How Long Will Steamed Crab Last in the Fridge?

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How long will steamed crabs last in the fridge? This is a question that many people ask themselves, especially if they just cooked up a bunch but it can be difficult to clearly answer without providing some additional context. 

In this article, we will discuss how to properly refrigerate and freeze crab, and how long your crab meat will last before it spoils and becomes inedible.

We will also explain some of the differences between these two methods and finish off by answering some related questions including how to reheat steamed crabs, and how long the meat is typically good for.


How long will steamed crabs last in the refrigerator?

Full steamed crabs can be kept for 5 – 7 days in the refrigerator. When stored the meat should be placed in a vacuum-sealed or air-tight plastic bag and kept at a minimum of 40° F. All crab meat should be refrigerated as soon as possible after steaming if not being eaten. Steamed crabs that have not been cleaned will typically last 3 days. You will be able to determine whether your crab meat has gone bad based on its smell. Bad crab meat will have a musky, ammonia-type smell to it. 

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Refrigerating Steamed Crabs

The first thing to know about refrigerating and freezing steamed crabs is that they should be cooked before being put in the fridge or freezer. This will ensure a longer shelf life for your crab meat, as it can go bad quickly if not properly handled!

The general shelf life for steamed crab in the fridge is 5 – 7 days, any longer than this and the meat will begin to rot. The rotting crabmeat creates a noticeable musky smell that indicates you can no longer eat the crab. In most cases, if the crab has not been cleaned after steaming then you typically only be able to store it for 3 days at most.

To ensure you can properly store your steamed crab in your fridge you will need to know how to clean crabs. This is a skill that can take some learning so make sure to follow below. 


Related Articles:
Freezing Live Crabs Is a Bad Idea: Here’s Why
How to Keep Crabs Alive at Home


How to clean crabs before refrigeration

  1. Remove the shell of the crab by grabbing its fin and tip and pulling in the opposite direction.
  2. With the shell now off, remove the guts, gills, eyes, mouth and hepatopancreas from the crab. The hepatopancreas is the yellow stuff, often referred to as “mustard”.
  3. Rinse the crabs with fresh water and place them in the fridge in a bushel or ventilated basket.
  4. Optional: If you want to prepare the crabs for freezing or maximize the amount of time they’ll stay edible in a fridge pick and pack the meat in vacuum-sealed bags. This will help ensure the texture and freshness are maintained for a maximum of 7 days in the fridge. 


If you want to store your crabs for longer than 7 days you will need to properly freeze the meat. This is easy to do and just requires the meat to be properly cleaned and packed. Frozen crab meat can last for 6 months + if prepared right.

Continue reading to learn how to freeze steamed crabs.

frozen steamed crab


Freezing Steamed Crabs

Freezing crabs is simple and helps them last for up to 6 months if done properly. Freezing crabs at home will require you to properly clean your crabs and pick their meat.

Once the meat has been cleaned and picked off the crab you will need to pack it into vacuum-sealed bags, these can be purchased online or at most food supply retailers. With the crabmeat packed and sealed you can place it in your freezer and use it at your earlier convenience.

Commercial crabbers and fisheries will use a range of different methods to pack their meat including nitrogen packing it on site. This can help retain the freshness and flavours of crab meat.

This makes store-bought crab meat a great option if fresh crabs either arent in season or are easily available for purchase to you. 


Related Questions


How Do You Reheat Steamed Crabs?

Reheating steamed crabs is simple, all you need to do is either microwave them or preferably steam them for 10 to 15 minutes until heated thoroughly. 


How long is crab meat good for in the fridge?

Steamed crabs can be kept for 5 – 7 days in the refrigerator. When stored the meat should be placed in a vacuum-sealed or air-tight plastic bag. All crab meat should be refrigerated as soon as possible after steaming if not being eaten. This is important as crab meat can 


How to tell if crab meat is bad?

The best way to tell is to smell and feel the crab meat. Crab meat that has gone bad will have a musky, sour smell and a slimy texture. Any crab meat that has gone off based on smell or texture should be thrown out. Eating bad crab meat can make you sick. 

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Ryan W

Ryan is the owner of Fisherman First and manages the team of expert writers on the site. He's fished his entire life and has been to locations across North America to catch a range of fish and crustacean from crabs and prawns to minnow and trout.