Gather your friends and family – it’s time for a Crawfish Boil! If you love real Cajun flavor, you’ll love every last bite of this classic Crawfish Boil packed with crawfish, sausage, corn, potatoes and a perfect spicy kick!
If it’s spring time in Louisiana, you know we are boiling a big pot of crawfish! Growing up crawfish season was one of my favorite times of the year. Now that I live in Florida, we don’t get fresh crawfish half as often.
But as it turns out, you don’t actually need to travel all the way to the state of Louisiana to enjoy a classic Crawfish Boil. All you need is a big ol’ pot over a good steady heat and a handful of your favorite ingredients like red potatoes, fresh corn on the cob, sausage, and of course – crawfish!
What makes any Crawfish Boil flavorful are all of the cajun spices and seasonings. While you can certainly grab a store-bought container and have delicious crawfish, we’ve found that we have the most flavor packed results with our tried and true Homemade Cajun Seasoning.
This may not seem like your average weeknight dinner, but it is actually very easy to throw together a crawfish boil. Everything is cooked together all in one pot and then you just pour everything out on the table for everyone to dive in. No plates necessary! It’s a meal you’ll be happy to get messy for!
Ingredients for a Crawfish Boil
- Potatoes – We prefer red potatoes. Use small bite sized potatoes or chop up your potatoes into chunks.
- Corn – Use fresh corn on the cob that you cut into pieces. If you can’t find fresh corn on the cob, you can also use frozen corn on the cob.
- Celery – Remember to rinse your celery prior to chopping it up.
- Bay Leaves
- Lemon – Use fresh lemon juice ONLY! Do NOT substitute this with juice from concentrate.
- Garlic – You’ll need a whole bulb with each clove individually peeled. Some people leave the peel on the garlic, but we prefer the peel removed so we can eat the garlic. No vampires are visiting us on crawfish boil night!
- Onion – A white onion is preferred, but a yellow onion can be used too.
- Bell Pepper – This is optional, but we like to use a green bell pepper to enhance the savory flavors.
- Louisiana Crawfish, Shrimp, and Crab Boil – You simply can’t make a crawfish boil without this! If you can’t find it in your local store, they also sell it on amazon: Louisiana Crawfish Shrimp and Crab Boil.
- Cajun Seasoning – We think our Homemade Cajun Seasoning is always best, but Slap Ya Momma also gets the job done.
- Salt – There may already be enough salt for your tastes from the boil and Cajun seasoning mix. Don’t go in too heavy handed with the salt, taste as you go!
- Black Pepper – Freshly ground black pepper will always yields the best flavor.
- Crawfish – Live uncooked crawfish will give you the best flavor, but you can also use frozen crawfish. Scroll down this post for more information about where to find and purchase live crawfish.
- Sausage – You can use smoked sausage or andouille sausage.
How to Make the BEST Crawfish Boil
This Crawfish Boil is so easy! In just a few short steps, you’ll be picking crawfish shells like a pro.
- Start the boil. Add the potatoes, corn, celery, bay leaves, lemon juice, lemon halves, garlic, onion, green bell pepper, Louisiana boil powder, Cajun seasoning, 2 teaspoons of the salt, pepper, and about 8 cups of water to a large pot, or a dutch oven that has a lid.
- Bring it to a boil. Place the pot on the stove over high heat. Bring it to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer, cover the pot with the lid. Let it simmer for 20 minutes, or until the corn and potatoes become tender.
- Do a taste test! Taste the broth and add more salt and/or seasoning, if needed.
- Add the proteins. Add the crawfish and cooked sausage (if using raw sausage, add it with your potatoes) and stir to combine. Bring the boil back up to a simmer and cook for another 5 minutes with the lid on.
- Soak. Turn the heat off, with the lid, and let everything soak for 10 minutes. The longer you let the crawfish soak, the more flavorful and spicier they will get.
- ENJOY! Drain the broth and pour out onto a large pan or parchment paper lined table and serve with lemon wedges.
Variations to Try
- Swap the sausage. If you’re not a fan of smoked sausage, no worries! Andouille sausage also works. Keep in mind that if the sausage is not cooked, just add it to the pot while the potatoes are cooking to ensure it cooks through.
- Make it spicy. This recipe has some heat as it stands, but if you really wanna heat things up, add more spice! The boil mixture and Cajun seasoning both bring a little heat to the flavor palate, and you can enhance that even more with extra cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes. A little goes a long way. Be sure to taste test before adding it in there!
- Add Artichokes: I know, that’s different, but it’s also delicious! We have been to a few crawfish boils that add artichokes and they soak up lots of the flavor from the boil making them irresistible. Just toss in a couple of whole artichokes when you add the corn.
Here are a few tips to help guarantee a successful boil:
- Clean those crawfish! They’re called mudbugs, y’all. Make sure to rinse the crawfish thoroughly in the bag in which they arrived to remove excess dirt and mud. Continue rinsing your crawfish until the water runs clear. This is super important step to make sure your crawfish boil doesn’t wind up gritty from dirt/sand.
- Don’t cut the potatoes if they’re small. If your red potatoes are already very small (bite size), you don’t need to chop them into smaller pieces. They should cook just fine the size that they are.
- Avoid too much salt. Cajun seasoning and the boil mixture will both lend a good amount of flavor (and sodium) to the entire boil, so don’t go in too heavy handed with extra salt.
- Add heat, not salt. In line with what we said above, if you want to add extra heat, do so by adding straight cayenne pepper to the pot. If you add extra Cajun seasoning, your boil can quickly become too salty.
- Let the crawfish soak! The longer you let the crawfish soak in the seasoned boil water, the more flavorful and spicy they will become.
How to Eat Crawfish?
If this is your first time, crawfish might look a little intimidating. Since they are commonly served with the shell on, you will need to remove the shell from the crawfish to get to the meat.
Here are our easy steps to eating a boiled crawfish:
- Hold the crawfish with two hands. Your thumbs should be on one side of the shell (around the tail) and your index fingers should be on the other side (around the body).
- Then, make a twisting motion with your hands to snap the head away from the tail. This will break open the crawfish shell to give you easy access to the meat inside.
- At this point, you can either discard the head of the crawfish, or you can suck the yellow stuff, known as “Crawfish Butter” out of the crawfish head.
- Peel away the exterior shell off of the tail, like you would a shrimp, and then tug out the crawfish tail meat. Eat the tail meat, discard of the crawfish shell, and grab another crawfish!
Fresh crawfish can be pretty hard to find if you are outside of Louisiana or the surrounding states. While in season, you can have fresh live crawfish shipped to you. Check out Cajuncrawfish.com to see their shipping options.
We recommend using fresh crawfish for the best results. However, if all you can find is fully-cooked frozen crawfish, don’t sweat it! They will also be delicious! We actually used them for this recipe shoot because they are currently out of season and we had a craving. Frozen crawfish are usually much easier to find all across the United States in most grocery stores. We do recommend trying to find frozen crawfish that are sourced from the US and not China.
Depending on the weather, crawfish season can range from November, at the earliest, and July, at the latest. Typically the season runs from mid January through early June.
Yes! The yellow stuff inside of a crawfish head is known as “Crawfish Butter”. It’s delicious, give it a try!
What To Serve With A Crawfish Boil?
Nothing! That is the gloriousness of a crawfish boil! Everything, including your sides, are all cooked together in one big pot. However, a little buttery garlic bread is the perfect accompaniment.
If you are having a lot of people and really want to bulk up your meal, here are a few suggestions that will go well with this dish:
- Deviled Eggs: What southern party is complete without Deviled Eggs? Serve them as an appetizer or right along side the meal.
- Garlic Bread: Always great along side some crawfish.
- Okra: Fried, or even Grilled Okra, will be a great extra side dish.
How To Store Leftovers
Here’s the deal – a crawfish boil is meant to be enjoyed right away! You can store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for about 2 days, but it won’t be quite as delicious as when it was first served.
Be careful when reheating your crawfish, if heated too much, they will turn chewy quickly, just like shrimp.
- 1 lb red potatoes, cut into chunks
- 3 ears fresh corn, husks removed, cut into 3 inch pieces
- 2 stalks of celery, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 lemon, cut in half and the other half juiced
- 1 whole head garlic, each clove peeled
- ½ white onion, peeled and cut in half lengthwise (so the onion stays connected to the stem)
- ½ green bell pepper, deseeded and cut into 1-inch pieces, optional
- 3 tablespoons Louisiana crawfish shrimp and crab boil
- 1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning
- 2 to 3 teaspoons salt, add more according to your taste
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 pounds uncooked crawfish
- 1 14-oz package smoked sausage, cut into 1-inch pieces
- Lemon wedges, for serving
- Add the potatoes, corn, celery, bay leaves, lemon juice, lemon halves, garlic, onion, green bell pepper, Louisiana boil powder, Cajun seasoning, 2 teaspoons of the salt, pepper, and about 8 cups of water to a large pot, or a dutch oven that has a lid.
- Place the pot, on the stove, over high heat. Bring it to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer, cover pot with the lid. Let it simmer for 20 minutes, or until the corn and potatoes become tender.
- Taste the broth and add more salt and/or seasoning, if needed.
- Then add the crawfish and sausage and stir to combine. Bring it back up to a simmer and cook for another 5 minutes with the lid on. Turn the heat off, with the lid, and let everything soak for 10 minutes. (The longer you let the crawfish soak in the broth, the spicier they will get.)
- Drain broth and serve immediately with lemon wedges.