This Lowcountry Boil recipe features Old Bay, shrimp, sausage, corn and potatoes. It’s a South Carolina classic that you can pour out onto a newspaper lined table, crack a beer and go to town.
I have written about my love affiar with Charleston before (ehem, Pecan Brittle Basket) and decided to make some of my favorite Charleston foods to take a stroll back in time.
Say hello to Lowcountry Boil.
It is a meal that encourages conversation because it takes a long time to eat. You are peeling shrimp and chatting and making a mess and you cannot help but have a good time while eating it.
What is a low country boil? What is Frogmore Stew?
Lowcountry boil is a one-pot meal that features an array of seafood, sausage, corn, potatoes and Old Bay seasoning boiled in a spicy stock.
It was originally called Frogmore Stew, named after the Gullah-Geechee fishing community in South Carolina (although it originated on St. Helena’s Island). It can also be referred to as Beaufort Stew or Beaufort Boil.
This easy lowcountry boil recipe sticks to the classic ingredients.
Gather together lemons, onions, Old Bay, red and Yukon gold potatoes, kielbasa, corn and extra-large shrimp.
And make sure to include garlic bread, cocktail sauce and lots of melted butter!
Old Bay. You will need one-half of the 6-oz container of Old Bay. Yes, half! It may sound like a lot, but it’s the star cajun seasoning.
Kielbasa. This is my preferred sausage choice. If you want a spicy sausage, go for andouille. Smoked sausage or even chicken, turkey or beef sausage would work well, too.
Shrimp. I go with extra-large shrimp (21/25). I wash them really well if they are fresh, but leave the peels on since it creates a richer stock. Frozen will also work, simply defrost overnight in the fridge.
How to make // The steps
I like to use a very large stockpot and cook it over the stove. Simply:
- Bring the lemons, onions, Old Bay and 3 quarts of water to a rolling boil.
- Add the potatoes and let them cook for 10 minutes. I check to make sure that they are getting tender. You still have some cooking time, but I get so mad when I undercook my potatoes.
- Add the kielbasa.
- And the corn. Boil for 10 more minutes.
- Add the shrimp and cook for 3 minutes. The shrimp will be pink.
- When the shrimp are cooked, strain the liquid from the pot. Put the boil into bowls.
What makes this lowcountry boil recipe so good?
Southern classics are some of my all time faves, but this seafood and sausage boil is incredibly satisfying because:
- Old Bay creates a spicy, savory, aromatic broth.
- Sausage and shrimp are the ultimate surf and turf pairing.
- Buttery potatoes and sweet corn make it a complete, one-pot meal!
What to serve with low country boil?
I serve the boil with butter for the corn and the leftover garlic butter from the garlic bread, sliced lemons, cocktail sauce, extra Old Bay and lots of paper towels.
And lots of cold beer.
This is a straightforward Frogmore Stew recipe, but for a bit more summer fun, try:
- Adding 6 cooked Blue Crab, King Crab or 12 crab legs during the last 10 minutes of cooking
- Stirring in mussels or clams when you add the shrimp (discard the shellfish that do not open)
- Adding 1 (12-oz) can of beer in replace of 12-oz (1 ½ cups) of water
Low country boil for 2 or 20
I have had many a party where we served Lowcountry boil. It is a pretty perfect dish to make for a crowd. It is easy to make. You can prep everything ahead of time.
It can make enough to serve 2 or to serve 20. This recipe serves 4, so split in half or quadruple depending on how many guests you’re feeding.
This meal is meant to be messy. We eat it outside with the table covered in newspaper.
More Southern classic recipes //
- Pecan Pralines
- Heartland Wedge Salad
- Cream Cheese Biscuits
- King Ranch Casserole
- Kelly’s Overnight Chicken
- Southern Sweet Tea
Originally published in May 2010, updated August 2020 with updated images and updated recipe card.