How to Reheat Crawfish Via 4 Effective Ways

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Everybody loves crawfish – there’s no denying that fact. But does anyone enjoy cold or leftover crawfish? Probably not. So what’s the best way to reheat crawfish so that they’re as delicious as when they were first cooked?

There is a couple of ways to pull the trick off, and we’ll cover four of them in this article. You can microwave crawfish, steam crawfish, boil crawfish or sauté crawfish. There are pros and cons to each method, so read on to find out how to reheat crawfish like a pro!

I shall also share a few tips on how to store {leftover} crawfish and what to do with leftover crawfish so that you can maximize your enjoyment of these delectable crustaceans.

Helpful Topic

Best Seafood Cook book

Can You Reheat Crawfish? If so, How?

As I mentioned earlier, you can reheat crawfish in several methods, including the unlikely sautéing! Sounds cool? We’ll find out how this works and how to sauté your crawfish to perfection. Trust me, it might turn to be your favorite reheating method.

The method you choose to reheat your crawfish depends on how much time you’ve got, how much seafood you’ve got left, and what equipment/appliance you have in your kitchen. I’ve got the steps for each method below, so read on!

How to Reheat Crawfish Via Microwave

The microwave is the quickest, easiest, and most common way to reheat crawfish. It’s perfect for a small batch of leftover crawfish.

If you’ve got less than 2 pounds of crawfish, follow these steps:


  1. Spread the crawfish out in a Tupperware or microwavable dish.
  2. Add 2-3 tablespoons of unsalted butter, and shake gently to rub the butter over the crawfish.
  3. Cover the dish with a lid, ensuring to leave a small ‘breather’ gap.
  4. Microwave for 2 minutes on medium-high heat, and then shake well to redistribute the butter and crawfish.
  5. Continue microwaving in minute intervals, stirring every minute, until the crawfish are as hot as you want them.

The microwave method is, however, not the most ideal way, as you may have to deal with 2 main problems:

  • Microwave heat can quickly dry out the crawfish, making it chewy.
  • Just like with any seafood, reheating crawfish results in lingering odors that may take a while to clear from the microwave oven. Any foods that you subsequently reheat will possibly absorb the crawfish smells, which unfortunately are not the most pleasant.

Pro tip:

You may choose to microwave smaller batches at a time until you’ve finished all your crawfish. This way, you won’t have to microwave in long splits, which can leave the exposed crawfish badly dehydrated.

How to Reheat Crawfish Via Steaming

If you’ve got more than 2 pounds of crawfish, your best bet is to steam them. Steaming is the easiest way to reheat large amounts of seafood like this, and it prevents the seafood from drying out while preserving the flavor.


  1. Smear the bottom of a large pot with shellfish oil or any ideal leftover spice.
  2. If you don’t have any such spice, whip up your own by blending common spices such as celery seeds, dried oregano, mustard seeds, salt bay leaves, ginger, chives, and flaked red pepper.
  3. Put about an inch of water into the pot and place it over the burner.
  4. When the water reaches a rolling boil, put the crawfish in a steamer basket and lower it into the boiling water without the basket touching the boiling spiced water.
  5. Cover the pot and allow the crawfish to steam for 6-8 minutes, or until they’re heated through.
  6. Remove the crawfish from the pot and serve on a platter.

The steaming method is a little more complicated than microwaving but generally the best way to reheat crawfish.

How to Reheat Crawfish Via Boiling

If you want to boil your crawfish for reheating, that’s easy enough. This way, you are guaranteed that the crustaceans retain their juiciness.


  1. Fill a Dutch oven with water and place it over a burner, allowing it to reach boiling point. You could add blended spices into the water to improve the taste profile of the reheated crawfish.
  2. When the water reaches a vigorous boil, add the crawfish and cover with a
  3. Place the crawfish in the boiling water, and allow them to cook for 5-8 minutes.
  4. Test if the crawfish are cooked through by grabbing one between your fingers.
  5. Drain the crawfish and serve.

The boiling method is a straightforward way to reheat your crawfish, but it can result in them overcooking.

Pro tip: Squeeze a fresh lemon over the boiled crawfish for a zesty kick.

How to Reheat Crawfish Via Sautéing

If your crawfish have been boiled, you can sauté them in olive oil or butter. This is the quickest way to reheat boiled crawfish, although it may overcook the seafood somewhat.


  1. Coat a skillet in olive oil.
  2. Add butter, minced onion, celery, garlic to the pan, and a small amount of crawfish or crab oil to increase the flavor more prominently.
  3. Let the ingredients cook over medium heat for 1 minute or until the oil’s aroma is easily noticeable.
  4. Add the crawfish and sauté for around 5 minutes or until they get a crispy texture on the outside. Flip the crawfish to ensure even absorption of heat and spices.
  5. Transfer the cooked crawfish to a serving platter, and cover for 3 minutes.
  6. Garnish with fresh parsley and serve.

Sautéing the crawfish is an easy way to reheat them, and the flavor profile is more complex than that of microwaving or steaming.

Pro tip: Pay attention to the sautéing crawfish as the direct heat can easily overcook them.

How to Reheat Cooked Crawfish

If you’ve cooked your crawfish, the best method to reheat them is by steaming.

As a recap of what we’ve already discussed, here is how to pull this off quickly and efficiently:


  • A large cooking pot with its lid
  • A pair of tongs
  • A steaming basket
  • Fresh or leftover spices


  1. Smear the bottom of a large pot with shellfish oil or any ideal leftover spice.
  2. Add water into the pot to about an inch high. Ensure the water is not too little as it can dry out midway through steaming. Also, too much water will lead to energy wastage as you heat it up to boiling and maintain it at boiling point.
  3. Turn the stove on high, and cover until it starts boiling.
  4. Add your leftover crawfish to a steaming basket or bowl.
  5. Lower the basket onto the boiling water, ensuring that it’s only suspended over the boiling water and not touching it.
  6. Put the lid on the pot, and wait for it to steam for 5 minutes.
  7. Check if the crawfish are cooked through by peeking with the tongs. If they are, carefully remove the basket from the pot and empty it onto a serving platter. Enjoy.

How to Reheat Precooked Crawfish

If you’ve bought pre-cooked crawfish, the best way to reheat them is by boiling them, taking care not to overcook them in the process.


  • A large pot
  • A steaming or boiling basket
  • 1 tablespoon table salt
  • Food grade paper liners
  • A serving platter


  1. Fill a large pot with water, and dissolvea tablespoon of table salt. Bring it to a boil.
  2. Place the pre-cooked crawfish in a steaming or boiling basket.
  3. Submerge the crawfish in the pot for 2 minutes.
  4. Remove the crawfish with the basket and drain the excess water.
  5. Empty the crawfish on a serving platter lined with paper liners, and enjoy.

If there isn’t a boiling/steaming basket in your kitchen, which is quite likely, you can heat the crawfish directly in the boiling water and then strain with a colander.

How to Reheat Boiled Crawfish

If you’ve boiled your crawfish, the best method to reheat is by steaming them.

As opposed to boiling, steaming ensures no flavors are left dissolved in the boiling water and reduces the chances of overcooking the crawfish.

You can further bring out the natural crawfish flavor by seasoning the pot with leftover spices or the crawfish oil before adding water and boiling.

Reheating boiled crawfish by sautéing may change the original flavor. It’s only advisable to sauté boiled crawfish if you want to change the taste profile. Nevertheless, you run the risk of overcooking the delicacy.

The Best Way to Reheat Crawfish

The most ideal method of reheating crawfish is by steaming them.

As highlighted above, boiling water can easily lead to overcooking the crawfish. Steaming ensures no savory juices are left dissolved in water or reduced and also ensures cooked boil spices are left intact in the crawfish.

How to Tell If Crawfish Has Gone Bad

Several signs are pointing to lousy crawfish. They include:

  • A straight tail

The first sign you should watch for in cooked crawfish is the tail. If it’s still straight, it means the crustacean was dead when it was cooked. Even though rotting doesn’t begin immediately after the crawfish dies, a straight tail is a sign you should not ignore.

  • Floating in the boiling pot

If you notice the crawfish floating in the boiling pot, it’s a sign they were dead before cooking. It’s possible to salvage them by cutting the head off and discarding the body, but under no circumstances should you eat a crawfish that has floated in a boiling pot because you don’t know how long they’ve been dead.

  • Strange color

On cooking, crawfish should turn color to bright red. If they are a dull red or black, it’s a sign that the crayfish have started to go bad.

  • Bad odor

If you notice a pungent odor emanating from the cooked crawfish, it’s another sign they have are rotting.

  • A mealy and mushy texture

If the crawfish has a mealy and mushy texture, it’s a sign you’ve boiled dead crawfish. Crawfish should not easily tear apart when you pinch them.

  • Off flavor

If the crawfish has an off flavor, it’s yet another sign that they are starting to rot. While the flavor and smell should be sea-like, a strong fishy smell and a funny taste point to crawfish that are not good to eat.

If you notice any of the above signs, it’s best to discard the crawfish as they may cause food poisoning.

How to Heat Up Crawfish

If you want to enjoy your crawfish the old-fashioned way, by reheating them, there are a few ways to do so.

You can reheat via:

  1. microwave
  2. steaming
  3. boiling
  4. sautéing

Depending on your appliance, any of the above methods will work just fine.

Also, depending on how the crawfish was previously cooked, some methods may be better than others, as we saw under the best way to reheat crawfish above.

How to Store Crawfish

If you’re interested in making a crawfish boil at home and want to store the crawfish before then, there are a few tips on how to do so, but how do you keep the live crawfish?

There are two unique instances when you need to store crawfish alive; when buying crawfish from a far-off store and storing them overnight.


  1. When going to buy them, take with you a large cooler that can fit the amount you want to buy.
  2. Once at the shop, only buy live crawfish in a sack and put them in the cooler.
  3. Sprinkle them with a generous amount of water and place ice cubes on the sack.
  4. Leave the cooler open if you are traveling a long way. This allows oxygen to circulate, keeping the crawfish alive.

Once you get home but don’t want to cook them right away, you can store them in the cooler, but this time with the tub drain open. This prevents flooding the crawfish at the bottom. This is the best way to keep them alive through the night.

How to store cooked crawfish

Once cooked, crawfish should be preserved within two hours. If you need to use the leftover crawfish the following day, you can refrigerate for up to 3 days.

Storing cooked crawfish in the fridge

You can store cooked crawfish in the refrigerator by:

  • Pouring cooled boiled crawfish into a storage container with a tight-fitting lid
  • Placing the container in the fridge as soon as possible
  • Storing for no more than three days

Can you freeze cooked crawfish? If so, how?

Yes, you can freeze cooked crawfish. This is particularly so if you purchase in bulk, intending to eat them up within 3 months.


  1. Gather the leftover and throw any that has a straight tail. The straight tail is an indicator that the crayfish may have gone bad.
  2. Place the crayfish in a colander for 20 minutes to further drain the boil. The drier the crayfish, the better that it freezes.
  3. Transfer the cray into a freezer bag or a rigid container with a tight lid.
  4. Squeeze out excess air from the bag and apply a secure seal. If you can, vacuum the pack.
  5. Stick a label of the packaging date.
  6. Freeze for a maximum of 3 months for optimum freshness.

When the time to eat the crayfish comes, thaw them in the fridge through the day or overnight. If you are in a rush, a bowl of lukewarm water will thaw them in about half an hour.


Frequently Asked Questions:

Can you freeze boiled crawfish?

Yes, you can freeze boiled crawfish. You only need to drain the excess soup to ensure the crayfish meat freezes best.

How long will crawfish keep in the refrigerator?

You can refrigerate cooked crawfish for 3-4 days. It’s best to use up raw (dead) crawfish within 24 hours of transferring them into the fridge.

Can I store live crawfish in the fridge?

No. The best temperature range to keep live crayfish is between 42 and 45 degrees F. Since fridges have their temperatures set to below 40 degrees F, it’s not ideal to store live crawfish in them.

Can you eat leftover crawfish?

Yes, leftover crayfish can be eaten. However, leftover crayfish will not taste as good as when first cooked. Either way, ensure the leftovers were refrigerated within two hours of cooking.


Crawfish are a delicious and healthy option for those who want to indulge in traditional Louisiana cuisine. When you’ve indulged so much that there is no more room on your plate, what do you do with it all? Save yourself from wasting any of these scrumptious crawfish by storing them properly before they spoil. As we’ve seen above, you can preserve both raw and boiled crawfish. If you cook up plenty of crayfish and plan to eat them within 3 months, then freezing cooked crawfish might be a good idea for saving time instead of boiling fresh ones each time.

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