Low Country Shrimp Boil

A shrimp boil is a one-pot meal in the Low Country, usually cooked outside in big pots.

  • 1/4 lb. Keilbasa (or other spicy, smoked sausage) perperson
  • 1/2 pound Raw shrimp in shell per person
  • 3 Red bliss potatoes per person
  • 1 Ear of corn per personShrimp Boil Photo
  • 2 Lemons
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Cloves
  • Garlic
  • Bay leaves
  • Old Bay Seasoning
  • Black pepper
  • Tabasco


  • 2 Small onions per person
  • 1 Carrot per person, cut into quarters
  • 1-2 crabs per person

Boil water in a large kettle on stove or outdoor cooker. Season water with salt and your choice of above flavorings along with the juice of two lemons or 2 tablespoons of vinegar. Add potatoes and cook for 10 minutes. Add carrots, sausage and onions. Bring back to a boil. When potatoes and carrots are almost tender, add corn and crabs. Bring to a boil, then add shrimp. Cook a few minutes until shrimp are just done – they will be pink in color. Drain and pour into a basket or onto platters. Have cocktail sauce and Dijon mustard at hand.

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20 Comments so far »

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  2. Dave said

    April 4 2010 @ 5:54 pm

    had this for an Easter feast it was AWESOME!

  3. Daniel said

    June 2 2010 @ 2:35 pm

    I am going to try this recipe in two weeks. Since these ingredients are for 1 person, should I multply the ingredients by the number of people attending? I expect about 45 people and it seems a bit much specially when it comes to the lemons. Is my assumption correct that I should multiply ALL of the ingretdients by the number of folks attending? Any and all help will be greatly appreciated.


  4. Chef Rick said

    June 2 2010 @ 3:28 pm

    Hi, Daniel–
    Cooking anything for 45 people is going to be a job.

    The lemons are for seasoning the water, and not per person. Use two lemons per pot, and you are going to need SEVERAL pots for that many people.
    Old Bay Seafood Seasoning makes a crab boil seasoning that comes in a bag. If you can get that, use it to season the water, one bag per pot. It will save you time and trouble.

    As for multiplying the shrimp, figure 1/2 pound for every guy, 1/4 per girl. Do the same with the sausage, 1/4 per guy, 1/8 per girl.If in doubt, err on the side of caution. It’s always better to have a couple pounds of leftover shrimp than hungry guests.
    If you have 44 people (for the sake of keeping the numbers even), half guys and half girls, I’d go with 11 pounds of shrimp for the guys and another 6 for the girls, for a total of 17 pounds of shrimp. To be safe, I’d make it an even 20 pounds. People, especially at weddings, tend to go for the shrimp and corn, and not so much for the veggies, so if you scrimp a little on them, it’s OK.

    You might also consider cooking each item in a different pot insteada of together. That might give a little more control. Also, if you can get hold of some outdoor cookers, so much the better, as a regular household stove will take forever to boil enough water to make this for that many people.

    Good luck and much happiness to the soon to be married couple.

  5. Mark said

    July 3 2010 @ 5:28 pm

    just made this recipe for two. It was awesome!

  6. marge siegal said

    August 26 2010 @ 9:30 pm

    I have been doing a shrimp boil for several years, but always been perplexed on the amount of seasoning to add to the water…I do 2 turkey fryers for the boil to serve around 36 people. How much seasoning to add to each fryer? My hubby fights me on this…he hates the spice, but everyone else loves it…so he is over-ruled..he can eat chicken!!! What I have are 4 oz. bottles of Zatarains shrimp and crab boil seasoning (liquid). mY instinct is to add one bottle to each pot…please, I need feedback!

  7. Luis Morgan said

    August 27 2010 @ 9:19 am

    Sumamente delicioso…. Riquisimo….. Muy Sabroso…. Realy Good… Thank You.

  8. Chef Rick said

    August 28 2010 @ 4:38 pm

    In a pot that big, I’d go for a whole bottle.

  9. marge siegal said

    August 28 2010 @ 10:10 pm

    Thanks for the feed back. The last party I threw the whole jar into each pot,and my hubby was freaking out that it was too spicy.but our guest raved about it..he can just eat chicken! Without the Cajun kick, what is the point? Thanks..I just need the reassurance! THis is without a doubt, the favorite party in our group for the year….and I love that it is one pot food! So easy…and everyone else brings all the trimmings for the feast!…mainly apps and deserts,and liquid additions..

  10. Mose said

    August 31 2010 @ 11:41 am

    If i want to make this for 20 people, how long should i cook it for?

  11. Chef Rick said

    August 31 2010 @ 6:07 pm

    You cook for the same amount of time regardless of how many you are cooking for-just bring it to a boil and time everything as soon as the water boils.

  12. marge siegal said

    September 1 2010 @ 9:50 pm

    Okay, now another question…this year, NO ONE is saying “no” to this party!!!!(that tells you how yummy this boil is!!) Usually I invite around 45 people and end up with 32-35…which is comfortable. This year it is totally possible to have 50…or more!!! YIKES! Not even trying to figure out how to seat this many people in our small back yard…now it looks like I should be looking for another turkey fryer to accomodate the extra food I will be needing for this crowd! Do you think that 3 will suffice? I do like the idea of different foods in different pots…makes a lot of sense… HELP!

  13. Chef Rick said

    September 10 2010 @ 8:41 am

    Although I’ve never done it that way, different pots for different ingredients would work just fine, I would imagine.

  14. JOEL said

    October 25 2011 @ 4:41 pm


  15. Boiling recipe | Unidompus said

    April 3 2012 @ 7:23 am

    […] Shrimp Boil RecipeJun 3, 2008 … Shrimp boil is a recipe from Charleston and the Low Country with shrimp, hot smoked sausage, corn, potatoes and carrots. […]

  16. Maria said

    August 18 2013 @ 3:37 pm

    I appreciate seeing the helpful emails, especially pertaining to providing enough ingredients for low country shrimp boil for up to 60 people.
    So Chef Rick, I need some help as well. I am expecting up to 60 people for a shrimp boil.
    I saw earlier suggestions for 1/4 to 1/2 pound for shrimp and similar amounts for the sausage. I’m interested in the numbers for corn. How much corn should I consider for such a large group.
    Thanks so much for your time.

  17. Wanda said

    April 24 2014 @ 7:34 pm

    Your recipe is as close to the one we have used for thirty years. There is one ingredient that we add that really makes this even more yummy and that is a couple of sticks of real butter. It makes the corn and the potatoes so much better. We also add several stalks of celery for the flavor.


  18. Dee savill said

    August 9 2016 @ 1:47 am

    I need to make this for 12 healthy appetites how much prawn am I going to need and could I use chorizo .?can I add lobster tails to this. .I cannot get the old bay seasoning can I substitute and with what.

  19. Boil Cooking - How To Cook said

    July 6 2017 @ 10:55 am

    […] Low Country Shrimp Boil […]

  20. Teresa Harrison said

    September 3 2017 @ 10:58 am

    I add beer to boil

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