How to Store Leftover Crab Legs

Cracking into a platter of steaming, buttery crab legs is a cherished experience for many seafood lovers. But what if your eyes were bigger than your stomach, and you’re left with a plate of crab legs that didn’t get eaten? How do you store leftover crab legs? Let’s delve into this simple process that can extend the shelf life of your delicious seafood treat.

What Are The Best Ways to Store Crab Legs in the Fridge?

One of the best ways to store leftover crab legs is by using your refrigerator. Let them cool down to room temperature before you attempt to store them.

Once cool, wrap them tightly in a damp paper towel. This preserves the succulent meat and ensures it doesn’t dry out.

Put these wrapped crab legs into a large plastic wrap or a shallow airtight container. Doing this properly is crucial to avoid the risk of bacterial growth.

Make sure there’s no excess air in the container or wrap, as air can lead to freezer burn.

Finally, place your leftovers in the coldest part of your fridge. This way the cold crab legs will retain their best quality for a longer period.

how to reheat leftover crab legs

How long do crab legs last in the fridge?

Cooked crab legs can stay fresh in the fridge for 3 to 5 days. This time frame might be a little less for whole crabs, such as Dungeness crab, Blue Crab, or King Crab legs.

Remember, food safety is crucial when it comes to leftover crab legs. If you think you won’t consume them within this time frame, freezing is the best method to ensure a longer shelf life without compromising the delicious flavors.

Can You Freeze Crab Legs That Have Been Cooked?

Yes. It’s a great way to extend their shelf life. Like refrigeration, you should allow the crab legs to cool to room temperature first.

Then, wrap them in a damp paper towel followed by a layer of heavy-duty aluminum foil or freezer wrap. This method is an easy way to protect them from freezer burn.

Once you’ve securely wrapped your leftover crab legs, place them in a freezer bag. Make sure to squeeze out as much air as possible before sealing the bag.

How long do crab legs last in the freezer?

A lot longer than in the fridge! Cooked crab legs can last in the freezer for up to three months. This longer period provides a simple and efficient solution for seafood lovers who want to enjoy their crab legs at a later date.

Keep in mind that while freezing extends their shelf life significantly, it’s still important to use them within this time frame for the best results. Frozen crab legs past this period will lose their sweet taste and firm texture.

Can you refrigerate and reheat crab legs?

Yes. In fact, reheated crab legs are quite delicious. Remember, crab legs should only be reheated once after the original cooking process to prevent food poisoning from harmful bacteria.

Before you begin, let your leftover crab legs sit at room temperature for about 10-15 minutes. This is an essential step as it allows the crab legs to heat more evenly. Also, make sure to keep them moist by adding some melted butter or olive oil before you start reheating.

Do Crab Legs Go Bad In The Fridge?

Yes, crab legs can go bad in the fridge. When improperly stored or kept for too long, crab legs are susceptible to bacterial growth. This can lead to food poisoning if consumed.

It’s important to use the best way of storing crab legs in the fridge, as described above, to prevent this from happening.

If your crab legs have an unpleasant odor or a slimy texture, these are signs that they have gone bad. If you observe these signs, it’s best to throw them out. When it comes to food, safety should always come first.

What Are the Best Ways to Reheat Crab Legs?

There are a variety of ways to reheat crab legs, all of which are easy to follow. These simple tips will ensure your reheated crab legs retain their proper taste and texture.

On the Grill

Reheating on the grill is one of the best ways to bring out the unique flavor of your crab legs. Simply brush the legs with melted butter or olive oil, wrap them in heavy-duty aluminum foil, and place them on a grill set to high heat for 5-7 minutes.


Steaming is another great way to heat crab legs. Add an inch of water and a steamer basket to a large pot. Once the water is boiling, add the crab legs and steam for about 5 minutes.


Boiling is a quick and easy method. Just fill a large pot with enough water to cover the crab legs, bring it to a boil, and add the legs. Cook for about 4-5 minutes until they are thoroughly heated.

In the Oven

Heating crab legs in the oven is an easy and effective way. Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C), place the crab legs in a baking dish, add about a half-inch of hot water, cover the dish with aluminum foil, and bake for about 10-15 minutes.

In the Microwave

If you’re pressed for time, using the microwave is the easiest way. Wrap your crab legs in a damp paper towel, place them in a microwave-safe dish, and heat on high for 1-2 minutes. Be careful not to overheat as it can make the crab legs tough.

How Can You Tell If Cooked Crab Is Bad?

It’s important to know the signs of bad crab to prevent any risk of food poisoning. Here are a few things to keep in mind:


If your leftover cooked crab legs have a sour smell, it’s a strong sign that they’ve gone bad. Fresh crab meat should have a mild, sweet smell.


Crab meat should have a firm, but tender texture. If it’s slimy or mushy, it’s best to discard it.


Crab meat should be a vibrant white or off-white color. If you notice a dark color or any discoloration, it’s best to toss it out.


Can I store leftover crab legs at room temperature?

No, it’s not safe to store leftover crab legs at room temperature. They should be refrigerated or frozen as soon as they’ve cooled down to prevent bacterial growth.

Is it safe to reheat crab legs more than once?

No, reheating crab legs more than once is not advisable. This can lead to food poisoning as harmful bacteria might multiply each time the crab is allowed to cool and then reheated.

What happens if I eat bad crab legs?

Consuming bad crab legs can cause food poisoning, resulting in symptoms like nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. Always ensure that your crab is fresh before consumption.

Can I store different types of crab legs together?

Yes, you can store different types of crab legs like king, snow, and Dungeness together. However, ensure that they are properly wrapped and sealed to maintain their freshness and flavor.

How can I thaw frozen crab legs?

The best way to thaw frozen crab legs is by transferring them from the freezer to the refrigerator a day before you plan to cook them. This allows them to thaw gradually and maintain their texture

Is it better to steam or boil crab legs for reheating?

Both methods work well for reheating crab legs. Steaming is a gentler method and can help retain more flavor and moisture, but boiling is a quicker option if you’re short on time.


Crab legs are a delicious treat that can be enjoyed for days, provided they are properly stored and reheated. Remembering the best way to store leftover crab legs can extend their shelf life and allow you to enjoy this delicacy for longer. Whether you choose to refrigerate or freeze them, properly storing and reheating these delightful morsels will ensure you get to savor every last bit of their succulent meat and delicious flavors. Enjoy your crab feast!

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