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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

Baked Cod in Foil

Print Pin
4.89 from 17 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




Raemo

Friday 20th of January 2023

I am from the coastal low country of North/South Carolina. I went back for a family reunion this past Novemeber and my cousin made this exact dish. My question is he referred to it as 'Mulligan's stew' even though it's anything but a stew. I'm just curious if others familiar with this recipe have heard it called something different than a boil?

Cavisha

Sunday 11th of December 2022

Do you have a seafood boil sauce recipe to pour over once boil is done?

Brandi Crawford

Monday 9th of January 2023

Not yet!

Blainey Dunyon

Thursday 1st of December 2022

How much water should I put in the stock pot? Thanks!

Shannon Epstein

Friday 2nd of December 2022

However large your pot is, fill it halfway with water. I'll update the recipe so that's more clear. I hope you enjoy the recipe!

Gina

Monday 21st of November 2022

I cut the recipe in half for my test run. We loved it! I am making this for Christmas Eve.

Brandi Crawford

Sunday 27th of November 2022

That's such a great idea!

ela

Monday 31st of October 2022

I tried this recipe and it's really good.