How Long Does Crab Last In The Fridge - Good Recipe Ideas (2023)

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Wondering how long does crab last in the fridge? Perhaps you bought it in bulk on sale and you’re worried if it will go bad just sitting in the fridge.

How Long Does Crab Last In The Fridge - Good Recipe Ideas (1)

Well, the good news is that crab, if stored properly, can last you for a long time, up to 3-5 days. But there are a few things you should know about before sticking your crab (fresh, cooked, seamed) in the fridge like where to put it and for how long.

So, how long does crab last in the fridge, how to store it properly and how to tell if it goes bad. Let’s find out!

Contents hide

1How long does crab meat last in the fridge?

1.1How long does cooked crab last in the fridge?

1.2How long can you keep uncooked crab in the fridge?

1.3How long does crab last in the fridge after it has been steamed?

2How to store crab

2.1Refrigerating Crab Meat

2.2How to Store Live Crabs

2.3Can you freeze crab meat?

2.3.1Can you freeze cooked crab? Tips for doing it right!

3Can you freeze crab legs?

3.1How long can crab legs stay in the freezer?

4How Long is Crab Good for: How to tell when it has gone bad




4.4Expiration Date

5Can bad crab give you food poisoning?

6Conclusion: How Long Does Crab Last?

How long does crab meat last in the fridge?

The lifecycle of crab in the fridge depends upon how it's stored. You can either store crab meat steamed, cooked, or uncooked. Let's see how long each type can stay usable inside the fridge.

How long does cooked crab last in the fridge?

To make your cooked crab last long, refrigerate it within 2 hours of cooking. If you store it properly in airtight containers and aluminum or plastic foils, it stays usable for 3-5 days. It does stay usable beyond this time limit, too, if you keep the temperature at 0°c, but the quality doesn't stay the same.

How long can you keep uncooked crab in the fridge?

The fridge life of uncooked, raw crab meat depends upon different factors such as expiration date, preparation, and storage method. You can store raw crab in the fridge for 3-5 days, and it must be kept in its original packaging. If you keep it in the refrigerator for more than five days, it will likely get too dry.

Try not to use crab meat if you've stored it for over five days, and clean the shelf to avoid food poisoning. However, frozen crab meat can last much longer in the fridge than the fresh crab meat from the seafood shop. You can keep it in your freezer for 3 to 6 months starting from the "sell by" date.

How long does crab last in the fridge after it has been steamed?

Let's talk about steamed crab, another delicious delicacy that many enjoy. If you plan to consume steamed crab within the next three days, you can refrigerate it easily. Some people store it for 6 to 7 days, but it might go stale and smell like ammonia by then.

The best way of ensuring it stays edible for the next seven days in the fridge is to clean it properly. Remove its gut and gills and only store its meat and shell.

How long can crab legs stay in the fridge?

You can refrigerate crab legs for 3-5 days before they become rancid. If your crab legs weren't on the ice, you should only refrigerate them for a few days.

If you've leftover crab legs, refrigerating them is a good option. You can maximize the life of crab legs by cooling them after cooking as quickly as possible. To refrigerate them properly, you need to store them in airtight plastic containers or freezer bags.

Storing crab legs after steaming seems to be the best choice, as it allows you to reheat them whenever you want without losing the taste. Also, ensure that you cook crab legs right after defrosting them.

How Long Does Crab Last In The Fridge - Good Recipe Ideas (2)

How to store crab

The good news is that crab, if stored properly, can stay good for a long time. Here’s a few basic methods of storing your crab so it doesn't go bad anytime soon.

Refrigerating Crab Meat

The most important thing to keep in mind while storing crabs is that they should be moist, not wet. If you plan to eat them within 2 to 3 days, just refrigerate them. However, freezing is the right choice if you want to keep them for a longer period.

Moreover, you can extend the lifetime of crab to 18 months through pasteurization. Once you have opened the can, it can be used within a week, given it's kept in a refrigerator.

How to Store Live Crabs

Low temperatures can kill live crabs, so freezing them isn't a good option. The ideal temperature for storing fresh, live crabs is 50 degrees F/ 10°C. If you want to keep live crabs longer, you must feed them regularly with small fish and create the right conditions for their survival.

The right freezing temperature for crab is 14 degrees F/-18°C, at which it stays fresh for about three months. After that, however, it starts getting stale and doesn't taste as good.

Can you freeze crab meat?

The short answer to this question is yes; you can freeze crab meat. However, make sure you know the right techniques and the possible caveats before you go down this route. For instance, if the crab shell is intact, you should store it just like that.

Crab shells are an excellent, natural way of protecting crab meat from degradation. Shells can ensure crab meat is preserved for days instead of hours. Usually, the frozen crab can keep its taste intact for about six months. After that, it might not retain its original taste.

Remember that freezing crab meat might change its texture slightly because freezing makes it dry. Vacuum-sealing crab meat is the best way of keeping its freshness and taste intact.

Can you freeze cooked crab? Tips for doing it right!

  • The best way to store crab is to cook it whole. Once it's cooked, put it under cold water to bring its temperature down to room temperature.
  • Dry the cooked crab by placing it on a towel.
  • Remove the claws and pointed ends to not damage the freezing bag. Similarly, get rid of the stomach, gills, and mouth too.
  • Put the whole crab in a heavy-duty freezer bag after wrapping it in a plastic wrap to stay fresh inside the refrigerator.
  • A vacuum sealer also works really well.
  • In the end, seal the freezer bag by wrapping in heavy-duty aluminum foil around it and putting it inside your freezer as soon as possible. This helps to prevent freezer burn.

Can you freeze crab legs?

Crab legs do not usually go bad after you freeze them. However, they can lose their taste and texture depending upon how long you keep them in the freezer.

How long can crab legs stay in the freezer?

You can freeze them for about 3 to 6 months without any issues, but try to eat crab legs as soon as possible.

You can extend this period to even 12 months, but they might lose their taste and texture. So, 3 to 6 months is the recommended time limit for freezing crab legs. Moreover, to ensure that they stay fresh, store crab legs in airtight packaging.

How Long is Crab Good for: How to tell when it has gone bad

Trust me, the last thing you want is to get sick from eating bad crab. Fortunately, you can easily tell whether crab meat is safe through its smell, color, appearance etc. Here is how you can ascertain whether your crab meat has gone bad:


The first way to tell spoiled crab meat apart from edible crab meat is by smelling it. Fresh crab meat doesn't give off any smell or gives a slightly sweet odor. On the other hand, if crab meat gives off a fishy or sour smell, it has most probably gone stale, and you should avoid it.


Touching crab meat can also help you decide whether you should use particular crab meat or not. Touch and rub your fingers on the flesh, and if you find it wet or feel it has mucus, and slimy texture, it's probably bad crab meat.


The appearance of crab meat can also act as a clue towards its freshness or staleness. Fresh crab meat is pure white, and the shell is bright red. Therefore, if you detect any other color on the flesh or shell, you better avoid it.

Expiration Date

Processed or canned crab meat has an expiry date printed on its packaging. If the packaging doesn't have an expiry date, it's a red flag, and you shouldn’t buy it. On the other hand, you can consume it if the expiry deadline hasn't been breached.

Can bad crab give you food poisoning?

Yes, eating bad crab can cause food poisoning, which can be hazardous for you. Eating rotten crab means you're putting toxins inside your body that can result in several health problems. Food poisoning is usually caused by Staphylococcus, a bacteria that grows in spoiled meat.

If you consume rotten crab, the pathogen will enter your body, and you will develop symptoms of food poisoning within hours. Similarly, another bacteria called Vibrio parahaemolyticus is specifically found in undercooked or stale shellfish and crabs.

After eating bad crab, the usual complications you face are dizziness, headaches, motor weakness, etc. Extreme cases can cause memory loss, coma, and even death. Usually, food poisoning from bad crab lasts from a few hours to around three days.

Conclusion: How Long Does Crab Last?

There isn't anything such as too much food safety, and the more cautious you are, the better. If you cannot eat your crab right away, refrigerating or freezing it is the best choice.

If you plan to store crab meat for longer durations, make sure you freeze or refrigerate it properly. Eating rotten crab meat can have serious health implications, so always follow the right storing techniques.


How long will crab stay good in the refrigerator? ›

Fresh crab meat will keep 3-5 days in the refrigerator. The best way to store it is by surrounding the crab meat with ice. Clear out the vegetable or meat keeper in the refrigerator and store the crab meat in it with lots of ice. Steamed crabs may be kept in the refrigerator for 5-7 days.

How long can you eat leftover crab? ›

If stored correctly, the cooked crab can stay in the fridge for three to five days without incident. Tip: Try and find a place in the back of the refrigerator where the temperature is coldest. The temperature will be more controlled and less likely to fluctuate—ensuring that you have fresh leftovers.

How do you store crab in the fridge? ›

Crab Legs and Claws: If you have purchased crab legs or claws, it's best to keep them in the refrigerator until you're ready to consume them. Place them in a covered container or wrap them tightly in plastic wrap to prevent them from drying out. Consume them within a day or two for the best taste and texture.

How long does an open can of crab meat last in the refrigerator? ›

How long will crabmeat last in the refrigerator? Fresh crabmeat, and pasteurized crabmeat once it is opened (all crabmeat should be packed in ice at all times) will have a shelf life of approximately 3 to 4 days.

Can you eat cooked crab after 5 days? ›

Cooked crab meat tends to go bad very quickly if it isn't stored correctly. Uncooked crab meat should be used within three to four days of purchase. Then once it is cooked, it will last another three to five days in the refrigerator when properly stored.

How do you know when crab is spoiled? ›

Fresh crab meat should not have any strong odors. In fact, it usually doesn't smell of much, except for a mild sweet odor. If you notice the meat having a sour, rotting, or bitter smell, this is an indication that the crab meat has gone bad, and is not fit for consumption.

Can I eat leftover crab? ›

All seafood leftovers should be consumed soon after the original meal, as they will spoil after only a few short days in the fridge. They will taste best when consumed early. You'll learn the best recipes for leftover crab legs and even more specifically leftover king crab recipes.

Can you eat leftover cooked crab? ›

Leftover crab legs are safe to eat as long as they've been stored properly. Can crab legs give you food poisoning? If they're not cooked properly, crab legs can give you food poisoning.

Can you save and reheat crab? ›

Don't let leftover crab legs go to waste! Reheated crab legs can be just as mouthwateringly delicious as freshly cooked crab. The trick to warming crab legs is to use a method that won't dry out the meat.

Can you save crab for later? ›

Live blue crabs can be kept on ice for up to 24 hours. Soft shell crabs, which are a delicacy, have a short shelf life. Soft crabs should be consumed within 24 hours of purchase. Cooked crab can be stored for up to 3 days on ice or in the refrigerator.

Do you have to clean crab right after boiling? ›

Remove your crab from the pot, and rinse under cool water in the sink. This will stop the cooking process, cool down the shell enough for you to handle, and rinse off any icky crab guts that may have oozed out during cooking.

How long do soft shell crabs last in the refrigerator? ›

If you decide to buy live softies, keep them alive until you're ready to cook them. They can only survive in a refrigerator for 1-2 days at most. We recommend you buy them live the day you will cook them.

How long can uncooked crab legs stay in the fridge? ›

The best way to store crab legs is in the refrigerator. As with any other meat, the longer they spend in the fridge, the more flavor they lose. It's recommended that you use them within three to five days after purchase, but if you have enough space, you can keep them for up to seven.

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