It can’t be summer in the South without a Seafood Boil overflowing with your favorite seafood, corn and new potatoes. Perfect for when you’re having a big crowd, just make sure you have a big enough pot!
Don’t let the summer get away from you without having a seafood boil. While you’ll have to stand in the kitchen for 25 minutes while you’re adding things to the pot, it’s one of those dishes that’s worth every minute and you can get your guests to help. This is a great dish for entertaining a crowd because you don’t need sides, just dessert.
This may look intimidating but I promise it’s so easy and the only way you can mess it up is if you leave the shrimp in too long. You can add and subtract seafood depending on what you like and what you can find in your area. We’re pretty lucky in NC to get fresh seafood, but I still have to get frozen crab legs from colder climates.
What you’ll need for this seafood boil recipe
- Seafood – shrimp, mussels, clams and crab legs are my favorites.
- Corn, new potatoes, andouille sausage
- Carrots, garlic, orange, onion for flavor
- Seasoning – beer/wine, old bay, paprika, bay leaf, Worcestershire sauce
You’re going to start with a flavorful broth. The only thing that you MUST include in my book is Old Bay, everything else is optional. It can’t be a seafood boil without it. As to the other seasonings, I add smoked paprika and bay leaves, maybe some cayenne.
To the boiling water, I either add two bottles of beer or whatever white wine I have hanging around. The amount is not critical and you can leave it out and just use water but it won’t have as much flavor. To the liquid, I’ll throw in carrots, celery, Vidalia onion and lots of garlic.
You want some type of citrus in the mix, most add a lemon but I prefer the sweeter taste of an orange and then a splash of Worcestershire sauce. You’re going to let that boil for a good ten minutes.
How do you make an Old Bay seafood boil
This is really one of those meals where you want everything set out before you start.
Step 1: Bring the broth to a boil, once your broth has come to a boil set a timer for 25 minutes. That’s about how long new potatoes will take to cook.
Step 2: Add small new potatoes, cover and cook for 10 minutes. Next you’ll add things based on how long they take to cook.
Step 3: Add corn on the cob that has been cut into thirds and andouille sausage and cook for 5 minutes, you should have 10 minutes left on the timer. Crab legs, shrimp, clams and mussels only take a few minutes so make sure the potatoes and corn are almost done before you start adding the seafood.
Step 4: When the potatoes and corn are done, about the 5 minute mark, add the crab legs. With 2 minutes left add shrimp, clams and mussels or whatever mixture you have. Cook until the shrimp are pink and the shells have opened on the clams and mussels.
Step 5: Drain and pour out everything onto a platter or a large rimmed baking sheet works nicely. Drizzle with browned butter.
Try to keep the lid on the pot while it’s cooking so that you don’t loose all those great flavors. If your pot is not enormous, you might have to crack the lid to keep it form boiling over. I like to use a canning kettle for this or a large Dutch oven will work.
What type of sauce should you serve with a seafood boil
I generally brown some butter to drizzle over the top. You could add cajan seasoning to the butter or garlic but with all the flavors from the broth, I think a simple browned butter sauce is all it needs. To brown butter, cook butter over medium high heat until it just begins to turn brown. As soon as it starts to turn brown take it off the heat and put it in a glass bowl. If you leave it in the pan you browned it in it will continue to cook and burn.
While a seafood boil may sound complicated, once you’ve done it the first time, you’ll see how easy and adaptable it is. It’s great for a crowd.
FAQ’s and tips
Shell fish like clams, mussels and shrimp. You can also add crab legs.
You can substitute chicken or vegetable broth or just use water.
Depending on the size of the potatoes, it will take about 25 minutes to cook. If you want to speed this up, you can pre-cook the potatoes before starting.
What can you serve with a seafood boil
- Cornbread biscuits
- Soda bread
- Fruit salad
- Spinach strawberry salad
- Chocolate pudding cake
- Strawberry slab pie
- Cherry hand pies
More seafood recipes to try
- 4-6 quarts water
- 24 ounces white wine/beer 2 bottles of beer, 1 bottle of wine
- 1 Orange cut into quarters
- 2 carrots cut into pieces
- 2 stalks celery cut into pieces
- 2 head of garlic Sliced in half
- 1 vidalia onion cut into chuncks
- 3-5 tablespoon Old Bay Seasoning
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
- 2 bay leaf
- ¼ cup Worcestershire sauce
- 4 ears corn on the cob cut into thirds
- 2 lbs new potatoes
- 8 ounces andouille sausage sliced into 1 inch slices
- 1 lb shrimp peeled and deveined
- 1 lb crab legs
- 2 lbs mussels/clams
- Bring water to a roiling boil then add beer or wine, orange, carrots, celery, garlic and onion. Next add the seasoning and continue to a boil for an additional 10 minutes.
- Set a timer for 25 minutes and add the new potatoes, cover and continue to boil. After 10 minutes, add corn and sausage. When the timer gets to the 10 minute mark, add crab legs. When it reaches 5 minutes, add shrimp. With 2-3 minutes left, add the mussels. Keep the lid on while you are cooking except to add the ingredients.
- Test the potatoes before adding any seafood. If they are not close to being done, let them cook a bit longer before adding the seafood. You don’t want to overcook the shrimp or mussels.
- Once the shrimp is pink and the mussels have opened, pour through a strainer and place seafood on a platter or lined baking sheet. Drizzle with browned butter if desired.
- Start with a large pot, try a canning pot.
- You can substitute a white wine for beer.
- Have all the ingredients ready before you begin.
- Make sure the potatoes and corn are cooked through before you start adding the seafood.
- Don’t over cook the seafood.
- Throw out any shell fish that does not open.