How to Eat Crawfish: A Complete Guide


Greetings seafood lovers! Are you ready to dive into the world of crawfish? Crawfish, also known as crayfish or crawdads, are freshwater crustaceans that are popular in Southern cuisine. These little creatures are packed with flavor and are a delicacy worth trying at least once in your lifetime. However, for those who have never eaten crawfish before, it can be a daunting task. Don’t worry; this article is here to guide you through everything you need to know about how to eat crawfish.

Before we dive into the details, let’s get to know these little guys better. Crawfish are similar to lobsters but much smaller. They typically range from 3-6 inches in length and can be found in rivers, lakes, and streams. Crawfish are not just delicious, but also have incredible nutritional value. They are low in calories and high in protein, making them an excellent option for those who want to maintain a healthy diet.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about how to eat crawfish. From the best way to cook them to the proper way to peel them, we’ve got you covered. So, let’s get cracking!

How to Cook Crawfish

Before we can discuss how to eat crawfish, let’s first talk about how to cook them. There are various ways to cook crawfish, but the most popular method is boiling. Here’s how to do it:

Ingredients Amount
Crawfish 10-15 lbs
Corn on the Cob 6-8 ears
Potatoes 6-8
Onions 4-6
Garlic 1 bulb
Lemon 2-3
Spices As per taste


Step 1:

Fill a large pot with water and bring it to a boil.

Step 2:

Add the garlic, onions, lemons, and spices to the water and let it simmer for about 10 minutes.

Step 3:

Add the potatoes and corn on the cob to the pot and let it simmer for about 10 minutes.

Step 4:

Add the crawfish to the pot and let it simmer for about 10-15 minutes, or until the crawfish turn bright red.

Step 5:

Remove the pot from the heat and let the crawfish sit in the water for about 5 minutes.

Step 6:

Drain the water and serve the crawfish with the potatoes and corn on the cob.

Now that we know how to cook crawfish, let’s move on to the next step.

How to Peel Crawfish

Peeling crawfish can be intimidating, especially for first-timers. But, with a little practice, you’ll be peeling crawfish like a pro in no time. Here’s how to do it:

Step 1:

Hold the crawfish with one hand and twist the tail off with the other hand.

Step 2:

Remove the first two sections of the shell from the tail.

Step 3:

Pinch the end of the tail and gently pull the meat out through the opening.

Step 4:

Remove the head from the body by pulling it away from the crawfish.

Step 5:

Use your fingers to remove the meat from the claws and legs.

Easy, right? Now that you know how to cook and peel crawfish, let’s move on to some frequently asked questions about this delicious seafood.


1. What is the best time of year to eat crawfish?

The best time of year to eat crawfish is from late winter to early summer, when crawfish are in season and at their freshest.

2. Can I eat the crawfish head?

It is safe to eat the crawfish head, but many people prefer to discard it because it is filled with the crawfish’s body juices and tamale (the yellowish-green substance in the head).

3. How do I know if the crawfish is cooked?

A cooked crawfish will turn bright red and the meat will be white, opaque, and firm. If it is undercooked, the meat will be translucent and greyish in color.

4. How long can I keep crawfish in the fridge?

You can keep crawfish in the fridge for up to 2 days, but it is best to consume them within 24 hours of cooking for optimal freshness.

5. Can I freeze crawfish?

Yes, you can freeze cooked crawfish for up to 6 months in an airtight container. However, the texture may change, so it’s best to consume them within 3 months for optimal taste.

6. How do I pick the best crawfish?

Pick crawfish that have a hard shell, are lively, and have a slight fishy smell. Avoid buying crawfish that have a soft shell, are sluggish, or have a strong fishy smell.

7. How do I remove the vein from the crawfish?

The vein, also known as the sand vein, is located on the back of the crawfish. Use a sharp knife to make a shallow cut down the back of the crawfish, then use your fingers to remove the vein. Rinse the crawfish under cold water to ensure it is clean.

8. Can I eat crawfish during pregnancy?

Yes, you can eat crawfish during pregnancy, but make sure it is fully cooked. Avoid eating raw or undercooked seafood during pregnancy.

9. What can I do with leftover crawfish?

You can use leftover crawfish to make crawfish etouffee, crawfish pie, or crawfish dip. The possibilities are endless!

10. Can I eat the yellow stuff in the crawfish?

The yellow stuff in the crawfish, also known as tamale, is a delicacy that is safe to eat. It is filled with the crawfish’s body juices and is often used to flavor dishes like crawfish bisque.

11. What do I do with the crawfish head after I’ve eaten the meat?

You can discard the head or use it to make seafood stock.

12. How many crawfish should I order per person?

Plan on ordering about 2-3 pounds of crawfish per person if you’re having a crawfish boil. If you’re serving crawfish as an appetizer or side dish, plan on 6-8 crawfish per person.

13. What beers pair well with crawfish?

Beers that pair well with crawfish include light lagers, pilsners, and pale ales. Some popular brands include Abita, Dixie, and Bayou Teche Brewing.


Now that you know everything there is to know about how to eat crawfish, it’s time to put your knowledge to the test. Try cooking up a batch of crawfish at your next gathering or visit a local seafood restaurant to give them a try. Don’t be intimidated by the process; with a little practice, you’ll be peeling crawfish like a pro in no time. Remember, crawfish are not only delicious but also packed with nutritional value, making them an excellent addition to any diet.

So what are you waiting for? Get cracking!

Closing Disclaimer

The information provided in this article is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace professional medical advice. Please consult your doctor or licensed healthcare provider before consuming any new foods, especially if you have any food allergies or medical conditions.

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