Outer Banks Seafood Boil Recipe

Do you love the delicious seafood our region is famous for, but find it too costly to dine out, especially with a large group? Well, you’re in for a treat! Try our Outer Banks Seafood Boil Recipe!

Making this seafood boil at home, or your weekly vacation rental is an enjoyable, cost-effective, and surprisingly easy alternative to restaurant meals.

Enjoy a mouthwatering medley of local seafood favorites right from the comfort of your own dining table.

The best part?

You only need a few supplies to whip up this festive feast. So, why not bring the seaside dining experience to your doorstep?

Let’s dive into how you can prepare this flavorful and fun-filled meal!

how to make a seafood boil

Outer Banks Seafood Boil Recipe

Serving Size:
30 minutes


  • 2 lbs raw shrimp, preferably shell-on
  • 2 lbs firm white fish like cod, cut into 2-inch chunks
  • 2 lbs small potatoes, quartered
  • 6 ears of corn, halved
  • 2 lbs smoked sausage, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 lemons, halved
  • 2 onions, quartered
  • 6 cloves of garlic, smashed
  • 2-3 bay leaves
  • 1/2 cup Old Bay seasoning, plus more for serving
  • Fresh parsley, chopped for garnish
  • Melted butter, for serving
  • Hot sauce, for serving

How to make seafood boil

  1. Fill a large pot about halfway with water and bring it to a boil.
  2. Once boiling, add in the lemons, onions, garlic, bay leaves, and Old Bay seasoning. Let it simmer for about 10 minutes to allow the flavors to meld together.
  3. Next, add the potatoes to the pot and cook for about 10 minutes until they’re just starting to become tender.
  4. Add the smoked sausage and cook for an additional 5 minutes.
  5. Now, it’s time for the corn. Add the corn to the pot and cook for another 5-7 minutes.
  6. Add the fish pieces to the pot and cook for about 2-3 minutes until it starts to turn opaque.
  7. Finally, add the shrimp to the pot and cook for 2-3 minutes more, or until the shrimp are pink and cooked through.
  8. Use a slotted spoon to remove everything from the pot to a large serving platter. Discard the bay leaves. Sprinkle the seafood boil with some extra Old Bay seasoning and fresh parsley.
  9. Serve your seafood boil with sides of melted butter and hot sauce for dipping, and a fresh loaf of crusty bread to sop up the flavorful broth.

Seafood Boil Preparation Notes

Follow the cooking order

Fish and shrimp take the least amount of time to cook. Adding them too early can make them mushy.


While Old Bay is the default seasoning for most seafood recipes, I also like to use J.O. Spice or Cajun Two Step.


Make sure you have a large serving tray on hand before starting your boil. You can also strain your boil and dump it on a table covered in brown craft paper.


Can I substitute different types of seafood in this recipe?

Absolutely! This recipe is versatile, allowing you to substitute with crab, lobster, mussels, or clams. Just adjust the cooking times accordingly to ensure everything is properly cooked.

What can I do if I don’t have Old Bay seasoning?

Old Bay is a distinctive blend of herbs and spices, but if it’s not available, you can make a simple substitute using a mix of celery salt, paprika, black pepper, and cayenne pepper. The flavor will be slightly different but still delicious.

Can I make the seafood boil in advance?

Ideally, seafood should be served immediately after cooking for the best taste and texture. However, you can prep all the ingredients in advance and just cook everything when you’re ready to eat.

How can I adjust this recipe to serve more people?

You can easily double or triple this recipe depending on the size of your pot. Just be sure to add ingredients in stages to ensure everything cooks properly

What’s the best way to serve this seafood boil?

The traditional way to serve a seafood boil is to spread it out on a newspaper-lined table and let everyone dig in. Remember to provide plenty of napkins and small dishes for the melted butter and hot sauce.

What sides go well with this seafood boil?

A simple green salad, coleslaw, or some crusty bread would complement the seafood boil nicely. Don’t forget to serve some lemon wedges for squeezing over the seafood.

Can I use frozen seafood in this recipe?

Yes, you can. Thaw the seafood in the refrigerator overnight, then drain well before adding it to the pot. However, fresh seafood will always give the best flavor.

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