Can you eat crawfish claws?

In this short article, we will answer the question, “Can you eat crawfish claws?” with an in-depth analysis of crawfish, what parts of crawfish are safe to eat, the nutritional value of crawfish, the dangers of eating crawfish, and how to peel crawfish claws.

Can you eat crawfish claws?

Yes, you can eat crawfish claws. They have a very mild and subtle sweet taste. The claw meat is comparable to that of a lobster claw. It is very smooth and not at all hard. Crawfish claws are best served by steaming and boiling to maintain the delicate natural taste.

What are crawfish?

A crawfish, also known as crayfish, crawdad, is a crustacean that resembles a small lobster. They are three to six inches in length. They have a tough protective outer skeleton and a total of ten legs, among them the first two are larger claws, similar to lobsters and crabs. 

You can spot these little crustaceans on the bottom of almost every ocean across the world, though they typically live near the shoreline. When left alone in the wild, crawfish can live as long as 50 years.

Crawfish meat has a strong flavour and is typically tougher. They are somewhat salty, a little sweet, and have a hint of mineral taste. The flavour of crawfish conclusively depends on the part you are eating and how it has been prepared.

The edible parts of crawfish include the claws, tails, legs, roe, and outer shell. The claws, legs, and tails are typically regarded as the most suitable parts of crawfish for consumption as they include the majority of the meat. 

While the claws have a mild and sweet taste with a smooth texture, the tails are a bit thicker and tougher to chew but are highly nutritious.

How to peel crawfish claws?

  • Lightly press the biggest part of the claw with your hand.
  • With your other hand, grab the small portion of the pincher and twist it till it splits away from the rest of the claw.
  • While still pressing, slowly shake the pincher while stretching to empty it and the meat from the claw.

Ways to cook crawfish

There are many ways to cook a crawfish tail. Among them, steaming and boiling are the most common ways, but they can also be grilled, pan-seared, broiled, or baked. Here we will discuss the boiling method:

Boiling crawfish

To boil crawfish, you will need a container large enough to completely soaked the crawfish. You will also need to have a gas stove big enough to hold your pot of choice and an ice container large enough to hold your crawfish.

Follow the instructions below:

  • Fill a container partially with water that should be large enough to cover the crawfish.
  • Add seasoning including chilli powder, red pepper and garlic and make sure to stir to mix them well.
  • Inflame the burner and wait until the water starts boiling.
  • Add the crawfish after the water has started to boil, then cover with a lid. 
  • Let them boil for a maximum of three minutes. They will keep cooking as you remove them and season them in the following few steps.
  • During that time, add spices into your clean ice container. Add the boiled crawfish and then add an extra layer of spices on top. 
  • Close your ice container and wiggle it to completely mix everything.
  • Keep the ice container covered for approximately 15 minutes to let the flavours mix.
  • That is all, you can serve it now. 

Dangers of eating crawfish

Consumption of crawfish is associated with several dangers. These include:

Mercury poisoning 

It has been found that crawfish meat contains high levels of mercury and other toxic chemicals, including DDT, PCBs, and dioxin, which have been associated with cancer, nervous system disorders, and fetal damage.


Crawfish consumption can lead to Paragonimiasis which is a disease caused by the parasite Paragonimus trematodes, also identified as lung flukes. Humans become infected by consuming raw or undercooked crayfish that harbour the parasites. 

After humans, eat raw or undercooked crayfish that have P. trematodes, the parasite enters through the intestinal wall into the peritoneal cavity, then through the diaphragm into the pleural space and lungs, and can migrate to different organs, such as the brain and skin. 

Symptoms appear after 2 to 16 days following crawfish ingestion. These include:

  • Diarrhoea
  • abdominal pain
  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Hemoptysis
  • eosinophilia
  • pleural effusion
  • vision loss

Other FAQs about Fish that you may be interested in.

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In this short article, we have answered the question, “Can you eat crawfish claws?” with an in-depth analysis of crawfish, what parts of crawfish are safe to eat, the nutritional value of crawfish, the dangers of eating crawfish, and how to peel crawfish claws.