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How To Freeze Soft Shell Crabs

Soft-shelled crabs, like blue crabs, are a little bit different than hard-shelled crabs, namely that you don't need to remove the shell when you clean them. You also don't need to cook them before freezing.
Soft-shell crab can be thawed in the refrigerator and cooked either by steaming or in a hot pan.
Prep Time 45 mins
Total Time 45 mins


  • Kitchen shears
  • A clean sink
  • Paper towel
  • A garbage bag/bin
  • Plastic wrap
  • Large freezer bag
  • Freezer labels
  • A permanent marker
  • A straw (optional, but recommended)
  • Space in the back of your freezer


  • Chill the crabs in the fridge for about 10-15 minutes. This will make the crabs sluggish and easier to handle.
  • While holding the crab by its back legs, use the kitchen shears to quickly cut the front edge of its body off, just behind the eyes (about 1/4 inch). Discard this part.
  • Reach into the hole created by cutting behind the eyes to remove the crab's stomach. Discard it.
  • Flip the crab over. On its belly, you'll see its apron—it's circular on a female crab and pointed on a male crab. Pull the apron off.
  • Gently fold back each side of the top shell and remove the spongy, rubbery gills. Do not remove the shell. Since this part gets a bit technical, we included a short video to help illustrate these steps.:
  • Rinse the crab under cold water and pat it dry with a paper towel.
  • Wrap each crab individually and tightly in plastic wrap. Place each crab in a large freezer bag.
  • Gently press the air out of the bag, and seal it.
  • Straw "vacuum seal" trick (optional, but recommended): Slide a straw into the bag and suck out the air so the bag "shrinks" around the crabs. Slide the bag down the straw as you inhale, and quickly seal the bag while you remove the straw.
  • Write today's date on a freezer label and stick it to the bag. Place the bag deep within the back of your freezer.
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