Spicy Cajun Shrimp Boil with Zatarains

This Spicy Cajun Shrimp Boil with Zatarains 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!

Overhead of hot shrimp boil in round pan with old bay cocktail sauce and butter.

I first had this incredible Cajun 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 Low Country Boil. Never having tried it, I no idea what I was missing. And not only can you cook this seafood boil on the stove as we did, you can make it in the oven as I did with my shrimp boil sheet pan dinner.

Ingredients for shrimp boil laid out on white table.

The ingredients in this seafood boil are super simple, just unpeeled shrimp, andouille sausage, corn on the cob, potatoes, onions, Zatarain’s seasoning and, of course, beer. 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.  

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.

Closeup of boil in round pan showing corn shrimp and potatoes.

There are several other ways to make a cajun shrimp boil and changing them up seems to be up to the individual making it. Some use all beer and no water, some use all water, some add lemons to the boiling pot while others spice it up a bit with cayenne pepper and extra Old Bay. But believe me, whatever way you decide to fix it, it will be fantastic!

Frequently asked questions about seafood boils

What is the best sized shrimp to use for boils?

I like to use large unpeeled shrimp so that they are harder to overcook. This size always comes out moist and tender.

Do I have to use beer?

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.

What is a seafood boil?

It’s a general tern 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.

How do I make a boil less spicy?

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.

What sides go well with this low country boil?

Since it has shrimp and sausage as well as potatoes and corn on the cob, I would stick with coleslaw, baked beans and definitely add some crusty French bread.

Directions

Prep steps for shrimp boil.

  1. 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)
  2. 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)
  3. Place potatoes in pot and bring to a boil. Cook for 10 minutes as the potatoes take the longest to soften. (photo 3)
  4. Add onion, garlic, and corn cobs that you have broken into thirds. (photo 4)
  5. Toss in Andouille sausage and cook for an additional 20 minutes. (photo 5)
  6. 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)

Overhead of shrimp boil on newspaper with butter and cocktail sauce.

This is a fantastic, quick and easy dinner for the busy fall and winter 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 spread out on a newspaper-lined table. And, it’s perfectly acceptable to eat with your fingers! Serve it with melted butter, lemon wedges, and cocktail sauce and enjoy!

More easy seafood recipes

Grilled Spicy 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. 

Grilled 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. 

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Partial view of low country boil in round pan with parsley and red and gold napkin in corner.

Spicy Cajun Shrimp Boil

Print Rate
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 516kcal
Author: Linda Warren

Ingredients

  • 12 oz. dark beer
  • 4-6 cups  water
  • 1/2 cup butter optional
  • 1/2 pkg Zatarain's Crawfish Shrimp & Crab Boil (original pkg 3-oz)
  • 1-2 Tablespoons salt
  • 1/4-1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper optional
  • 8 small red potatoes halved
  • 1 onion quartered & separated
  • 1/2 head garlic
  • 3 ears corn cut in thirds
  • 12 oz.  Aidells Cajun-Style Andouille
  • 1 1/2 lbs large shrimp in shells
  • Serve with lemon wedges, melted butter & cocktail sauce

Instructions

  • 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.

Notes

Frequently asked questions about seafood boils

What is the best sized shrimp to use for boils?
I like to use large unpeeled shrimp so  that they are harder to overcook. This size always comes out moist and tender.
Do I have to use beer?
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.
How do I make a boil less spicy?
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.
What sides go well with this low country boil?
Since it has shrimp and sausage as well as potatoes and corn on the cob, I would stick with cole slaw, baked beans and definitely add some crusty bread.

Nutrition

Calories: 516kcal | Carbohydrates: 13g | Protein: 36g | Fat: 33g | Saturated Fat: 15g | Cholesterol: 374mg | Sodium: 2704mg | Potassium: 436mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 615IU | Vitamin C: 10.2mg | Calcium: 192mg | Iron: 3.5mg

This post has been updated with new photos and clearer step-by-step directions. It was first published on July 1, 2015.

Spicy Cajun Shrimp Boil with Zatarains

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