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Shrimp Boil

Posted by  ·  August 27, 2007  ·  Last Updated: May 19, 2019

A shrimp boil is one of my favorite parties —–no dirty dishes. This is also a completely portable party. My favorite spot is on the beach. When we have a large crowd, we borrow an extra turkey fryer or two. The following recipe uses 1 large 34 quart turkey fryer with a strainer basket that goes almost to the top of the pot. One pot serves about 10-12 people.

First cover your entire table with freezer paper, shiny side up. Let the cooking begin!

Printable Shopping List and Instructions

Fill turkey fryer about 2/3 full of water. Bring to a boil and add 2 pkgs of Zatarain’s Crawfish, Shrimp and Crab Boil in a Bag, 1/4 – 1/2 bottle Zatarain’s Shrimp and Crab oil, 1 cup of salt and garlic. Boil for 15 minutes


Add potatoes, boil for 7-8 minutes


Corn goes in next for 5 minutes (if corn is frozen you might need to turn up the heat for a minute to get your water boiling again)


Add kielbasa, cook for 8 minutes


Add onions, and squeeze lemon juice into pot and then toss the lemons into the water, boil 3- 4 minutes (oops picture is wrong – add the garlic at the beginning!)


Add shrimp and cook 5 minutes or just until shrimp turns pink.


Turn off the heat, immediately pull basket from the water and let drain.


Pour contents of basket onto your freezer paper covered table


Serve with sliced baguette sprinkled down the table and bottles of squeeze butter, cocktail sauce and spicy mustard. Remember NO knives, forks, spoons or plates allowed! This is all finger food and condiments are squeezed directly onto the table! When finished just roll up the paper and give everyone a finger wipe! A big thanks to our dear friends Jeff and Cathy for showing us how to have the best party ever!


Put on some Zydeco
(zi-dee-coe) music and have a great time!


For more fun ideas… try these summer hacks.

Leave a Comment


  1. Ken
    Monday, October 20th, 2014
    I first made this for my 40th b-day bash and it rocked! None of this burgers and dogs bbq stuff - just dump out the pots, and chuck the corn cobbs in the farmer's field when your done.

    My friend's dad moved his extended family's Christmas gathering to fall just so he could do an outside shrimp boil party.

    I've made this before during Lent, but it isn't the same without the kielbasa. Make sure to get good kielbasa - the type that is firm and you can see the texture in the meat.

    I also take the garlic out of the water, squeeze it in to a bowl and mash it together with butter for use on the corn and any bread we have.
  2. Heddy
    Sunday, August 17th, 2014
    I have been doing shrimp boils longer than I can remember. It was one of my Dad's favorite things to do when we were growing up. Now in memoriam to him I have been doing them for my birthday for about 5 years now, if not more. I was so pleased to find your instructions years ago, too. Even though I would consider myself an old hat at this, your instructions & timing make it simple to follow that when I get caught up in great conversation I can rely on a couple more friends to help out. All they have to do is listen for the timer and follow your easy breezy instructions that I have printed out for them to follow and reset the timer for the next drop in of ingredients. Thank you!!!
  3. John
    Tuesday, September 10th, 2013
    I am a "Yankee" living in the deep south of Alabama and I have been looking at recipes to do a shrimp boil and I used this one. I set up my shrimp boil pot and my ipod and a simple kitchen timer outside wtih all of the ingrediants.
    It turned out GREAT! Everybody loved it and I will be doing this many more times again.
    I loved the picture by picture recipe, thanks to whoever made it!
  4. frederica
    Saturday, February 23rd, 2013
    can you use a big pot on the stove
  5. frederica
    Saturday, February 23rd, 2013
  6. Lisa n
    Thursday, July 5th, 2012
    EXCELLENT instructions for a shrimp boil! Everything came out perfectly and was done just right! The only change I made was to skip the concentrate oil, I only used the bags. A suggestion from a southern friend told me that Ohioans aren't used to that much spice. I got a few comments about it vein to spicy but for the most part 2 seasoning bags was perfect. So beware if you have friends who arent used to spiciness everything else here is perfect and makes the process easy. I even used the same water to make two batches. Still very flavorful! Thanks again for posting this and sharing :)
  7. Lisa n
    Thursday, July 5th, 2012
    EXCELLENT instructions for a shrimp boil! Everything came out perfectly and was done just right! The only change I made was to skip the concentrate oil, I only used the bags. A suggestion from a southern friend told me that Ohioans aren't used to that much spice. I got a few comments about it vein to spicy but for the most part 2 seasoning bags was perfect. So beware if you have friends who arent used to spiciness everything else here is perfect and makes the process easy. I even used the same water to make two batches. Still very flavorful! Thanks again for posting this and sharing :)
  8. marty
    Tuesday, May 15th, 2012
    Awesome recipe. Gonna try it next month during our annual family camping trip. Was wondering if crawfish could be added or perhaps another seafood item.
  9. silvia
    Saturday, March 24th, 2012
    i love boil shrimp and my family love`s it to and your serving sugestion is the best thank you
  10. Faye
    Wednesday, January 11th, 2012
  11. Jill Stubbs
    Thursday, October 13th, 2011
    My family loves this recipe. We have had two shrimp boils so far and we are having one tonight. Everyone needs to host a shrimp boil! :)
  12. Rachael
    Sunday, February 6th, 2011
    I have lived in southwest louisiana (heart of cajun country) all my life and have never heard of a shrimp boil! My friend tells me they do them in shreveport. It's always crawfish - same idea though. I think this is great!
  13. Wednesday, December 22nd, 2010
    Are you from Louisiana? You must be! I am and boy do I love me some boiled shrimp and crawdads!!! Great work on the post! I hope the Northerners can try this out and start a trend up North!
  14. Friday, September 3rd, 2010
    Very cool. I'm going to give it a go. Wish me luck!
  15. peej2
    Saturday, August 28th, 2010
    We had lots of leftover potatoes, some onions, and the boiled garlic. I ut them all in a pan with a couple cups of chicken stock.
    When it was heated through, I pureed it. (I had to use a food processor, all the while saying, I want a boat motor.)
    Return to the pot, adjust seasonings and added bacon pieces I had in the freezer. Heat through.
    At this point, I added 1 cup of heavy cream, stirred thoroughly, heated through and served with cheddar bread.
    As you can see, I was just winging it. I thought about adding some sausage instead of bacon. If there had been leftover shrimp, sausage and corn, that would have been great soup.
  16. Mike
    Friday, August 27th, 2010
    I do almost the same boil only I use Texjoy mix, It is the only mix I need, no liquid required. I have two pots 1 48 Qt. and a 42 AQt. Everyone loves it with garlic bread and fried green tomatoes.
  17. Jenny
    Wednesday, August 18th, 2010
    I found your recipe one day and couldn't wait to try it. We did it camping with a group or 27 (so 2 batches). It turned out great and everyone was commenting how delicious and fun it was. They even said it was restaurant quality! We all can't wait to do it again! We had some potatoes left over and diced them and fried them the next morning for breakfast. Yum!
    Thank you for sharing the recipe and the tips - you helped us have a great meal with friends and create a wonderful memory!
  18. stephanie
    Thursday, May 27th, 2010
    My kids from Texas did this very thing in our Ohio backyard for their rehearsal dinner and it was such a hit....made everyone meet and come together over a great feast.
    We are repeating it for Memorial Day for good friends..it has now become our favorite way of summer entertaining and I agree..easy clean up and prep
  19. Monday, May 3rd, 2010
    Oh my goodness my mouth is watering...so wish I lived near or even semi-close to water, lol!!! Thanx for posting.
  20. Tea Party Latest
    Saturday, April 10th, 2010
    loved this blog!
  21. Kathy
    Saturday, March 27th, 2010
    I just came back from NOLA yesterday with 50 lbs of food that includes fresh shrimp. Im having a shrimp boil Sunday and was looking for a recipe. Thanks for sharing!
  22. JoAnne
    Thursday, March 18th, 2010
    Awesome idea! I am having a shrimp boil on Saturday and was looking for a recipe. This is an even better idea. It's also a birthday party! Awesome! Thank you for sharing
  23. Wednesday, March 10th, 2010
    This is such a cool idea!!!! Thanks so much for the how-to!
  24. Wednesday, January 20th, 2010
    We've had 2 shrimp boils so far, using your instructions. We've had SO MUCH fun! The kids love it and the food tastes so GOOOD!
  25. Jen
    Wednesday, January 20th, 2010
  26. Dawson
    Friday, October 9th, 2009
    My family and I have a couple of shrimp boils every year. Heck, we have even done it for thanksgiving before. We use a simple but great dipping sauce recipe that we all love. If anyone likes buffalo wings, try this dipping sauce recipe with your next shrimp boil.

    1 part unsalted melted butter and 1 part "Trappy's" Cayenne Pepper Sauce

    Told you it is simple, but absolutely delicious.
  27. Michael
    Monday, September 7th, 2009
    Tried this for the first yesterday, wife, our two childred, son-in-law, two grandson kids and myself.... We had a blast, food was great, everyone eat to much. Can't wait to do it again, and again .......
  28. Nina
    Monday, September 7th, 2009
    What a wonderful idea it was!!! We did this, just as directed, for a send-off-to-law-school party for our son and his friends. We set up long tables in our backyard, covered the tables with plastic red-checked tablecloths, lit candles, turned on the music and started cooking. We ate under the stars and laughed at his college and high school stories until midnight. It takes a bit longer than expected to get it all cooked, so plan for about an hour even though it seems like it would be quicker.
    Thanks for the printable shopping list!
  29. barbara
    Wednesday, September 2nd, 2009
    I've always heard this called Low Country Boil; ALWAYS order this when it is on the menu in a restaurant. I'm the only one who would eat this at my house, but will likely make it at some point for a crowd. Thanks so much for the recipe.
  30. PM
    Saturday, August 29th, 2009
    I have made this a couple of times; if you don't have Zatarains crab and boil seasoning bags, use dried mustard seed, coriander, allspice, and old bay seasoning along with cajun seasoning or cayenne pepper to taste. I used about 1 tsp each of mustard and coriander, and then 2 Tbsp of old bay, plus a pinch of allspice. I just guessed honestly and it was great.
  31. Susan
    Thursday, July 23rd, 2009
    WHAT?! You have LEFTOVERS?! We've made this using this recipe as a starting point many times and plan to again tomorrow night. We change it up a little here and there according to what is readily available at the time. For instance my husband has gone clamming recently and a friend of his left some various crab boil seasonings here. I usually add celery, too - I thought I went to a crawdaddy boil in Florida once where celery was included, but I could be mistaken. We also use venison sausage because our freezer is overflowing with it! Thanks for the initial guidance!
  32. Monday, July 20th, 2009
    After tweeting about this recipe I thought I'd actually come and leave a blog comment. I pretty much followed your recipe though I had to hunt high and low for the boil in bag and was never able to find the Zatarain's oil. I added a bit of tomato paste, and browned my Kielbasa a bit for some color and texture before throwing it in the pot. Overall, it was a very easy dinner and I look forward to doing it party style.

    I do have a tip for your readers though. I just finished making shrimp salad with some of the leftovers, with a little advanced planning and a few more ingredients (hot dog rolls, mayo, lettuce, onion and celery, fresh herbs optional [parsley, cilantro, tarragon or dill] tomato optional) you can easily enjoy a lunch of shrimp rolls and sausage on a bun the next day.
  33. Jim
    Saturday, June 27th, 2009
    I’m going to give you the secret step that almost every one of these recipes misses with alarming consistency. I agree with all the steps, however, the sausage or meat can go on step one if you really like the spices. Additionally, you should use fresh whole shrimp with shorter cook times (2 - 3 minutes)...but those are minor details.

    The real secret to a true shrimp boil is the finish and no one seems to get it right or even address it.

    The TRUE secret is to stop the cooking process very quickly and allow the seasonings to penetrate the foods at the end of the game (especially the ship shells). Instead of simply draining the water and pouring out on the table, add 5 pounds of ice to bring the water down to around 175 and quickly add a large quantity of salt. This allows all the food to soak in the yummy seasonings to a whole new level. If you like it REALLY spicy, allow 20 minutes of soak time, 15 minutes is medium and 10 minutes is for little girls. The salt in the water somehow opens things up and really gets the flavor to pop.

    This technique will get the spices into the shrimp as well as the corn, potatoes, garlic, sausage and whole mushrooms (not listed but a huge bonus…trust me).

    My family lives 40 miles south of New Orleans (Buras). Trust me; this is old school to us.
  34. AK Angel
    Monday, June 8th, 2009
    THis is so much fun! We did this one a while back and will do it again this coming weekend for my moms 69th birthday! Thanks for posting this!!!!
  35. Celina
    Friday, June 5th, 2009
    This is a camping tradition for us now. It feeds multiple people and is easy after a day of wakeboarding and tubing. I am so glad we found this site for the recipe!
  36. Elizabeth Holly
    Tuesday, May 26th, 2009
    In South Carolina, we call this Frogmore Stew! Nothing's better than Carolina shrimp...well, maybe that there are no dishes to clean after having this for dinner:-)
  37. Wednesday, April 22nd, 2009
    This is now my most favorite site, and I can't WAIT to give this party a try as soon as the weather is nice enough! Thanks so much for such great content. . .and a beautiful site too. Nice!
  38. Bernie B
    Saturday, April 4th, 2009
    We have done this several times always great in fact my wife bought the items home for one yesterday the new red potatoes are outstanding in flavor
    We alos have topped it off with small clams,corn is better fresh but you got to use what you can get
  39. Wednesday, March 25th, 2009
    LOVE love love this idea.
    Definately trying it when our weather warms up...
    So, in August.
    Can't wait!!
  40. Sunday, February 15th, 2009
    I've made this several times and each time it ROCKS!!! So simple and soooo good!!!
  41. Friday, February 13th, 2009
    wow..luv it..no plates..good good, great friends and family..
    can't beat that!
  42. Cheyenne Renard
    Tuesday, February 3rd, 2009
    You sure know how to have fun. I have relatives that are from the south like New Orleans and I am from Newport Beach Ca and i love making shirmp boil and i have learned to make other southern recipes please cont to share any thing southern how fun and so yummy I just love your blog its one of my all time favorties you are so creative and have the best and most fun ideas ever Keep it up Happy day you deserve it This would be so fun to do here in Henderson Nevada for out church ward I will have to show them your blog and share it with the Relief Society they will love it like i do . Amazing just awesome to say the least love and Blessings Cheyenne
  43. jenn Denis
    Monday, January 12th, 2009
    I just stumbled upon this yummy treat and got inspired to do one for my hubby's 40th birthday in May this year.

    I once saw one on the tv show "Easy Entertaining" with Michael Ciarello except he covered the table with lots of newspaper. Your idea is better, 'cause you don't get any ink in your food! ha ha

    To the person wonering what to do about flies when you eat outdoors: here in Mexico we do two things: put half a lime studded with whole cloves, and hang transparent plastic bags filled with water. Nobody knows why it works, but it does, like a charm.

    Congratulations on an amazing idea!!!
    Greetings from sunny Mexico City!
  44. Barbara
    Wednesday, November 5th, 2008
    Hello...I stumbled across your site searching for ideas on how to have a shrimp boil for my wedding on my property next summer. I have no idea how to plan something for 100-150 people. Any ideas? Are we taking on too much? Thank you for any advice!!!
  45. Kimberly
    Monday, October 6th, 2008
    We found your recipe and tried it for a group of 9 over the weekend. You're portions and timing were right on! It was such a big hit I cant wait to do it again. Such a great way to entertain a big group of people! Thanks so much for posting the detailed instructions.
  46. Amy
    Sunday, September 21st, 2008
    I just want to double check the total cooking time--would you say that it takes about 45 minutes?

  47. Thursday, September 18th, 2008
    This is very cute! So how do you guys keep the flies off the food while people are eating? Anyone had a problem with this? Everytime we sit down for a picnic outside we FIGHT flies. It's awful. :)

  48. Jen
    Monday, September 1st, 2008
    I really want to try this. I don't have a turkey fryer and would be doing it in a big pot on the stove. What changes to your recipe would I need to make in order to still get yummy results? Thanks for any advice. Jen
  49. Patty
    Friday, August 22nd, 2008
    Thanks for all your info. Our shrimp/crab boil was a great success and everyone just raved about the taste of the food. They said they didn't know corn on the cob could taste soooo good. We had about 20 people here and we had it set up in the front yard. People were driving by and wondering what was going on. We live in eastern Oregon and the people over here are not used to eating seafood, but they got their fill that night.
    Thanks again for all your help.
  50. Lisa
    Wednesday, August 13th, 2008
    We made this on our last camping trip. It tasted awesome! We are now making it when we go to the beach next week.
  51. Patty
    Wednesday, August 13th, 2008
    I am planning on doing a shrimp boil tomorrow night. I have never done one or been to one, but I think they look like alot of fun. I want to add some crab legs, the crab is already cooked. Can I just add it with the shrimp to warm it up? Looking forward to this.
  52. texas girl
    Sunday, August 10th, 2008
    Great!! Made it for my family and they all loved it!!
  53. Julie
    Sunday, July 13th, 2008
    We just did this for 75 people yesterday. We used your website as our bible. It is the most comprehensive easiest to follow - THANK YOU! Us inlanders (way inlanders from Minnesota) don't know how to do this sort of thing! But thanks to your site our party was a hit and everyone left saying they too were going to host a seafood boil.
  54. Monday, June 30th, 2008
    What a coincidence! I just had a shrimp boil last night too. :)
  55. maven
    Wednesday, January 30th, 2008
    We did this for my cousin's college graduation, only we boiled crawfish instead of shrimp. The cook also added a large bottle of McElhenny's tobasco to each pot. It sure made the accompanying margaritas taste good too. What a BLAST!
  56. jeffcath
    Sunday, January 13th, 2008
    What a great idea! Where'd you get the recipe? I kid, I kid...

    Hope things are going well for you.

  57. Sunday, October 21st, 2007
    Man does that look good. I always wanted to try this. Need a backyard first =)
  58. Jim
    Tuesday, September 25th, 2007
    We followed the instructions at an Oklahome State University football tailgating party. Some things were a little vague, but here's what we did and the results were awesome. We divided a hole garlic head into individul cloves and left the outside skin on. We put the garlic in first with the spices after the water came to a boil. We used some spicy sausage from Sam's Club (I can't remember the name but is comes in a package of 7 or 8 pieces about 9" long). We used fresh corn on the cob, shucked and cut into 3 or 4" pieces the night before. The corn was the best I have ever tasted. We used large frozen shrimp (deveined). We could have used whole shrimp, however we thought that having to dig out that tube of (the S word) would not be appreciated by our tailgating team. We did 2 batches of of the shrimp boil. On the second batch we added 1 gallon of water, 2 Zatarans dry and the other half of the liquid. I think the second batch was better and next time we plan on using 4 packs of spices and an entire bottle of the liquid. The proportions worked out about right. We used about 15 small red potatoes, 14 half ears of corn, one entire package of sausage cut into 1" pieces, about 5 small onions (pealed and cut into 4 pieces with the top end left to keep the pieces connected) and we used 2 lbs. of large shrimp. We did not leave the shrimp in for 5 minutes....we watched them and removed them when they were pink. We used Bookbinders Coctail Sauce (also from Sam's Club). To sum it up...this was the greatest tailgating ever. Next week we plan to grill Bobby Flay's Cuban Style Burgers. The recipe is easy to find on Google. The only thing we change is that we make the burgers 1/2 pound in lieu of the 1/4 called for on the recipe.
  59. Jenny
    Wednesday, August 29th, 2007
    The absolute best party you will ever have and we luckily know the best cooks!! FUN!!!!!
  60. Tuesday, August 28th, 2007
    Yuuuum. We used to go to crawfish boils like that. Yum, yum, yum!
  61. Tuesday, August 28th, 2007
    I tagged you for the 'Great Tip Award'! You are so amazing, not only do you have great ideas but also how-to pics. I really am inspired by your blog. It looks like you guys had a blast at your shrimp boil.
  62. Mslil65
    Monday, August 27th, 2007
    Ohhhh...I am jealous! That looks so yummy...I need to convince my husband that we need to have a party!
  63. Monday, August 27th, 2007
    that sounds fabulous cindy! i haven't done that since i was at my grandmother's in seattle. you are making me homesick! the dear hubby is deathly allergic to shellfish.
  64. Monday, August 27th, 2007
    In SC they call it frogmore stew. So yummy!

    Cheers! LA
  65. Monday, August 27th, 2007
    That looks so yummy! I may have to try a mini version in my soup pot (we don't have a turkey fryer).
  66. Geo
    Monday, August 27th, 2007
    I will wade in as the offical hand modeler and head cook. We use a propane gas burner (might be called a turkey fryer) that can be purchased at Sams, Costco, etc. It comes complete with the burner, pot, basket, handle to pull the basket out of the pot, etc. For a crowd the size in this blog we used two burners. All of this along with your favorite beverage, some Cajun music, a roll of paper towels and by golly you have a party! It gets really quiet when the food hits the table except for the compliments to my wonderful blogging chef! LOVE YOU LOU!!!!!!!!!
  67. blondee47
    Monday, August 27th, 2007
    What are u using as a heat element and where do u buy one like it?
  68. Monday, August 27th, 2007
    Holy smokes- that looks fun! And yummy.
  69. Monday, August 27th, 2007
    How incredibly fun is that?! I'm doing this on my dining room table this weekend, to celebrate my daughter's first week of Kindergarten. I think my kids will absolutely love it. I may have to replace the carpet next week, but oh well!
  70. Monday, August 27th, 2007
    Awesome! Sounds & looks fabulous!
  71. Monday, August 27th, 2007
    Yum! When's the next shrimp boil?