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Southern Seafood Boil

A seafood boil more than a meal in the South, it’s a tradition. Grab your favorite seafood, potatoes, sausage, corn, and onions for this easy & fun one-pot meal.

overhead shot of seafood boil on a white plate

It’s officially spring season which usually means the start of outdoor eating. A seafood boil is the ultimate outdoor feast. 

Why You Should Make A Seafood Boil

  • Boils are meant for sharing. They’re a great social food. Serve a seafood boil the next time you’re having a small family or friends gathering. 
  • They’re easy to make & fun to eat! The best part…clean-up is minimal! 
  • You can tailor them to your liking. Use your preferred seafood!
collage of seafood boil ingredients

Ingredients For This Seafood Boil

  • Seafood: 2 pounds of your favorite seafood. 
  • Old Bay Seasoning: 1/3 cup of Old bay seasoning plus more to sprinkle on top before serving. 
  • Smoked Sausage: Your preferred smoked or cooked sausage. Use an andouille sausage for more flavor.
  • Potatoes: 2 pounds of waxy potato like red potatoes. Leave them or cut them in half.
  • Corn: 3-4 Ears of frozen corn, cut in half. I use frozen corn.
  • Onion: One large onion, chopped.
  • Lemon: One large lemon, cut in half.
  • Garlic: 2-3 garlic cloves (leave whole).
uncooked seafood on a white platter
crab, shrimp, crawfish

What Is A Seafood Boil?

A seafood boil is a one-pot recipe consisting of seafood, potatoes, sausage, and corn. You will find seafood boils throughout the South, with different regions having their own unique spin. Out of the Carolinas we have low-country boils. Louisiana brings us crawfish boils. This recipe is for a generic seafood boil that you can tailor to fit your personal preferences.  

Common ingredients for a seafood boil include seafood (usually shell fish), corn, potatoes, sausage, and Old Bay seasoning. Having said that, one thing I love about seafood boils is that you can really make it your own. It’s one of those recipes where everyone has their own version. The same concept applies for the flavor profile. Different regions and recipes use different seasonings in their seafood boils. A common seasoning is Old Bay which is what I used here. 

Traditionally seafood boils are cooked in a large pot that’s heated by propane. I understand that most people will not have this appliance (including me) so this version is done on the stove-top. 

seafood added later

How To Make Seafood Boil

In order to cook a seafood boil, you will need a large to extra-large pot. I use a 16-quart stock pot. Once all the food and water is added, the pot will be very full. The seafood is added last because seafood cooks quickly in boiling water. After everything finishes cooking, drain the liquid and serve.

  1. Fill a large stockpot with the water. If you don’t have a pot large enough, or use 2 pots and divide the ingredients in half.
  2. Add the Old Bay seasoning, garlic, lemon, and bay leaves. Bring to a boil.
  3. Add the red potatoes, sausage, and onion to the pot. Return to a boil. Cook 10-15 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.
  4. Add the seafood & corn. Cook 5-10 minutes or until the seafood is cooked through.
  5. Drain the food through a colander & discard all the liquid. Serve on newspaper or a platter. 
seafood boil in water before the water is strained
drain the water

What Type Of Seafood To Use

Technically you can use your preferred seafood for this recipe but some work better than others. I suggest you stick to shellfish. Shell-on shrimp, crab, crawfish, lobster, clams, and mussels all work well in seafood boils. You can use frozen and pre-cooked seafood without making any modifications to the recipe. 

zoomed in, close up picture of seafood boil

How To Serve This

Traditionally a seafood boil is served by pouring the food out on a table lined with newspaper. It’s fun plus it makes clean-up a heck of a lot easier. I understand some people do not like to eat off of a dirty newspaper. You can also serve this seafood dish on a platter!  

cooked seafood boil on a white platter

Tips For This Recipe

  • In place of water use broth or even beer.
  • Yes, you can use frozen seafood, stir them in at the end of cook time same as you would raw.
  • If you don’t want to use store-bought Old Bay seasoning, use the homemade blend in the recipe box.
  • Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
overhead shot of seafood boil on a white plate

Other Seafood Recipes You May Enjoy

Best Gumbo Recipes

Fried Catfish

Shrimp & Grits

Seafood Paella

Herbed Salmon

Print Pin
5 from 8 votes

Southern Seafood Boil

A seafood boil more than a meal in the South, it's a tradition. This classic seafood recipe is meant for sharing. Grab your favorite seafood, potatoes, sausage, corn, and onions for this easy & fun one-pot meal.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings 6 servings
Author Shannon Epstein

Equipment

  • 1 Large 16-quart stock pot

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds Seafood (2 pounds total of your preferred seafood)
  • 1/3 cup Old Bay seasoning
  • 16 ounces smoked sausage, cut into 1-inch rounds
  • 2 pounds red potatoes
  • 4 ears corn, cut in half
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 large lemon, cut into quarters

Instructions

  • Fill a large stockpot with the water. If you don't have a pot large enough, or use 2 pots and divide the ingredients in half. Add the Old Bay seasoning, garlic, lemon, and bay leaves. Bring to a boil.
  • Add the red potatoes, sausage, and onion to the pot. Return to a boil. Cook 10-15 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.
  • Add the seafood & corn. Cook 5-10 minutes or until the seafood is cooked through.
  • Drain the food through a colander & discard all the liquid. Serve on newspaper or a platter.

Notes

Homemade Old Bay Seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon celery salt
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon mustard powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cardamom
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ginger
Recipe Rating




Jim

Thursday 25th of August 2022

How much shell fish, corn, potatoes, etc to feed a group of 12?

Shannon Epstein

Friday 26th of August 2022

I would simply double all the ingredients in the recipe. So 4 pounds of seafood, 4 pounds of potatoes, 8 ears of corn, 2 large onions, etc. Enjoy!

Kendra Mitchell

Saturday 30th of July 2022

I made this for my husband’s birthday last night & and we loved it. I will try more recipes from this site!

Shannon Epstein

Saturday 30th of July 2022

Nice! I'm so glad you enjoyed it. There are lots of other recipes that I'm sure you'll like. I hope you try them all:)

Bruce

Wednesday 13th of July 2022

Excellent taste and easy.

Bonnie

Sunday 3rd of July 2022

I tried the seafood boil today and everybody like it. I almost didn't get any. I'm going to try it again soon.

Alisa

Wednesday 6th of April 2022

So, viewing through the list of ingredients needed, I do not see the lemon. I do not see that until the cooking instructions. Is it one lemon cut into quarters? Do you squeeze the lemon juice into the stock or just cut the lemons and place in the pot?

Shannon Epstein

Wednesday 6th of April 2022

You cut the lemon into quarters. It's up to you if you want to squeeze the juice into the stock. It definitely won't hurt! Thanks for catching this, I updated the recipe accordingly.