If you’re looking for an easy meal to feed a crowd with, a low-country Shrimp Boil is it! Complete with shrimp, sausage, potatoes, and corn, it’s a hearty one-pot feast that’s ready in no time at all!
This post is sponsored by Princess Cruises. All opinions and text are 100% my own.
If there’s one seafood recipe that just screams summer, a good ol’ Shrimp Boil has to be it! Talk about a community meal! A Shrimp Boil like this is perfect for large crowds, so go ahead and throw that block party or potluck and pull out all the stops. It’s hands down one of our favorite summer shrimp recipes. The star may be the shrimp, but you’ll have folks raving about the flavors of the veggies and sausage, too.
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Seafood boils stem from a Louisiana Cajun tradition of community crawfish boils. Depending on where you are will often dictate the type of shellfish used in the seafood boil (shrimp is common in the lower Gulf and the Carolinas and crab in Chesapeake), but the other ingredients are mostly the same. Whatever seafood you choose to add to your boil, you’re going to fall in love with this recipe!
What ingredients are in a shrimp boil?
Traditionally, a shrimp boil recipe consists of
- corn on the cob
They are often accentuated with smoked sausage or mushrooms, depending on tastes, and always served with lemon, melted butter, hot sauce, and French bread. Seasonings include store-bought shrimp boil seasoning (a blend of herbs and spices), salt, cayenne pepper, and bay leaf.
How much shrimp do you need for a shrimp boil per person?
Since there are so many delicious components to a shrimp boil, plan on about 1/2-3/4 pound per person, depending on the size of the shrimp. That said, you really can never have too many shrimp, so make sure you pick up extra! Someone will always grab the last few!
This shrimp boil really takes me back to my time in Alaska this summer on the Princess Cruise we took. We headed out to Icy Straight Point on an excursion one afternoon and had the most amazing king crab boil. There’s nothing quite like fresh seafood that’s 5 minutes off the boat before it hits the stock pot. We had the most amazing views during lunch and then we took to the bots to go whale watching. It was the perfect afternoon before returning to the Island Princess for dinner and drinks with everyone. While I absolutely have plans to splurge and do a king crab boil soon, this shrimp boil hit the spot and has us thinking about our next Princess Cruise!
How to make a shrimp boil
The key thing to remember when making a shrimp boil is, while it’s a supremely easy recipe, it takes patience and timing to get everything cooked to perfection. Potatoes and shrimp will not cook in the same amount of time, so a watchful eye on your pot is necessary.
- The first step is to bring the water, beer, lemons, garlic, and seasonings (I like old bay shrimp boil) to a boil over high heat. In a large stockpot with a lot of water, this could take up to 15 minutes. When that’s boiling, add the potatoes and onions – they need the most cook time and will benefit from all that delish flavor infusion. Let those boil until the potatoes begin to feel tender when poked with a fork, about 10 minutes, then add the smoked sausage.
- Boil the sausage with everything for 5-8 minutes and resist the urge to steal one from the pot. Cut fresh ears of corn in half (or use frozen cobs if you’re so inclined) and add them to the pot, boiling them for another 7 minutes or so.
- At this point, test to make sure everything is almost ready to go. Poke the potatoes and look for doneness. Make sure the corn is cooked.
- If all is well, turn down the heat add the shrimp. Cover the pot, let it all cook for about 2 minutes, then remove the pot from the heat and let it sit undisturbed for 10 minutes. The shrimp will continue to cook in the residual heat of the broth, and the flavors will infuse.
How to boil shrimp
Peel and devein your shrimp. Season the shrimp pot with spices like garlic salt, Old Bay, lemon juice, a little cider vinegar, or bay leaf. Pour in water and bring to a boil. Add the shrimp and cook for 2-3 minutes or until pink on the outside and white on the inside. Remove the shrimp and transfer to an ice bath to stop the cooking. Serve at room temperature or chill for 1 hour in the fridge from shrimp cocktail. This quick cooking time is why the shrimp go into the shrimp boil last.
Serve it all with lemon wedges, hot sauce, Old Bay seasoning, homemade cornbread, and melted butter! To really jazz up your dipping sauce, smash the garlic from the boil in a bowl and mix it with the melted butter. Cool it all down with a pitcher of my Southern Spiked Mango Iced Tea for a complete meal!
Want more of our favorite shrimp recipes?
- Spicy Garlic Shrimp
- Pineapple Coconut Lime Shrimp Skewers
- Creamy Greek Shrimp Pasta
- Grilled Bacon Wrapped Shrimp Tacos
- Baked Bang Bang Shrimp
- Garlic Roasted Shrimp with Spinach Artichoke Pasta
- More dinner recipes…
Tools used to make this Shrimp Boil recipe
Stock Pot: This 12-quart pot is great for everything from shrimp boils to brewing beer at home! It’s not an everyday pot at my house, but it’s a must-have from the home cook!
Knives: A good set of kitchen knives is essential for any cook. This set is the best one I’ve owned so far and it comes with a knife block, steak knives, and an array of larger knives perfect for all your slicing, chopping, and cutting needs.
Cutting Board: A good-sized cutting board is a must for home cooks. This board is thick & sturdy and makes recipe prep a breeze.
- 5 quarts water
- 12 ounces beer
- 1 box Shrimp Boil seasoning (3 ounces)
- 2 tablespoons kosher salt plus more as needed
- 2 heads garlic
- 2 lemons plus more for serving
- 1 pound red potatoes quartered
- 2 large sweet onions cut into wedges
- 2 pounds smoked sausage cut into 2-inch pieces
- 4 ears corn on the cob cut in half
- 3 pounds raw shrimp frozen or fresh
- 1/2 cup salted butter melted
- Add water, beer, shrimp boil seasoning and salt to a large Dutch oven (8-12qt) or boiling pot set over high heat. Slices the tops off of each head of garlic and add them to the pot. Cut each lemon in half and squeeze in the juice, then add the halves to the pot. Bring everything to a boil.
- When boiling, add the potatoes and onions to the pot, cover, and cook 8-10 minutes, until they just begin to feel tender.
- Add the sausage to the pot, cover, and cook 5 minutes.
- Add the corn halves to the pot, cover, and cook 6-7 minutes.
- Lower the heat to medium-low and add the shrimp. Cover and cook 2 minutes, then turn off the heat. Let sit for 10 minutes as the heat comes down, allowing the contents to absorb the flavors.
- Remove 1 cup of the broth from the pot, then drain the rest of the liquid out. Remove the garlic bulbs and place each one in two small bowls. Use a fork to smash the garlic, then add 1/2 cup of broth and half of the melted butter to each bowl. Stir well.
- Transfer the contents of the pot to a large serving platter, or spread it out on a newspaper-lined table. Serve with the garlic butter and additional lemon wedges.