Boiled Crawfish with Potatoes and Corn

Boiled crawfish makes excellent party food. It’s great to serve this outdoors on a picnic table, with a spray hose at the ready so your guests can wash their hands. Use a giant pot and more crawfish for more guests. You can use this same recipe for a crab, lobster, or shrimp boil. Use 3 – 4 pounds large shrimp; for crab or lobster, estimate 4 servings based on shellfish’s size.

Feeds about 4, more if they’re neophytes or drinking a lot of beer.

1 package of your favorite brand of crawfish or crab boil (found in seasoning or seafood aisle)
1 large lemon, halved
4 bay leaves
1 head garlic, separated into cloves
1 onion, quartered.

10 pounds purged live crawfish (your grocer or source should be able to tell you whether the crawfish have been purged or not, if not see NOTES, below, about purging)
2 pounds small red potatoes
4 or more ears of fresh corn, shucked and broken in half
Old Bay or Tony Chachere’s seasoning


Fill a large stockpot (see note, below) a little more than halfway with water. Bring to a boil.

You’ll probably want your stockpot to be at least 8 gallons, or big enough to hold ingredients and still have about 1/3 – 1/4 of the pot’s height in extra headroom. If you’re uncertain, toss in the live crawfish, unshucked corn and potatoes to eyeball it. If your pot is too small to hold your vegetables and crawfish, don’t freak out. You can always cook the vegetables an additional 5 minutes or so, then remove them from the pot and keep them covered with foil or a big bowl while you cook the crawfish.

Add crawfish boil, lemon (press lemon halves over water before adding), bay leaves, garlic, and onion quarters. Wait about a minute.

Add potatoes. Let cook about 10 minutes. While the corn is boiling, cover your table (preferably outdoors) with thick layers of newspaper.

Add corn. Let cook about 5 minutes.

Add crawfish. Boil 4 minutes (use a timer). Remove from heat and let soak an additional 3 minutes. Soaking longer will overcook them.

Dump in a few cups of ice to cool the water. Drain the pot, using the lid, and keeping a strainer basket underneath to catch anything that slips out.

Spill the contents of the whole drained pot onto the center of your newspaper-covered table. Eat with your hands, and serve with shakers of Old Bay or Tony Chachere’s for extra seasoning. For instructions on peeling crawfish, see our step-by-step how-to guide.


Purged crawfish are held in a irrigated container for a period to flush out any impurities in their systems, shells, and the water. If your crawfish haven’t been purged, you’ll want to rinse them in a metal washtub in enough changes of water for it to run reasonably clear. Then add more water to cover the crawfish, then add about 2 ounces of salt. Stir for 3 minutes, then rinse crawfish.

If you cannot find crawfish locally try these online sources

Louisiana Crawfish Company

Louisiana Foods

Crawfish Guys

Frugè’s Cajun Crawfish Company

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