We all love eating crab meat, but we are always concerned about whether it is spoiled. We always need clarification and to figure out how long cooked crab lasts in the fridge. Don’t worry because we’ve got you covered.
Crab meat is a very delicious meal you can have, and enjoy the leftovers as well with other amazing recipes like crab meat or crab rolls. Many of us really get tense while storing the crab meat for later use or consuming the leftovers because not to forget that they are expensive too!
The simple answer to the question is that the duration of storing the cooked crab in the fridge without getting it spoiled largely depends on how you keep the meat. Cooked crab can last in the refrigerator for 3-5 days if you correctly wrap the meat with heavy-duty foil or plastic wrap.
A helpful tip for storing the cooked crab in the fridge is to place them in the back rear of your refrigerator as the back rear has a more temperature-controlled atmosphere and helps ensure cold, fresh leftovers. You can also increase the shelf life of the cooked crab by freezing it.
Now, without any further delay, let’s unfold all the factors related to storing the cooked crab in the fridge and preventing them from spoilage. Stick with me till the end; I will reveal much exciting information and help you avoid your crab turning into crap!!
How Long Does Cooked Crab Last In The Fridge?
The duration of lasting cooked crab directly depends on the storage. The simple and straight answer to this question is that if the cooked crab is refrigerated within 2 hours of cooking, it can stay good for around 3-5 days.
That is the most straightforward answer, but many folds or factors can affect the stored, cooked crabs. Let us know about them one by one.
As already mentioned in the above line, once the crab is cooked, store it in the refrigerator within 2 hours of cooking. If you want to increase the shelf life of cooked crab meat, transfer it to an airtight container and place it in the refrigerator.
Another essential tip for storing cooked crab meat is to wrap them properly with heavy-duty aluminum foil or plastic wrap. This way, your cooked crab meat can last up to 3-4 days.
If you want to store the cooked crab meat for 3-4 days or a month or two, consider freezing the crab meat.
For freezing the cooked crab meat, properly wrap it with heavy-duty freezer wrap or heavy-duty aluminum foil or freezer bags. Like this, your cooked crab meat can last up to 2-3 months.
Type Of Crabs
Here are the two types of crabs that you usually cook. I am not talking about the species or anything else but how you source them.
1. Catch it on your own
As the crab season begins, people start planning to catch live crabs on their own. It is fun, and the meat tastes more delicious after hard work.
If you have caught the crabs on your own, then before cooking, ensure that you keep them in a cooler place. Also, keep the crans wet. You can also place them on ice until you cook them. Like this, your crabs won’t get spoiled; they will last longer after cooking.
2. Purchased from the market
Many of us are not lucky enough to snatch some free time out to catch crabs, so we do the next best thing. Could you buy it from the market? If you stay or reach the nearby coast market, you can get freshly caught crab meat.
Even if you are not lucky enough to live near the coast, you can always buy canned or frozen crab meat from the market.
Just make sure about the freshness of the crab meat. For safety purposes, buy your crab meat from a market you trust and are assured about the quality.
You often buy a whole cooked crab, but you should check the freshness even if they are cooked. It should smell like usual fresh crabs. The fresh crabs smell like the sea, with a hint of red in the shell.
If you buy picked or lump crab meat, crab legs, or cooked crab in a pre-prepared dish, make sure to check the sell-by date. Even if the crabs are packed or in shells, they are most likely to be served on ice to lock the freshness.
How to cook your crabs?
Here are a few ways to cook crabs. Make a note for the next time.
1. Live crabs
If you are lucky enough to catch the crabs, you need to be a little extra cautious. Storing live crabs is a real task. Keep the caught crabs cold, damp, and moist until you cook them. If I say moist, that doesn’t mean that I put them in water.
Crabs will need oxygen, and putting them in the water will not give them enough oxygen. Simply cover the crabs with a cloth that is soaked in salt water. Watch the crabs from time to time and make sure they are dying themselves before cooking.
If the crabs are lucky, they can survive for 2-3 days.
When it is time to cook them, place the crab on its back with its legs upward, lifting the flap. Using a knife, make a hole in its shell. Before cooking, drain and clean the crabs properly.
2. Pre – cooked crab meat
Now, most of us have one option only – purchase it from the market. Most of the crab in the market is pre-cooked. Firstly, the crab meat will be stored either on a bed of ice or in the freezer before purchasing.
If you are buying and plan to cook later on, then make sure you keep them well; otherwise, they can quickly get spoiled. It is best to store them in the freezer or place them on ice before reheating or cooking them.
According to USDA, if you are boiling, steaming, grilling, or baking the crab meat, then the cooked crab should reach an internal temperature of 145 degrees.
After cooking, you already know that the crab meat should be stored within 2 hours by wrapping it properly and placing it in the fridge.
Best way to wrap your cooked crab meat
There are plenty of wrappers available that you can use to store your cooked crab meat in the refrigerator or a freezer. Some of them are listed below –
- Plastic wrap vacuum sealer type
- Heavy-duty aluminum foil
- Air Tight Sealed Container
- Heavy-duty freezer bags
- Airtight plastic bag
- Airtight plastic containers
- Shallow airtight containers
- Freezer wrap
The best are airtight containers or heavy-duty airtight zip-lock type bags, as they can preserve your cooked crab meat in the freezer and save it from freezer burn.
How long can cooked crab meat last at room temperature?
This might be a question that everybody needs to know because when it comes to crab meat, it can quickly get spoiled. The main reason cooked crab meat gets spoiled is the bacteria growing over it.
If the crab meat is left at room temperature, after two hours of cooking, bacteria can start growing and spoil the crab meat. So, if your crab meat is left at room temperature for around two hours after cooking, then you should probably discard it.
How to check if the crabs have gone bad?
You may forget to keep the cooked crab meat on time, or the crab meat is not stored correctly in the refrigerator. This can spoil the crab meat.
Now, if you are still determining whether the crab meat is fine or gone bad, there are various ways to check them.
The very first sign of your spoiled crab is the smell. There is a thin line between the fishy smell of a crab and an over-fishy smell which indicates that the crabs have gone wrong. You can also see a change in the color and texture of the crab meat.
Suppose the color of the meat gets darker or off-colored, like gray, yellow, or blue in color. The color of the raw crab is pure white with a bright red rind. The crab should be brown-colored with white crab meat legs if it is frozen.
When it comes to the texture, if you find a slimy or sticky thing covered with some milky substance, please throw it away. You don’t want to get food poisoning. Sometimes the texture and color of the spoiled crab are not so visible or easily identified.
You can feel the difference in the taste of the meat as well. However, tasting should be the last thing to do. The very first is the smell. So, if you don’t want to run to the hospital, make sure to store the crab meat well and on time.
Serving the crab meat
You probably love your crabs dipped in butter and cream if you are anything like me. The crab meat goes well with butter, for sure. Even if you are baking or grilling, it is best to eat the crab meat the same day.
I know there are often leftovers that obviously can be stored, but crab meat tastes terrific when eaten freshly cooked. Now, if you cook crabs caught from the shore, they will have a freshness and pure flavor.
Even canned or pasteurized crab meat is tasty, but it depends upon how they are stored and served.
What to do with the leftovers?
We all love crab meat, but no one can deny that crab goes well with other ingredients or recipes. Have you ever tried crab cake or crab rolls? They are really delicious and not so challenging to prepare.
You can also make crab salads which are really healthy or make some comforting crab soup. Mix your crabs with rice or noodles, and you can have a separate meal altogether.
You can also try mixing it with spaghetti and tomatoes. Just combine the crab meat with cherry tomatoes, lemons, and boiled spaghetti and have a stomachful meal.
How to cook the refrigerated crab?
If you adequately wrap and refrigerate your crab meat, it will likely not spoil. Now, you should consider a few things when you plan to cook. If you are cooking refrigerated crab, then steaming is the best option.
You will need a steamer basket for this. Add enough water to the basket. Put the water on a boil. When The water starts to boil, transfer the crab inside. Add seasoning of your choice and cover the basket. Please wait for 5 minutes, and then it is ready to eat.
How to reheat the frozen crab?
If you want to consume the frozen crab, simply thaw and boil the crab meat. If you have to thaw the crab meat in the refrigerator, remember that it can last for up to 3-5 days before cooking.
You can also reheat the frozen crab meat in the microwave but remember to consume it within 2 hours of cooking, or else it can get you really sick.
How to reheat steamed crabs?
It is an effortless task if you have to reheat steamed crabs. For this, you can use frozen or refrigerated crab meat. Simply boil the crab meat for 10-15 minutes.
To cook the crab meat, you will require a crab pot, or you can even use a strainer in a large pot. Make sure the water does not touch the crab.
Place the cover and let the water boil for 10-15 minutes. Check the smell or taste of the crab before serving and if it is not spoiled, then enjoy the meal.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Can you eat raw crab?
No, you should never eat raw crabs ever in your life.
Can we eat the dead crab?
No, it is not advised to eat the dead crabs in case you don’t know how long it has been dead. A dead crab can have harmful bacteria growing upon them, which can give you food poisoning or bad health.
Is it safe to eat leftover crabs?
If the crabs are well stored within 2 hours of cooking, then you can consume the leftover crabs. Please check the smell before eating the leftovers.
Finally, we are at the end of the crab conversion (which is for sure not crap but a beneficial one). Now, you can take a long breath as you know how to store the crabs or leftover crab meat without spoiling them.
If I have to put it in a simple line, the cooked crab can last up to 3-5 days in the refrigerator but make sure to cover it nicely. We will be back with more questions and valuable answers soon. Until then, why don’t you try some crab cakes?