March 9, 2021 by CC Staff

The Main Differences Between Crawfish, Lobster and Shrimp

Seafood is a fan favorite in America for many reasons. Whether it’s a mix of proteins with a surf-n-turf, a full seafood platter, or things like big buckets of crawfish and shrimp, the American people love a good dish. However, not everyone is blessed with the freshness of New Orleans or other seaside states, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t good options for everyone to enjoy seafood. Crawfish in Houston is a booming industry, as people love this intensely-flavored crustacean. 

Finding your local restaurant that serves tons of dishes can be a fun experience, but you might be wondering what the differences are between the three popular crustaceans. Crawfish, lobster, and shrimp are similarly offered in a crawfish restaurant, and some people order big without knowing all about them. There are physical differences, slight taste variations, and the best times to request each. Here’s what you need to know about the favorite orders when going through a crawfish cafe and other restaurants. 

Physical Differences

Shrimps vary in size, and these are typically the umbrella term for long-tailed crustaceans. They generally are 8-inches long and are saltwater-based, with varying colors. The U.S. variants are the white, pink, and brown varieties and are some of the best protein sources with low fat and calories. Avoid the head’s contents, as these can be high in cholesterol and cause allergic reactions in some people. 

Crawfish look like smaller lobsters that are around three to four inches long. Compared to the lobster, they are found in freshwater and muddy rivers. Southern United States areas farm these in large quantities using rice paddies, as these feel like swampy waters that the crawfish love. They have distinct colors depending on where they are found, and they come in red, brown, dark, green, black, and orange. However, their tones do not affect their taste in any way. Typically, the claws are what you aim for in a crawfish, as these have plenty of meat that is tasty, protein-filled, and low in both fat and calories. If you cook these with low-calorie ingredients, they can be great diet foods. 

Lobsters are the seafood variant of crawfish and can grow from 8-inches to around 20-inches in length. They are found in saltwater only and usually hide in rock formations underwater. They have plenty of meat found in their tails compared to the little chunk available on their saltwater counterparts, but their massive claws also provide a tasty experience. 

Best Seasons for Each

Shrimp and lobsters are at their best between April and October, with May being the best month for live lobsters. As the climate shifts to a warmer one, the earlier you get lobsters, the better they’ll taste because of the firmer meats from winter waters. Onwards to fall and December, the prices start to rise because of the demand for lobsters. Since the waters are colder, they often taste much better and multiply more, which hikes the price for those preparing winter dinners. 

Crawfish are dependent on winters from the previous months, alongside current temperatures and rainfall. The best season to get crawfish in Houston is around February or March and runs until July at the latest. However, these crustaceans are available all year round because of the wide-availability of farms all over the country. 

Flavors and Cooking Methods

Lobsters and crawfish are usually associated with their respective cooking methods. The former is seen as a delicacy and luxury, while the latter is best cooked using “home cooking” techniques. The seawater lobsters are boiled and steamed like shrimps, while crawfish are boiled in a bath with tons of seasoning and other ingredients to give it amazing flavors. Lobsters are famous for their indulgent butter baths, which makes them incredibly flavorful. However, any crawfish restaurant that sells well uses its unique spice bath to give its meats an incredible taste. 


A good crawfish restaurant typically serves this wonderful crustacean with other seafood products. The main difference between all three is their physical appearance and taste because of cooking, but all provide all food enthusiasts with a fantastic eating experience. 

Crawfish Cafe is an incredible seafood and crawfish restaurant in Houston, Texas that serves tons of fantastic meals and dishes to satisfy your cravings. Whether you want king crab, snow crab, shrimp, or crawfish in Houston, our home cooking style has you covered. Visit us today to find the best seafood in the area!

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