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This Cajun Seafood Boil with Garlic Butter Sauce is a flavorful feast of shrimp, crab, lobster tails, mussels, clams, sausage, and potatoes. Best part, it’s prepared in under an hour! This easy seafood boil recipe is the perfect meal for entertaining guests.
If you’d like to try more Cajun recipes, then check out my Cajun Shrimp Tacos with Garlic Lime Ranch and my Cajun Chicken and Rice.
Now that summer is in full swing, fourth of July is just around the corner! Nothing says ‘summer’ to me like burying my bare hands into a classic cajun seafood boil. It’s the perfect outdoor meal to entertain with, a delicious meal made with plenty of love and a dash of hot sauce.
It’s also a great option for the holidays and so much fun to indulge in a New Orleans style approach to family gatherings!
Different from a typical crawfish boil, we’re using fresh shellfish and creole seasoning with lemon halves and yellow onion in the pot for great flavor. A mix of a few pounds of seafood and traditional ingredients and you have a crab boil full of cajun flavors.
Don’t forget the delicious cajun sauce! It’s an easy yet amazing garlic butter seafood boil sauce that you need to drown absolutely everything in.
Ingredients for Cajun Seafood Boil
- Beer: This may come as a surprise but beer actually enhances the flavor of the broth. Use your favorite kind.
- Water: To mix with the other liquids.
- Bay leaves
- Seasoning: I used a combination of Old Bay, smoked paprika, Cayenne pepper, black pepper, salt, and dried thyme.
- Garlic cloves: This recipe calls for lots of fresh garlic so make sure you have plenty!
- Red potatoes: If you don’t have access to red potatoes, Yukon potatoes are comparable.
- Andouille sausage: This is the best sausage for a seafood boil but if you prefer something milder, use kielbasa.
- Sweet Corn: Use whatever variety of corn you’d like as long as it’s fresh. Cutting the corn into thirds will ensure they cook faster.
- Jumbo shrimp: Use the biggest shrimp you can find. Now is not the time to skimp! You can use peeled or shell-on shrimp, depending on your preference.
- Snow crab clusters: these are the bodies broken into pieces with legs attached, but you can just find the snow crab legs on their own at your local fish monger! IF you can’t find snow crab, try king crab legs or even dungeness crab legs!
- Lobster tails
- Clams: Before serving, discard any clams that didn’t open up.
Garlic Butter Sauce
This rich buttery sauce perfectly complements the fresh seafood.
- Butter: The base of this sauce. You can use salted or unsalted.
- Garlic cloves: I told you we’d be using a lot!
- Cajun seasoning: Be generous with this essential seasoning!
- Old bay seasoning: This is added for flavor and color.
- Sugar: The hint of sweetness will balance out the other flavors.
- Salt: Just enough to taste.
- Reserved broth: If you want a thicker sauce, use less of this. If you want a thinner sauce, use a bit more.
- Fresh parsley
How do you cook a Seafood Boil?
After reading the list of ingredients, you’d think the cooking process would take forever. However, you really just throw everything into a pot, little by little. An hour later, you’ll have a heap of seafood sprawled on a table in front of you.
Make the Broth
Firstly, add beer, and water to a large stockpot. Bring it to a boil and then add bay leaves, Old Bay seasoning, smoked paprika, cayenne pepper, black pepper, thyme, salt, lemons, garlic, and onions. Stir together and boil for 5 minutes in order to allow flavors to come together.
Add Potatoes, Sausage, and Seafood
Add halved red potatoes and sweet corn to the pot and allow them to cook until the potatoes are tender but not mushy (about 15 minutes). Then add sausages, lobster tails, crab legs, mussels, and clams. Cover the pot with a lid and reduce the heat to medium-low. Allow everything to boil together for 15 minutes. Stir together, save 2 cups of the broth, then drain.
Roll out newspaper or a large serving tray and finally, place the seafood on top.
Prepare the Garlic Butter Sauce
Melt butter over medium-low heat, then add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Then add cajun seasoning, old bay seasoning, onion powder, sugar, and salt. Add 1 cup of the reserved broth and simmer on low for 3-5 minutes, until sauce thickens. (If you want a thinner sauce, then add 2 cups instead.) Add a little bit of lemon juice and hot sauce if you like a little heat!
Tips for making a Seafood Boil
- Be sure not to overcook your shrimp. You’ll know when the shrimp is finished when it turns pink and curls a bit. If it appears your shrimp is cooking faster than everything else, take them out of the pot.
- Customize this recipe to your liking! If you have a seafood that you’d like to add, throw it in the pot for the seafood boil. Just be mindful of cooking times so that you don’t overcook any of the ingredients.
- Try to use as many fresh ingredients as possible! Fresh
- I would not recommend making this dish ahead of time, it tastes best from out of the pot.
- If you can’t find cajun seasoning, try this homemade cajun seasoning recipe.
What goes with Cajun Seafood Boil?
You can definitely enjoy the seafood boil without any additions but here are some ideas for sides:
- A crusty bread like this Homemade Cheesy Garlic Bread
- A simple green salad
- Veggies like asparagus or broccoli
- Mashed potatoes or smashed potatoes
- Potato Salad
Store any leftovers in an airtight container for up to 3 days but avoid the microwave. When you are ready to reheat, simply add some water to a pot with the leftover seafood boil. Cook it over low heat until it is evenly warmed.
The garlic butter sauce can be stored and frozen for up to 2 months. Simply scoop and microwave when you want to use it.
More Seafood Recipes!
- Creamy Salmon Pasta
- Salmon New Orleans
- Crispy Shrimp Po’Boy with Old Bay Sauc
- Old Bay Lobster Mac and Cheese
- Pesto Shrimp Pasta with Sun-Dried Tomatoes