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How To Boil Crawfish

How To Boil Crawfish

With the rise of seafood boils, it is no wonder that crawfish has become a popular food. 

Whether you are making grilled crawfish or a crawfish boil, it is important to know what a crawfish is and how to prepare it.

What Is Crawfish?

Crawfish, also known as crayfish or crawdads, are a variety of freshwater crustaceans or shellfish.

The appearance of crawfish resembles miniature lobsters with two mini claws.

Crawfish can be wild or farm-raised and live in muddy swamps or environments with freshwater ponds.

How Long To Boil Crawfish?

The cooking time of crawfish depends on whether you are cooking live or frozen crawfish.

Live crawfish cooked in a lidded pot of boiling water takes about 3-4 minutes to cook.

In addition to this, the appearance of the crawfish shells will turn a red color.

On the other hand, frozen crawfish is a different story. Thaw your crawfish before boiling it.

Frozen crawfish only takes 1 minute to cook since it is already cooked.

What Do I Need To Boil Crawfish?

Whether you are cooking a ranch steak, bottom round roast, or crawfish, you must prepare your materials.

Make sure you have all of these steps you must take before you turn the stove on and boil your crawfish.


If you are using live crawfish, purchase it right before you intend to boil it for the best results.

When handled correctly, crawfish have a shelf life of 24 hours.

However, they can spoil quickly if they are not stored properly.

Because you do not have the exact timeline of when they were harvested, crawfished should be cooked as soon as possible.

The key to keeping crawfish alive is keeping them in a cool, moist environment.

Crawfish need oxygen, do not place them into an airtight container with the lid closed.

If you place your live crawfish in a cooler, sprinkle them with water, and partially place the lid on the container.

If you intend to store your live crawfish in a cooler for a couple of hours, place a bag of ice into the crawfish cooler.

Hot Tip
The perfect temperature to hold live crawfish at a temperature that ranges between 42-45°F. Therefore, the fridge is not the ideal storage environment for crawfish since it is set at 40°F or lower. Remember, crawfish shells are delicate, so do not drop them on the ground.

Purchase Enough Crawfish

Crawfish is a hot commodity. There’s nothing worse than running out of crawfish mid-dinner.

Purchase at least 3-5 pounds of crawfish for each person.


When boiling crawfish, you need a pot that holds at 2 quarts of water for every pound of crawfish.

In addition, you must ensure your gas or propane burner is large enough to support the pot you are boiling crawfish in.

Clean Your Crawfish

Crawfish is also known as a mudbug. This is not just a nickname; crawfish live in a muddy environment.

Clean your crawfish thoroughly in fresh cool water. You can use an ice chest and an outside hose to clean your crawfish in.


The term boil refers to the spices used to season the crawfish. There are many boil seasonings available on the market.

You can choose whichever seasoning you like from lemon pepper to old bay to Cajun and Louisiana crawfish.

How To Boil Crawfish

Even though it can seem complicated and overwhelming, boiling crawfish is relatively easy.

Fill a deep pot with 8-10 cups of water or fill it at least halfway full with water so that it covers the crawfish.

A deep tall soup pot or a dutch oven works perfectly. Add a bag of boil and stir to combine.

Turn the stove or propane gas burner on and wait until the water starts boiling.

When the water for the crawfish boil reaches a rapid boil, carefully lower the crawfish into the water and add the lid to the pot and allow them to cook for 3 minutes. 

Do not overcook your crawfish; the meat will be mushy and fall apart.

If you are worried about the short cooking time of the crawfish, it will continue to cook once it has been taken out of the boiling water.

For even more flavor, you can add more seasoning boil to the crawfish after it is cooked.

Simply place a layer of the seasoning boil into an ice chest, add the crawfish and sprinkle a little more seasoning on top.

Seal your ice chest and shake it to ensure the crawfish is thoroughly coated in the delicious seasoning.

Keep in mind that you will want to use 15 pounds of crawfish for every pound of boil seasoning.

Allow your ice chest to remain closed for 15 minutes to allow the flavors to intensify, then plate your crawfish and serve.

How To Feed Crawfish

Since we are talking about boiling crawfish, it only seems right to talk about eating crawfish. Eating crawfish is not as simple as eating a pulled pork sandwich.

You must peel the crawfish before eating it.

Detach the head of the crawfish by pulling on it, then remove the shell from the tail.

Remember to start peeling the shell from the furthest end away from the tail.

Peeling the crawfish on the side of the shell will expose the tender, juicy meat.

Once you’ve pulled the tail out of the shell, all that’s left to do is enjoy your crawfish.

Though many people believe the tail is the best part of the crawfish. The head contains a delicious treasure that’s relatively overlooked.

The yellow liver housed in the crawfish’s head is creamy and tasty. It has often been compared to the flavor of sea urchin.

Furthermore, you can also eat the crawfish’s claws.

However, that is only if the claws are big enough. You do not need a tool to crack the claws; you can simply bite into it with your teeth and remove the shells.

Final Thoughts

Knowing how to boil crawfish is very important. No one wants to end up with overcooked, mushy crawfish; it ruins the crawfish experience.

The best way to serve crawfish is on parchment paper and use your to eat it.