Cajun Seafood Boil


Shrimp, king crab legs, clams, sausage, potatoes, and corn cook together in a pot, and are served with a Cajun-spiced butter sauce.

Active Time:
20 mins
Total Time:
1 hrs 35 mins

The secret to a seafood boil packed with perfectly cooked shrimp, king crab legs, and clams? Taking it one step at a time. First, simmer a flavor-packed mixture of lemons, Cajun seasoning, onions, garlic, and chiles with small new potatoes to give them a head start. Then add your clams and gently spicy andouille sausage and simmer a few minutes more. Finally, toss in the faster-cooking shrimp and king crab legs, along with frozen corn on the cob (freezing the corn cools down the boil without diluting it the way ice would). A warm bowl of butter sauce spiked with more Cajun seasoning makes the perfect dipping partner for every delicious bite.


Seafood Boil

  • 4 ears fresh yellow corn, cut crosswise into 3-inch pieces

  • 6 quarts water

  • 4 large lemons, halved crosswise

  • 2 large red onions, halved lengthwise

  • 3 medium jalapeño chiles, halved lengthwise and unseeded (optional)

  • 1/2 cup Cajun seasoning

  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt

  • 2 1/2 teaspoons cayenne pepper (or to taste)

  • 2 large garlic heads, halved crosswise

  • 4 fresh or dried bay leaves

  • 1 1/2 pounds baby Yukon Gold potatoes, halved

  • 2 pounds littleneck clams, scrubbed

  • 1 pound andouille sausage, cut into 2-inch pieces

  • 6 frozen king crab legs (about 2 pounds total), thawed

  • 1 1/2 pounds jumbo unpeeled, deveined raw shrimp, tail-on

Cajun Butter Sauce

  • 1/4 cup water

  • 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces

  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

  • 2 1/2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning

  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice (from 1 large lemon)

  • 2 teaspoons Louisiana-style hot sauce (such as Crystal)

  • 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce


  1. Place corn in a single layer on a large plate; freeze until ready to use, about 1 hour.

  2. Meanwhile, add water to a large (16-quart) stockpot. Squeeze juice from lemon halves into water, removing and discarding seeds; add squeezed lemon halves, onions, jalapeños (if using), Cajun seasoning, salt, cayenne, garlic heads, and bay leaves. Cover and bring to a boil over high. Add potatoes. Cover pot, and return to a gentle boil over high. Uncover, and boil, undisturbed, for 15 minutes. Add clams and sausage. Cover pot, and return to a gentle boil over high. Uncover, and boil, undisturbed, for 5 minutes. Remove from heat.

  3. Add crab legs, shrimp, and frozen corn to stockpot, using tongs to incorporate them into the broth. Cover pot, and let mixture stand, undisturbed, 15 minutes.

  4. Meanwhile, make the Cajun Butter Sauce: Bring water to a boil in a medium saucepan over high. Reduce heat to low; gradually add butter pieces, whisking until mixture is emulsified and thickened (do not let sauce boil). Remove from heat; stir in parsley, Cajun seasoning, lemon juice, hot sauce, Worcestershire, and cayenne and transfer to a sauceboat or small serving bowl.

  5. Working in batches, drain seafood boil in a colander, using tongs to help transfer ingredients to colander and then to a serving platter. Serve seafood boil alongside warmed Cajun Butter Sauce.

    Seafood Boil
    Photo by Jennifer Causey / Food Styling by Melissa Gray / Prop Styling by Heather Chadduck Hillegas
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