How to Cook Crawfish: A Step-by-Step Guide

Crawfish, also known as crayfish or freshwater lobsters, are popular in many dishes, from étouffées to seafood boils. These small crustaceans are a staple in Southern cuisine and are perfect for outdoor gatherings and parties. Cooking crawfish may seem intimidating at first, but with these simple steps, you’ll be able to prepare a perfect batch of crawfish every time.

Preparing Crawfish

The first step in cooking crawfish is to prepare the ingredients. You will need live crawfish, kosher salt, and your preferred seasonings, such as garlic, onion, and cayenne pepper.

Start by filling a large pot with enough water to cover the crawfish. Add 2 tablespoons of kosher salt per gallon of water, and bring it to a boil. Rinse the crawfish thoroughly in cold water and remove any debris or dead crawfish.

While the water is boiling, prepare your seasoning blend. Melt butter in a skillet, add garlic, onion, and your preferred spices, and let it cook while stirring occasionally.

Cooking Crawfish

Once the water is boiling, add your crawfish and seasoning blend to the pot. Let the crawfish boil for around 2-3 minutes, or until the crawfish floats to the surface.

Turn off the heat and let the crawfish sit in the pot for an additional 5 minutes to soak up the flavors. Drain the pot and serve the crawfish hot with butter, lemon wedges, and your favorite dipping sauce.

Alternative Cooking Methods

If you’re not a fan of boiled crawfish, there are other cooking methods that you can try.

Grilling crawfish is a popular alternative. To grill crawfish, boil them as directed above, and then coat them with oil and your preferred seasonings. Place them on a hot grill and let them cook for around 5-7 minutes.

You can also bake crawfish. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Melt butter in a skillet, add your seasoning blend and crawfish, and let them cook for a few minutes. Transfer the crawfish to a baking dish and bake for around 10-15 minutes or until they are cooked through.

Storage and Reheating

If you have any leftover crawfish, store them in an airtight container in the fridge. Leftover crawfish can be reheated in the microwave or on the stovetop.

To reheat crawfish on the stovetop, melt butter in a skillet and add your crawfish. Heat them for around 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally until they are heated through.


Cooking crawfish is easy and fun. The key is to have all the ingredients ready and prepare your seasoning blend in advance. Try different cooking methods to add variety to your meals. Most of all, enjoy the flavorful and succulent crawfish as a delicious meal that’s perfect for any occasion.


Q: How much crawfish should I buy for a party of 10 people?
A: Plan on buying 5-7 pounds of crawfish per person.

Q: How long does it take to boil crawfish?
A: Crawfish typically boil for around 2-3 minutes.

Q: How can I tell if the crawfish is cooked?
A: Cooked crawfish will float to the surface and are red in color.

Q: Can I freeze cooked crawfish?
A: Yes, crawfish can be frozen for up to 2 months. Thaw them in the refrigerator before reheating.

Q: What are some popular dipping sauces for crawfish?
A: Popular dipping sauces include garlic butter, cocktail sauce, and remoulade sauce.


Cooking Method Cooking Time
Boiling 2-3 minutes
Grilling 5-7 minutes
Baking 10-15 minutes

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  • Garlic
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