Cajun Shrimp Boil

Cajun shrimp boil

The Spruce / Diana Rattray

Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 32 mins
Total: 47 mins
Servings: 6 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
352 Calories
4g Fat
41g Carbs
40g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6
Amount per serving
Calories 352
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 4g 6%
Saturated Fat 1g 5%
Cholesterol 319mg 106%
Sodium 16781mg 730%
Total Carbohydrate 41g 15%
Dietary Fiber 5g 19%
Total Sugars 6g
Protein 40g
Vitamin C 30mg 148%
Calcium 196mg 15%
Iron 2mg 12%
Potassium 964mg 21%
*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.)

A Cajun shrimp boil is always a favorite, and for so many reasons—it's a fun, easy, one-pot meal that sets a festive tone for any gathering. Most of all, it's delicious, combining shrimp, potatoes, and corn with lemon and cayenne pepper, making a flavorful dish with a little bit of a kick. The dish is similar to the Low Country dish Frogmore stew but simplifies the seasoning.

To serve, place newspaper in the center of the table and pour the shrimp boil on top; guests are encouraged to use their hands to peel the shrimp and eat the corn. All you need is some crusty bread and any of your favorite summer side dishes if you prefer. You can also offer a sauce such as cocktail, remoulade, or just melted butter.


  • 4 quarts water

  • 1 1/2 cups kosher salt

  • 2 medium lemons, sliced

  • 1 large onion, sliced

  • 3 tablespoons cayenne pepper

  • 3 pounds small new potatoes

  • 4 large ears corn, shucked and halved

  • 2 pounds extra jumbo shrimp

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Add the water to the pot, along with the salt, lemon and onion slices, and cayenne. Bring to a rolling boil and cook for 5 minutes.

  3. Add the potatoes and lower the heat to a simmer. Cook until fork-tender, about 25 to 30 minutes.

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

  5. Add the 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 of the 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 you can keep them in for flavor and color.

  7. Enjoy.


  • Make sure to choose shrimp that are 16 to 20 per pound, which should be labeled "extra jumbo." Small shrimp are the best size for shrimp salad, shrimp cocktails, stews, and gumbos, while bigger shrimp are ideal for deep-frying, broiling, grilling, or barbecuing, as well as shrimp boils.
  • The shrimp cook very quickly so be sure to remove the ingredients from the pot as soon as the water returns to a boil. Overcooked shrimp will be tough and rubbery.

Do I Have to Devein the Shrimp?

Deveining shrimp means removing the bit of grit in the shrimp's digestive tract. It is not mandatory and is a matter of personal preference; there is no harm in eating it. To devein, you simply cut a slit along the back of the shrimp and pull out the black "string." You can also buy frozen shrimp that have been deveined—just make sure they are not shelled, as this recipe works best with shrimp in their shells.

Recipe Variation

You can add other ingredients, such as andouille sausage, artichokes, or even other shellfish like clams or mussels.

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