recipe

Shrimp Boil: an incredible Southern dish to make this summer

Total time: 50 Min
Difficulty: Low
Serves: 6 people
By Cookist
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Ingredients
hot water
4 quarts
onion, chopped into 4 to 6 wedges
1
garlic, halved horizontally
1 clove
old bay seasoning
1/2 cup
fresh thyme leaves
1 1/2 tbsp
red potatoes, quartered
1 1/2 lbs
salt and pepper to taste
corn, husked, cut into thirds
4 ears
andouille sausage, sliced
14 ounces
shrimp, deveined
1 1/2 lbs
butter, melted
6 tbsp
Freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 to 3 tbsp
Fresh parsley, minced
3 tbsp

When the weather is hot and your taste buds are craving a hearty yet flavorful dish full that will light up all your taste buds, nothing beats a shrimp boil. It's packed with tender shrimp, smokey andouille sausage, in-season sweet corn, and delicious red potatoes seasoned with a mouthwatering array of spices.

This easy shrimp boil is sure to become your new favorite summertime recipe. The ingredients are boiled together in a pot, soaking up all the wonderful flavors in the seasonings, then drained and served with a generous drizzle of butter, and topped off with parsley and zesty lemon juice.

Ideal as a quick weeknight dinner or an impressive, easy-to-customize dish that will delight loved ones, this easy shrimp boil is one recipe you'll come back to for decades.

What is a Shrimp Boil?

A shrimp boil or seafood boil is a classic dish from the American South. There are several regional variations including Texas, Louisiana, South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida.

Shrimp boils are made by boiling shrimp along with other ingredients (usually corn, potatoes, onions, and additional proteins like fish, chicken, and sausage) in water seasoned with Old Bay, fresh herbs, garlic, and onion.

It's a great dish for serving a crowd. In fact, shrimp boils aren't just a dish, they're also the name of festive gatherings where the eponymous recipe is the star dish.

Shrimp Boil Ingredients

The secret to a great-tasting shrimp boil is quality ingredients and the proper seasoning.

You'll need fresh sweet corn, fresh shrimp, andouille sausage, and red potatoes for the main part of the boil.

To give these tasty ingredients flavor, grab some garlic, onion (any color works), thyme, Old Bay seasoning, salt, and pepper.

To finish off your easy shrimp boil and take it to the next level, you'll need melted butter, lemon juice for a hint of brightness, and some parsley.

How to Make Shrimp Boil

Even if you've never done it before cooking shrimp boil is a total breeze. Start by adding the onion, garlic, Old Bay, and thyme to 4 quarts of water. Bring the mixture to a boil, then salt the water and add some potatoes. Boil the potatoes for 10 to 13 minutes, until the potatoes start turning tender.

Pop the corn in the pot and cook for 3 minutes, then add the sausage slices and cook for 4 minutes more. Mix in the shrimp and cook it until it turns opaque about 1 to 2 minutes. You don't want to overcook the shrimp, so just a minute or so will do. You can keep the shells on or peel them – the choice is up to you. Both options are delicious.

Pour off the broth, then set the shrimp boil on your serving dish. Pour the melted butter over the top and garnish with parsley. Serve with additional salt, pepper, and Old Bay if desired, plus your favorite Southern side dishes.

Tips for the Best Shrimp Boil

You can cook your shrimp boil with the shrimp shells removed or left on the shrimp, depending on what you prefer. Whichever option you choose, make sure to devein the shrimp before cooking them.

If you don't have fresh thyme, you can swap it out for 1 ½ teaspoon dried thyme.

Red or yellow onions will give you the best flavor.

Don't overcook the shrimp. They'll wind up rubbery. The shrimp are perfectly cooked when they turn pink and are no longer translucent.

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Shrimp Boil Variations

For a seafood-only shrimp boil, leave the sausage and add crab, lobster, clams, mussels, or crawfish. White fish like cod, tilapia, and halibut are great in a seafood boil, but you could use salmon.

Add chili flakes or whole chilis to make a spicy shrimp boil.

Mix some chicken or pork into your boil for a heartier version of this classic Southern dish.

Adding hard-boiled eggs is another way to bulk up your shrimp boil.

You can also use different types of sausage. While this recipe calls for andouille sausage, you could use hot or sweet Italian, chicken, chorizo, kielbasa, or plain pork sausages instead.

For a smokier flavor use smoked sausages or add a dash of smoked paprika to your pot.

Shrimp Boil Cooking Methods

Instead of boiling your shrimp boil on the stovetop, you can try one of these other tasty cooking methods.

Oven Shrimp Boil

To make shrimp boil in the oven, roast the potatoes for 10 minutes at 400F. Add the corn and sausage slices, and cook for 10 minutes more. Next, add the shrimp and bake for 12 to 14 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender and the shrimp is pink and no longer see-through.

Cooking Shrimp Boil on the Grill

To grill your shrimp boil, microwave the potatoes to soften them up, about 3 minutes. Cut eight large pieces of foil, then stack four sheets on top of the remaining four. Divvy up the potatoes between the foil sheets, then top them with sausage, shrimp, and corn.

Drizzle the melted butter and lemon juice over the mixture. Season with salt, pepper, Old Bay, and thyme. Fold and seal well. Grill the packets at 425F for 12 to 15 minutes or until the shrimp is opaque, and the potatoes are tender.

Slow Cooker Shrimp Boil 

If you'd like to make your shrimp boil in a slow cooker, put the sausages, potatoes, corn, onion, and half a garlic head into your slow cooker. Pour in water, Old Bay, and thyme. Secure the lid, then cook on high for 3 to 4 hours, or until your potatoes become tender.

Add in the shrimp and cook for about 10 minutes until opaque. Drain off the water, then mix in the butter, parsley, lemon, and extra Old Bay. Plate the shrimp boil on a serving platter, and serve.

Skillet Shrimp Boil

Saute the onions in a large skillet over medium heat. While the onions are cooking, cook the potatoes in the microwave for 4 minutes, flipping them halfway through. Stir the potatoes into the onions, and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, or until golden brown. Push the potatoes and onions to the side of the skillet.

Cook the sausage until browned, then stir in the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in the shrimp, butter, and corn, and saute for 2 minutes, or until the shrimp is opaque. Season with Old Bay, salt, and pepper. Stir in the lemon juice, plate, and serve.

What to Serve with Shrimp Boil

Since shrimp boil is a classic Southern dish, serve it with traditional Southern sides like cornbread, coleslaw, hush puppies, sweet potato fries, potato salad, or your favorite green salad.

How to Store Shrimp Boil

Any leftover shrimp boil will last up to 3 days when stored in an airtight container in the fridge.

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Instructions

Pour 4 quarts of water into a large pot. Add in onion, garlic, Old Bay, thyme, and salt.

Allow the water to come to a boil over medium-high heat.

Put the potatoes in the pot.

Cook for 10 to 13 minutes until the potatoes start becoming tender.

Put the corn in the pot and cook for 3 minutes.

Put the sausage slices in the pot and cook for 4 minutes.

Add in the shrimp and cook for 1 to 2 minutes until the shrimp become opaque.

Pour off the broth. Arrange the mixture on a serving dish.

Top with a drizzle of melted butter and garnish with parsley.

Serve with additional salt, pepper, and Old Bay, if desired.

Notes

You can keep some of the cooking broth and serve it with your shrimp boil.

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