Crab Boil Spice Mix

Crab boil spice mix in a white bowl with a wooden spoon

The Spruce Eats / Nyssa Tanner

Prep: 5 mins
Cook: 0 mins
Total: 5 mins
Servings: 4 servings
Yield: 1 cup
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
48 Calories
2g Fat
7g Carbs
2g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 48
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 2g 3%
Saturated Fat 0g 2%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 7079mg 308%
Total Carbohydrate 7g 3%
Dietary Fiber 3g 11%
Total Sugars 1g
Protein 2g
Vitamin C 4mg 18%
Calcium 94mg 7%
Iron 3mg 16%
Potassium 186mg 4%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

If you're prepping for a big seafood event you're going to want to have a good crab boil on hand. Crab boil is the spice mix you use to flavor the water that you are using to boil the crab, and it can add lots of flavor to the seafood as it cooks. You can, of course, use it for other shellfish as well.

Many people use a store-bought crab boil from brands like Old Bay and Zatarain's, but it's easy to make from spices you probably already have in your rack. Making your own crab boil seasoning means you can adjust the flavor to your tastes, too. If you like spicy food, add more red pepper flakes or toss in a few dashes of cayenne pepper.

This easy crab boil spice mix may be used for shrimp, crawfish, lobster, or crab. Simply add about 1/4 cup of the mix per pot of boiling water before you add the seafood. If you're serving a big crowd and boiling in an extra-large pot, double or triple the spice mix.

"This crab boil mix is nuanced but balanced. I know exactly what I'm adding so if I want to cut back on the salt or spice, I can. For a deeper flavor, I like to give the pickling spice blend and the seeds and peppercorns a little toast in a skillet before grinding." —Renae Wilson

Crab boil spice mix blend in a bowl and on a flat surface
A Note From Our Recipe Tester


Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for crab boil spice mix gathered

    The Spruce Eats / Nyssa Tanner

  2. Add the pickling spices, sea salt, mustard seeds, peppercorns, pepper flakes, celery seeds, chives, ginger, oregano, and bay leaves to the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Pulse and process until the mixture forms a coarse powder. You could also use a blender, spice grinder, or mortar and pestle.

    Crab boil spice mix ingredients blended together in a food processor

    The Spruce Eats / Nyssa Tanner

  3. Use spice blend immediately or store in an airtight container.

    Crab boil spice mix in a glass jar

    The Spruce Eats / Nyssa Tanner

How to Use Crab Boil Spice Mix

  • For a shrimp boil, add 1/4 cup of the spice mix, along with 2 more teaspoons of salt to a large saucepan of boiling water.
  • For a crab boil, use 1/4 cup of the spice blend plus 1 part distilled white wine vinegar to 3 parts water. Add the seafood and cook for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the crabs float. Remove the crabs and serve or chill.
  • Use the same crab boil recipe for cooking lobsters, simmering for 15 to 20 minutes.

How to Store

  • Store in an airtight container in a cool, dark place for up to 1 month.
  • For maximum flavor, use the spice blend as soon as possible.

What Goes With Crab Boil?

Serve classic summer cook-out foods with a crab boil, like potato salad, macaroni salad, baked beans, corn on the cob, and coleslaw. You can even boil red potatoes and/or corn in the same crab boil seasoning and serve it alongside.