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 affair 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.
What seasoning is used in a lowcountry boil //
Lowcountry boil usually tends to have a milder flavor than some of the other seafood boils. Aside from the onion and lemon, the other seasoning that is most commonly used and what differentiates it from other seafood boils is the old bay seasoning. However if you want to change or enhance the taste you can add any of your preferred seasonings. Peppercorn is often used by many to give it a spicy kick.
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:
- Step 1: Bring the lemons, onions, Old Bay and 3 quarts of water to a rolling boil.
- Step 2: 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.
- Step 3: Add the kielbasa.
- Step 4: And the corn. Boil for 10 more minutes.
- Step 5: Add the shrimp and cook for 3 minutes. The shrimp will be pink.
- Step 6: 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 Lowcountry 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.
Tips for Making the Best Lowcountry Boil //
- Keep an eye on the cooking time. Since this is a one-pot dish with many different ingredients, it is important to make sure you cook everything for the right amount of time. A little mishap in the timing may result in the undercooking or overcooking of certain ingredients, and nobody wants that.
- I would suggest adding a spoonful of salted butter. It adds to the flavor of the potatoes and complements all the ingredients in the recipe.
- If you like your food to be on the spicier side, I would recommend adding some peppercorn seasoning or actual peppercorn at the start of the recipe. It gives a great taste to the recipe.
This is a straightforward lowcountry boil 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.
How to Store Leftover Lowcountry Boil?
Lowcountry boils are usually made in large quantities so chances are you will have leftovers. If you do, you can store it in an airtight container in the fridge. It should be good to consume for up to 3 days. If you want to reheat it I would either put it in a microwave or an oven. However, I usually remove my leftovers from the fridge an hour before and eat it at room temperature.
More Southern classic recipes //
- Pecan Pralines
- Heartland Wedge Salad
- Cream Cheese Biscuits
- King Ranch Casserole
- Kelly’s Overnight Chicken
Originally published in May 2010, updated August 2020 with updated images and updated recipe card.
- 4 lemons halved
- 2 onions unpeeled and quartered
- 3 oz half of a container Old Bay seasoning
- 3 pounds baby red and Yukon gold potatoes
- 1 package 1 lb kielbasa, sliced into chunks
- 6 ears corn halved
- 2 1/2 pounds extra-large shrimp 21/25 count
- Bring the lemons, onions, and Old Bay, and 3 quarts of water to a rolling boil.
- Add the potatoes and let 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 under cook my potatoes.
- Add the kielbasa.
- Add the corn. Boil for 10 more minutes.
- Finally, 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.