Kraftor, Swedish Style Crayfish

We are all well aware of the Louisiana crayfish boil. There are thousands of recipes that can be found online quite easily. What is less well-known, and in my opinion, just as delicious, is the Swedish crayfish boil. Crayfish parties are an important part of the Swedish summer. My Swedish grandmother never let me in on this little tradition, but I am fortunate to have many Swedish friends who have asked me to get crayfish for their stateside crayfish parties. This recipe is best enjoyed with large amounts of lager and ice cold akvavit. Vodka will do in a pinch. Get a nice crusty loaf of bread and some sharp cheddar on the side.


2 lbs of crayfish (The amount you will receive with a half share, double this for a full share)

3 quarts of cold water

5 Tbsp salt

1 Tbsp sugar

6 large fronds of fresh dill, or 15 dill crowns. If you grow dill in your garden, these are the flowery crowns that appear on the top of the stalks.

1 tsp of anise (not necessary, but very helpful)

1. Make sure that all of your crayfish are alive. Straight tails = dead crayfish, throw them out.

2. Boil water, salt, sugar, dill, and anise in a large pot.

3. Cook the crayfish in the boiling mixture for 10 minutes after the water returns to a boil.

4. Allow the crayfish to cool in the cooking liquid. Once cooled, drain the liquid. IMPORTANT: Crayfish with a straight tail after cooking were dead prior to cooking. DO NOT EAT THEM. Throw them away.

5. Serve the crayfish cold with strong sharp cheddar and a hunk of bread.




This week we have crayfish from the Sacramento River. These lively little critters are caught with traps on the delta during the hot summer months, and they are caught in the rice fields during the fall. I avoided sourcing from the rice fields due to pollution concerns. Rice farming usually includes the use of some pretty nasty pesticides.

Your crayfish will arrive ALIVE. Very much so. We once had a 200 pound box of live crayfish delivered to our plant. No one secured the top of the box and the next day the little guys had wandered into every corner of our 10000 square foot facility. You might want to avoid this in your refrigerator.

You will get your share in a plastic bag with holes in it. I recommend putting this bag in a large bowl of ice in your refrigerator, covered with a wet towel. Crayfish need air and moisture to stay alive, much like our little oyster friends. Helpful eating instructions can be found here.

DO NOT eat crayfish that are dead prior to cooking. Crayfish that are alive will have curved tails, if they are dead the tail will straighten. Even after cooking, DO NOT eat crayfish with straight tails. A straight tail after cooking means the crayfish was dead before it was cooked. Dead crayfish go bad quickly and will make you sick.