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What does crawfish taste like? Does it taste like lobster? Read about its flavor and how it’s eaten. Who knows? Crawfish might be your new favorite seafood!
Have you ever tried Louisiana’s famous crawfish boil? Unlike the typical seafood boil recipe that features crab, lobster, shrimp, and mussels, the star of this dish is a lobster-like crustacean called crawfish.
But what is crawfish, and what does it taste like anyway?
You’ll find out below why this seafood is perfect with the bold flavors Louisianian cuisine is known for.
Does crawfish taste like lobster? Does crawfish taste good?
We’ll go beyond the question “What does crawfish taste like?” so first-time crawfish eaters, sit back and enjoy reading because this might be your future favorite seafood!
What Is Crawfish?
Despite its name, crawfish is not a type of fish. Instead, it’s a freshwater crustacean that looks like a cross between a baby lobster and a shrimp.
If you love seafood, I imagine you’ll be very curious about what crawfish taste like, how it’s cooked, and how it’s eaten. If it looks like a lobster and a shrimp, it must taste as good, right?
According to Texas A&M University, the crawfish industry contributes over $150 million to Louisiana’s economy annually, so it’s safe to assume that the Pelican state knows how to prepare this seafood deliciously.
One of the state’s most famous crawfish dishes is the crawfish boil, usually made in a portion that can satisfy a hungry crowd.
Crawfish boil, from the name itself, is boiled crawfish with potatoes, corn, and sausages.
Crawfish must be so tasty that even just boiling them with vegetables gave birth to a dish described as “an experience similar to what makes Louisiana a traveler’s delight.”
What Does Crawfish Taste Like?
So what does crawfish taste like? The best way to describe the flavor of crawfish to someone who has not eaten it is sweet and a bit salty. Additionally, the crawfish tail, claw, and roe each have their own taste.
Eating crawfish is a gastronomic experience because you can take it apart and discover different flavors and textures.
You can’t go wrong with the crawfish tail and claw if it’s your first time eating crawfish. They are meaty with a sweet and light taste, especially the crawfish claws.
As someone who loves seafood, I’ll be happy with just steaming the claw meat and serving it with a side of rich mac and cheese. 🤤
The crawfish tail also tastes sweet, but the succulent meat is thick and perfect for searing, baking, or grilling.
What about the eggs of a female crawfish? Like fish roe, expect an oceanic mineral flavor when you eat crawfish roe.
Does Crawfish Taste Like Crab?
Crawfish is meatier, while crab has a lighter taste. However, some describe the flavor of crawfish as a cross between crab and shrimp.
Does Crawfish Taste Like Shrimp?
Crawfish do not taste like shrimp alone, but a cross between shrimp and crab. Crawfish meat is also not as firm as shrimp.
Does Crawfish Taste Like Lobster?
Another description that people give to crawfish is it tastes like a combination of lobster and shrimp. Crawfish flavor is less intense than lobster, but I’m sure everyone can agree that they are both deliciously savory.
Does Crawfish Taste Fishy?
Despite the name, crawfish don’t taste like fish. Crawfish tastes closer to lobster and shrimp, which is interesting since it resembles a combination of the two.
Products Made from Crawfish
If you’re feeling lazy, you can buy packed, cooked, and seasoned ready-to-eat crawfish. You just need to thaw the bag, add water and your preferred seasonings, and bring the dish to a boil.
You can now enjoy the sweet taste of crawfish tails without needing to peel and devein them yourself. There are frozen and cooked crawfish tails already peeled and deveined, so you only need to add them to your recipe.
One of Louisiana’s best mixed seafood recipes is crawfish, shrimp, and crab boil. The good news is you don’t need to travel to the Crawfish Capital of the World to enjoy this delicious dish, thanks to seafood packs that only need boiling water!
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Why You Should Try Crawfish
- Delicious: Sweet, slightly salty, and meaty, crawfish is a must-try for any seafood lover. Enjoy fresh crawfish boiled, or experiment with different seasonings and ingredients to bring out its flavor, which is a mix between lobster, shrimp, and crab.
- Simple Preparation: You don’t need to learn complex cooking methods to make crawfish tasty. Try crawfish boiled, steamed, grilled, or baked!
- Healthy: Did you know that crawfish, especially when just boiled, only have half the calories of skinless chicken breast? They’re also a good source of protein and vitamin B12!
How Healthy Is Crawfish?
Crawfish are relatively healthy because they are low in calories and fat but high in protein and omega-3 fatty acids. They’re also a good source of vitamins and minerals like B vitamins, iron, zinc, phosphorus, magnesium, and niacin.
But before you help yourself to multiple servings of the incredibly addictive crawfish boil, remember to be mindful of your portions.
Depending on the seasonings used, each serving of crawfish boil might be high in sodium.
If you like your crawfish in rich sauces or you love them fried, these preparations also mean additional calories.
You can always make your crawfish dish more nutritious by using less salt and adding more vegetables to the recipe. Personally, I like the texture and flavors added by broccoli and squash! 🤤
Where to Find Crawfish
- Local seafood markets: I envy those who live in Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi, and Texas because they can easily get fresh, live crawfish in local markets. Depending on the season, it’s also possible that some grocery stores offer boiled or live crawfish!
- Online: You can browse the web for crawfish retailers that will ship to your state. For example, Louisiana Crawfish Company delivers via FedEx and UPS. Or, if you don’t mind frozen crawfish, Walmart and Amazon also offer some options.
5 Best Substitutes For Crawfish
Often compared to crawfish, I’m not surprised that lobster tops the list of the best crawfish substitutes. This seafood will always be my guilty pleasure, especially with Cajun seasoning. 😍
The more affordable and easy-to-find shrimp makes a fantastic crawfish alternative. Treat yourself to a shrimp boil with seasoned butter and lemon broth!
Crab is also a suitable crawfish substitute. Try it in a cajun butter sauce, or use crawfish boil seasonings to prepare this delicious crustacean!
If you can’t get your hands on live crawfish, there’s nothing wrong with using crawfish boil to enjoy their flavor. Amazon even offers a powder and liquid boil bundle that you can use on your available seafood.
I’ve thought of including a plant-based seafood alternative here and discovered the hearts of palm! They are often used as substitutes for crustaceans because of their texture and delicate taste.
Does Crawfish Go Bad?
Crawfish can go bad, like all kinds of seafood, but I discovered some facts and fallacies you might like to know.
First, you have probably heard that if a cooked crawfish has a straight tail, it was already dead before boiling. However, this is not always the case, as mentioned by Louisiana State University.
The best way to tell the quality of the crawfish is by checking the meat. It should have no weird odor and color, and the meat should be succulent and firm, not mushy or mealy.
How To Store Crawfish
Enjoy your crawfish without worrying about food poisoning by storing them correctly. Ideally, crawfish should be alive and cold until you cook or freeze them.
If you have live crawfish, keep them between 42 to 45°F until you prepare them.
And for peeled crawfish tail, store the fresh meat at 40°F in the fridge for two days. Remember this temperature as well for refrigerating cooked crawfish.
In general, freezing is the best way to store crawfish, especially if you can’t use them immediately. Wash, blanch, and peel the fresh seafood before freezing it in an airtight freezer-safe container at 0°F.
They should be good in the freezer for 9 months!
But what about crawfish dishes?
Transfer the cooled crawfish dish to an airtight freezer container. The secret here is to leave half an inch of space at the top because the contents will expand during freezing.
Recipes That Have Crawfish In It
If it will be your first time eating crawfish, what other better introductory recipe to try than a Louisiana crawfish boil? Don’t forget your boil seasonings and invite family and friends to enjoy this feast.
Alternatively, you can make crawfish fried rice, which is great if you often have leftover rice in the fridge like me. This dish is perfect with the meat from crawfish tails!
What To Eat Crawfish With
Regardless of your chosen method of preparation, the secret to a delicious crawfish recipe that will have your loved ones licking their plates clean is the right seasoning.
For example, Cajun seasoning and crawfish is a tried and tested combination for an impressive crawfish boil or fried rice! 🤤
The crawfish boil is absolutely delicious, but you can also prepare the delicious crustacean with butter. Just imagining garlic butter crawfish tails makes my mouth water.
And speaking of garlic butter, are you a fan of scampi? Try this dairy-free shrimp scampi recipe, which is perfect for cutting down calories since it uses vegan butter!
You can even use crawfish in this crowd-pleasing dish!
Serve your seafood boil with something healthy and light, like mixed grilled veggies. Grilled asparagus and bell peppers are perfect for cutting through the intense flavors of the delicious crawfish dish.
What Tastes Better Shrimp Or Crawfish?
Choosing what is tastier between shrimp and crawfish will depend on preference. Some might prefer the more subtle salty-sweet flavor of crawfish, while others find the firmer shrimp meat more pleasant to chew than the texture of crawfish meat.
What Is The Yellow Stuff In Crawfish?
The yellow stuff in crawfish is not fat! Instead, it’s an organ with a function similar to our liver.
You can actually eat this “crawfish butter,” and some people even compare it to foie gras (if foie gras is from a freshwater crustacean. 😉)
FAQ About Crawfish
What is the proper way to eat crawfish?
First, twist and pull away the crawfish’s body from the head. Next, peel back the shell to access the meat. For the claws, break off the smaller part of the pincher, then pull off the meat from the claw. Don’t forget to also suck on the tasty crawfish head and legs!
What part of crawfish do you not eat?
Usually, only the shells of the crawfish are discarded. Besides the tail and claw meat, the crawfish head and legs can also be flavorful. Even the yellow stuff on crawfish is considered a delicacy!
So what does crawfish taste like?
The taste of crawfish is like a combination of crab, shrimp, and lobster. It’s mild, sweet, and slightly salty, perfect with bold seasonings like those used in the signature dishes of Louisiana.
I recommend trying every part of the crawfish (other than the shells, of course! 😅) because each has a distinct natural flavor and texture.
First-time crawfish eaters will love the meaty tail and claw, but the crawfish roe and even the yellow stuff on the crawfish are incredibly tasty.
For more frequently asked questions, visit our index of food-related questions and answers. Here are a few suggestions for you: