How to Clean & Eat Crayfish

Serve crayfish whole in their shells.
Serve crayfish whole in their shells. (Image: crayfish image by imrek from

Crayfish--also known as crawfish or crawdads--are small, freshwater crustaceans related to lobsters. They are often boiled whole and served in their shells to enjoy as a social event. They have a mild, sweet taste that goes well with Cajun seasonings, brine, lemon, dill and melted butter. Crayfish boils often contain whole potatoes and corn on the cob.

Things You'll Need

  • Crayfish
  • Metal claw cracker or knife (optional)

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Remove freshly-cooked crayfish from the boiling water or grill. Allow them to cool until they're safe to touch without getting burnt.

Grasp the body of the crayfish and twist off the head.

Peel off the top part of the tail's shell (that was closest to the head). Pinch the end of the tail and pull off the bottom part from the meat.

Remove the black vein on the back of the tail with a knife, or by hand.

Crack open the claws with metal claw crackers on the widest part of the claws. Or, cut the claws open with a knife to access the meat.


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