Inside: Follow along as I walk you through one of our favorite summer meals – an easy shrimp boil!
My husband and I spent a year living near the Chesapeake Bay, and we discovered a delightful little institution called Cantler’s. Serving freshly caught seafood, scooped out of their steamers and dumped directly onto our newspaper covered table, Cantler’s opened me up to a whole new world. Born and raised in landlocked Columbus, Ohio, I had never tasted delicacies like soft-shell crab, rockfish, or little-neck clams.
And I loved the culture. Casual and fun, and perfect for a large group. Anytime our family visited us in Maryland, we’d take them to Cantler’s for a pile of steaming seafood.
But all good things must come to an end and when we decided to start a family, we moved back to Columbus to be closer to family. And from time-to-time, I’d start craving some delicious seafood. A couple boil-in-a-bag seafood spots popped up in town, but none that really reminded me of a classic Chesapeake-style shrimp boil.
So I took matters into my own hands and recreated the meal at home. This easy shrimp boil recipe was made for the summer and it’s a great meal to serve to a crowd. It’s simple to toss together, and a definite crowd pleaser.
The whole dish takes about 30 minutes from start to finish, and the hardest part of the recipe is waiting for the water to boil.
Minimal ingredients and full of flavor, this easy shrimp boil is a keeper. Ready to get started?
You’ll need the following:
Shrimp Boil Ingredients
Shrimp: You’ll want about 1/2lb of shrimp, per person. I like to use JUMBO shrimp, about 16/20 pieces to a pound. My favorite kind to use is tail-on, peeled and deveined shrimp, but you can also use shrimp without tails, or unpeeled shrimp.
Potatoes: You’ll need some potatoes. My favorites to use are small red potatoes as they cook up fast and give a nice pop of color to the dish, but you can also use small Yukon gold potatoes.
Old Bay Seasoning: This is pretty much the star of the show. Get a large container of it, because we’ll be using a decent amount in the recipe, and you’ll definitely want to make it again! Old Bay has a pretty distinct flavor profile, so I wouldn’t recommend substituting this ingredient. You can find it here.
Smoked Sausage: You can use andouille sausage if you can find it, or even a simple smoked sausage like kielbasa will work. I like to sauté my smoked sausage in a pan to give it a bit of caramelization instead of boiling it in the pot. Browning it in a pan gives it extra flavor in my opinion.
Corn: For this shrimp boil, you’ll want to use corn-on-the-cob. I recommend using one per person, and cutting it into thirds.
Aromatics: You’ll want a lemon, some garlic cloves, and a small onion to help flavor your broth.
Other: To finish it off, you’ll need a bit of water and parsley for color and flavor.
Shrimp Boil Tools
This is a super simple recipe, and you don’t need any fancy equipment. Just a large stockpot, a sharp knife, and a large cooking spoon. Easy-peasy.
If you need a stockpot, here’s a great one on Amazon for under $20 with over 4,000 5-star reviews! I also use my stockpot to make large batch soups and chili, boil corn-on-the-cob and to boil pasta for parties.
Shrimp Boil Recipe Notes
I have a few tricks that will help elevate your shrimp boil dinner.
Tip 1: Brown your smoked sausage.
Even though the dish is called a boil, I’m not a huge fan of boiled sausage. I prefer to crisp and brown my smoked sausage in a skillet and then just add to my serving platter. Browned sausage is full of flavor and boiling sausage makes it LOSE all it’s flavor, so just trust me on this one.
Tip 2: Use a large cooking spoon to avoid boiling water from splashing on you.
Here’s the thing, for this recipe, you want your aromatics to come to a nice boil before adding in all the goodies. And dumping things into a pot of boiling water can be SCARY. Or maybe that’s just me? So I like to put things on a large cooking spoon, and then gently lower it into the pot. This avoids splashes and burns.
Easy Summer Shrimp Boil At Home Recipe
This easy shrimp boil recipe was made for lazy summer evenings and it's a great meal to serve to a crowd. It's simple to toss together, and a definite crowd pleaser. Full of shrimp, sausage, potatoes and corn - this hearty dish is a one-pot meal!
- 6 quarts water
- 2 lemons, one quartered and one sliced
- 1 small onion, quartered
- 1/2 cup Old Bay Seasoning
- 5-6 cloves garlic
- 1.5 lbs small red potatoes
- 4 ears corn, cut into thirds
- 2 lbs shrimp
- 1 package smoked sausage, about 12oz
- 2 tbl parsley, chopped
- 2 or 3 tbl butter, melted
Place water, garlic cloves, onion, Old Bay seasoning, and one quartered lemon in your stock pot and bring to a boil.
While waiting for the water to boil, slice your smoked sausage into large chunks, and sauté in a skillet until browned. Keep warm.
Once water is boiling, add potatoes and set a timer for 12 minutes. After this time, your potatoes should be starting to get tender but not completely cooked through.
Add your corn and set timer to cook for 5 minutes.
Add your shrimp and cook for 1-2 minutes MAX. Shrimp cook lightning fast and they are done as soon as they are opaque. You don't want to overcook your shrimp because they will get rubbery.
I like to scoop out my corn, potatoes and shrimp with a slotted spoon and arrange on a platter. You could also drain into a colander, but if you do this, please make sure to reserve a bit of the cooking broth to use for the sauce.
My family likes it when I drizzle a bit of sauce over everything. To make the sauce, I take the melted butter, add in a ladle of the cooking broth, and a tsp of Old Bay seasoning. Mix and drizzle over the platter.
I recommend sprinkling with parsley and just a bit more of Old Bay seasoning to taste and serving with lemon wedges and a crusty loaf of bread.