How Long Does Cooked And Uncooked Crab Last In The Fridge?

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Wondering how long crab lasts in the fridge? Here you’ll find how long crab lasts, the best storage tips, how to thaw crab, and much more!

Isn’t crab delicious?! It’s soooo good. It’s one of my favorite things to eat!

If you love it as much as I do, I’m sure you’ve wondered how long it lasts in the fridge. But, don’t worry! I’ll answer all of your questions.

Note: This post may contain affiliate links, which means if you buy from my link I might make a small commission. This does not affect the price you pay. See the full affiliate disclosure here.

Here you’ll find how long crab lasts, the best storage tips, how to get it to last longer, the best way to thaw it, and more! I know you’ll find just what you’re looking for!

A bunch of crab legs on ice.

What Is Imitation Crab?

First, let’s talk about imitation crab. Imitation crab is made with seafood called surimi, but it has absolutely NO crab in it.

If you’re making a casserole or something where the crab isn’t the main event, imitation crab will do. If crab is the hero in your meal, definitely splurge for the real deal!

It will take a while before imitation crab goes bad. The shelf life of imitation crab is 3-5 days in the fridge. It will last up to 6 months in the freezer.

Just like a lot of things in life, you get what you pay for. If you can’t afford it, imitation crab meat will work. If you can afford it, definitely purchase real crab!

How Long Does Crab Last?

Crab goes bad quickly. That’s why it’s usually sold as live crabs or frozen.

Fresh crab meat or raw crab meat will last only 1-2 days in the fridge. It will start to dry out after that. So eat your crab as quick as you can!

Crab needs to be in the fridge within two hours of cooking it. Cooked crab will last 3-5 days in the fridge before it’s no longer safe to eat.

If you’re having a party and crab is sitting out at room temperature, it will only be good for up to 2 hours. It will be good for only about one hour in a warm environment.

If you’re having a party that lasts longer than an hour or two, bring the crab out in shifts. Keep half of it in the fridge while the other half is out for your guests to eat.

After it’s eaten, bring the second half out. That will allow you to to serve crab longer than 2 hours and you won’t make your guests sick.

A plate of oysters, lobster, crab, and squid.

Crab Storing Tips

Here are the best crab storage tips!

  • The best way is to store crab in shallow airtight containers in the fridge.
  • While crab is in the fridge, put it in the coldest part. For me, that’s the lowest shelf in the very back of the fridge, because cold air sinks. This will help keep it fresh!
  • It’s best to put crab meat in the container you bought it in, a shallow airtight container to keep in the fridge.
  • You can wrap crab in heavy-duty aluminum foil or plastic wrap.
  • If you thaw crab in cold water or if you thaw it in the microwave, make sure you eat it immediately.

How Do I Make Crab Last Longer?

The first thing you should do when buying crab is to buy the best quality you can! This will help it taste the best and last the longest.

The best way to extend the shelf life of crab is to freeze it! That’s right, stick it right into the freezer. I love freezing things. It’s amazing how many things you can freeze, and crab is no exception.

Cooked crab and uncooked crab meat will last in the freezer for 6-9 months. If the crab is still completely frozen, it will still be good much longer than that.

Freezing things just puts a pause on it’s freshness. It will actually last indefinitely if it’s frozen at 0 degrees Fahrenheit. It will be it’s best within 2-3 months of putting it in the freezer.

If you freeze a whole crab, or multiple whole crabs, in its shell, it will last from 9 to 12 months in the freezer. It could still be good for a long time after that though. It could get freezer burn the longer it’s in the freezer.

It’s best to freeze crab still in its shell. This will help keep the meat protected. If you can’t do that, the next best way is to freeze it already prepared in a casserole, crab soup, crab cakes, or something similar.

This will help keep the same texture. If you just freeze the meat by itself, it can become stringy.

If your only option is to freeze the meat by itself, freeze it in an airtight container or heavy-duty freezer bags. You could also use a vacuum sealer to get all of the oxygen out. If it’s unopened, you can also freeze it in its original packaging.

A closeup of crab cakes.

How To Thaw Crab

The best way to quickly thaw crab is to put it in a bag and run cold water over it. I usually turn the water on very low so a small amount is hitting the crab at all times.

You can also thaw crab by putting it in a bag, filling a bowl with cold water, and putting the bag with crab in the bowl. Make sure you change the water every half hour or so for the best and quickest results.

If you thaw crab, make sure you eat it all. You don’t want to freeze, thaw, and refreeze crab. It could cause rapid bacterial growth and could make you sick!

How To Tell If Crab Meat Is Still Good To Eat

It’s a good idea to make sure there are no signs of spoilage before you eat it! Here are some steps to make sure crab is still safe to eat.

  1. The first step is to always check the best-by date or the expiration date. It might still be good after that though.
  2. Second, look at the crab. Is it bright white with a little red in it? That’s what you want it to look like. If it looks anything other than that, don’t eat it.
  3. The next thing to do is to smell it. It should smell slightly sweet. Does it smell like that? Does it smell weird? If it has a fishy smell, sour smell, has a bitter smell, smells rancid, or just has a strong flavor, don’t eat it. If the crab smells like normal, move on to the next step.
  4. Then, touch it. How does it feel? Does it feel like crab normally does? Does it have a slimy texture? If it does, again don’t eat it. Bacteria will have started to break down the crab. It would make you sick if you ate it. You also want the crab to feel firm. If it’s soft, don’t eat it.
  5. If you do these five steps and everything looks okay, it should be safe to eat.
  6. You can always call a professional to make sure it’s safe to eat.

Don’t taste crab to make sure it’s safe. You could get food poisoning! Just remember, when it doubt, throw it out! You don’t want to bad crab meat.

How Can Bad Crab Affect You?

You can get food poisoning from bacteria in the crab if it has been out for too long. The quality of the crab will lessen and the crab won’t be safe to eat.

Eating bad crab could also make you:

  • Nauseous
  • Stomach Cramps Or Abdominal Cramps
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomit
  • Dehydration

Not to scare you, but in some very rare cases, it could kill you. Just don’t eat crab that looks iffy, mmm k?

Five crabs on a cutting board on a wood table.


How do I know if crab is spoiled?

Crab meant is spoiled if it has a fishy, sour, bitter, rancid smell, strong flavor, or if it has a slimy texture. If it has any of those, don’t eat it! It could make you very sick.

Can you eat cooked crabs after 5 days?

Yes, 5 day old crab that’s been in the fridge is still safe to eat. That’s the last day you’ll want to eat it though. It will need to be eaten or frozen on day 5. It won’t be safe to eat on day 6.

The Bottom Line

Fresh crabmeat will only last 1-2 days in the fridge. Cooked crab will last 3-5 days in the fridge. If you’re not going to eat crab within that time, freeze it!

Just remember, when in doubt, throw it out! It’s better to be safe than sorry! Should I write any more catch phrases?? I’m going to stop now, but you get the point.

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Final Thoughts How Long Crab Lasts:

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