Cajun Shrimp Boil

Cajun shrimp boil

The Spruce / Diana Rattray

  • Total: 47 mins
  • Prep: 15 mins
  • Cook: 32 mins
  • Yield: 6 servings

This meal is always a favorite, for so many reasons—it's fun, easy, a one-pot meal, and certainly a conversation breaker—you can't avoid plenty of casual chatter while chewing corn off a cob or peeling shrimp with your already messy hands! And most of all it's delicious!

Some people add other ingredients, such as andouille sausage, artichokes, or even other shellfish.

The dish is similar to the Low Country dish, Frogmore stew.


  • 1 large pot in which to boil 4 quarts of water
  • 1 1/2 cups kosher salt
  • 2 lemons (sliced)
  • 1 large onion (sliced)
  • 3 tablespoons cayenne pepper
  • 12 medium red potatoes (about 3 pounds)
  • 4 large ears corn, broken in half
  • 2 pounds extra-large or jumbo shrimp, or about 21 to 25 per pound count

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Add 4 quarts water to the pot, along with the salt, lemon, onion, and cayenne and bring to a strong boil. Boil for 5 minutes.

  3. Add the potatoes and bring the pot to a simmer. Simmer until fork-tender, about 25 to 30 minutes.

  4. Add corn to the pot, again bring to a simmer and simmer for 5 minutes.

  5. Add shrimp and bring to a boil. By the time the water reaches a boil, the shrimp should be done—opaque rather than translucent. Don't overcook the shrimp.

  6. Drain all ingredients or lift them out of the pot and transfer to a large serving platter, or place them on the center of a newspaper-covered table. The onion and lemon slices may be removed, but I like to keep them in for flavor and color.

  7. May be served with a sauce: cocktail, remoulade, or just melted butter.

  8. Enjoy!


  • The usual size for shrimp dishes served in restaurants is 16 to 20 per pound; small shrimp are the best size for shrimp salad, shrimp cocktails, stews, and gumbos. Use medium shrimp for shrimp boils and deep-fried shrimp; large shrimp for broiling, grilling or barbecuing.

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