Also known as a low country boil, this classic shrimp boil comes together quick and is a fun dish to make for an interactive dinner, while on vacation, or for summer parties.
My first shrimp boil was at an impromptu family party in Pensacola, FL. where I peeled and dipped and suckled every nugget of extra-sweet locally caught Gulf shrimp I could elbow my way in for. I’ve been fixated with hosting my own shrimp boil ever since. Like my classic peel-n-eat beer steamed shrimp, shrimp boils are the ultimate interactive party food and will give you mega beach vibes whether you’re on vacation or not.
This shrimp boil is made on the stove in one pot (the biggest one you have) and is ready for eating in just about 30 minutes. The ingredients are as simple as the method, with fresh shrimp (in their shells), baby potatoes, andouille or kielbasa sausage, and chunks of sweet corn on the cob. Everything cooks in an Old Bay seasoning, lemon, and beer-infused broth that when done, is scattered on a newspaper-topped table for an old-school nostalgic vibe, or served on a big platter or sheet pan if you’re feeling more civilized. It’s casual, it’s fun, and perfect for a crowd because it makes a lot and is hands-on.
What’s in This Shrimp Boil
You don’t need a ton of ingredients in this shrimp boil recipe, just some classic Southern basics tossed together in a pot.
Here’s what you’ll need for a shrimp boil:
- Baby potatoes (red, white, or a mix is fine)
- Sausage–kielbasa or andouille sausage, whichever is your favorite
- Corn on the cob
- Shrimp—leave the peel on, because you will eat these the same way you eat peel-n-eat shrimp.
- Pale ale beer
- Old Bay seasoning
- Cocktail sauce, melted butter, and hot sauce for serving
How to Make Shrimp Boil
Bring your water and aromatics to a boil. Combine water, beer, Old Bay, and lemon halves in the largest stockpot you have, and bring to a roaring boil. Alternatively, you could divide everything between two stockpots if needed. Reduce to a steady boil, over medium heat.
Cook the potatoes, sausage, corn, and shrimp. Because things cook at different times, you’ll do this in stages. First, the potatoes and sausage cook together, then the corn gets added. Lastly, the shrimp go in for a quick boil of just 2-3 minutes — more like a nice dip in this Old Bay bath.
Drain and serve. Drain the mixture, reserving 1 cup of the hot broth, and scatter the goodies on a newspaper-topped table or a large serving platter or sheet pan. Squeeze the lemon halves from the mixture overtop and drizzle with the melted butter and as much of the reserved broth as you like. Toss to combine everything. Sprinkle with more Old Bay and serve with lemon quarters, cocktail sauce, and hot sauce.
How Long Should Shrimp Boil For
Shrimp doesn’t take long to cook at all, especially when it’s poaching in boiling water. After adding to the hot water, cook these shrimp just until they’ve turned pink, which should only take about 2-3 minutes. They’ll continue to cook as they rest.
What Goes With Shrimp Boil
One of the great things about a shrimp boil is it’s essentially an all-in-one meal. Here’s a few recipe ideas to serve with it:
- Roasted Asparagus
- How to Make Classic Macaroni Salad
- Cucumber Salad With Dill
- How to Make the BEST Lemonade
- The Best Bloody Mary Recipe
More Great Shrimp Dishes to Try
- Peel-n-Eat Beer Steamed Shrimp
- The BEST Shrimp Scampi
- Crispy Baked Garlic Shrimp
- Shrimp Cocktail
- Pan-Seared Citrus Shrimp Recipe
- Mediterranean Shrimp Salad with Cannellini Beans
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