Cherax destructor (Yabby)
Cherax destructor albidus (White Yabby)
Cherax preissii, Cherax plebejus (Koonac)
Cherax quinquecarinatus (Gilgie)
Other Cherax (except C.quadricarinatus, C.tenuimanus & C.cainii)

Other names: Crawbob, freshwater crayfish, gilgie, gilgy, lobby, yabbie.

Family: Parastacidae (freshwater crayfish, yabbies).


Available both wild-caught and farmed, these freshwater shellfish like slow flowing water and are found in waterholes, dams, swamps, creeks, billabongs and even temporary bodies of water to depths of 5m (they can survive periods of drought by burrowing into river beds). They are caught commercially in NSW, Victoria and SA using baited pots and drop nets, but mostly they are farmed, with C.destructor farmed in NSW, SA, Victoria and WA, C.plebejus and C.glaber in WA and C.albidus in Victoria and WA. They are endemic to Australia.

Season: Available farmed year round, wild-caught mostly in NSW from October to March.

Size and Weight: Reaches 20cm in body length (Koonac is largest), but commonly less than 70g and 12cm. Wild-caught are usually larger than farmed.

Price: Medium priced (live are dearer than cooked).


To Buy:

Sold whole live or cooked and chilled or frozen. Look for brightly coloured, firm, intact, lustrous shells, without any discolouration, particularly at joints, and a pleasant fresh sea smell. If possible buy live, avoid green (raw dead) chilled Yabbies as it’s hard to tell how long they’ve been dead.

To Store:

Live crustaceans should be consumed as soon as possible after purchase. Place in a covered container, with ventilation holes in the top and wet butcher’s paper or cloth in the bottom and keep in the coolest part of the house (below 20ºC) for up to 2 days, keeping the paper or cloth wet. Wrap dead Yabbies in plastic wrap or place in an airtight container. Refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months below -18ºC.

To Cook:

Average yield is 25% (lower in larger specimens). Has a sweet, delicate flavour, low oiliness and moist, firm flesh, which is translucent when raw and white with orange tinges when cooked. The most humane, and easiest, method of killing any crustacean is to chill it in the freezer for about 30 minutes until it becomes insensible (but not long enough to freeze it). Once chilled, it should be killed promptly by splitting in half or dropping into rapidly boiling water. See www.rspca.org.au for more details.

Cooking Methods:

Steam, poach, deep-fry, pan-fry, stir-fry, bake, grill, barbecue. The firm flesh holds together well during most cooking methods. Undercook, rather than overcook, them, as they will continue cooking in the residual heat; overcooked Yabbies become tough. The head and shell can be used to flavour stocks, soups and sauces.

Goes well with:

Butter, capsicum, chilli, fresh herbs (such as coriander, dill, French tarragon, parsley), garlic, lemon, lime, mustard, olive oil, Pernod, saffron, white wine.


Crabs, Marron, Prawns, Redclaw and Rocklobsters.




Boiled Yabbies with Chilli Tomato Sauce >
Yabby Cocktail >
Yabby Salad with Tomato & Basil >
Redclaw & Soba Noodle Salad >
Poached Redclaw with Chilli & Coconut >
Garlic Baked Redclaw >
Barbecued Marron with Garlic & Herb Butter >