Seafood Boil for Summer Entertaining

By Maria Do, | May 10th, 2023

A delicious celebration of summer and friendship

Celebrate the summer with good friends and a delicious seafood boil. This recipe from a Louisiana sous chef makes it easy. Image by Bhofact2

A seafood boil never fails to please. With ingredients like shrimp, crab legs, and lobster, seafood-lovers will be RSVPing real fast to your boil. For a perfectly cooked seafood boil, the order of when to add ingredients is everything. As a Louisiana girl, I’ve got this pacing down to a science after many holidays as sous chef for my favorite boil masters (what I call the cool people who host boils year after year). While boils in Louisiana are mostly crawfish boils, the same boil method applies here too.

From when to add the veggies or when to drain, this recipe will help you nail the perfect cook times. The result is a succulent spread of tender seafood, corn, mushrooms, and potatoes that will make you want to crack open a beer and dig in!

What is a seafood boil made of?

A variety of seafood such as shrimp, crab, lobster, clams, mussels, and crawfish — along with vegetables including corn, potatoes, garlic, and mushrooms — are in a seafood boil. All ingredients are boiled in a seasoned broth and often served with lemon and parsley.

How do you make a seafood boil?

You’ll sauté aromatics such as garlic and onion and andouille sausage. Then you’ll pour in water and add seasoning. You’ll boil potatoes, corn, and mushrooms until tender; turn off the heat; then add seafood to cook in the latent heat. Finally, you’ll drain and serve. It’s that easy!

Seafood Boil

Serves 6

For groups of people, seafood boils are served directly on a newspaper-lined tabletop. A seafood boil can also be served on large trays for individual servings.
For groups of people, seafood boils are served directly on a newspaper-lined tabletop. They can also be served on large trays for individual servings.


  • 6 king crab legs (about 2 pounds), thawed if frozen
  • 2 pounds unpeeled raw jumbo shrimp (unpeeled), thawed if frozen
  • 3 (8-ounce) lobster tails, thawed if frozen
  • 2 medium lemons
  • 8 to 10 sprigs fresh parsley
  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • 2 heads garlic
  • 14 ounces andouille sausage
  • 1 pound baby red potatoes (6 to 8)
  • 3 ears corn
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil or neutral cooking oil
  • 4 quarts water
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon Cajun or Old Bay seasoning, divided
  • 8 ounces mushrooms (optional)
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) salted butter
  • Tabasco sauce, for serving (optional)


  1. Thaw 6 king crab legs, 2 pounds jumbo shrimp, and 3 lobster tails in the refrigerator if frozen, about 36 hours.
  2. Halve 2 medium lemons crosswise. Pick the leaves from 8 to 10 fresh parsley sprigs and finely chop until you have about 1/4 cup. Reserve for the sauce and serving.
  3. Prepare the following, adding each to the same medium bowl as you complete it: Peel and quarter 1 medium yellow onion. Cut 2 garlic heads in half across the equator to expose the cloves. Cut 14 ounces andouille sausage crosswise into 2-inch pieces.
  4. Halve 1 pound baby red potatoes. Shuck 3 ears corn and cut crosswise into 3-inch pieces.
  5. Rinse the king crab, shrimp, and lobster tails in cold water, then drain. Cut the lobster tails in half lengthwise, cutting through the shell.
  6. Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a 7-quart or larger pot over medium heat until shimmering. Add the garlic, onion, and sausage, and saute, keeping the garlic cut-side-down, until the onions are softened and the garlic is golden-brown, about 3 minutes. Add 4 quarts water, increase the heat to high, and cover. Bring to a boil, 10 to 15 minutes.
  7. Add the potatoes, corn, and 1/2 cup of the Cajun or Old Bay seasoning, and stir to combine. Cover and cook until the water returns to a boil. Uncover, add 8 ounces mushrooms if desired, and simmer, adjusting the heat as needed, until the potatoes are fork tender, 10 to 12 minutes.
  8. Add the crab legs, lobster and shrimp, and stir to combine. Turn off the heat, cover, and let sit for 3 minutes. (The seafood will gently cook in the residual heat.) Uncover and reserve 2 cups of the cooking liquid. Drain the seafood and vegetables, then transfer onto baking sheets or directly onto the center of a newspaper-lined table.
  9. Add 4 tablespoons salted butter and the parsley to the reserved cooking liquid. When the butter is melted, stir to combine to make the sauce. Pour half of the sauce over the seafood and vegetables. Squeeze the lemon halves over everything and sprinkle with the remaining 1 tablespoon Cajun or Old Bay seasoning. Serve with the remaining sauce for dipping and Tabasco if desired.

Recipe notes

Salted butter substitution: You can replace the salted butter with 4 tablespoons unsalted butter and 1 teaspoon kosher salt.

Seafood alternatives: Feel free to switch up the seafood or add in others like mussels, clams or crab! Those options are less tender than king crab, lobster or shrimp, so they require more boiling time — add shellfish in at the same time as the mushrooms.

Make ahead: The seafood and vegetables can be rinsed and chopped the day before and refrigerated until ready to boil.

Maria Do is a contributor to, a nationally known blog for people who love food and home cooking. Submit any comments or questions to

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