Can You Freeze Live Crabs? Here’s Why You Shouldn’t

Can You Freeze Live Crabs

Live crabs, when eaten in their pure form, serve to be a delicious meal. But you sure do not want to get yourself spoiled food after catching a ton of live crabs. So, it is essential you immediately prepare for its preservation. But, which technique goes well along with storage and whether can you freeze Live Crabs.

Freezing live crabs is a Bad Idea. It’s because freezing live crabs need proper handling as the temperature below 32°F spoils them. There are higher chances of getting crabs rotten because of bacterial growth and undigested food inside the crab. So, cook and clean them properly by boiling and steaming them before freezing. 

If you are thinking of storing crabs for a long time, the best way is to freeze them. Proper handling and storage will increase their shelf-life span without tempering their flavor and consistency.

Is It Safe To Freeze Live Crabs?

Crabs cannot survive in the chilly temperatures. Some species of crabs can stay alive in the natural freezing environment, but they cannot bear the freezer temperature for a long time.

The ice-cold and dry temperature will freeze the moisture in their gills and will cause suffocation. Freezing live crabs guarantees the highest possible risk of meat going bad and lowering its quality. While crabs are seafood, that’s why they are full of bacterial and algae components.

Therefore, freezing live crabs is safe when you carry out the essential steps of cooking and boiling to kill the bacteria present inside. So, either you can freeze crab meat or put the whole crab in a shell but ensure you get the cleaning done well.

Most importantly, Freeze the crab meat in proportions in separate freezer bags for safer handling inside the freezer. Freezing live crab or the crab meat in an airtight container or freezer bag helps preserve it for a long time.

How Can You Freeze Live Crabs?

How Can You Freeze Live Crabs

There are different ways to freeze live crabs. But they are super easy to freeze when followed in the right direction as follows:

When Freezing Live Crabs with a shell on: Set forth with plastic wrapping the live crabs in the plastic shell and place them in the freeze for about 90 minutes as it is preferable to cook it immediately. You can freeze Hard-shell crabs both Alive and whole or clean and cooked.

When freezing soft shell crabs, ensure you keep them alive while cleaning and freeze the raw as a whole crab. Or cook them in boiling spices for 15 to 20 minutes and then either clean and freeze the raw crabs or freeze as a whole for later meal preps.

When freezing without shell, go along using the following steps:

  • First, pull the legs off and break the joints of the live crab.
  • Now, remove the meat carefully from the body and claws by breaking open it with the help of a mallet. It is essential to avoid the puncturing of the freezer bag and get safe from freezer burns.
  • Next, rinse the crab meat under cold water and dry it using a kitchen towel.
  • The last step involves flash freezing and putting the crab meat in the vacuum seal freezer packaging.

When Freezing cooked crab: Clean and then boil/steam them for ten to twenty minutes to kill all the germs and bacteria inside them.

Cool them down at room temperature. And follow the flash-freezing process leading to its packaging in a heavy-duty freezer bag.

For freezing live crab’s claws and pods, ensure to place them in a sanitized half-gallon carton filled with 1-inch tap water, cover the lid tightly and freeze them.

You can also freeze live crab in meals like soup or any other dish as it freezes well when being added to other forms of meals.

How Long Can You Freeze Live Crabs?

You can freeze live crabs for about two hours at a suitable temperature as above 50 degrees Fahrenheit will kill the crabs.

That’s why Live crabs need a dark, cool and moist environment to survive.

But a frozen live crab, when cleaned and steamed using proper directions, maintains its best quality for two to three months.

Freezing fresh crabs constantly at 0° F extends its shelf life, and frozen crab in its shell stays in the freezer for a longer duration.

At the last step, ensure to label the freezer packaging for frozen live crab with the date until it is best to use and serve it before its expiration.


To sum up, Freezing live crabs consist of simple steps but require sharp handling during cleaning and boiling. Frozen crab meat adds to various dishes or can serve as a single dish. So, either steam or grill them with dips, salads, and soups.

Moreover, Crabs’ legs have their delicacy and can also be frozen, but the whole crab served to the guests makes any event a spectacle.

For freezing live crabs for a long time, ensure to separate the legs as they can cause the tearing of the freezer bag causing water retention and formation of ice-crystal spoiling the crabs.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you store live crabs in the fridge?

Yes, if you are storing the crabs for a short time, put them in an open container. This method will keep them fresh for a week after opening. The live crabs go for hibernation for a short period while being stored in the fridge.

How can you tell if crab meat is spoiled?

A spoiled crab has a sign of stickiness, smells like ammonia, and turns yellowish. It is better to use crab meat within four to five days after purchasing it.

Does Putting crabs on ice kill them?

It is safe to put crabs on top of the ice for up to 48 hours. For this purpose, make layers of ice packs at the bottom of the cooler and keep them away from the melted ice. In standing water and temperature cooler than 50 ° F, crabs get suffocated, eventually getting killed.

Recommended Readings:

Can You Freeze Canned Crab Meat

Can You Freeze Cooked Shrimp


Tauseeq is the principal creator of He loves cooking and wants to help others overcome kitchen challenges through practical advice and solutions.

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