How to Do a Crab Boil

July 18, 2013Katie
shrimp boil


It’s been a tradition of our family to let the kids pick what they want us to cook for their birthday dinner.  Tonight’s choice – Crab Boil!

This is probably one of the funnest group party meals you can make.  It requires dumping the ingredients one at a time into a huge pot.  You carefully time the addition of each new ingredient, while the broth gets more and more flavorful with each new item.kaylacake

And the best part?  All it takes is one gigantic pot, some newspaper, some wax paper or butcher paper and a few utensils. Cleanup is a breeze.  You fold it all up and toss in in your trash can afterward.  No dishes to wash, which makes Mr. Wonderful, if you’ll pardon the pun, happy as a clam!

Check out how easy this is to do…

First, find the biggest pot you have.  Fill it 2/3 of the way full and bring it to a boil.

potbigNow, for a proper crab boil, you need to season the water cajun-style mon.

This is about as good as you can get – Old Bay.

old bay

Now be cautioned here.  Old Bay can get pretty spicy.  You will have to experiment with it and find your level of spiciness.  We used about 1/2 cup, took a spoon, tasted the water, and adjusted from there.  It’s really your preference.  TASTE people before you add more though!

Now we come to our “dump ingredients”.  Once your Old Bay seasoned water is boiling well, dump in a chunked up onion or two.  I had Vidalias, and Vidalias make my heart sing with joy when I find them in the market!


Dump your onions into the pot.


At this point, I usually add a quartered up lemon, but I forgot to get one, dadgum it!

While your water is boiling and your onions are heating up, cut up your red potatoes. Allow 2 medium potatoes per person, or 3-4 small ones.  Cut them into bite-size chunks.  You could leave them whole, but they take a lot longer to cook that way.


Dump your potatoes into your pot.  Let them boil for 15 minutes.

Next, take one smoked sausage of your choice and cut it into chunks.


When your potatoes have been boiling for 15 minutes, dump your sausage in with them.


Get your corn cobettes.  You can use fresh corn in the summer, but until that comes around, some good quality frozen corn cobettes will do just fine.

frozen corn

Dump these in with the sausage, potatoes and onion.  And don’t forget the Old Bay mixing around in there…it’s the real star.

I’m getting hungry thinkin about that Old Bay.

Now, after the sausage and corn cook for 10 more minutes, it’s time to start adding the seafood.

Tonight we added King Crab Legs.  I figure 3-4 of these babies per person.

frozen crab


Now add your shrimp.

frozen shrimp

I envy all of you east and west coast people who get beautiful fresh shrimp.  Here in the mid-west, we get frozen shrimp.  We make do with what we have.  Do you guys envy that we have fresh cows out here?

Again, pick your size.  This time I bought the peeled and deveined medium size. Shell-on would  make your broth more flavorful, but I just didn’t feel like peeling shrimp tonight.  Dump your shrimp right in with your crab.


Sometimes at this point, we also dump in mussels. Mr. Wonderful loves these things.  We couldn’t find them at the market tonight though doggone it.

Now everything should be happy and singing together in your pot.

Let your crab and shrimp boil for no more then 5 minutes, or until it just turns pink.  If you leave it too long, you will have icky, tough shrimp and it will be a huge disappointment.

At the end of 3 minutes, get a man with big, strong biceps to dump your humungous pot of yumminess onto your table.  Here’s how we prepare our “fancy” table.

Due to our last crab boil dumping, our table got a little discolored from the heat, so this time we layered some flattened-out cardboard boxes, covered by a couple of trash bags cut opened.



Over that we layered newspaper.  Fancy Smancy huh?


Over that, wax paper.

Now for the fun.  Remember that man with the big biceps?  It’s his time.  Have him pour out your pan into a big colander.



Now have Mr. Biceps take it over to your table and pour it out right in the center so everyone can reach.


Oh my goodness…


Isn’t it glorious?


I must tell you that you need a few things to enjoy this properly.

Utensils …


And clarified butter…I add garlic powder to mine.


To clarify butter, just bring it to a quick boil, remove from the heat, and allow the solids to settle on the bottom of the pan.  Skim off any frothy stuff you see on top.  The remaining golden top part is the butter fat.


Ladel out the top that separates from the solids or pour it thru a fine strainer or cheesecloth to remove the solids.  Voila!  Clarified butter.

I think Kayla liked her birthday dinner. She seemed pretty doggone happy.

kayladishIn fact, we were all pretty doggone happy.  This is one meal you will have a blast making and eating with your family or friends.

But wait!!

I forgot to show you clean-up!

kaylatrash Is the birthday girl supposed to have to pick up the trash?

Roll everything up and toss it out to the garbage can!

Hey, we all do our part in this house!

I hope you try this dish.  You will love it from start to finish and it’s a great fun way to enjoy time with your friends with little mess!

Other crab boil scenes from Mr. Wonderful’s birthday party…

crab boil


crab boil party

Fun, fun fun!


How to Do a Crab Boil
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: mAIN
Serves: 8
  • Old Bay seasoning to taste
  • 5 pound bag of new potatoes
  • 2 large onions halved
  • 2 lemons, halved
  • ¼-1/2 pound snow crab or king crab legs/person
  • 8 ears of corn, cut in half
  • 2 pounds smoked sausage, sliced diagonally into 1 inch pieces
  • 2 pounds shrimp, uncooked (we like peeled and deveined with tails still on
  • 2 pounds mussels
  1. Add seasoning to large pot of water. Bring to a boil.
  2. Add in potatoes, onions and lemon, cook for 7 minutes.
  3. Add sausage - cook for 5 minutes more. If using fresh corn and crab add and cook 5 minutes.
  4. Add in the mussels (according to packages direction time).
  5. Add in shrimp and cook just until pink and translucency disappears.
  6. Drain immediately and dump onto a table lined with plastic and newspaper (If table is heat sensitive, line with cardboard boxes cut up, etc to protect).
  7. Serve with melted butter. When finished, roll up newspaper and discard the whole mess!



  • Stephanie

    February 23, 2020 at 6:06 pm

    I have followed your recipe day one and never fails. Quick and easy and always delicious
    1. Katie

      February 23, 2020 at 6:08 pm

      Stephanie- I m so happy you’ve followed me for so long. While all my recipes may not be perfect, I just hope to bless others when I find a good one! Thank you!!!

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