New Orleans Shrimp Boil

Aya Brackett

You can just use water as the cooking liquid for this classic (and super easy) shrimp boil, but throwing in a can of your favorite beer makes it even better. Just make sure it’s nothing too dark or heavy.

Makes: 4 servings
Time: 30 minutes


  • One 12-ounce bottle beer, or 1 1/2 cups water

  • 1 1/2 pounds waxy potatoes, cut into 2-inch chunks

  • 1 large onion, cut into chunks

  • 1 head garlic, halved horizontally

  • 4 bay leaves

  • 2 tablespoons black peppercorns

  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne

  • Salt

  • 1 1/2 pounds whole large shrimp (frozen are fine), peeled if you like

  • 4 ears corn, husked and broken in half

  • Tabasco sauce or other hot sauce

  • Lemon wedges


1. Put the beer (or 1 1/2 cups water) in a large pot with 8 cups water. Add the potatoes, onion, garlic, bay leaves, peppercorns, cayenne, and a couple big pinches of salt and bring to a boil. Adjust the heat so the liquid bubbles steadily and cook, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes are tender around the outsides but not quite done at the centers, 10 to 15 minutes.

2. Add the shrimp and corn and return the liquid to a boil. Immediately turn off the heat, cover, and let the pot sit until the shrimp are pink and opaque and the potatoes are fork-tender, just a minute or 2. Drain through a strainer set over a large bowl, reserving at least half the cooking liquid for serving (preferably in a pitcher or gravy boat).

3. Taste the shrimp and vegetables, and sprinkle with more salt if you like. Serve right away, passing the hot sauce, lemon wedges, and cooking liquid at the table.

Recipe from Dinner for Everyone