Shrimp boil is a favorite southern recipe. This recipe includes shrimp, potatoes, andouille sausage, and corn on the cob, all boiled together in one big pot. You can even add mussels and crab legs to the pot.
What In The World Is A Shrimp Boil?
A shrimp boil is a Louisiana Cajun tradition that is not only a good recipe and meal, but you can have a great time with family and friends. It’s similar to a low country boil in Georgia and South Carolina. They are pretty much identical. They also have crab and crawfish boils in Louisiana.
Up north, a shrimp boil or seafood boil is sometimes called Frogmore stew.
When we visited New Orleans recently, it was the first time my boyfriend met my family. So, my family members threw a huge shrimp and crab boil, and it was so much fun.
Thank you, Cleo and Sunny! Oh, and they chargrilled some oysters outside in their backyard and fried up a massive batch of fried catfish.
Family, friends, seafood, and andouille sausage — Now that’s some mighty good living. (I typed that in my brother’s voice.)
How Do You Make a Successful Seafood Boil?
Some folks serve the shrimp boil on a newspaper-lined table outside or on large platters. You can have a seafood boil wherever you like, but it would be messy inside the house.
And if you’re having a lot of folks over to eat a messy meal, well, good luck to you if you’re holding it in your dining room. The shrimp boil my family members held for me recently was inside and outside. It’s like having a party, but a lot of seafood is involved.
Who First Created Shrimp Boil?
Shrimp boil recipe origins can be traced back to Richard Gay, a National Guardsman.
Gay had a lot on his hands, having a job to cook a meal for over 100 soldiers, so he decided to use an old family recipe. He just threw shrimp and leftovers in a big pot, and the meal was a hit.
That was in the 1960s, so it’s not really that old of a recipe. Can you imagine Mr. Gay at a shrimp boil in 2022 telling people that he invented it? “Sure you did, buddy. Sure.”
What Goes with Shrimp Boil?
You don’t need to serve anything with the shrimp boil recipe since it’s so filling, but you can serve it with any of these:
- Toasted french bread
- Instant Pot mashed potatoes
- Cocktail sauce
- Sliced red onion
- Maque choux
- Hot sauce
- Melted butter (drawn butter)
- Crackers (saltines)
- Lemon wedges
- Red beans and rice
French bread always seems to go well with any seafood recipe.
And like my family members, you can get serious and fry up some fried catfish, too, and throw some oysters on the grill. I’ll write up a recipe for chargrilled oysters later on. It’s such a special meal that it’s challenging to decide what will go well with it.
Another thing that makes this dish unique is the Old Bay Seasoning. The popular seasoning is good in seafood as well as in poultry dishes. And honestly, it’s the best seafood seasoning out there, in my humble but always correct opinion.
Another thing that goes well with a shrimp boil is beer. Of course, if you don’t care for libations, you can serve the dish with sweet tea. I’ll take a beer, though, thankyouverymuch.
Is It Worth Making A Seafood Boil?
Damn skippy. I’m making a shrimp boil tonight for the two of us. Yes, you can make this dish for just a couple of people. I do, though, usually have leftovers, but I call that “lunch for tomorrow.”
I’d be a regular if they had a seafood boil restaurant near me. So, if you want to throw a shrimp boil party, it will be unforgettable for your guests. It’s a taste of New Orleans.
Another thing you can do is create a sheet pan shrimp boil. To do that, just put all of your ingredients on a sheet pan and bake it.
You can use frozen shrimp and sausage in your sheet pan shrimp boil. We also love the idea of an Instant Pot shrimp boil.
Weight Watchers Shrimp Boil
If you’re following the Weight Watchers diet, it’s easy to adapt this shrimp boil recipe to WW.
As of late 2021, the Weight Watchers diet is done with Personal Points, which means that various foods don’t have the same Smart Points value for everyone. For example, some people may have potatoes as a zero point food, while others will not. The same thing goes for shrimp and corn.
If you want to eat any of these foods regularly, you will need to open the WW app on your smartphone and adjust your zero point foods list. Otherwise, you can just count the points for these foods.
To make a Weight Watchers friendly shrimp boil, you can use turkey smoked sausage instead of andouille sausage. Also, it’s easy to use light butter such as Land o’ Lakes light butter made with canola oil instead of regular butter. Or you can omit the butter altogether to save even more points.
Shrimp Nutrition Facts
Is shrimp healthy? The nutrition facts for shrimp are amazing. Shrimp is low in saturated fat and full of protein. In fact, a 3-ounce serving of shrimp has 20 grams of lean protein.
Shrimp is low in carbohydrates, with just 1 gram for every 3-ounce serving.
Does shrimp have fat? Shrimp is a low fat food and has less than 1 gram of fat per 3-ounce serving.
What are the Health Benefits of Shrimp?
Because shrimp supplies so much beneficial protein and is low in fat and calories, shrimp has several health benefits.
- Promotes heart health
- Helps maintain weight loss
- Supports healthy pregnancy
- Strengthens bones
- May benefit brain health
What Supplies Do I Need for a Seafood Boil?
What equipment do you need to host a seafood boil? Here is a shortlist of the supplies and equipment for a successful seafood boil.
- Large stock pot
- Stock pot basket
- Large mesh scoop for ladeling the meat, seafood, and vegetables
- Paper towels
- Butcher paper, heavyweight brown paper, or wax paper for your table
- Wet wipes for your guests
- Crab mallets or seafood tools (optional)
- Outdoor gas stove (optional)
- Propane burner (optional)
- Steamer kit (optional)
Can You Please Just Shut Up And Just Give Us The Shrimp Boil Recipe?
Well, OK, FINE!
Cajun Shrimp Boil Ingredients
You’ll need a big pot filled with about 4 quarts of water. Also, Old Bay Seasoning is a must. With a tub of Old Bay Seasoning, you can make so many delicious recipes. Is there a substitute for Old Bay Seasoning? Not really.
Gather the ingredients:
- 2 lemons, one halved, and the other cut into wedges for serving
- 1 purple onion (red onion) cut into about 4 wedges
- 1/2 cup of Old Bay Seasoning
- 4 tablespoons Cajun seasoning
- About 7 garlic cloves, smashed
- Now you need to take six sprigs of fresh thyme and tie them with kitchen twine.
- One pound of baby red potatoes. You might need to cut some of them in half.
- Three ears of corn, quartered
- 13.5-ounce pack of andouille sausage
- 1 pound of large shrimp, peeled. You can leave the tails on if you like.
- 1 stick of butter
- And if you want to give it a kick, you can serve it with hot sauce, Cajun seasoning, Creole seasoning, or cayenne pepper.
- Lemon wedges and parsley for garnish.
What Is the Best Size Shrimp for a Shrimp Boil?
Depending on your personal preference, the size of your shrimp for a shrimp boil can be anywhere from medium-sized boiled shrimp to jumbo shrimp.
Shrimp Boil Ingredients Substitutions
There are tons of things you can do to customize your shrimp boil. For example, you can use any type of potatoes, including red potatoes, Yukon Gold potatoes, russet potatoes, new potatoes, and even the little gourmet baby potatoes. Any type of potatoes are great in a shrimp boil.
For the shrimp, you can use frozen shrimp or fresh shrimp.
If you don’t have fresh garlic, I have to ask: why not? Everyone needs some garlic cloves in their kitchen. Nevertheless, if you don’t keep fresh garlic, you can keep a jar of minced garlic in your fridge. Also, for this recipe, you can use garlic powder in a pinch.
What Kind of Sausage Do You Use in a Shrimp Boil?
How about the sausage? You don’t have to use andouille sausage. You can also use sausage links, smoked sausage, and even smoked turkey sausage.
Can you use kielbasa sausage in a seafood boil? Absolutely! Kielbasa sausage is an excellent substitute for andouille sausage.
What Kind of Corn Do You Use in a Shrimp Boil?
For the corn on the cob, you can use fresh corn on the cob, or you can use frozen corn. But you really need corn for this low-country shrimp boil recipe. One of the things that makes a shrimp boil special is the sweet ears of corn. In short, a shrimp boil without corn just doesn’t seem right.
If you don’t want butter, you don’t have to use butter. The butter is totally optional. You can also use a light butter substitute. But we’re going to pour Cajun butter all over the boil.
Instructions for Cajun Shrimp Boil
1. After you fill a large pot with about 4 quarts of water and it’s boiling, squeeze the lemon juice into the water.
2. Now throw the squeezed lemon halves into the pot with the water.
3. Add the onion wedges, the Old Bay, Cajun seasoning, and garlic into the pot.
4. Use some kitchen twine to tie the thyme sprigs together and add that to the pot. Cover the pot and bring it to a boil. Reduce the temperature to a simmer and cook for about 5 minutes.
5. Add the baby potatoes. Let them boil for about 10 minutes until tender.
6. Now you’re going to add the corn and let that boil for about 5 minutes.
7. While that’s cooking, melt one stick of butter in a pan, then add a few tablespoons of Cajun seasoning. Stir well, then add about 1/2 a cup of water/broth from the shrimp boil pan. Set aside.
8. Cut the andouille sausage into slices and add that to the pot.
9. Let it boil for about 5 minutes, then add the peeled shrimp.
10. Cover the pot and cook the shrimp for no more than 5 minutes. You don’t want to overcook it. They will probably be ready in just a few minutes when they turn opaque and slightly curl.
10. Drain the mixture, then pour the Cajun butter sauce over the shrimp boil.
11. Put it in a large bowl, and garnish with the lemon wedges and fresh parsley, and you’re good to go. Let’s eat!
Here’s a great video for how to do the perfect Cajun shrimp boil.
Authentic Cajun Shrimp Boil from New Orleans, Y’all
- 4 quarts water
- 2 whole lemons halved
- 1 whole red onion cut into 4 wedges
- 6 sprigs fresh thyme tied together with kitchen twine
- 4 tablespoons Cajun seasoning I use Slap Ya Mama, reserve half
- 16 oz red potatoes halved
- 7 cloves garlic smashed
- 3 ears corn on the cob quartered
- 16 oz andouille sausage sliced
- 16 oz shrimp peeled
- 1 stick butter
- After you fill a large pot with about 4 quarts of water, then squeeze the lemon juice into the water. Now throw the squeezed lemon halves into the pot with the water.
- Add the onion wedges, the Old Bay Seasoning, 2 tablespoons of the Cajun seasoning, and garlic into the pot.
- Use some kitchen twine to tie the thyme sprigs together. Now add that to the pot. Cover the pot and bring it to a boil. Reduce the temperature to a simmer and cook for about 5 minutes.
- Add the baby potatoes. Let them boil for about 10 minutes until tender
- Now you're going to add the corn and let that boil for about 5 minutes.
- While that's cooking, melt one stick of butter in a pan, then add a few tablespoons of Cajun seasoning. Stir well, then add about 1/2 a cup of water/broth from the shrimp boil pan. Set aside.
- Next cut the andouille sausage into slices and add that to the pot. Let it boil for about 5 minutes, then add the peeled shrimp.
- Cover the pot and cook the shrimp for no more than 5 minutes. You don't want to overcook it. They will probably be ready in just a few minutes when they turn opaque and slightly curl.
- Drain the mixture, then pour the Cajun butter sauce over the shrimp boil.
- Add the butter, then put it on a large serving platter, then pour the broth over the shrimp boil.
- Put it in a large bowl, and garnish with the lemon wedges and fresh parsley, and you're good to go. Let's eat!
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Image: Wikimedia Commons