discard them as well.
- Either put the entire crab in a heavy-duty freezer bag or break its body in half and rinse it under cold water before freezing it in the shell.
- Alternatively, you can remove the meat from the crab shell by pulling the legs off of the body and breaking them at the joints. Slide the leg meat out with your fingers. Then, use a mallet to break open the body and claws and remove the meat from those areas. Rinse the meat under cold water. Pro Tip: I prefer to store crab meat in its shell in the freezer as the shell acts as a protective covering and prevents the meat from drying out.
- Wrap the crab or crab meat in plastic wrap. Put the wrapped crab in a heavy-duty sealable freezer bag. Use a marker to write the date and the type of crab you’re freezing on the bag. Use a straw to suck the air out of the bag and then seal it.
- Use some aluminum foil to wrap the sealed bag and put it in your freezer right away.
How Long Will Crab Last in the Freezer?
When stored properly, frozen crab meat will maintain its best quality for about 6 months in your freezer. As for cooked crab meat, it will maintain the best quality for about 2 to 3 months.
However, it’ll be safe to eat beyond this point as well. To extend the life of the frozen crab meat, make sure that your freezer is constantly at 0 degrees Fahrenheit.
How to Defrost Crab
If you have bought a pre-cooked whole frozen crab, then you just have to put it in the fridge overnight to defrost it. However, if you’re in a time crunch and need to defrost the crab quickly, then just wrap it in some cling film and put in a large bowl that is full of cold water or put it in your sink and run cold tap water over it. Make sure that you don’t use hot water as that will ruin the crab.
As for defrosting crab legs, just leave them in your fridge for about 12 hours or more until they have completely thawed.
This way, the crab legs will remain at a safe temperature throughout the defrosting process. Alternatively, you can thaw the frozen crab legs by placing them in a colander under running cold water for a few minutes.
Tips on Cooking Frozen Crab
Here are some tips on cooking frozen crab:
Tips and Tricks
Here are some tips and tricks that will help you freeze the crab properly:
- Make sure to store the crab in as much layering as possible to keep moisture from escaping the meat.
- Don’t forget to break apart the point ends of the crab so that they don’t puncture the freezer bag and cause the crabs to develop freezer burn.
- Store the cooked crab in its shell or prepare crab cakes or casseroles, which can easily last in the freezer for about 3 months. If you store the crab meat without its shell, it might lose its tenderness and become too stringy.
- Make sure to cook the whole crab before freezing it and don’t refreeze the crab after thawing it once.
The Bottom Line
I hope this guide has sufficiently helped answer the question, “Can you freeze cooked crab?” Do follow the steps that I’ve mentioned above to freeze cooked crabs for a long time. Make sure to follow the tips and tricks to extend the life of your frozen crab and defrost the crab the right way before eating it, preferably within 2 to 3 months.