Lowcountry Boil

A Lowcountry Boil is a classic Southern recipe famous along the South Carolina coast. This combination of shrimp, sausage, corn and potatoes is ideal for a backyard party with friends!

A Lowcountry Boil is a classic Southern recipe famous along the South Carolina coast.  This combination of shrimp, sausage, corn and potatoes is ideal for a backyard party with friends!

Several weeks ago, Robbie, Laura and I packed our bags and headed down to Charleston, SC for a week at the beach. I used to say that I’m not much of a beach vacation kinda guy. Well, that changed once Robbie came along. Sitting on the beach relaxing while Robbie built sand castles and swam in the tide pools was pretty darn awesome!

We stayed about 20 minutes outside of downtown Charleston on Folly Island, SC. Folly is a small island with a quirky vibe – and it was great for a vacation! The downtown area was small (~3-4 blocks total), but it was packed with tasty beach restaurants. I ate more seafood in that week than I’ve eaten in years!

A Lowcountry Boil is a classic Southern recipe famous along the South Carolina coast. This combination of shrimp, sausage, corn and potatoes is ideal for a backyard party with friends!

Speaking of seafood, when Laura and I were researching things to do at Folly Beach, SC, we stumbled across a local company that will do a Lowcountry Boil at your house. They had a minimum of 10 people, and there were only 5 of us – but that didn’t stop us! We just saved the leftovers for the next day. And let me tell ya, Lowcountry Boil leftovers are pretty tasty! (In case you have plans to travel to Folly Beach, the company we used was The Smoking Pot – we highly recommend them!)

What is a Lowcountry Boil?

A Lowcountry Boil is a uniquely Southern recipe. More specifically, it’s a uniquely Carolina recipe. It shares many similarities with a Louisiana Crawfish Boil, but the Carolina version uses shrimp instead of crawfish. In addition to the peel-and-eat shrimp, a traditional Lowcountry Boil also includes red potatoes, sausage and corn.

A Lowcountry Boil is a classic Southern recipe famous along the South Carolina coast. This combination of shrimp, sausage, corn and potatoes is ideal for a backyard party with friends!

One of the more unique aspects of this meal is that it is served family style. By family style, I mean all of the food is dumped in the center of an outside table. Everyone gathers around and eats until 1) all of the food is gone or (more likely) 2) everyone is stuffed.

A Lowcountry Boil is meant to be served with friends outdoors. In fact, you’ll notice that this recipe calls for using a very large pot – the kind you might fry a turkey in. I used a 29-quart stainless steel pot that I set over an outdoor propane burner. By the time all was said and done, the pot was full. Full of delicious shrimp, corn, sausage and potatoes!

A Lowcountry Boil is a classic Southern recipe famous along the South Carolina coast. This combination of shrimp, sausage, corn and potatoes is ideal for a backyard party with friends!

Other names for a Lowcountry Boil

The Lowcountry Boil gets its name from the Lowcountry area along the South Carolina coast. There are several variations of where the Lowcountry area begins and ends, but it is generally accepted that the southern regions of the South Carolina coast fall into the “Lowcountry.”

While Lowcountry Boil is the most common name for this recipe, it is also called Frogmore Stew, Beaufort boil, tidewater boil or a Carolina One-Pot. (No, there are no frogs involved in a Frogmore Stew. Instead, the term comes from a community named Frogmore that was located on St. Helena Island near Beaufort, SC.)

A Lowcountry Boil is a classic Southern recipe famous along the South Carolina coast. This combination of shrimp, sausage, corn and potatoes is ideal for a backyard party with friends!

How to Make a Lowcountry Boil

Aside from having the unique cooking tools (i.e. a very large pot and an outdoor propane burner), a Lowcountry Boil is actually very easy to make. The key is the order in which you add the ingredients. Potatoes take the longest time to cook, so those go into the pot first. After that, the sausage, corn and finally the shrimp get added in different time intervals. (The shrimp go in last as they cook in just 1-2 minutes.)

What seasonings are used in a Lowcountry Boil

The seasonings used in Lowcountry Boils are typically a bit milder than the ones used in crawfish boils. Old Bay is the most common, although Zatarain’s crab boil is frequently used if you want to add a bit of a Cajun flare to your boil. Aside from the dry seasonings, you often add a couple of lemons, some garlic bulbs, bay leaves, peppercorns and salt to the pot. The combination of seasonings in this recipe is flavorful, but not overly spicy. Of course, you can adjust the seasonings to fit your personal preferences.

A Lowcountry Boil is a classic Southern recipe famous along the South Carolina coast. This combination of shrimp, sausage, corn and potatoes is ideal for a backyard party with friends!

At the end of the day, a Lowcountry Boil is the kind of meal where you spread newspaper on a backyard table, call over your friends, pop open a cold beer and enjoy a meal that’s perfect for feeding a crowd. That’s exactly what we did here, and we had fun spending time together over delicious food.

I hope you enjoy this Lowcountry Boil recipe as much as we do! And if you make your way to Folly Beach, drop me a line – we love Charleston and Folly Beach so much that we plan on making our vacations there a summer tradition!

Did you make this Lowcountry Boil at home? Leave a comment, or snap a photo and tag me on Instagram (@Spicedblog) – I’d love to see your version!

A Lowcountry Boil is a classic Southern recipe famous along the South Carolina coast. This combination of shrimp, sausage, corn and potatoes is ideal for a backyard party with friends!

Lowcountry Boil

A Lowcountry Boil is a classic Southern recipe famous along the South Carolina coast. This combination of shrimp, sausage, corn and potatoes is ideal for a backyard party with friends!
5 from 5 votes
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Servings: 12 servings
Calories: 670kcal

Ingredients

  • 3 lemons halved
  • 3 garlic bulbs halved
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 Tbsp kosher salt
  • 2 Tbsp whole black peppercorns
  • 1 cup crab and shrimp boil seasoning see note
  • 4 pounds small red potatoes ~1½” in diameter (see note)
  • 3 pounds smoked sausage cut into ¾” pieces
  • 2 large yellow onions peeled and quartered
  • 10 ears corn shucked and cut in half
  • 4 pounds large 31-35 count shrimp, unpeeled
  • cocktail sauce for dipping

Instructions

  • Using a large stockpot, add 7-8 quarts of water. (See note.)
  • Add lemons, garlic, bay leaves, salt, peppercorns and shrimp boil seasoning. Cover and bring mixture to a rolling boil over medium-high heat.
  • Add potatoes; return mixture to a boil. Cover and cook for 5 minutes.
  • Add sausage and onions; return mixture to a boil. Cover and cook for 6-8 more minutes.
  • Add corn; return mixture to a boil. Cover and cook for 5-6 more minutes. At this point, test the potatoes to make sure they are fork tender.
  • Add shrimp, stir and cook for 1-2 minutes, or until shrimp have turned pink.
  • Carefully drain water using a large colander or use a hand-held strainer to transfer food onto a paper-lined table.
  • Serve with cocktail sauce for dipping.

Notes

This recipe makes enough to feed a crowd. I recommend using an outdoor rig with propane burner and 7-gallon stainless steel pot – similar to what you might see for frying a turkey. These are often sold as a kit, and I’ve found that they are readily available in most larger stores that sell grills. You could certainly make a smaller version of this recipe using a large stock pot indoors, but you will need to reduce the quantities in the recipe – I’d estimate start with about 20% of the ingredients listed.
A number of companies make crab and shrimp boil seasoning. Old Bay is a classic for Low Country Boils, but Zatarain’s makes a tasty version that’ll lend a spicier Cajun flare to your boil.
If your red potatoes are too large, just cut them in half or quarters before adding them to the pot.
A Lowcountry Boil is a classic Southern recipe famous along the South Carolina coast. This combination of shrimp, sausage, corn and potatoes is ideal for a backyard party with friends!

Looking for more classic Southern recipes? Check out these other favorites, too:

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16 Comments

  1. Will be making this soon can i use vegan sausage and mushrooms as am a vegan i never had lowcountry boil before perfect for my after office meals pl i love your recipes as always brightens up my day after work will dm you if i make this and let you know how it goes Thanks Ramya

    1. Hey Ramya! You can absolutely use vegan sausage and mushrooms in this recipe. In fact, Laura loves mushrooms in boils like this, so I included a couple packs in this version for her. I’m so glad you enjoy these recipes – have a great week ahead!

    1. A Lowcountry Boil really is a fun dish for a crowd, Kathy! Not only is it fairly easy to make, but the clean-up is super easy. No need for plates or anything. Just dump it on the table and let everyone share!

  2. Fabulous! And what a wonderful vacation! I found beach vacations much more fun with kids. I am not a lay out kind of person. Too boring. How nice that they brought the boil to your house! Great idea.

    1. I’m with you, Mimi – the beach vacation with Robbie was AMAZING! I grew up near the beach, so it’s never called to me much for vacation…but we’ve already booked a return trip for next year. 🙂

  3. 5 stars
    I love a low country boil! Good recipe —I’m Old Bay all the way. Coincidentally, I am taking my daughter (who lives in Asheville, NC) along with her best friend from here in Nashville (it’s crazy how confusing those 2 cities are because around here everyone thinks you are saying Nashville when you say Asheville) to FOLLY BEACH in mid- Sept for just a few days. We have plans to dine in Charleston one night-one of my favorite cities (next to Savannah, where all my “people” are from). But looking forward to exploring the little town. We will be close enough to walk. I love the Carolina coasts but this is my first time to go to Folly. I really wanted to go to Tybee, which is where my father grew up, but already SOLD OUT. I’m glad to see you liked it! I believe pent-up demand due to COVID is creating this crazy Sept sell-out. Not typically “ high season.” I got one of the last decent places on Folly— it’s crazy expensive for that time and not all that nice. But I had promised to take her, so here we go. So wild that I just made that reservation 2 days ago and here you are!

    1. No way! What a crazy coincidence, Kim. First of all, Asheville. I truly stalk Asheville as I want to move there some day – hopefully sooner than later. Second, Nashville. My mother and sister live there, and we’re heading down at the end of August to visit. Third, Folly. I LOVE FOLLY! It’s a quirky place, but that just adds to its charm. I talked to a real estate agent down there, and he said this is the biggest year they’ve ever had for rentals – I suspect COVID and fear of hotels (as well as ‘revenge travel’) is a factor. If you are looking for recommendations for restaurants, etc, shoot me a message! I’m jealous that you’re going! We have a return trip planned for next summer, and that can’t get here soon enough if you ask me!

      1. David, I get weekly updates from Zillow for properties in Asheville! I can not get enough of that place. So glad my daughter is there and just 5 hours away! I remembered you had family in Nashville and I love Nashville, too. I’m going to message you soon as I can find the message thingy on your website (and I build websites, lol, but I’m on my phone at doc office at the moment). Anyhoo, I’m beginning to think we must be cousins or something 😂

        1. I have similar updates for the Asheville area – what a small world! One day, my friend, one day… Also, feel free to shoot me a message at david {at} spicedblog.com. 🙂

    1. A Lowcountry Boil truly is the ultimate summer meal. It’s a great one to share with friends and family because you just dump it all on the table and let everyone go to town. 🙂 Thanks, Marissa!

  4. 5 stars
    David, good to hear you guys were able to get away for a holiday. We’re driving up the West Coast of Sweden the week after next and are planning to eat seafood every day. It’s so good to be able to travel again even if it is still relatively local.
    I love a good seafood boil. We used to order the North Carolina version every time we visited Okracoke. When we lived in the Pacific Northwest we often had friends over and made the Northwest version with clams, prawns, and salmon. Great recipe, I might just try a Scandinavian seafood boil. I’ve got plenty of Old Bay…

    1. That sounds awesome that you guys are going to take a road trip up the West Coast. I hope you get a chance to share some of the photos and stories from that trip! Getting out to travel made a HUGE difference here for us and our mindset. I hope it does the same for you!

      Ah, I love Okracoke! We visited there a couple of times when I was in high school, but that was ages ago. Right now, we’re all in on Charleston and Folly Island, but at some point I need to take a trip back to the Outer Banks.

      Also, I’m intrigued by that idea of a northwestern seafood boil. I love the idea of salmon in there! Hope you are doing well, my friend!

  5. 5 stars
    I wanted to make something like this for a long time, now I cant wait for our summer to come here in NZ, you made me crave for it more becuase of this post 🙂

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