How Long Does Crab Meat Last in the Fridge? Your Complete Guide

How you store crab meat and whether it is cooked affect how long it stays fresh in the fridge. 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’s cooked, if you store it right, it will last another three to five days in the fridge.

Crab is a delicious seafood treat that many people love to indulge in. However, like all seafood, proper storage is essential for ensuring crab meat stays fresh and safe to eat. So how long does crab meat last in the fridge?

The answer depends on a few factors including whether the crab meat is cooked or uncooked how it is stored, and what type of crab it is. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk through everything you need to know about storing crab meat in the fridge and determining how long it lasts.

Raw Crab Meat Fridge Life

If you have raw uncooked crab meat it will only last around 1-2 days in the fridge. Raw crab meat is highly perishable and will quickly go bad without proper refrigeration. Here are some tips for maximizing the shelf life of raw crab

  • Store raw crab meat in an airtight container or resealable plastic bag. This prevents exposing it to air, which can cause it to spoil faster.

  • Place the container on a shelf or in a bin towards the back of the fridge, where temperatures are coldest.

  • Separate other raw meats like chicken or beef to prevent cross-contamination.

  • Use the raw crab meat within 1-2 days for peak freshness and flavor. The shelf life decreases rapidly after that.

  • Don’t rely on smell or appearance alone to judge if raw crab has gone bad. It can harbor bacteria without other obvious signs of spoilage. When in doubt, throw it out.

Cooked Crab Meat Fridge Life

Cooked crab meat lasts longer than raw in the fridge, but it still has a fairly short shelf life. Properly stored cooked crab will stay fresh for 3-5 days in the refrigerator. Here are some storage tips:

  • Let crab cool completely before refrigerating it. Storing warm crab raises the fridge temperature, shortening its shelf life.

  • Use an airtight container and store crab in the coldest part of the fridge, just like with raw crab.

  • Make sure cooked crab is stored in a clean container without other food residues or juices dripping on it. This introduces bacteria and causes faster spoilage.

  • Don’t let cooked crab sit at room temperature for more than 2 hours before refrigerating it.

  • Separate cooked crab from raw meats in the fridge to prevent cross-contamination.

Crab Legs & Sections Fridge Life

Crab legs and sections will have a similar fridge life to cooked crab meat. The shell helps protect the meat a bit. Here are some tips for storing crab legs and sections:

  • Use an airtight container and store in the coldest part of the fridge, just like other crab meat.

  • Make sure the container or bag is clean before placing crab legs inside.

  • Wrap joints of crab legs in plastic wrap or foil before refrigerating. This provides an extra barrier against air exposure.

  • Consume refrigerated crab legs within 3-5 days for best quality. The shells help preserve freshness slightly longer.

  • Don’t let crab legs sit at room temperature for more than 2 hours before refrigerating.

Frozen Crab Meat & Legs

Freezing is an excellent way to extend the shelf life of crab for several months. Here’s how long frozen crab lasts:

  • Raw crab meat can be frozen for up to 4 months before quality starts to decline. Freeze in an airtight bag or container.

  • Cooked crab meat and crab legs will last for 3-6 months in the freezer. Make sure to seal them in an airtight container.

  • Let crab cool completely before freezing. Don’t freeze warm crab meat or legs.

  • For best quality, use frozen raw crab within 4 months and frozen cooked crab within 3-6 months.

  • Thaw frozen crab in the fridge overnight before use. Don’t thaw at room temperature or in hot water.

Canned Crab Meat Fridge Life

Canned crab meat that has been pasteurized has a much longer fridge life than fresh crab. An unopened can of crab meat will last 2-3 years in the pantry. Once opened, it will last 3-5 days in the fridge. Here are some tips:

  • Refrigerate canned crab meat promptly after opening the can. Don’t let it sit out at room temperature.

  • Transfer opened canned crab meat to an airtight container before refrigerating. Don’t store it in the opened can.

  • Use the crab meat within 3-5 days for optimum freshness. It won’t spoil immediately after opening but quality declines over time.

  • Discard any canned crab meat with an off smell, appearance, or texture, even if within the 3-5 day timeframe. Trust your senses.

  • Don’t freeze opened canned crab meat. Refrigerate and use within 3-5 days.

Signs Crab Has Gone Bad

It’s important to rely on your senses in addition to refrigerator life guidelines to determine if crab has spoiled. Here are some signs crab has gone bad:

  • Strong, fishy, ammonia-like, or rotten odor

  • Slimy texture or mucus-like film on the meat

  • Discoloration such as gray, blue, yellowish, or milky hues

  • Dull, moist appearance compared to the firm, pearly white flesh of fresh crab

  • Bitter, sour, or off taste if you taste a small amount

  • Mold growth, which may appear fuzzy or slimy

  • Dry, shriveled texture (in frozen crab that got freezer burn)

If you notice any of these signs, play it safe and discard the crab meat. Don’t taste crab with obvious signs of spoilage. Potential harmful bacteria are not worth the risk.

How to Maximize Crab Meat Freshness

Follow these tips to keep crab as fresh as possible during refrigeration:

  • Cook live crab as soon as possible after purchasing or catching. Don’t let live crab sit for long periods.

  • Rapidly chill cooked crab before refrigerating. Don’t leave it out at room temperature.

  • Separate different crab varieties in the fridge to prevent cross-contamination.

  • Store crab in clean, air-tight containers in the coldest section of the refrigerator.

  • Use crab within the recommended 3-5 day fridge life (1-2 days for raw crab meat).

  • Wrap crab legs and joints in plastic wrap or foil before refrigerating.

  • Purchase canned crab meat and freeze fresh crab to extend the shelf life.

Following proper storage methods and using crab within the recommended time frames will ensure you safely enjoy the delicious seafood without any worries about freshness. Trust your senses as well when evaluating crab meat, and don’t hesitate to throw it out at the first signs of spoilage. With this crab storage guide, you’ll get the most out of this tasty treat!

how long does crab meat last in the fridge

How Do You Thaw Frozen Crab?

Put frozen crab in an airtight container and put it in the fridge overnight. This is the best way for it to thaw. Put the crab in a plastic bag and run cold water over it. If you need it to thaw quickly, put the bag under a sink or bowl full of cold water. Change the water every 30 minutes until the crab is defrosted. Once thawed, the crab should be cooked or consumed immediately.

How Should Crab Be Stored?

Don’t leave cooked crab out at room temperature for longer than it needs to be. This will keep it fresh and help it last longer. The maximum amount of time it can sit outside the refrigerator is two hours. Keep it in its original box or a shallow container that won’t let air in. You can also wrap it tightly in aluminum foil or plastic wrap. Then place it in the coldest part of the fridge, usually the bottom, as the cold air sinks. To further extend its shelf life, you may freeze crab indefinitely. However, it will only be at its best quality if used within two to three months. Use an airtight container with a lid, a heavy-duty freezer bag, or tightly wrap it in freezer wrap or heavy-duty aluminum foil to store it in the freezer.

Food Storage Tips : How to Freeze Crabs

How long can you keep cooked crab meat?

Make sure to store the cooked crab in an airtight container or tightly wrapped in heavy-duty aluminum foil or plastic wrap in the refrigerator for up to 3 to 5 days. To keep cooked crab meat for a longer duration, consider freezing the meat. The shelf life in the freezer can be between 6 to 9 months.

How long do cooked crabs last in the fridge?

When storing cooked crabs in the refrigerator, it’s essential to maintain the proper temperature. A constant temperature of 40°F (4°C) or below is ideal for preserving the freshness and safety of the cooked crab meat. If stored correctly, cooked crabs should last between 3 to 5 days in the fridge.

How long does cooked crab meat last in the freezer?

When storing cooked crabs in the freezer, it’s crucial to maintain a temperature of 0°F (-18°C) or below to prevent bacterial growth. If properly prepared and stored in airtight containers, cooked crab meat can last for up to 6 months in the freezer. However, for optimal taste and texture, consider consuming the frozen crab meat within 3 months.

How long do cooked crab legs last?

When you decide to go all out and make a seafood boil or treat yourself to delectable crab legs at a restaurant, you might have some leftovers. You may wonder, how long do cooked crabs last in the fridge? How you prepare the meat matters, but in general, cooked crab meat will last in the refrigerator for between three to seven days.

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