Garlic Butter Shrimp Boil Recipe - Skillful Cook
Our recipes, your inbox. Sign up

Garlic Butter Shrimp Boil

10 reviews / 5 average

Can you handle this Garlic Butter Shrimp Boil? We're talking butter-drizzled juicy shrimp, steamy corn and potatoes, and luscious little side dishes of garlic butter for extra dunking. YUM!

SOS Series banner

Hello! Here is what I think we should do:

Boil shrimp, summer sweet corn, baby red potatoes, and kielbasa sausage in a big pot.

Drain it all out and pour onto a table, platter, or big roasting pan.

And now drizzle, dunk, and double dunk them all in butter infused with garlic and thyme.

Thank you and goodnight!

This recipe could not be easier. You can make it more elaborate if you want! Because a shrimp boil is a thing of beauty and shows so much variety and character depending on how you do it and please, by all means, take this as your idea springboard and go do something creative or impressive or regionally specific. We will love you for it.

But if you're looking for less of a full-blown elaborate meal and more of a quick-and-fun dinner solution, and/or you live in a non-coastal state such as... Minnesota (lol), this can still work! This can work beautifully.

Ingredients for a shrimp boil laid out on a table. There is a purple bubble over each ingredient with the ingredient name in the purple bubble.

SOS Ingredients, Anyone?

Here's what we're looking at for ingredients:

  • shrimp
  • potatoes
  • kielbasa
  • corn
  • spices (Old Bay, anyone? Cajun spice mix will also do)
  • lemon
  • butter

Throw some garlic from the pantry into your butter bath, and maybe a few sprigs of thyme, and you are looking at a REALLY DELICIOUS weeknight dinner that feels fun, saucy, and deliciously outside of the box.

Normally I'm just serving this to myself, my husband, and my toddler, and maybe a friend who happened to stop by, but even with my humble little homegrown crowd, it never fails to put stars in people's eyes when you bring this out to the table and set it down with extra-dramatic flair.

The butter-drizzled juicy shrimp, steamy corn and potatoes, and the luscious little side dishes of garlic butter for extra dunking is a hungry food-lover's delight.

Corn, shrimp, onions, and kielbasa sausage on a platter for a shrimp boil.

The Idea Behind This Shrimp Boil

The idea of a shrimp boil came into my life when I was at a cabin this summer and my sister, who has 4 young kidlets (bless her), made dinner for my entire family of 18+ people without even breaking a sweat. What did she make? A SHRIMP BOIL.

She told me that she makes it all the time at home because it's super easy (boil everything and drizzle with butter) and her whole family loves it.

And at that point I was like, why haven't I been doing this for my whole life.

I promptly went home and bought some Cajun seasoning and a container of Old Bay and got to work infusing my melted butter with thinly sliced garlic and a few sprigs of thyme. Why oh why oh why is it so good?

A shrimp boil on a sheet pan with garlic infused butter. A white hand is sprinkling Old Bay seasoning on top.

Watch Lindsay Make This Recipe on Stories!

Source notes: According to Lobstergram, “while there’s no exact date of origin that we know of to place when seafood boils started, it’s safe to say that with the arrival of Cajun people from Maritime regions of Canada in the 1700’s, one of the culinary traditions they brought with them was the seafood boil.” This recipe may be closest to a South Carolina Frogmore Stew. Seafood boils are generally a Coastal food experience, but I'm bringing the coast to Minnesota today! 🙂 The type of seafood, the sides, and the style of preparation are dependent on the region, but in general, the concept of a shrimp or seafood boil is a communal event similar to a barbecue or a potluck. My sister initially gave me the idea for this recipe as a way to make a quick and easy dinner for a large group, as she does for her family, and then I watched this video from Joshua Weissman more about the variations and super foodie details that can go into a shrimp boil, which inspired me to add a few extras to her basic version. And where we ended is somewhere between the two - a delicious, low-key, memorable, keep-coming-back-for-more shrimp boil that tastes best when shared with family and friends.

clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon

Garlic Butter Shrimp Boil

  • Author: Lindsay
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 4-6 servings 1x


Can you handle this Garlic Butter Shrimp Boil? We're talking butter-drizzled juicy shrimp, steamy corn and potatoes, and luscious little side dishes of garlic butter for extra dunking. YUM!


Units Scale

Shrimp Boil

  • 1 pound small potatoes (for the best flavor I recommend cutting in half or quarters so the insides of the potato can absorb the sauce)
  • 2-4 ears of corn, cut into small pieces
  • 1 pound kielbasa sausage, sliced
  • 1 pound shrimp
  • and any random things you have on hand that can make a very low key broth: onion, garlic, lemon, Cajun seasoning, salt


  • 2 sticks of salted butter (you don't have to use it all! my motto for garlic butter sauce is better too much than not enough)
  • 5-6 large cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • thyme sprigs (optional)
  • lemon wedges
  • Old Bay or Cajun-style seasoning


  1. Butter Sauce: Melt your butter in a saucepan over medium low heat. Add the garlic and just let it hang out over gentle, low heat to infuse all the garlic flavor into the butter and soften the little pieces of garlic. Add a few thyme sprigs if you want to be extra. Keep an eye on it so you don't brown it or burn it. It will smell... how do I say this? AMAZING.
  2. Start Your Water / Broth: Fill a large (like, large) pot with water to about half capacity. Bring the water to boil over medium high heat. If you want, add some things to make a broth: chunks of onion, garlic, lemon, salt, seasonings. Add a couple big pinches of salt. This is very low pressure and meant to be loose! Plain salted water will also work just fine.
  3. Boil Potatoes and Corn: Add potatoes and corn to the water. Boil for 5-8 minutes until tender-crisp.
  4. Boil Kielbasa and Shrimp: Add kielbasa and shrimp to the water. Boil for another 4-5 minutes until the shrimp is cooked through.
  5. Serve: Drain and transfer to a big roasting pan, serving dish, OR directly to your table lined with newspaper for the real deal experience. Squeeze lemon juice over the top, sprinkle with seasonings to taste, and drizzle with the butter sauce. Also: serve with little dishes of garlic butter sauce for dunking. Be prepared to fall in love.
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Boil
  • Cuisine: Cajun

Keywords: shrimp boil, cajun shrimp, shrimp recipe

One More Thing!

This recipe is part of our collection of incredible corn recipes. Check it out!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe rating 5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star


  1. Skillful Cook Logo

    I grew up in the Lowcountry of South Carolina, where we call this “Frogmore Stew”. after the tiny town known as Frogmore in Beaufort county on the island of St. Helena. It is much loved at oyster roasts in fall because it can feed four, or be expanded to feed a large crowd. We us the “boil bag” while cooking (just be careful not to let it get torn open! All those spices pack a punch if released unrestrained into the pot!). We usually serve it dumped out of the pot onto a table covered in several layers of newspaper with melted butter, cocktail sauce, and extra lemon slices. Your idea for garlic and thyme butter sounds amazing! I can’t wait to try it out this fall! Thanks!

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      Thank you so much for sharing a bit of history behind Frogmore Stew! We really appreciate it! Would love to hear what you think of the garlic thyme butter if you give this recipe a try!

      1. Skillful Cook Logo

        I want the recipe of butter and garlic with thyme and rosemary it is a kind of sauce without the spices of the Keys

  2. Skillful Cook Logo

    YUM Lindsey! Louisiana girl here. Down south, we boil pounds & pounds of live seafood in season outdoors in huge pots. Thanks for a great recipe for a quick & easy stove top boil! Instead of seasoning after boiling, try a liquid or dry seafood seasoning + your salt, etc. Zatarain’s Crawfish, Shrimp & Crab Boil is a good one to try. You’ll want to boil everything as per package instructions & let everything soak to pick up the seasonings. Available on Amazon if not available in your local grocery. Small red potatoes hold up best. Also throw your garlic cloves in the boil too – yum!

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      That’s what I use, too, Jan! My ex is from LA and I throw cajun seasoning in while it’s boiling. Soooo good!!

  3. Skillful Cook Logo

    I would like to quit my job, like the school teacher. And just teach people talk about cooking cuz I love to cook grill bake broil fried I’m excellent at everything

  4. Skillful Cook Logo

    I made this tonight and it was a huge hit with my whole family! It was so easy to prepare and a great summertime family dinner. I served it with a loaf of crusty bread. Your recipes are always delicious!

  5. Skillful Cook Logo

    Holy moly. How delicious. So easy, these sos meals really just hit so good. The whole family enjoyed the heck out of it. My oldest boy – who is my pickiest- didn’t even touch his roll, which sometimes is the only thing he eats. So yummy. Thanks for the great recipe

  6. Skillful Cook Logo

    Boiled this up tonight used honey garlic sausage and spinach feta sausage ( Costco) huge hit with those from 2 – 68! Even the pescatarian was happy, for him I cooked the sausages at the end. It was a rainy night so we ate inside but this would be an excellent meal for a patio dinner. We debated the merits of perhaps grilling everything instead of boiling ( we’re Canadian and boiled anything with the exception of eggs, lobster and potatoes is not in our wheel house) and decided that parboiling the corn and potatoes and finishing them on the grill would speed things up for a large crowd, the shrimp and sausage don’t take any time. As usual per POY it’s a keeper!!