Shrimp Boil Recipe – Cooking Classy

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Video Seafood boil recipe old bay

Shrimp Boil! A Southern favorite that includes tender shrimp, hearty potatoes, flavorful sausage, and sweet corn all boiled together in one big pot. An easy, delicious classic!

Image shown overhead of shrimp boil after cooking poured out and spread onto a large baking sheet.

Easy Shrimp Boil

A tasty shrimp boil recipe that never disappoints!

It’s brimming with a well balanced blend of spices – including an addictive kick of heat. And the blend of flavors throughout is spot on delicious!

Shrimp Boil Video

You’ve got the distinctive and enticing flavor of the shrimp, richness from the sausage, the pops of seasoning from the celery salt and sweet paprika (in the Old Bay blend), nice hints of bright lemon, rich and decadent butter, vibrant herbs and then you get plenty of freshness throughout with all the veggies.

It really is the perfect summer meal in one and it’s fun for entertaining too.

A dinner that’s fit for a simple weeknight meal or a hearty treat to look forward to over the weekend.

Truly a recipe that needs to be made at the very least, once a summer if you ask me.

Image of ingredients used to make shrimp boil. Includes shrimp, corn on the cob, andouille sausage, red potatoes, onion, butter, lemon, parsley, thyme, garlic, salt and pepper and water.

Shrimp Boil Ingredients and Possible Substitutes

  • Water: I like to begin with hot water just because it will reach boiling point faster.
  • Red onion: Yellow onion is delicious here too. Even a Vidalia onion will work.
  • Garlic: You’ll need a whole head of garlic here. I don’t recommend substituting dry as it won’t be nearly as flavorful.
  • Old Bay seasoning: You could make your own blend, see notes in variations below.
  • Thyme: 2 tsp dried thyme may be substituted.
  • Red potatoes: Yukon gold potatoes work great too. You can use any size but you need to cut them down to about 1 1/2-inch chunks. Petite can be left whole.
  • Salt and pepper: Add to taste, just remember there is already salt in the seasoning blend.
  • Corn: Corn on the cob is a must for this recipe, don’t use cut kernels. If needed frozen, thawed cobs will work.
  • Andouille sausage: If you can’t find andouille sausage another type of smoked sausage will work fine.
  • Shrimp: I prefer to use frozen, freshly thawed shrimp as it will have the best taste. Unless of course you can get fresh caught nothing beats that.
  • Unsalted butter: Salted butter will work just keep in mind it will add a little extra salt (nearly 1/4 tsp).
  • Lemon: If all you have is a lime that will work too.
  • Parsley: 1 Tbsp dried parsley may be subsisted. Really it’s mostly for a nice pop of color, you can omit if preferred.

Possible Variations

  • 1 can of beer can also be added along with the water.
  • Peel shrimp or leave unpeeled as preferred.
  • Add other herbs to the water mixture such as bay leaves or parsley.
  • Mixture can be finished with hot sauce upon serving.
  • Make your own homemade seafood seasoning (in place of the Old Bay).
  • You can add other seafood such as crab, lobster or clams.
  • Sneak in another colorful veggie such as green beans, okra or asparagus.

Collage image of four steps showing how to make shrimp boil in a pot, then draining in a colander and pouring butter over mixture on a platter.

How to Make Shrimp Boil

  1. Boil water with seasonings: Fill a large stockpot with 4 quarts water. Stir in onion, garlic, Old Bay seasoning, and thyme. Bring mixture to a boil over medium-high heat.
  2. Par-cook potatoes: Add potatoes and season with salt (I use 1 Tbsp). Let cook until potatoes are nearing tender, about 10 – 15 minutes.
  3. Cook corn and sausage: Add corn and continue to cook 3 minutes. Add sausage and cook 4 minutes longer.
  4. Briefly cook shrimp: Gently stir in shrimp and cook until just opaque and pink.
  5. Drain: Drain mixture (you can reserve 1/4 cup of the broth if you’d like for serving). Spread over an extra large serving platter or a baking sheet.
  6. Finish with butter, lemon and seasoning: Drizzle with butter and lemon juice. Sprinkle with parsley, Old Bay seasoning and pepper to taste.

How Long to Boil Shrimp

You’ll notice in this recipe it only takes 1 – 2 minutes to boil shrimp. Shrimp cooks very quickly and you want to be careful not to over-cook it or it will ruin the texture.

Close up image of shrimp boil.

Cooking Variations

The boiled version is a staple but there are many other ways to prepare it. Also try these:

Skillet: Try my skillet variation here, it adds a nice browned flavor.

Slow Cooker: Here are the directions you’ll use to cook in a crock pot:

  1. Add 14 oz sliced sausage, 1 1/2 lbs diced potatoes, 3 corn cobs halved, 1/2 onion and 6 garlic cloves to a large slow cooker.
  2. Add 5 cups water and 1/4 cup Old bay seasoning and 2 tsp fresh thyme.
  3. Cook on high heat 3 hours or until potatoes are tender. Remove corn to make room for shrimp if needed.
  4. Add 1 1/2 lbs shrimp and cook until just opaque, about 10 – 13 minutes.
  5. Drain then finish with 6 tbsp melted butter, 2 tbsp lemon, 2 tbsp parsley and more old bay seasoning.

Oven: Shrimp boil can also be scaled down and baked on a sheet pan in the oven, try this variation.

Grill: To cook it on the grill try my foil packets.

Image showing single serving of shrimp boil on a white plate with a serving suggestion of a side of cornbread.

What to Serve with It

Really it’s a meal in one but you can definitely add a cozy side to pair with it. Good options include:

  • Coleslaw
  • Cornbread
  • No knead bread

More Southern Favorites to Try

  • Corn Chowder
  • Jambalaya
  • Potato Salad
  • Red Beans and Rice
  • Squash Casserole

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