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Crawfish Boil Recipe

Learn how to prepare, cook and serve an authentic Cajun crawfish

Crawfish Boil Recipe
Crawfish Boil Recipe
Print Recipe

A crawfish boil recipe can be easily found on the internet, but this crawfish boil is a notch above all the others.

An authentic Cajun crawfish boil will delight all - start the tradition this summer, and everyone will be talking about it and planning for next year's treat. Honest. Also works well when you use a big pot for the boil and put it on the fire when you are camping.

Crawfish season is from late February to mid-May.

Tip #1 - Purge the mud dogs! They are called that for a reason.

Depending on how many pounds you purchased, you need to put them in water (do NOT use salt). If they fit in a 5- or 10-gallon bucket, that's great - do it in that. Hose them down good if they look clean.

If not, every 2 minutes or so, empty the bucket and add more clean water, stir and empty until it is clean. Do NOT leave them in water or they will die. Crawfish need air to live. Place them in in a cool place (like your garage or in the shade) until you are ready for them.

If they are full of mud (buy from reputable dealer), put them in a small kid’s plastic pool fill or large pail and use just enough water to cover them. Stir them around. If they are in a pool, it will not take long for them to purge. Take them out immediately.

If you have any floaters, please discard. You do NOT want dead crawfish in your boil.

Tip #2 - How much live crawfish do you need?

If you are true Cajun dwellers and love crawfish, expect to order 5 to 6 pounds per person. First time trying it out? I would order 2 to 3 pounds per person. Anything in between? Go with 4 pounds per person.

When you place your order, have them come either the day before the boil or on the day of the boil so they don't die.

Tip #3 - I just received the crawfish, now what do I do?


You must keep them alive. First, hose them down in the bag with fresh water when you receive them. If you have a cooler or tub, just place them in that with a bag of ice and keep them in your garage.

Keep them in the bag they came in. Remember, they need air to live, so don't close the lid on the cooler. Drain your cooler or tub often, because if the crawfish sit in that water they will perish.

Tip #4 - What do I cook them in?

Do you have a turkey fryer with a basket insert and a lid? This works very well. If you are cooking for a crowd, have others bring their fryers or you need to purchase (at a minimum), a 60 to 80 gallon stainless steel pot, again with a basket insert and a lid. You will need a paddle or something to stir the pot with.

Tip #5 - How to serve them?

If you do not read the newspaper, today is the day you just may start. Have enough newspaper to cover a picnic table several times easily. One layer of newspaper will not do it. Paper towels would be handy and you will need salt and pepper shakers.

To give you an idea, this 120 quart pot holds 1 bag (36 lbs) of crawfish, plus the vegetables, etc.

Crawfish Boil Recipe

The Basics:

  • whole garlic heads, top and bottoms cut off
  • many large lemons, halved
  • large onions, quartered
  • 1/2 to 1 cup powdered celery
  • smoked sausage (or Andouille sausage)
  • potatoes, unpeeled*
  • sweet corn, broke in half
  • 40 lbs crawfish (see above for amounts)
  • butter (for corn and potatoes)
  • 73 oz crawfish boil seasoning (good for 6 gallons of water or refer to label directions)
  • 1 TBS liquid shrimp and crab boil seasoning
  • mesh bags that produce come in for vegetables, optional
  • 26 oz salt
  • ice cold beer (to cool down the cook; a must)

*You want to purchase the smaller variety like red or new potatoes or my favorite Yukon gold. If you are using frozen corn, it will cool down the pot unless you defrost first.

The amounts certainly depend on how many you are feeding, but the recipe is standard for a large pot.

Optional Additions:

  • orange, juiced
  • mushrooms
  • green beans
  • hot dogs (for the kids)
  • shrimp
  • bay leaves
  • raw peanuts (a fun Southern tradition to start)


Fill a very large pot a little over half full of water. Add the garlic heads, lemons, (orange, celery, bay leaves, and artichokes if using), crawfish boil seasoning and liquid shrimp and crab boil seasoning. Bring to a boil (will take at least 15-30 minutes) and cook for 10 minutes.

Add the onions, potatoes, corn (any other vegetables you are using), in a mesh bag (if using) and gently place in the pot. Add the sausage and bring to a low rolling boil and cook for 10 minutes or until potatoes are tender.

Bring back to a boil and add the crawfish (and shrimp if using). Bring back to a rolling boil and cook for 7-8 minutes.

Note: Frozen crawfish does work, just thaw them out before cooking. If you want, you may use one turkey fryer for the crawfish and shrimp and another for the rest of the ingredients.

For more crawfish recipes, visit

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