This Cajun Shrimp Boil is an easy one-pot meal complete with fresh shrimp, spicy cajun andouille, corn on the cob, potatoes, and, of course, a little beer. Perfect for a quick weeknight dinner or a large get-together. Serve it in bowls or keep it fun and casual and serve on a newspaper-covered table. P.S. Eating with your hands is allowed!
I first had this incredible Shrimp Boil while vacationing on Anna Maria Island, Florida with my wonderful brother and sister-in-law, Rob & Chrissy. We were all tired after a day at the beach and they suggested we throw together this easy Low Country Boil.
I'd never had any type of seafood boil and I found it easy to make and absolutely delicious! Now, whenever I need to get dinner on the table quickly, this cajun shrimp boil recipe comes to the rescue.
Table of contents
Why is it called a Low Country Boil?
This dish was originally called Frogmore Stew. It was named after Richard Gay, a National Guardsman, and the town he came from. He was told to cook supper for 100 hungry soldiers and, not knowing what to do, decided to use an old family recipe.
The soldiers, after devouring his tasty dish, crowned it Frogmore Stew after his hometown. However, when the post office changed the name of the town, the stew was renamed Low Country Boil, which traditionally means a stew that is made with a combination of shrimp, sausage, corn, and potatoes.
This seafood boil recipe is cooked on the stovetop, but you can also make it in the oven. Yep, and it's just as easy and delicious either way you choose. Check out my baked shrimp boil on a sheet pan for the oven method.
Seafood Boil Seasonings
Before you get ready to make this spicy dish, you need to pick up the best shrimp boil seasoning you can find. The flavor of your seafood boil is almost entirely dependent on this ingredient.
The best shrimp boil seasoning you can buy, in my opinion, is Zatarain's Crawfish, Shrimp & Crab Boil. Others include Old Bay Shrimp Boil, Louisiana Fish Fry Crawfish, Shrimp & Crab Boil, Slap Ya Mama Cajun Seasoning Seafood Boil, and Florida Seafood Seasoning Crab & Shrimp Boil.
- Best seasoning for cajun shrimp boil - Zatarain's Crawfish Shrimp & Carb Boil is a wonderful, spicy seasoning that comes in a pouch. Just drop it in then remove it at the end. Easy-peasy!
- Best shrimp for shrimp boil - Nothing beats fresh shrimp but thawed frozen in the shell shrimp will also work! Purchase large shrimp as they are easier to peel and eat and harder to overcook than the smaller sizes.
- Best sausage for shrimp boil - has got to be andouille sausage but other smoked sausages will work as well. The andouille sausage is the one commonly associated with this Louisiana Cajun cuisine. It offers up a coarse, smoky and sharp taste that complements the seafood.
- Best corn for seafood boil - has got to be fresh corn on the cob, white silver queen if available. If need be, frozen corn on the cob, thawed, can work but the flavor will not be as sweet.
- Best potatoes for seafood boil - are either Red or Yukon Gold potatoes. These waxy will hold their shape better when boiled. Make sure to cut them to the same size so they cook evenly.
- Best beer for beer boiled shrimp - is a rich, dark beer such as Guinness or lagers such as pilsners and American craft lagers. Also, look to IPAs and pale ales that have a citrusy aroma.
- Best butter for seafood boil - is an unsalted variety. If you only have salted, be aware that most seafood boil seasonings have salt in them so your result will be saltier.
- Best onion - Any onion can be added to this boil. I like to use a yellow or sweet onion but red onion will work as well.
Once all the ingredients are gathered, all you need is a big enough pot and about 35 minutes and you can put together a down-home country boil that would make any Cajun proud.
There are several other ways to make a low country shrimp boil and changing them up is up to the individual making it. But, believe me, whatever way you decide to fix it, this Louisiana shrimp boil will be fantastic!
- Shrimp and crab boil - adds crab to the mix. My favorite version while living on the Chesapeake Bay.
- If you can find them, make it a Shrimp and Crawfish Boil by adding crawfish, a traditional staple in Cajun cooking
- Shrimp and lobster boil - go high end with the addition of lobster
- For a true beach bash, try a Shrimp and Clam boil at the nearest beach
- Shrimp and scallop boil - you can never go wrong adding scallops to the mix
- No beer boils - use water or broth instead or opt for a combination of beer and water
- Citrusy boil - Add lemons to the boiling pot for a foil to the spiciness
- Spicy boil - add a bit of cayenne and/or sprinkle with Old Bay after boiling
Frequently asked questions about seafood boils
I like to use large unpeeled shrimp so that they are harder to overcook. This size always comes out moist and tender.
You don't have to but it does add a rich taste to the broth. You can substitute it with water or chicken broth if you prefer.
It's a general term for a social gathering featuring seafood. Usually, whatever seafood is abundant in the area you are in, is what goes into the mix. The cooking method and add-ins are also those predominantly used there.
You can cut some of the spice by adding a squeeze of lemon or lime or even vinegar. You can also abstain from adding any cayenne pepper or additional Old Bay.
How to Make a Shrimp Boil
- In a large pot that is large enough to hold all ingredients, combine beer, water, and butter. Any type of beer can be used but the best choices are a stout or porter. (photo 1)
- Add Zatarain's Crawfish, Shrimp & Crab Boil, salt. and cayenne pepper. Leave out the cayenne pepper if you don't like as much kick to your boil. (photo 2)
- Place potatoes in the pot and bring to a boil. Cook for 10 minutes as the potatoes take the longest to soften. (photo 3)
- Add onion, garlic, and corn cobs that you have broken into thirds. (photo 4)
- Toss in Andouille sausage and cook for an additional 20 minutes. (photo 5)
- Since shrimp take the least amount of time to cook, add in last and cook 5 more minutes. If you like your seafood boil really spicy, then sprinkle in some additional Zatarain's or Old Bay seasoning. (photo 6)
This is a fantastic, quick and easy dinner whatever the season. It's on the table in about 45 minutes with just 10 minutes prep and only 1 pot to clean.
You don't even have to use dishes as it's great to spread it out on a newspaper-lined table. And, it's perfectly acceptable to eat shrimp boil with your fingers! Enjoy!
What to Serve with a Low Country Boil
Serve it with melted butter, lemon wedges, and cocktail sauce.
More Easy Seafood Recipes
Spicy Grilled Shrimp are flavored with cajun spices and a hint of tang from a squeeze of lime. Just marinate, skewer, and grill for a healthy dinner that can be on the table in less than 30 minutes.
Salmon with Red Pepper Sauce is simply grilled with cajun seasoning and lemon then topped with a fresh sauce of red bell peppers, onions, and tomatoes. All on the table in 30 minutes!
30 Minute Seafood Stew with Scallops is chock full of fish, shrimp, and scallops with a fresh tomato base flavored with parsley & spices. It makes the perfect fresh, healthy dinner for a busy weeknight.
Spicy Grilled Clams in Foil from Bobbi's Kozy Kitchen - is a no muss, no fuss delicious recipe with little cleanup.
Find lots more seafood recipes here on 2CM!
Cajun Shrimp Boil
- 12 oz. dark beer
- 4-6 cups water
- ½ cup butter optional
- ½ pkg Zatarain's Crawfish Shrimp & Crab Boil (original pkg 3-oz)
- 1-2 Tablespoons salt
- ¼-1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper optional
- 8 small red potatoes halved
- 1 onion quartered & separated
- ½ head garlic
- 3 ears corn cut in thirds
- 12 oz. Aidells Cajun-Style Andouille
- 1 ½ lbs large shrimp in shells
- Serve with lemon wedges, melted butter & cocktail sauce
- In a large stockpot, add beer, water, butter if using, Zatarain's seasoning, salt, cayenne and potatoes. Bring to a boil and cook for 10 minutes.
- Add onion, garlic, corn and andouille and continue to cook for 20 more minutes.
- Toss in shrimp and cook 5 more minutes. Drain. Sprinkle with additional Zatarain's or Old Bay seasoning for more spice, if desired.
- Serve in a large bowl or toss onto a newspaper covered table and dig in. Serve with lemon wedges and cocktail sauce for shrimp and melted butter for corn.
This post has been updated with new photos and clearer step-by-step directions. It was first published on July 1, 2015.