This classic southern low country boil recipe is meant to feed a crowd, with loads of potatoes, sausage, corn, onions and shrimp boiled in a seasoned broth. It's so easy to make!
We're cooking up a big pot of Low Country Boil, my friends! Would you care to pull up a chair? Low country boil is a one-pot mix of the best seasonal offerings from Georgia and coastal Carolina, though the recipe has now spread far and wide.
You may know it by other names, such as Tide Water Boil, Beaufort Boil, or more famously, Frogmore Stew. Frogmore is located near Charleston, SC, in the U.S. lowcountry, where the dish originated
There are many one-pot seafood boil dishes and shrimp boil recipes in the world, and this is a famous version from the American south.
Recipes will vary from cook to cook and restaurant to restaurant, but primarily from what is available to toss into the pot.
Lowcountry boils are meant for a small group, but you can very easily scale it up. Cook everything up a big barrel and have a low country boil party! I'll be there for sure!
Let's talk about how to cook low country boil, shall we?
Low Country Boil Ingredients
- Boiling Broth. You can use water, beer, stock or a combination of these. I use a combination of light lager, chicken stock and fish stock.
- Old Bay Seasoning. There are many seasoning options. Old Bay Seasoning is widely used, though you can use others. See the recipe notes section.
- Hot Sauce.
- Vegetables. Red Potatoes, Sweet Onions, Corn on the Cob.
- Smoked Sausage. Use andouille, kielbasa, or your favorite sausage, cut into 1/2 inch pieces.
- Seafood. Shrimp is most traditional, but crab is also commonly used. You can use other seafood as well. See the recipe notes section. Make it a shrimp and crab boil.
- For Garnish. Red pepper flakes, fresh chopped parsley, lemon slices or wedges.
How to Make Low Country Boil - the Recipe Method
Season the Boiling Liquid. Fill a very large pot with your quarts of water/beer/stock combination and add Old Bay Seasoning and hot sauce to taste. Bring to a rolling boil over medium-high heat.
Boil the Sausage and Vegetables. Add the potatoes and cook for 5 minutes to slightly soften. Add the onions and smoked sausage. Bring to a boil and cook for 10 minutes. Add the fresh corn. Return to a boil and cook for 10 minutes, or until the corn becomes golden.
Boil the Seafood. When the potatoes and corn are done to your liking, add the shrimp and crab claws (if using). Cook for 3 minutes, or until the shrimp turns pink and cooks through. Remove from heat.
Strain and Serve. Strain out the liquid and discard it. Serve on a large platter with red chili flakes, fresh chopped parsley and lemon slices for garnish.
Boom! Done! Your low country boil is ready to serve. Doesn't it look incredible? Shrimp, sausage, corn, potatoes, crab! I am so ready to dig right in! And seriously, it's so easy to make, right? I love easy.
Recipe Tips & Notes
- Broth Extras. As mentioned, I love a combination of lighter lager beer, seafood stock and chicken stock with seasonings for my low country boil. You can easily vary up the flavors with other ingredients, like fresh sliced lemons, heads of garlic, celery, leeks, tomatoes, clam juice, fish sauce and more. I've even seen some local recipes with boiled eggs! What a nice touch!
- Broth Seasoning Options. Old Bay is a very popular way to spice up your low country boil broth, but you can easily use Cajun seasonings, Creole seasonings or others. Zatarain's is a popular brand of seasonings that also offers their own crab boil seasonings in powder or liquid form. Try a mix.
- Seafood Options. Most low country boils that I've seen focus on the shrimp alone, making it more of a shrimp boil recipe, but crab claws or crab legs are commonly used as well. It's really a function of what's available locally. Toss in some blue crab if you'd like, different cuts of fish, clams, mussels and more. This is your seafood boil, my friends!
- For Serving. Spread out newspaper onto a picnic table and serve it up. A big pot of low country boil is essentially a meal in itself, so no extras are required, but you can't go wrong with a nice side of grilled bread and melted butter. Or extra hot sauce or cocktail sauce! Don't forget lots of paper towels.
That's it, my friends. I hope you enjoy this lowcountry boil recipe. Let me know if you make it and how you changed it up to make it your own. I'd love to hear how it turned out for you. Keep it spicy!
If you're interested in southern cooking and cuisine, check out these cookbooks for some great southern recipes and history. I'm learning quite a lot about southern food and barbecue from them. Definitely some great eating!
- The Southerner's Cookbook: Recipes, Wisdom, and Stories (affiliate link, my friends!)
- North Carolina Barbecue: Flavored by Time, by Bob Gardner (affiliate link, my friends!)
Storage and Leftovers
Store any leftover lowcountry boil in sealed containers in the refrigerator. It will last up to 5 days. You can also freeze it in vacuum sealed bags for 3 months or longer, or in large containers.
Got any questions? Ask away! I’m happy to help. If you enjoy this recipe, I hope you’ll leave a comment with some STARS. Also, please share it on social media. Don’t forget to tag us at #ChiliPepperMadness. I’ll be sure to share! Thanks! — Mike H.
Low Country Boil Recipe
- 8 quarts of water or beer or stock - I use a combination of light lager, chicken stock and fish stock
- 1/2 cup Old Bay Seasoning or more to taste - I usually double it
- Hot Sauce to taste
- 1 pound red potatoes whole or quartered
- 2-3 sweet onions quartered (vidalia onions are great here)
- 1 pound smoked sausage cut into half inch pieces - use andouille, kielbasa, or your favorite
- 4 ears corn cut into thirds
- 2 pounds shrimp peeled or unpeeled - use head-on for bigger flavor!
- 2 pounds stone crab claws optional, or use more shrimp - blue crab is more commonly used
- For Garnish: Red pepper flakes, fresh chopped parsley, lemon slices or wedges
- Fill a very large pot with your water/beer/stock combination and add Old Bay Seasoning and hot sauce to taste. Bring to a rolling boil over medium-high heat.
- Add the potatoes and cook for 5 minutes to slightly soften.
- Add the onions and smoked sausage. Bring to a boil and cook for 10 minutes.
- Add the corn. Return to a boil and cook for 10 minutes, or until the corn becomes golden.
- When the potatoes and corn are done to your liking, add the shrimp and crab claws (if using). Cook for 3 minutes, or until the shrimp turns pink and cooks through. Remove from heat.
- Strain out the liquid and discard it. Serve on a large platter with red chili flakes, fresh chopped parsley and lemon slices for garnish.