Crawfish Po’Boy

A fried crawfish po’boy is a classic New Orleans sandwich stuffed full of crispy fried crawfish tails. Serve it on flaky French bread and top with mayo, shredded lettuce, sliced tomatoes, and pickles for an authentic dressed po’boy. 

A fried crawfish poboy with hot sauce and a beer.

Springtime in New Orleans means it’s crawfish season! Crawfish boils are such a treasured celebration in south Louisiana, especially if you get to take home some leftover crawfish! Use up those leftover crawfish tails in recipes like crawfish cream sauce, crawfish étouffée, crawfish Monica, crawfish bread, or these crispy fried crawfish po-boys!

What you’ll love about this recipe:

  • Lauren’s Take: Fried crawfish po’boys are a fun New Orleans inspired lunch or dinner. Cut them into small sections and serve them on a platter for a New Orleans themed dinner party. I like to swap mayo for remoulade sauce for extra zesty flavor.
  • Taste and Texture: Crispy fried crawfish on top of flaky french bread. The cold tomatoes, lettuce, and mayo provide the perfect balance of textures, temperatures, and flavors.
  • Time: Soaking the crawfish will take an hour, but after that crawfish fry up in 1-2 minutes. After that, just assemble the poboy.
  • Testing Notes: I tested this recipe with both buttermilk and a buttermilk alternative using milk and lemon juice mixed together which both worked well. 

What’s a Po’Boy?

A po’boy is a New Orleans style submarine sandwich. 

It’s made on a long loaf of flaky french bread. They can be topped with various fried seafood, roast beef, hot sausage, or cochon de lait (cajun pulled pork), but you can really put whatever you like on them. Some of the most popular seafood varieties are fried shrimp po’boys, fried oyster po’boys, and fried catfish po’boys. This crawfish po’boy is a fun version and perfect for crawfish season in the spring. 

Po’boys (poboy, or po-boy) get their name from the shortened version of “poor boy”. These sandwiches started in New Orleans almost 100 years ago, and have been popular ever since. You’ll find po’boys everywhere from nice restaurants to corner gas stations. 

Authentic New Orleans Tip

A “dressed” po’boy means it is topped with mayonnaise, shredded lettuce, sliced tomatoes, pickles, and mayonnaise in addition to the filling. 

Ingredients & Substitutions

Labeled Ingredients for fried crawfish po'boys.

See the recipe card below for the complete list of ingredients and measurements.

  • Crawfish tails – Use leftover crawfish tails from a crawfish boil, or frozen crawfish tails. It’s a great way to use leftover crawfish! 
  • Buttermilk – Buttermilk tenderizes the crawfish tails and helps the flour and cornmeal mixture to stick. Substitute buttermilk for an equal amount of whole milk plus 1 teaspoon of lemon juice. Mix together and let sit for a few minutes before using. 
  • Hot sauce – I love a vinegar based hot sauce like Crystal or Louisiana. 
  • Flour and cornmeal – I use a combination of all purpose flour and yellow cornmeal for a crispy crunchy coating. 
  • Salt – All salts are not created equal! Diamond crystal kosher salt is my favorite. It’s light and flaky, making it easy to season and difficult to over season. By volume, it’s a little less salty than fine sea salt and a lot less salty than table salt, so adjust accordingly. 
  • Seasonings – Garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne pepper, and black pepper are used to flavor the crawfish batter. 
  • Frying oil – Use a neutral high heat oil like vegetable oil or canola oil for deep frying.
  • French bread – The French bread in New Orleans really is like no other. It’s light, airy, chewy, and flakey without being dry. If you can get your hands on authentic New Orleans French bread like Leidenheimer’s, you’ll be in for a real treat. If not, any french bread loaf will do.
  • Toppings – The traditional toppings for a “dressed” po’boy are mayonnaise, shredded lettuce, slice tomatoes, and sliced pickles. 

Equipment Needed

Use an electric fryer to make frying easier. You can also use a deep cast iron skillet, cast iron dutch oven, or heavy stainless steel pot. Just make sure you are using a sturdy pot. 

A frying thermometer that clips to the side of the pot is super handy for keeping an eye on the oil temperature. A spider strainer is essential for easily scooping out fried food while transferring minimal oil.

Other items needed are paper towels and a baking rack to place the crawfish on after they come out of the fryer. Sprinkle some Diamond Crystal kosher salt after frying to properly season. 

Tips & Tricks

  • Fresh vs frozen crawfish. Frozen crawfish work perfectly well for this recipe. Make sure to defrost them just before making the recipe. 
  • Use hot oil! Frying with hot oil is essential for creating a crispy fried coating. If the oil isn’t hot enough, the batter can get soggy since it has to sit in the oil longer. Use a thermometer to check the temperature in between batches. 
  • Serve warm. To keep your crawfish warm, pop them in the oven for a few minutes while you work on assembling the po’boys. 
  • For more tips on frying seafood, check out fried crawfish tails.

How to Make a Crawfish Po’boy

Crawfish soaking in hot sauce and buttermilk.

Step One: Soak

Soak crawfish tails in a buttermilk and hot sauce mixture for about an hour covered in the refrigerator. 

Crawfish tossed in flour in a strainer.

Step Two: Toss

Drain excess liquid from crawfish, and toss together with the dry ingredients making sure to coat them well. Shake off the excess coating. 

A scoop of fried crawfish in a spider strainer.

Step Three: Fry

Fry crawfish tails in hot 350°F (175°C) oil until golden brown. Fry in batches if needed. 

Fried crawfish on paper towels with lemon wedges.

Step Four: Finish

Remove crawfish to a paper towel lined baking sheet and sprinkle with salt. 

For a full tutorial on frying crawfish, check out fried crawfish tails.

French bread with mayo and a side of tomatoes and lettuce.

Step Five: Layer

Spread mayo on the french bread. Add crawfish and top with lettuce, tomatoes, and pickles.

A dressed crawfish po'boy on a cutting board.

Step Six: Serve

Serve with hot sauce and enjoy! Remoulade sauce or crawfish dipping sauce would be a tasty swap for mayo!

Storage & Make Ahead

Storage: Fried crawfish po’boys are best served hot and fresh. If needed, store leftover crawfish tails in the refrigerator for 1-2 days in an airtight container. 

Freeze: Do not freeze this recipe. 

Reheat: Reheat in the oven on a baking sheet at 350°F (175°C) until warmed through. 

Make ahead: I don’t recommend making this recipe ahead of time. 

Fried crawfish poboy dressed with mayo, pickles, tomatoes, and lettuce.


Po’boys and muffulettas are both New Orleans sandwiches. A po’boy is made on a loaf of french bread and can be filled with fried seafood or roast beef. A muffuletta is made on round seeded bread and topped with salami, ham, provolone, mozzarella, and an olive spread. 

A dressed po’boy means it’s topped with mayonnaise, shredded lettuce, sliced tomatoes, and pickles

Po’boy is short for “poor boy”. They were invented in New Orleans by the Martin Brothers in the 1920s.  

More Crawfish Recipes

Need some recipes for leftover crawfish? I have you covered!

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A fried crawfish poboy with lettuce, tomatoes, mayo, and pickles.

Best Crawfish Po’boy Recipe

Fried crawfish poboy is a classic New Orleans sandwich stuffed full of crispy fried crawfish tails. Serve it on flaky French bread and top with mayo, shredded lettuce, sliced tomatoes, and pickles for an authentic dressed po’boy.
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Marinate time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Course lunch, Main Course
Cuisine American, Cajun
Servings 2 servings
Calories 1501 kcal



For Crawfish

For Po’Boy

  • 1 loaf French bread
  • Mayonnaise
  • Shredded lettuce
  • Tomato
  • Sliced pickles
  • Hot sauce


  • THAW: If your crawfish are frozen, soak the frozen package in cold water for about 15 minutes or place under cold running water. They should defrost quickly. Do not thaw ahead of time.
    1 pound crawfish tails
  • SOAK: Combine buttermilk and hot sauce in a container and stir, then add the thawed crawfish. Stir well to coat all the crawfish. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.
    ¾ cup buttermilk, 1 tablespoon hot sauce
  • PREP: While the crawfish are soaking, add flour, cornmeal, baking powder, salt, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne pepper, and black pepper in a large zip top bag, seal, and shake well to combine. Slice tomatoes and shred lettuce.
    ½ cup flour, ½ cup cornmeal, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 2 teaspoons diamond crystal kosher salt, 1 ½ teaspoon garlic powder, 1 teaspoon onion powder, 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper, 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • HEAT: When the crawfish are almost ready, add about 1 – 1½ inches of oil into a sturdy pot or deep skillet. Heat oil to 350°F (175°C).
  • SHAKE: Drain the buttermilk from the crawfish and gently squeeze out the excess liquid. Transfer the crawfish to the dry ingredients and shake well so all crawfish are coated. Use a spider strainer to lift the crawfish out and shake off excess flour mixture.
  • FRY: Working in batches, transfer battered crawfish to the oil and fry for 1-2 minutes, or until golden brown. Gently stir so they all fry evenly. Transfer fried crawfish to a paper towel lined plate or baking rack and promptly sprinkle with a pinch of salt. Continue until all crawfish are fried.
  • ASSEMBLE: Slice the french bread in half longways leaving one side attached. Layer both sides with mayonnaise, then add fried crawfish, lettuce, tomato slices, and pickles. Serve with hot sauce.


  • Frozen crawfish tails or leftover crawfish tails from a crawfish boil are both totally fine for this recipe.
  • Buttermilk substitute: mix ¾ cups whole milk with 1 teaspoon lemon juice together.  
  • Some of the cornmeal may fall to the bottom of the pot when frying, which is normal. 
  • Storage: Fried crawfish po’boys are best served fresh. If needed, store in the refrigerator for 1-2 days in an airtight container. Do not freeze.
  • Reheat in the oven on a baking sheet at 350°F (175°C) until warmed through. 


Calories: 1501kcalCarbohydrates: 169gProtein: 38gFat: 76gSaturated Fat: 13gPolyunsaturated Fat: 41gMonounsaturated Fat: 17gTrans Fat: 0.4gCholesterol: 53mgSodium: 4135mgPotassium: 861mgFiber: 11gSugar: 17gVitamin A: 1296IUVitamin C: 15mgCalcium: 373mgIron: 12mg
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Meet Lauren

I’m the blogger, recipe developer, food photographer, and otherwise food obsessed gal behind Lauren From Scratch. I was born and raised in New Orleans and lived in South Louisiana most of my life. Growing up around Cajun country has instilled a love of food that runs deep in my bones. I am passionate about food and teaching you how to make mouth-watering Louisiana inspired dishes in your own kitchen!

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