This Seafood Boil recipe includes fresh shellfish, sausage, and veggies all cooked in a seasoned broth. Have it on the table in 35 minutes!
Juicy shrimp, succulent clams and lobster tails, savory potatoes and sausage, and sweet corn on the cob — this is one feast you won’t want to miss!
Invite your friends and family over to share in this meal that’s packed to the brim with flavor. In fact, the event itself shares the same name as this seafood boil recipe!
Seafood Boil Recipe
With so many hearty and delicious ingredients to choose from, everyone can find something they like about this dish.
Even better, it all cooks in the same pot so you can spend more time visiting and less time cleaning up the kitchen.
Learn how to make a seafood boil from scratch, plus all of the best seafood boil ingredients to add to the pot!
No matter what you’re craving, one of our seafood recipes will delight your taste buds!
Difference Between a Seafood Boil and a Low Country Boil
There are several different types of seafood boil recipes, each originating from a different coastal region of the South or Eastern Seaboard.
They most often consist of shellfish cooked with other meats or veggies and seasonings.
Despite the name, “boils” can be prepared in a variety of ways: boiling, steaming, and even baking!
A Low Country boil is just one type of recipe for seafood boil. It’s specific to Georgia and South Carolina, where shrimp is their shellfish of choice.
The dish also contains sausage, corn, and potatoes for a complete one-pot meal.
How to Make a Seafood Boil
Because each one of the seafood boil ingredients has a different cooking time, it’s important to pay close attention and add each component at just the right time.
- Corn and potatoes.
First, bring your liquid to a boil. Combine water in a large stockpot with lemons, onions, garlic cloves, and Old Bay seasoning.
Once it’s bubbling, carefully add the potatoes and corn and cook for 8-10 minutes.
- Lobster and clams.
Next, add the lobster tails and cook for 5 minutes. Lower the little neck clams into the pot using a strainer to avoid splashes.
Continue cooking for another 5 minutes.
- Sausage and shrimp.
Finally, toss in the sausage and shrimp. These cook fast, so watch carefully! Once the shrimp are pink and the clams have opened, your seafood boil is ready!
- Remove from heat and drain off the liquid.
Transfer everything to a platter or spread it out family-style on a table covered in butcher paper.
Before you dig in, don’t forget the Old Bay butter sauce! Heat on the stove until melted, then pour over everything.
Serve this recipe for seafood boil with your choice of lemon wedges, fresh parsley, and cocktail sauce.
Notes for Seafood Boil Ingredients
- Avoid overcooked shrimp. Watch them very closely at the end, since they can go from perfect to tough and rubbery in a flash!
- Toss unopened clams. Pick through the pot before serving and discard any clams that didn’t open when cooked.
Do not try to force them open — they are most likely no longer safe to eat.
- Using precooked seafood? You’ll need to adjust the cooking times since this seafood boil recipe calls for raw shellfish.
Things You’ll Need:
- 12-Quart Stockpot – There should be enough room for all of the food to move freely inside.
- Small saucepan for making the Old Bay butter sauce.
- A fine mesh strainer makes it easier to safely lower the food into the hot water.
- Old Bay seasoning – A delicious blend of herbs and spices that was created especially for seasoning seafood.
Seafood Boil Recipes FAQ
For our seafood boil recipe, you’ll be cooking up shrimp, lobster tails, and clams along with smoked sausage and veggies. Other popular choices for boiled seafood are crawfish, mussels, and crab.
Many would agree that melted butter and hot sauce are all that you need to enjoy authentic seafood boil recipes. That said, coleslaw is a popular side dish — it can chill in the fridge while you work on the main feast, and the fresh flavors add balance to your plate.
Cornbread and plenty of sweet tea are favorites at Southern boils, but you can easily add your favorite green veggie and call it a day!
Prep Ahead Instructions
I recommend preparing and serving this seafood boil recipe on the same day, both for the best flavors and for food safety.
If you’ll be using frozen shellfish, be sure to thaw it first. Lobster tails and shrimp can both be thawed overnight in the refrigerator.
You can also thaw shrimp quickly by rinsing them under cold water for 5 to 7 minutes.
Just be sure to check the packaging, especially if you purchased different weights than what is listed in the recipe.
How to Store Boiled Seafood
The USDA recommends refrigerating any leftover cooked shellfish for up to 3 or 4 days.
Everything can be stored in the same airtight container, and you can reheat it in the oven or on the stove.
With love, from our simple kitchen to yours.
Other Seafood Recipes
Our Favorite Seafood Boil Recipe
- 2 lemons, quartered
- 1 yellow onion, trimmed, peeled and quartered
- 1 pound baby red potatoes, scrubbed and cut into halves
- 4 ears of corn, husked, cleaned and cut in half or thirds (depending on the size)
- 1 pound lobster tails, 4 tails, 4 ounces each
- 1 pound Littleneck clams, cleaned (about 16 clams)
- 1 pound smoked sausage, cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces
- 2 pounds extra-large raw shrimp, (55 to 60) peeled and deveined, tails left on
- 9 cloves garlic
- 1/2 cup Old Bay seasoning
Old Bay Butter
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, (4 ounces / 1 stick)
- 1 1/2 tablespoons Old Bay seasoning
- additional Old Bay seasoning
- chopped flat leaf parsley
- lemon wedges
- cocktail sauce
- Fill a large stockpot half full with water. Add in quartered lemons and onions, whole garlic cloves, and Old Bay seasoning. Bring to a boil.
- Add in the potatoes and corn. Cook for about 8-10 minutes.Add lobster tails and continue cooking for 5 more minutes.Next, carefully lower the clams into the pot and cook for 5 more minutes.Finally, add in the smoked sausage and shrimp. Cook for about 2 minutes, or until shrimp are pink and all clams have opened.
- Remove pot from heat and drain the liquid. Remove and discard any clams that have not opened. Return the seafood and vegetables to the stock pot.
- Transfer to a serving tray, or spread out over butcher paper to serve family-style. Top with Old Bay butter.If desired, serve with additional Old Bay seasoning, lemon wedges and chopped parsley.
Old Bay Butter
- Add the Old Bay and butter to a small saucepan. Cook on medium-low, stirring to combine. When butter has melted, remove from heat and pour over the seafood, corn and potatoes.
- Shrimp cook very quickly, so watch them closely at the end. If they are overcooked, they tend to become tough.
- If you are purchasing frozen seafood, just be sure to thaw before using in this recipe. Lobster tails can be thawed overnight in the refrigerator. Shrimp thaws much faster and can be done under running water for 5-7 minutes. Check the packaging or check with your local seafood specialist at the grocery store if you aren’t sure how long to thaw or cook your food, especially if you purchased different seafoods in different weights from what is shown in this recipe.
- If you are using pre-cooked seafood, you will need to adjust your cook times since we used raw seafood. Shrimp normally takes about 1-2 minutes to cook through from raw, so you could decrease your time if you bought pre-cooked.
- Throw away any clams that didn’t open while cooking. Do not force them to open, they are most likely not good to eat if they have stayed closed.
- I recommend eating this the same day you cook it for the best flavors and for safety. The USDA recommends refrigerating any cooked leftovers, and consuming within 3-4 days.
All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe’s nutritional value will vary depending on the ingredients used, measuring methods, and portion sizes.
Originally published May 2022, updated and republished May 2023
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