Seafood boil

It’s well and truly summer here in California. The days are lazy and warm, there’s lots of time in the water and eating outside as often as possible is the best! We recently hosted my best friend’s birthday party and wanted to make something delicious for dinner. She loves seafood, so I thought it would be fun to try a seafood boil. I’ve eaten a crawfish boil in Alabama but hadn’t attempted to make one myself. So off to Pinterest I went to learn from as many recipes as I could find (and all the serving tips too!). I mashed a few recipes together to get something we would all love and here it is!

Seafood boils are really easy to make and fun to partake in. You basically boil everything up in stages in an enormous pot with a basket liner so you can drain all the stock from the deliciousness inside. It’s best done outside on a propane burner, but as we didn’t have one big enough we boiled it on the gas stove then lugged the giant pot outside – it wasn’t so bad. Getting the stock to a boil can take a long time, so start early. Ours took almost an hour.

Seafood boil

Line the table with a plastic backed disposable paper table cloth and a couple of food grade paper table runners (we used a roll of brown paper). We rested the pot on a couple of lumber scraps to protect the deck and popped down some old towels to catch any seafoody drips. Then you lift out the basket liner, let the stock drain out for a minute or so and throw everything down in the middle of the table so everyone can have at it. So fun! Add lemon wedges, vinegar, garlic butter, Old Bay seasoning, and crab crackers to get to the goodness out of the legs. Plates are optional; napkins are a must! When everyone is done, pull everything up inside the tablecloth, tie it up and take it to the trash – easy!

This recipe fed 7 adults and 5 kids with leftovers. It was a total hit with everyone, and we’ll be doing it again for sure. You could try a scaled down version for a regular family dinner. Print

Seafood Boil

Course Main Course  Cuisine American  Prep Time 30 minutes Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes Servings 10 Author Claire Bartlett


  • 2 onions
  • 5 heads garlic
  • 8 lemons
  • 1/2 cup Old Bay seasoning
  • 10 bay leaves
  • 2 12 oz bottles of beer
  • 3 lbs baby potatoes
  • 2 kielbasa sausage
  • 8 ears sweet corn
  • 4 lbs shrimp leave the tails on
  • 2-3 lbs dungeness crab halves or legs

Garlic butter

  • 1 cup butter
  • 4 cloves garlic


  1. Fill stock pot to a little under halfway. Add the Old Bay seasoning and start boiling while you prep the other ingredients. Have everything ready to go in it’s own section so it’s easy to throw in when it’s time.
  2. Dice the onion – big chunks are fine and throw in the pot. 
  3. Cut the tops off the garlic heads and throw in the pot whole. No need to skin or separate.
  4. Quarter four of the lemons and set aside for serving. Halve the remaining lemons, squeeze their juice into the pot and throw the lemons in also. 
  5. Add the bay leaves and beer to the pot and bring to a boil. Ours took an hour to come to a boil. 
  6. Cut the kielbasa sausage into three inch chunks. 
  7. Once boiling add the washed baby potatoes and the sausage to the pot and boil for 20 minutes.
  8. Depending on their size, cut the corn into 3 sections (personal size) and add to the pot. Boil for 7 minutes.
  9. Lower the heat and add the shrimp and crab. Stir a little so they are mostly covered. Cover the pot and boil for 2 minutes then turn off the burner. Let it sit for 10 minutes before transfering the delicious contents to the table or a serving tray. 
  10. Serve everything with lemon wedges, garlic butter and fresh crusty sourdough or french bread, vinegar, and hot sauce.

Galic butter

  1. Soften butter and stir in minced garlic.

Published by Claire Bartlett

Claire is a yogi, plant-based foodie, pilot wife, homeschooling twin mom, ex-pat Aussie living in California! She loves life and all the beauty to be found in it and likes to inspire others to see it too.

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