Shrimp Boil Recipe

shrimp boil recipe
shrimp boil recipe

Image shown overhead of shrimp boil after cooking poured out and spread onto a large baking sheet.

Few dishes capture the essence of Southern cuisine like a mouth-watering Shrimp Boil. This classic recipe combines tender shrimp, hearty potatoes, flavorful sausage, and sweet corn, all boiled together in one big pot. It’s the perfect blend of spices, flavors, and freshness that will leave you craving more. Get ready to embark on a culinary adventure with this easy and delicious shrimp boil!

Easy Shrimp Boil

Prepare yourself for a taste sensation that never disappoints. The combination of well-balanced spices with an addictive kick of heat creates a flavor profile that’s hard to resist. From the juicy shrimp to the rich sausage, the pops of seasoning from the Old Bay blend, and the vibrant herbs, every bite is a burst of deliciousness. Whether it’s a simple weeknight meal or a hearty treat for the weekend, a shrimp boil is a dish that deserves a place on every summer menu.

Image of ingredients used to make shrimp boil. Includes shrimp, corn on the cob, andouille sausage, red potatoes, onion, butter, lemon, parsley, thyme, garlic, salt and pepper and water.

Shrimp Boil Ingredients and Possible Substitutes

To create the perfect shrimp boil, you’ll need the following ingredients:

  • Water: Starting with hot water helps reach boiling point faster.
  • Red onion: Yellow or Vidalia onions work well too.
  • Garlic: A whole head of garlic adds incredible flavor.
  • Old Bay seasoning: You can make your own blend or use store-bought.
  • Thyme: Dried thyme can be substituted if needed.
  • Red potatoes: Yukon gold potatoes are a great alternative.
  • Salt and pepper: Add to taste, considering the salt in the seasoning blend.
  • Corn: Fresh corn on the cob is a must.
  • Andouille sausage: Smoked sausage substitutes work fine.
  • Shrimp: Frozen, freshly thawed shrimp or fresh-caught are ideal.
  • Unsalted butter: Salted butter can be used, keeping in mind the extra salt.
  • Lemon: Lime can be used as a substitute.
  • Parsley: Dried parsley adds a pop of color, but it can be omitted if desired.

Possible Variations

While the traditional shrimp boil is already exquisite, here are some variations you can explore:

  • Add a can of beer to the water mixture for a unique twist.
  • Peel the shrimp or leave them unpeeled, depending on your preference.
  • Incorporate additional herbs such as bay leaves or parsley into the water.
  • Finish the dish with hot sauce for an added kick.
  • Create a homemade seafood seasoning instead of using Old Bay.
  • Experiment with other seafood like crab, lobster, or clams.
  • Introduce another colorful veggie, such as green beans, okra, or asparagus, for added freshness.

Collage image of four steps showing how to make shrimp boil in a pot, then draining in a colander and pouring butter over the mixture on a platter.

How to Make Shrimp Boil

Follow these easy steps to create a delicious shrimp boil:

  1. Boil water with seasonings: In a large stockpot, bring 4 quarts of water to a boil. Stir in the onion, garlic, Old Bay seasoning, and thyme.
  2. Par-cook the potatoes: Add the potatoes and season with salt. Cook until the potatoes are nearing tender, approximately 10-15 minutes.
  3. Cook the corn and sausage: Add the corn and continue cooking for 3 minutes. Then, add the sausage and cook for an additional 4 minutes.
  4. Briefly cook the shrimp: Gently stir in the shrimp and cook until just opaque and pink.
  5. Drain the mixture: Drain the mixture, reserving 1/4 cup of the broth if desired. Spread the boiled ingredients over a large serving platter or a baking sheet.
  6. Finish with butter, lemon, and seasoning: Drizzle the mixture with melted butter and lemon juice. Sprinkle with parsley, Old Bay seasoning, and pepper to taste.

How Long to Boil Shrimp

Shrimp cooks quickly, taking only 1-2 minutes to boil. Be careful not to overcook it, as it can ruin the texture. The goal is to achieve perfectly tender and succulent shrimp that will melt in your mouth.

Close-up image of shrimp boil.

Cooking Variations

While the traditional boiled version of shrimp is always a hit, there are various other ways to prepare it. Here are a few exciting alternatives:

  • Skillet: Try the skillet variation for a delicious browned flavor.
  • Slow Cooker: Cook in a crockpot with sliced sausage, diced potatoes, corn cobs, onion, garlic, water, Old Bay seasoning, fresh thyme, and shrimp.
  • Oven: Scale down the recipe and bake it on a sheet pan in the oven.
  • Grill: Cook the shrimp boil in foil packets on the grill for a smoky twist.

What to Serve with It

A shrimp boil is a complete meal on its own, but it pairs well with a cozy side dish. Consider serving it with options like coleslaw, cornbread, or crusty rustic bread. These additions will complement the flavors of the shrimp boil and enhance your dining experience.

More Southern Favorites to Try

If you’re captivated by the flavors of the South, here are a few other dishes worth exploring:

  • Corn Chowder: A comforting and creamy soup with the sweetness of corn.
  • Jambalaya: A flavorful one-pot rice dish packed with meat, seafood, and spices.
  • Potato Salad: A classic side dish featuring tender potatoes mixed with a tangy dressing.
  • Red Beans and Rice: A hearty and soulful combination of richly seasoned beans and rice.
  • Squash Casserole: A cheesy and savory dish that elevates humble summer squash.


Q: Can I use frozen shrimp for the shrimp boil recipe?

A: Yes, using frozen shrimp that has been freshly thawed will still yield excellent results. However, if you have access to fresh-caught shrimp, it will provide the most exceptional taste.

Q: Can I make a shrimp boil without sausage?

A: Absolutely! While sausage adds a wonderful flavor to the dish, you can omit it if you prefer or substitute it with another type of smoked sausage.

With this easy-to-follow recipe, you can create a memorable shrimp boil that captures the essence of Southern cuisine. It’s time to gather your loved ones around the table, dive into a pot of succulent shrimp, and savor the vibrant flavors of this classic dish. Visit Takeout Food for more culinary inspiration and delightful recipes.

Image showing single serving of shrimp boil on a white plate with a serving suggestion of a side of cornbread.

Article by Takeout Food

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