Old Bay Seafood Boil


This seafood boil recipe with Old Bay is the absolute best way to enjoy seafood. The lemon, thyme, and seasoning really make the boil. The potatoes, corn, and sausage are mouthwatering for anyone who is not a big seafood lover. Enjoy in the summertime or pull this recipe out on Christmas and take time to relax with the family. Serve with fresh lemons, Bloody Marys, cold beer, crusty bread, and plenty of napkins.

Overhead angle, looking at a baking sheet of Old Bay seafood boil.
Prep Time:
30 mins
Cook Time:
1 hr
Total Time:
1 hr 30 mins


  • 4 lemons, halved

  • 2 medium sweet onions (such as Vidalia®), quartered

  • 4 serrano chiles, split in 1/2 lengthwise and seeds and membranes removed

  • 2 heads garlic, peeled and halved

  • 2 bunches fresh thyme, tied with string

  • 1 ⅔ cups seafood seasoning (such as Old Bay®), or more to taste

  • 6 teaspoons kosher salt, or more to taste

  • 6 bay leaves

  • 3 pounds medium red potatoes, cut in 1/2

  • 5 (13 ounce) packages smoked kielbasa sausage, cut into 2-inch pieces

  • 6 ears sweet corn, halved

  • 30 littleneck clams, scrubbed

  • 4 pounds jumbo shrimp, deveined, tail on

  • 2 ½ pounds Alaskan king crab legs


  1. Fill a very large stockpot fitted with a basket insert with about 8 quarts of water, or about halfway full. Squeeze lemons into the water, tossing the halves in too. Add onions, chiles, garlic, thyme, seafood seasoning, kosher salt, and bay leaves; bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.

    Onions, lemons, chiles, garlic, thyme, seafood seasoning, bay leaves, and kosher salt coming to a simmer.

    Dotdash Meredith Food Studios

  2. Stir potatoes into the pot and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes.

    Potatoes added to pot, simmering for 20 minutes.

    Dotdash Meredith Food Studios

  3. Next, add sausage and corn; cook another 5 minutes, making sure everything stays covered with the liquid.

    Sausage and corn added to pot.

    Dotdash Meredith Food Studios

  4. Add clams and boil until they open, about 8 minutes. Toss in shrimp and shut off the heat. Cover the pot and let shrimp steep in the flavor for 10 minutes, adding crab in the last 5 minutes (press them into the liquid).

    Clams added, boiling until they open.

    Dotdash Meredith Food Studios

    Shrimp added then crab added for the last 5-minutes.

    Dotdash Meredith Food Studios

  5. Drain and spread crab, shrimp, sausage, clams, corn, potatoes, and onions out on a newspaper-covered table or on three large serving trays. Sprinkle with a dusting of Old Bay or provide for individual use.

    Looking down at a baking sheet of Old Bay seafood boil.

    Dotdash Meredith Food Studios


You need a very large pot for this. I use a turkey fryer. You can also divide into 2 stockpots (or cut the recipe in half). The water level will rise when you add the ingredients so keep this in mind as you fill. I fill mine about halfway.

You should be able to smell the broth with plenty of salt and spice, taste, and add Old Bay and kosher salt accordingly. You want the broth to be strong so some of the flavor can penetrate and get absorbed by the potatoes and sausage.

A lot of people will want to skimp out on the littleneck clams, but trust me, don't, as they add a lot of flavor and have a very pleasant taste. Buy them the day you plan to use them and keep them in a bowl of ice, open, so that they don't die (don't allow the grocery store clerk to seal the bag).

I also keep some of the boiling liquid on the side as it is great to pour over the shrimp as you eat.

Editor's Note:

Nutrition data for this recipe includes the full amount of simmering liquid. The actual amount of simmering liquid consumed will vary.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

738 Calories
43g Fat
35g Carbs
53g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 14
Calories 738
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 43g 55%
Saturated Fat 19g 97%
Cholesterol 324mg 108%
Sodium 5130mg 223%
Total Carbohydrate 35g 13%
Dietary Fiber 5g 19%
Total Sugars 5g
Protein 53g
Vitamin C 55mg 274%
Calcium 139mg 11%
Iron 12mg 67%
Potassium 1097mg 23%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.

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