Can You Freeze Cooked Crab? (Explained)

If you’re a crab fan (read: diehard lover), you’ve come to the right place!

I adore crabs more than any other type of seafood. This is due to their distinct flavor, which goes especially well with creamy and buttery sauces.

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Can You Freeze Cooked Crab?  Plate of cooked crab
Can You Freeze Cooked Crab?

Our Short Answer, Can You Freeze Cooked Crab?

Yes,  You can freeze cooked crab absolutely in a freezer! When it comes to fresh crabs, it’s best to cook them first before freezing them.  This is because heating the crab prevents sickness from seafood bacteria when you eat the defrosted and reheated crab.  It is especially important if you don’t want to clean the crab’s insides before freezing it.

Read to the end for our tips on on to defrost frozen crab and TIPS ON COOKING FROZEN CRAB.


  • One of the main reasons why many people recommend freezing crab meat is that it spoils quickly. Crabs, in fact, do not keep well at room temperature, and because they are often difficult to obtain, people buy them ahead of time.
  • In comparison to the fridge, v freezer is lighter to maintain a sense of freshness, and it can store meat for an extended period of time. However, please keep in mind that once you’ve thawed your meat, you should never put it back in the freezer for hygienic or health reasons.


Even though cooked crab is relatively simple to freeze, there are a few considerations to make, such as whether to freeze it in or out of the shell.

Follow these steps to ensure that your frozen crabs keep their best quality for as long as possible:

What You’ll Need:

  • Crabs
  • A big pot
  • a set of tongs
  • a big colander
  • Towel
  • Salt
  • Mallet
  • Bags for freezing
  • Wrapping in plastic
  • Straw
  • Foil made of aluminum
  • Marker


Cooked Crab
Cooked Crab

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If the crab shell is still intact, I strongly advise you to keep it that way. Crab shells are highly protective and slow the degradation of the meat in the environment.

Shelled crabs will keep in the fridge for a few days, whereas exposed crab meat will only keep for a femyw hours.

If you want to keep the crab as fresh as possible, follow these steps:

  • Boil/steam all of the crabs in i intend to freeze as if you were going to eat them that day.
  • To stop the cooking process, immerse them in ice water. Then, vacuum seal them in a food-gruΓΌade bag and freeze them.


If the meat has already been extracted from the crab, we must act quickly. I wouldn’t even recommend freezing crab meat that has been in the fridge for a few days.

It’s best to save freezer space for things that will taste good later.

However, if the crab meat is still fresh and you want to keep it that way for as long as possible, follow these steps:

  • Place your crab meat in a food grade, sealed bag (don’t vacuum seal, milk needs room to expand).
  • Pour milk (whole milk is preferred) over the meat until it is completely submerged. Freeze it and eat crab for up to 6 months (maybe longer).
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Why can’t you simply submerge it in water? It’s possible that this is due to milk’s slightly lower freezing point than water, but it’s unlikely.

The freezing point of unprocessed milk is only one degree below that of water (approximately 31Β°F). In any case, the average freezer temperature is much lower.

The most likely explanation is that milk is high in nutrients, both macro and micro.

Milk is already well-saturated with sugars, fats, and minerals, whereas water can absorb or steal the flavor components of crab meat.

These elements’ osmotic effects are likely to be much less pronounced in milk than in water.


Freeze Cooked Crab
Freeze Cooked Crab

Of course, I must admit that there is nothing better than eating fresh crabs right away, as freezing always has a negative impact on the meat’s quality.

Crab meat may lose a significant amount of flavor when frozen, and the texture may also deform, becoming soft and less appealing.

As a result, some people prefer to use high-quality canned crab meat rather than frozen crab meat.

However, by following the steps below and freezing only fresh meat or fresh crabs, you can partially offset these negative effects.

If you do not use a sealable freezer bag, for example, the crab may attract moisture, softening its texture.


It is necessary to mention this here because the topic of cooking and freezing live seafood is frequently discussed among renowned chefs.

The answer is simple and straightforward, and there are no circumstances in which freezing live crabs is recommended.

This is due to two factors: food safety and ethics. Crabs can survive cold temperatures in their natural environment; however, due to a lack of oxygen in the freezer, they will perish after a few hours.

Unwanted bacteria will begin to grow during this process, rendering the crabs unfit for further processing.

Furthermore, the slow process of dying in the absence of oxygen is a form of torture for the animal and thus a cruel way of treating them.


Delicious Whole Crab
Delicious Whole Crab

Frozen crab meat will keep its best quality in your freezer for about 6 months if stored properly. Cooked crab meat will keep its best quality for about 2 to 3 months.

However, you can eat after this point as well. Maintain a constant temperature of 0 degrees Fahrenheit in your freezer to extend the life of the frozen crab meat.


If you purchased a pre-cooked whole frozen crab, simply place it in the refrigerator overnight to defrost.

If you’re in a hurry and need to defrost the crab quickly, wrap it in cling film and place it in a large bowl of cold water, or place it in your sink and run cold tap water over it.

Make sure not to use hot water, as this will ruin the crab. To defrost crab legs, place them in the refrigerator for 12 hours or more, or until completely thawed.

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This ensures that the crab legs stay at a safe temperature throughout the defrosting process. Alternatively, you can thaw the frozen crab legs in a colander under cold running water for a few minutes.


Here are some cooking tips for frozen crab:

  • Wrap defrosted crab in a damp paper towel before microwaving it to keep it soft and juicy.
  • To bake the frozen crab, break it open and season it with salt and pepper before drizzling it with butter. This keeps the crab from drying out. Bake it for about 10 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit in a preheated oven.
  • To boil the thawed crab, place it on a rack in a pot with two cups of simmering water and one tablespoon of vinegar or salt. If the crab is already cooked, reheating it will only take 5 to 10 minutes.
  • As a general rule, check the crab when you can smell it because that’s when it’s done. You’ll never overcook it this way.
  • Crabmeat is best served with melted butter.
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Steam Boil Crab Recipe

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  • Author: Hazel Roddy
  • Prep Time: 2 minutes
  • Cook Time: 3 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: 4 Servings


This is how to cook and freeze a crab to keep its best quality for as long as possible.


  • Crabs
  • A large pot
  • A pair of tongs
  • Large colander
  • Towel
  • Salt
  • Mallet
  • Freezer bags
  • Plastic wrap
  • Straw
  • Aluminum foil
  • Marker


  1. The first step is to cook the whole crab before freezing it so that the meat does not discolor when stored in the freezer. Fill about 3/4 of a large pot with water and add a pinch of salt to cook the crab. Bring the water to a boil and then add the fresh crabs to the pot with tongs. Cook for approximately 25 to 30 minutes.
  2. Drain the cooked crabs in a large colander and rinse them under cold running water to bring them to room temperature.
  3. Drain the crabs and place them on a towel to dry.
  4. Snap off the pointy ends or claws of the crab legs with kitchen shears or your fingers so they don’t puncture the freezer bag. Remove the top shell and rinse the crab inside and out with cold water. Remove and discard the stomach and gills. Make sure to remove the flap and mouth and throw them away as well.
  5. Put the entire crab in a heavy-duty freezer bag, or cut it in half and rinse it under cold water before freezing it in its shell.
  6. You can also remove the meat from the crab shell by pulling the legs away from the body and breaking them at the joints. With your fingers, slide the leg meat out. Then, using a mallet, sever the body and claws and remove the meat from those areas. Cold water should be used to rinse the meat.
  7. Plastic wrap the crab or crab meat. Place the wrapped crab in a heavy-duty freezer bag that can be sealed. On the bag, write the date and the type of crab you’re freezing with a marker. Suck the air out of the bag with a straw before sealing it.
  8. Wrap the sealed bag in aluminum foil and place it in the freezer right away.
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Make sure to layer the crab as much as possible to prevent moisture from escaping the meat.

Don’t forget to separate the crab’s point ends so they don’t puncture the freezer bag and cause the crabs to develop freezer burn.

Cooked crab can be stored in its shell for up to 3 months in the freezer, or it can be made into crab cakes or casseroles.

Cook the entire crab before freezing it, and do not refreeze the crab after thawing it once.

  • Category: Seafood
  • Method: Steam
  • Cuisine: American


  • Calories: 157kcal
  • Sugar: 32g
  • Sodium: 45mg
  • Fat: 12g
  • Carbohydrates: 5g
  • Fiber: 5g
  • Protein: 25g
  • Cholesterol: 112mg

Keywords: Freeze crab, how to freeze crab, freezing crab, crab storing

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you freeze crabs after cooking?

Yes. Crab should be frozen in its shell or in prepared forms such as crab cakes or casseroles for up to three months. Cook the entire crab before freezing it, and never thaw and then refreeze it.

What is the best way to freeze crab?

Prepare a food-grade freezer bag or a vacuum-sealable bag. Wrap your crab meat tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil to prevent freezer burn. Place your crab meat inside the bag, press the air out – or use a vacuum sealer – and seal the bag. The bag should be labeled.

How long does cooked crab meat last in the freezer?Β 

It will keep its best quality for about 2 to 3 months if properly stored, but it will be safe for much longer. The freezer time indicated is only for best quality – cooked crab meat kept constantly frozen at 0Β°F will keep safe indefinitely.

Is it better to freeze crab cooked or raw?

To freeze the whole crab (in the shell), it must first be cooked. To freeze it raw would be to kill it, as we emphasize here. Crab that is dead is BAD crab. You can, however, freeze fresh, uncooked crab (legs/knuckles) if you clean the crab alive first.

Can You Freeze Crab Cakes?

Crab Cakes
Crab Cakes

Crab cakes are a lot of fun. They are a delectable dish that can be used for meals or even appetizers, and they can be prepared in a variety of ways. If you like crab, you’ll probably like crab cakes as well.

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Can You Freeze Steamed Crab?

Can You Freeze Steamed Crab?
Can You Freeze Steamed Crab?

You’re stuck with some leftover crab, and throwing it away seems like a huge waste. Don’t give up just yet. Although freezing crab is a viable option, some precautions should be taken to ensure optimal flavor preservation.

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