Shrimp Boil Recipe and Party Tips

Want an easy way to make your summer party stand out? Here’s everything you need to throw a fun and successful shrimp boil party!

Shrimp Boil Party Table

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While firing up the grill for a backyard BBQ is a classic choice for feeding a crowd in the heat of summer, it isn’t your only option.  To keep things interesting, I love a good ol’ fashioned shrimp boil. (In my head I am saying that with a terrible hillbilly accent)

A shrimp boil a beautiful meal that is easy to make, looks impressive, and feeds a crowd.

One of my favorite parts of this recipe is that the seafood is cooked separately from the other ingredients so even our family members with shellfish allergies can join in the festivities!

Bowl of Shrimp for shrimp boil party

When you have friends or family over for a get-together this summer, try this Old Bay shrimp boil for a low country party in your own backyard.

HOW LONG TO BOIL SHRIMP?

Wondering how long to boil shrimp? The best part about boiled shrimp is that the cooking process requires very little maintenance.  Although this recipe takes an hour to make, the shrimp itself cooks in just 5 minutes. That’s right, you just boil shrimp for 5 minutes!

Shrimp Boil Party Food

This shrimp boil recipe uses peel-and-eat shrimp in the shell to add more flavor, which adds to the cooking time slightly from pre-peeled shrimp, which I usually do for 3 minutes.

WHAT KIND OF POT SHOULD YOU USE?

To create your shrimp boil, it’s important you have a shrimp boil pot.  While there are a lot of specific pots available just for shrimp boils, you don’t need to invest in an expensive or special pot if you have one that will get the job done.

Corn Potatoes and Sausage for a Shrimp Boil

First, you’ll want to choose a pot that can cook all of the ingredients for the size party you’re throwing.  A bigger pot is always better than one that might be too small. Think a lobster or canning pot – any large pot will work.  

Canning pots tend to be less expensive, or you can invest in specific shrimp boil pot right off the bat.  

If you’re serving a large group, I recommend a pot with a removable strainer basket to make finishing and serving the dish a lot easier and safer.  You’ll be straining the cooked food out of the boiling water, and you want to be sure you don’t spill any on yourself!

Dipping Corn into Melted Butter at a Shrimp Boil Party

HOW TO DO A SHRIMP BOIL

For shrimp boil success, follow these instructions:

  • Fill your shrimp boil pot halfway with cool water.
  • Add potatoes, and lemons to the pot.  Add ½ cup of the Old Bay seasoning and the crab boil package and bring the water to a boil.
  • Maintain a rapid boil for approximately 10 minutes, then add the sausage and corn.
  • In a large pasta pot, melt 1 stick of butter.
  • When the butter is melted, add garlic, beer, 1 TBS salt, 3 – 4 TBS pepper, and 4 cups of water.  Bring to a boil.
  • When the potato and corn are nearly finished, add the shrimp to the smaller pot; the shrimp is cooked when it turns pink, approximately 5 minutes.
  • While the shrimp is boiling, drain the potatoes, corn, and sausage from the larger pot.
  • Layer the potato, corn, and sausage mixture with ½ pound of melted butter and Old Bay seasoning in a large serving bowl.  Create at least 4 – 5 layers in your bowl to be sure all of the ingredients get coated in seasoning.
  • Drain the shrimp pot and transfer to a serving dish.  Sprinkle with Old Bay Seasoning to taste.
  • Serve while warm and enjoy!

ALLERGY NOTE: If you have someone with a shellfish allergy show up unexpectedly, set aside some cooked sausage, corn, and potatoes for them before mixing with the shrimp. Or keep the shrimp in a separate bowl like we did.

WHAT IS A LOW COUNTRY SHRIMP BOIL?

A low country shrimp boil is a traditional dish that has roots in a variety of different coastal states.  While Louisiana boils typically feature crayfish, and New England boils use clams and crab, Georgia and South Carolina boils use shrimp as the main seafood attraction.  This region is also where the term “low country” comes from.

Table with Shrimp Boil Food and Beer

Shrimp boils were originally designed to be filling and fast meals that could feed a crowd and use locally available ingredients.

When I’m serving a shrimp boil, I pair it with fresh salad, crusty bread, cocktail sauce, and lots of melted butter for dipping.  Put out some little dishes of Old Bay seasoning for people to sprinkle or dip into. Oh and slice a few more lemons into wedges for those who like to squirt it on their shrimp.

For beverages, serve sweet iced tea or a cold beer – be sure to buy extra of the IPA you used in the boil! I also like having some lime and cucumber water on hand for a healthy drink option.

Everybody will need a lot of extra napkins, or rolls of paper towels. (Trust me on this one!) You can also give them bowls for discarding shrimp shells.

Toddler eating shrimp

To keep your shrimp boil somewhat tidy, cover your table with newspaper. This not only gives you a rustic and casual feel, it also makes clean up a breeze!

Be intimidated by fish boils no longer!  Break out your stock pot and load it up with this traditional dish for your family and friends this summer.

PIN TO SAVE FOR LATER

Don’t lose this recipe! Pin to save the shrimp boil and then leave a photo in the comments of the pin when you have your own. We love seeing what you make!

How to host a Shrimp Boil
Shrimp Boil Recipe
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
25 mins
Total Time
45 mins
 

This classic shrimp boil is easy enough to be perfect for either a fun backyard summer party, or a memorable family dinner. Serve with salad, crusty bread, and lots of melted butter, Old Bay Seasoning, and lemon wedges.

We boil the shrimp separately since we have sometimes have family with seafood allergies visiting. Read the recipe notes if you’d like to cook it all in one pot to make dinner even easier.

Adapted with permission from Genius Kitchen.

Course: Main
Cuisine: Southern
Servings: 15
Calories: 672 kcal
Author: Diana Johnson
Ingredients
  • 1 large lemon quartered
  • 5 pounds baby red potatoes
  • 1/2-1 cup Old Bay Seasoning divided
  • 1 4 ounce package zatarain seafood boil
  • 2 pounds smoked sausage cut 2-inch think
  • 10 ears corn shucked and halved
  • 3/4 pound butter divided
  • 1 tablespoons salt
  • 3 -4 tablespoons black pepper
  • 12 ounces IPA beer
  • 4 large garlic cloves crushed
  • 5 pounds shrimp jumbo shelled
Instructions
  1. Fill a giant pot (I use a canning pot) halfway with water and bring to a boil.

  2. Add lemons, potatoes, 1/2 cup of Old Bay Seasoning, and the seafood boil seasoning.

  3. Let boil 10 minutes, then add the sausage and corn. Boil about 10 more minutes until corn is cooked and potatoes are tender.

  4. While corn is cooking, melt 1/2 cup of butter in a a stock pot. Add salt, pepper, beer, crushed garlic cloves, and 4 cups of water. Bring to a boil.

  5. Right when potatoes and corn are done, add shrimp to the smaller stockpot. While the shrimp cooks, drain the potatoes, sausage, and corn.

  6. Cook the shrimp 5 minutes then drain.

  7. Layer corn, potatoes, and sausage in a large serving bowl with lots of melted butter and Old Bay seasoning.

  8. Place shrimp in another bowl and sprinkle with Old Bay seasoning.

Recipe Notes

To cook everything in one pot, follow the steps for cooking the potatoes, sausage, and corn. When cooked through, turn off heat and add the melted butter, garlic, beer, salt, pepper, and shrimp to the pot. Give a good stir and let sit until shrimp just turn pink (about 5 minutes). Then drain and dump out to serve. Drizzle with melted butter and sprinkle generously with Old Bay Seasoning.

Nutrition Facts
Shrimp Boil Recipe
Amount Per Serving
Calories 672 Calories from Fat 333
% Daily Value*
Fat 37g57%
Saturated Fat 17g106%
Cholesterol 472mg157%
Sodium 2352mg102%
Potassium 1122mg32%
Carbohydrates 39g13%
Fiber 4g17%
Sugar 5g6%
Protein 43g86%
Vitamin A 750IU15%
Vitamin C 27.4mg33%
Calcium 271mg27%
Iron 6.1mg34%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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