How To Tell If Crab Meat Is Bad? 5 Best Methods Must Know

Crab is one of the most loved seafood for its delicious delicacy and health benefits. It is understandable why you may often buy a lot of crab meat at once and make a variety of recipes for the next consumption.

That said, improper storage might lead to the spoilage of this delicious food. How to tell if crab meat is bad? To get the detailed answer, check out today’s article!

How To Tell If Crab Meat Is Bad

Crab Meat
Crab meat

How to tell if crab meat is bad? You can easily detect the signs of spoiled crab via its smell, color, expiry date, or reserve method. Below is what you should do to recognize rotten crab meat.


You can check the smell to know if you have bad crab meat. The fresh crab meat should have no smell or release a lightly sweet odor. Your crab meat is likely spoiled if you detect any strange smell, sour, fishy, strong, and rotten.


Using your hands to feel the texture of crab flesh is also a practical way to spot spoiled signals. When touching, rub your fingers together. If there is mucus and wetness, the crab meat is bad.


You can also check the color of the crab meat. What does raw crab meat look like? The new flesh will have a pure white appearance. Also, the color of the shell should be bright red and fresh. Thus, when you detect the color turns brown on the meat and the rind, crab flesh is not safe to eat.

Expiry Date

If you buy processed or canned crab meat, check its expiration date on the packaging. As long as it has an expiry date, you can still consume it normally.

Reserve Method

The last way is to check the way that crab meat is reserved. According to the Maryland Seafood company, crab flesh must always be put on a layer of ice and not covered. 

Otherwise, it is easily bad and harmful for cooking later. How long is cooked crab good for in the fridge? The answer is below, so stay tuned!

How Long Does Crab Meat Last?

If you have cooked a large crab batch, you need to know how long the leftovers can be good for. Crab meat tends to spoil extremely quickly if you don’t store it properly, whether raw or cooked. This will cause rotten flesh and a potential food poisoning risk.

How long is crab meat good for? It’s hard to answer this question directly as its shelf life depends on different conditions. Let’s scroll down to get a detailed explanation. 

How Long Does Raw Crab Meat Last In the Fridge?

The uncooked crab meat can be good within 24 hours if stored properly. After that period, it may begin to show some signs of deterioration, like an unpleasant odor.

How Long Does Raw Crab Meat Last In the Freezer?

How long does crab last if frozen? It may stay from 3 to 5 days when you preserve it properly by surrounding it with lots of ice. 

How Long Does Cooked Crab Meat Last?

As you know that, the leftovers cooked crab will be nightmare with someone after parties. However, we can completely store it and keep it good for a long term using. So. How long does cooked crab last in different conditions? Scroll down for more details!

At Room Temperature

As you know, in the temperature range of 40°F to 140°F, bacteria grow quite quickly and spoil food. So, how long can cooked crab stay out at room temperature? No more than two hours.

In The Fridge

How long does crab meat last in the fridge? Does it remain longer? Yes! It can be good for 3 to 5 days.

In The Freezer

Do you want to increase the shelf life of crab meat? Let’s freeze it. How long is crab good for in the freezer? Around 2 or 3 months if you apply the proper reserve method.

After Thawed

Once thawed in the refrigerator, how long is cooked crab good for? It can be good for 3 or 5 days. If you use a microwave to reheat it, its shelf life only lasts about 2 hours.

In a summary:

At Room TemperatureIn The FridgeIn The FreezerAfter Thawed
No more than two hours It can be good for 3 to 5 days Around 2 or 3 monthsAbout 2 hours
Shelf life table of cooked crab

How To Store Crab Meat?

To increase the shelf life of crab meat, you can apply the preservation method below.

1. Clean And Cook Crab

If you buy raw crab, it’s better to cook it before storing it. Firstly, wash and clean the crab. Prepare a pot big enough to contain all the crabs you have. Pour water over the crabs, add a pinch of salt, and steam them. Remember to cook them within 15 to 20 minutes.

2. Divide Crab Meat Into Small Freezer Bags

Let crabs cool down and then tear them into small pieces of meat. Then, divide the meat evenly into small sealable freezer bags. The purpose is to facilitate the defrosting process for the next consumption.

3. Add Saltwater Into The Bags

Ladle saltwater into the bags so that the water completely covers the crab meat. This step will keep the crabs fresher for a long time.

4. Seal The Freezer Bags

Remember to push as much air out while sealing to make the bags more solid.

5. Wrap The Bag In Freezer Paper

Wrap each pack in freezer paper, label, and date the bags! How long does cooked crab meat last in the fridge in this way? As shared earlier, about 2 or 3 months.

Can You Eat Bad Crab?

Definitely no! Most spoiled shellfish produce domoic acid. When you accidentally ingest bad crab, you may experience some problems such as diarrhea, nausea, and abdominal pain right after consuming it.

If not treated promptly, within 48 hours, this condition can develop into headache, confusion, dizziness, and weakness. In worse cases, you could end up with an unconscious state, short-term memory loss, and even death.

In A Nutshell

Now you have already known the answer to the initial question: How to tell if crab meat is bad? You can easily recognize signals of bad crab meat via its smell, texture, and expiry date. Spoiled crab often releases a fishy smell and has a slimy mucosity when touched.

When detecting any signs mentioned above, throw them away! Besides, we have also recommended a practical and useful way to extend the shelf life of your crab meat. Hopefully, this post is helpful for you!

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