Nothing says New Orleans like having a delicious Cajun seafood boil as the centerpiece of your dinner party.
It’s the little details that matter, such as adding just the right amount of cayenne pepper, a dash of hot sauce (try my spicy crab sushi roll if you’re looking for more spicy crab recipes!), and lemon juice, and cooking the shrimp and king crab legs until they are just right.
As far as frozen seafood recipes go, this is one you need to keep for that special occasion because when done right, your Cajun seafood boil is sure to steal the show.
If you have never attempted to make seafood boils before, you may be feeling a little anxious right now, especially if you have a big day coming up and you want everything to be perfect.
Don’t worry, though. I felt the same exact way with my first seafood boil, but after seeing how easy it is, I have never looked back.
The other great thing about this recipe is that it is very fast. All you will need is about five minutes of prep time and 18 minutes of cook time. However, you will need to let the dish cook for some time, so to be safe, give yourself a one-hour and 40-minute window and you will be fine.
There are one or two tips to make this dish come out perfectly, which I will share with you later after the recipe.
Why You’ll Love This Cajun Seafood Boil Recipe!
Every time I make this seafood boil, I find something new to appreciate. One day it’s the lemon garlic butter sauce and the next it’s the perfectly cooked crab legs, shrimp, and fresh shellfish.
I’m sure you will feel the same too, considering the many great things about the Cajun crab boil recipe, such as:
Super Easy Recipe
Nothing could be easier than following the step-by-step process outlined in this recipe card. Do let the long list of ingredients intimidate you because most of it all goes in the pot at once and I will guide you through any tricky areas.
Great Recipe for Parties
Are you planning a party or some other kind of social gathering? Serving a platter of Cajun seafood boil will be a great choice.
The tantalizing smell of garlic butter sauce and Cajun seasoning will have all your guests lining up for a taste. This flavorful broth has what it takes to be the main course along with a few well-chosen sides.
Old Bay Seasoning and Garlic Butter Sauce Make it Special
I love the old bay seasoning and garlic butter sauce in this Cajun seafood boil recipe. It’s what sets this dish apart from any other seafood boil, and to the foodies among your guests, the distinct New Orleans flavor will be apparent.
Like all seafood boil recipes, you must make sure you use fresh seafood. Keep it frozen from the shop until a few minutes before you cook it. This is the key to how your cooked seafood boil sauce will come out in the end.
Step-by-Step Cajun Crab Boil Recipe
Although you will need the better part of two hours to get this dish cooked and served, in reality, you will only spend about 20 minutes being active in the kitchen. The rest of the time your seafood boil and garlic butter sauce will be quietly simmering on the hot plate.
Spiced Garlic Butter Sauce
Just like the old bay seasoning, you added to the seafood boil, your dish will not be complete without lemon garlic butter sauce.
Preparing this seafood boil sauce is easy. With this amount of ingredients, you can serve about six people comfortably.
Tips for Making a Seafood Boil
From cooking your seafood to adding your hot sauce, there are a few tips that you can use to make the preparation of this dish easier for you. Remember the following:
- If you have used any clams in your seafood boil, they should have all opened during the boiling stage. If any are still closed, dispose of these immediately because you don’t want your guests finding any while eating
- Using frozen shrimp is the best, and ideally it should be thawed in water for about 20 to 30 minutes right before being cooked
- Feel free to use either peeled or shell-on shrimp. However, make sure you buy the biggest shrimp you can find to make your seafood boil look much better
- This dish is best served immediately after cooking, so ideally, you should finish the last step a few minutes before your guests are ready to eat, just like my old bay crab cake recipe
- Remember to only use fresh ingredients, because seafood can go off very quickly and you don’t want any after-tastes or lingering odors to spoil your perfect meal
- This Cajun crab boil recipe works with a wide range of seafood, so you can add any type that you want, such as lobster tails and snow crab legs. Just be sure you remember to be mindful of the cooking times of any of the ingredients you add
- The last thing you want is to overcook your shrimp! When your shrimp starts to curl and turn pink you will know that it is ready. However, at times this happens long before the other ingredients are cooked. In such cases, simply take out the shrimp and continue the cooking process (another advantage of buying large shrimp)
- If it is your first time making seafood boil sauce, be conservative with the old bay seasoning and the Cajun seasoning. However, as you get used to eating, boost the flavorful broth by adding more seasoning or even a few red pepper flakes if you think your guests can handle it
- When tossing your seafood boil with butter sauce, leave some sauce on the side for your guests to use as a dipping sauce
What Dishes to Serve With Seafood Boil?
As filling and delightful as a Cajun seafood boil is, if you are hosting a dinner party, I would advise you to serve it with some other side dishes as a complement to the main course and to give you some additional nutritional calories.
Try any of these awesome Cajun seafood boil sides:
- Traditional potato salad with a bit of black pepper
- Mashed potatoes and boiled eggs
- Fresh vegetables like broccoli or asparagus
- Sweet cornbread
- Homemade cheesy garlic bread
- For drinks, you can have white wine, green tea shots, Bahama mama, pink starburst shots, white gummy bear shots, and AMF drink
Storing and Reheating Cajun Seafood Boil Sauce
The problem with any seafood recipe is the difficulty in storing any leftovers. If you have made a huge batch and your guests fail to finish the food, you need to find a way to properly store the food so that it does not go bad.
You will need to keep any leftovers in the fridge and an airtight container with all the air taken out. This will guarantee that your food can keep for up to four days.
Freezing the food will make it last a lot longer but this is only an option if you bought your shrimp fresh. If the shrimp was bought frozen, the fridge is your only option because you should never refreeze shrimp.
To reheat the Cajun seafood boil, simply place it in a preheated oven that is at 275℉ (135℃). You can use a greased baking sheet and be sure to sprinkle a little bit of water on top.
If you are a fan of seafood boils, this Cajun crab boil recipe will become one of your favorite go-to meals whenever you host your friends and family for dinner.
It is easy to make and has a delicious and unique New Orleans flavor that you and your guests will love! Try it for yourself with one of the many awesome sides it can be paired with.
Cajun Crab Boil
Keep this recipe for that special occasion because, when done right, your Cajun crab boil is sure to steal the show every single time.
- 1 and 1/2 lb. jumbo raw shrimp, unpeeled and deveined with the tail-on
- 2 lb six frozen king crab legs (thawed)
- 1 lb. beef sausage, cut into small pieces
- 4 ears fresh corn, cut into small pieces
- 2 lb. littleneck clams, scrubbed
- 6 quarts water
- 1 and ½ lb. baby Yukon Gold potatoes, halved
- 4 large lemons cut in halves
- 4 fresh or dried bay leaves
- 2 large red onions cut in halves
- 2 large garlic heads, halved crosswise
- 3 jalapeño chilies cut in halves and unseeded
Spiced Garlic Butter Sauce
- ¼ c. water
- 2 tsp. Louisiana-style hot sauce (such as Crystal)
- 1 and 1/2 c. cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
- 2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
- ¼ c. finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 1/2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
- 2 and 1/2 tsp. Cajun seasoning
Add one tablespoon of butter to your pot and gently melt it on low heat, being sure not to burn the butter. Next, add one large chopped yellow onion and sauté for about two or three minutes until golden brown.
Now for the source of the unique flavor; add your diced fresh garlic, Cajun seasoning, old bay seasoning, bay leaves, lemon juice, pepper, salt, and water. Bring it to a boil over medium heat. You must add the right amount of seasoning so as not to overwhelm the dish, especially when adding old bay seasoning. Bring your pot slowly to boil, because if you use high heat, it will boil too fast before your ingredients have had a chance to cook properly.
Cut your Yukon gold potatoes into either halves or quarters depending on their size. If you bought small bite-sized potatoes, you can just toss them into your pot, whole. Cover your pot and cook them until they start to become tender, which should take about 10 minutes or so. Make sure the water does not boil over, even if it means turning down the heat a bit. When your potatoes are ready, you can add the ears of corn. If they are large ears, feel free to quarter them before adding them to the pot. You can cook for a little while longer but avoid overcooking the corn and potatoes or else they will become too soft and mushy.
If you are adding meat to your dish, such as smoked sausages (which I highly recommend) now is the time to add it. Slice the sausage into small pieces and add it to the pot. Cook for about five minutes.
Lastly, throw in your seafood, such as King crab legs, fresh shellfish, and shrimp. You can try some other types of crab legs beside the King crab, but all the seafood must be fresh and recently thawed. Once this is done, simply turn off the heat, close the pot lid, and leave it as it is while you start working on the lemon garlic butter sauce.
To make your garlic butter sauce, you must first melt butter in your skillet. Simply add your butter and turn the heat up to medium so as not to burn it. You should not heat it until it starts to smoke. Just melted butter is what you need. Add your fresh garlic and onion powder to your skillet and sauté for about three to five minutes.
Combine your Cajun seasoning with lemon juice and add the two to your pot. About one tablespoon of Cajun seasoning and the entire juice as zest from one lemon should be enough.
Go back to the pot of seafood boil you had set aside. It will have cooled down quite a bit but will still be hot, so be careful how you handle it. Drain all the excess water from the seafood boil and add your garlic butter sauce. Mix everything until all the meat and seafood are completely coated. Your dish will be ready to serve. With this amount of ingredients, you can serve about six people comfortably.
Although I prefer fresh diced onions for the spiced garlic butter sauce, you can use onion powder as a good replacement if you have some.