This Seafood Boil Recipe with Garlic Butter Sauce is a flavorful feast of fresh shrimp, crab legs, lobster tails, mussels, clams, smoky sausage, corn, and tender potatoes. Best part, it's prepared in under an hour! This easy seafood boil recipe is the perfect meal for entertaining guests!
This is best seafood boil recipe! Not only does it have a variety of seafood with the best flavors but it's the ultimate complete meal that the entire family will love! Seafood boils are the perfect outdoor meal to entertain with especially when made with plenty of love, one of the best garlic butter seafood boil sauces, and a dash of hot sauce.
Now that summer is in full swing and fourth of July is just around the corner, I'm gathering all of my favorite seafood and making this cajun boil. Nothing says 'summer' to me like burying my bare hands into a classic cajun seafood boil and lathering every piece in garlic butter.
This cajun seafood boil recipe is also great way to celebrate the holidays and so much fun to indulge in a New Orleans style Louisiana Crab Boil approach to family gatherings!
Different from crawfish boils, we're using creole seasoning with beer to make a seasoned broth along with lemon halves, garlic, and yellow onion in the pot for great flavor. We're also throwing in some fresh corn, smoky sausage, fresh shellfish. Mix a few pounds of seafood and traditional ingredients together and you have a fantastic seafood boil full of cajun flavors.
Don't forget the delicious cajun sauce! It's an easy yet amazing garlic butter seafood boil sauce that you need to drown absolutely everything in.
Beer: This may come as a surprise but beer actually enhances the flavor of the broth. Use your favorite kind.
Water: To mix with the other liquids.
Bay leaves: they add subtle herby and peppery flavors.
Seafood boil seasoning: I used a combination of Old Bay, smoked paprika, Cayenne pepper, black pepper, salt, and dried thyme.
Garlic and Onions: This recipe calls for lots of fresh garlic so make sure you have plenty! I like using a lot because the garlic and onion make such a flavorful broth. If you don't feel like chopping up a bunch of garlic, use garlic powder instead.
Seafood Boil Ingredients
Red potatoes: If you don't have access to red potatoes, Yukon potatoes, baby potatoes, or small new potatoes work too.
Andouille sausage: Andouille is a slightly spicy sausage. In my opinion, it's the best sausage for a seafood boil but if you prefer something milder, use kielbasa.
Sweet Corn: Use whatever variety of corn you'd like as long as it's fresh. Cutting the corn into thirds for roughly 2-inch pieces will ensure they cook faster.
Jumbo shrimp: Use the biggest shrimp you can find. Now is not the time to skimp! Colossal shrimp or jumbo shrimp are the best. Also, you can use peeled or shell-on shrimp, depending on your preference. (the bigger the shrimp the better for this seafood boil recipe) Get them deveined to cut down on prep time.
Snow Crab clusters: these are the bodies broken into pieces with legs attached, but you can just find the snow crab legs on their own at your local fish monger! If you can't find snow crab, try king crab legs or even dungeness crab legs! Make sure that they're pre-cooked!
Lobster tails: you'll want to Maine Lobsters or North Atlantic Lobsters, also known as cold water lobsters. They have the best flavor and don't taste fishy like other breeds.
Mussels: this is optional. I like using pre-cooked mussels, they don't need to boil as long as raw mussels.
Clams: Before serving, discard any clams that didn't open up.
Garlic Butter Sauce
As the seafood cooks, make this rich and buttery sauce that perfectly complements the fresh seafood. It's so delicious when poured on top of this seafood boil.
Butter: The base of this sauce. You can use salted or unsalted.
Garlic cloves: I told you we'd be using a lot!
Cajun seasoning: Be generous with this essential seasoning!
Old bay seasoning: This is added for flavor and color.
Sugar: The hint of sweetness will balance out the other flavors.
Salt: Just enough to taste.
Reserved broth: If you want a thicker sauce, use less of this. If you want a thinner sauce, use a bit more.
Red pepper flakes - this is optional. Use if want an extra kick of spice!
Tips for making a Seafood Boil
Don't overcook the shrimp! You'll know when the shrimp is finished when it turns pink and curls a bit. If it appears your shrimp is cooking faster than everything else, take them out of the pot.
Customize this recipe to your liking! If you have different seafood that you'd like to add, throw it in the pot for the seafood boil. Just be mindful of cooking times so that you don't overcook any of the ingredients.
Pro tip: Try to use as many fresh ingredients as possible! Fresh ingredients are key to a delicious seafood boil.
I would not recommend making this dish ahead of time, it tastes best right out of the pot.
Use the biggest shrimp you can find. Now is not the time to skimp! You can use peeled or shell-on shrimp, depending on your preference. (the bigger the shrimp the better for this seafood boil recipe)
If using frozen shrimp, thaw the shrimp for about 15-20 minutes in cold water prior to throwing in the boiling water.
Be sure to discard any clams that didn't open up. They're a pain to find in the seafood boil!
Seafood Cooking Times
It's easy to do - don't overcook your seafood! Here's a quick guide to cooking times:
Pre-Cooked Frozen Crab Legs: 5-7 minutes (about 15-20 minutes for raw crab)
Shrimp: 3-5 minutes (remove when they resemble the letter "c" and turn pink. If they're tightly curled, they're overcooked)
Lobster Tails: 4-6 minutes, when the shells turn bright red and the flesh is white and opaque
Clams and Mussels: 5 minutes, or when the shells pop open
Pro tip: The seafood used in this recipe cook at different times. Put the longest cooking items in the boil first! The order is crab legs - lobster tails - clams and mussels (if using) - then shrimp!
How do you cook a Seafood Boil?
After reading the list of ingredients, you'd think the cooking process would take forever. However, you really just throw everything into a pot, little by little.
An hour later, the seafood boil will be finished and you'll have a heap of all types of seafood sprawled on a table in front of you. (If you're a visual person, check out the video below!)
Make the Broth
Firstly, add beer, and water to a large stockpot. Over high heat, bring everything to a rolling boil and then add bay leaves, Old Bay seasoning, smoked paprika, cayenne pepper, black pepper, thyme, salt, lemons, garlic, and onions.
Stir together and boil for 5 minutes in order to allow flavors to come together.
Add Potatoes, Sausage, and Seafood
Add halved red potatoes and corn to the pot and allow them to cook until the potatoes are tender but not mushy (about 15 minutes). Then add sausages and allow them to cook for another 5 minutes. (Image 1)
Add crab legs, lobster tails, mussels, clams, and shrimp. Cover the pot with a lid and allow everything to boil together for 5-7 minutes. (The mussels and clams will pop open once they are finished and the shrimp will be pink) Stir together, save 2 cups of the broth, then drain. (Image 2)
Roll out newspaper or a large serving tray and finally, place the seafood on top. Garnish with fresh parsley and lemon wedges.
Prepare the Garlic Butter Sauce
Melt butter over medium-low heat, then add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Then add cajun seasoning, old bay seasoning, onion powder, sugar, and salt to the melted butter. (Image 3)
Add 1 cup of the reserved broth and simmer on low for 3-5 minutes, until sauce thickens. If using, stir in red pepper flakes and remove from the heat. (If you want a thinner sauce, then add 2 cups instead.) Add a little bit of lemon juice and hot sauce if you like a little heat! Pour over the seafood and reserve the rest for dipping. (It's SO good)
What goes with Cajun Seafood Boil?
You can definitely enjoy this seafood dish without any additions but it's also a great dish with these sides:
Some say that this seafood boil is even better the next day! Store any leftovers in an airtight container for up to 3 days but avoid the microwave. When you are ready to reheat, simply add some water to a pot with the leftover seafood boil.
Cook it over low heat until it is evenly warmed.
The garlic butter sauce can be stored and frozen for up to 2 months. Simply scoop and microwave when you want to use it.
What do I need to make a seafood boil?
You will NEED a large stockpot. I recommend at least a 20-30 quart pot.
What is a seafood boil made of?
This recipe contains Shrimp, Lobster, Crab Legs, Mussels, Clams, Corn, Potatoes, and Andouille Sausages in a flavorful broth with old bay, bay leaves, garlic, lemon, and onions.
What is seafood boil sauce?
The garlic butter sauce for this seafood boil is a buttery, slightly spicy sauce that's made with reserved seafood boil broth, spices, butter, and fresh parsley.
When is seafood boil season?
We always had seafood boils in the summer but you can have a seafood boil whenever you want! A lot of people have them to celebrate the holidays, birthdays, graduations etc.
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This Cajun Seafood Boil with Garlic Butter Sauce is a flavorful feast of shrimp, crab, lobster tails, mussels, clams, sausage, and potatoes. Prepared in under an hour, this easy seafood boil recipe is the perfect meal for entertaining guests.
Prep Time: 15 minutesmins
Cook Time: 40 minutesmins
Total Time: 55 minutesmins
20-30 Qt. Large Stock Pot
Large Sauce Pan
Newspaper or Aluminum Serving Pans
2 12ozBeer(use your favorite beer)
8qtsWater(pot should be about ⅔ the way full, add more water if needed)
1 cupOld Bay Seasoning
2tbspCayenne pepper(less or more as desired)
10Garlic cloves(peeled and smashed)
2Large onions(peeled and sliced)
6earsCorn(peeled and cut into thirds)
2lbsSnow crab clusters/legs
Seafood Boil Sauce
2cupsButter, 4 sticks
8Garlic cloves, diced finely
2tbspOld bay seasoning
1tbspRed Pepper Flakes, optional
Salt, to taste (I used 1 tsp)
2cupsReserved broth, from above
Fresh parsley, garnish
½cupHot sauce, for serving
Add beer, and water to a large stock pot. Bring to a boil and then add bay leaves, Old Bay seasoning, smoked paprika, cayenne pepper, black pepper, thyme, salt, lemons, garlic, and onions. Stir together and boil for 5 minutes to allow flavors to come together.
Add halved red potatoes and corn to the pot and allow them to cook until the potatoes are tender but not mushy (about 15 minutes). Then add sausages and allow them to cook for another 5 minutes.
Add crab legs and cook for 3 minutes. Then add lobster tails, mussels, clams, and shrimp. Cover the pot with a lid and allow everything to boil together for 5-7 minutes. (The mussels and clams will pop open once they are finished and the shrimp will be pink) Stir together, save 2 cups of the broth, then drain.
Roll out newspaper or a large serving tray and place seafood on top.
Garlic Butter Seafood Sauce
Make the sauce. Melt butter over medium low heat in a large sauce pan, then add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Then add cajun seasoning, old bay seasoning, red pepper flakes, onion powder, brown sugar, and salt. Add 1 cup of the reserved broth and simmer on low for 3-5 minutes, until sauce thickens. (For a thinner sauce, add 2 cups) Add freshly diced parsley and remove from the heat.
Pour sauce over the seafood and enjoy! Use any leftover sauce as a dip for the seafood. Serve with hot sauce (optional)
Tips for making a Seafood Boil
If using frozen seafood, you may need to boil it longer than 10 minutes.
You will need a large stock pot for this recipe! At least 20-30 Qt stockpot. If you don't have a large stock pot, divide the recipe between two pots as needed.
Be sure not to overcook your shrimp. You'll know when the shrimp is finished when it turns pink and curls a bit. If it appears your shrimp is cooking faster than everything else, take them out of the pot.
Customize this recipe to your liking! If you have a seafood that you'd like to add, throw it in the pot for the seafood boil. Just be mindful of cooking times so that you don't overcook any of the ingredients.
Try to use as many fresh ingredients as possible! Fresh ingredients are key to a delicious seafood boil.
I would not recommend making this dish ahead of time, it tastes best from out of the pot.