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Posted by on Feb 24, 2013 in Cajun, Entree, Featured, Seafood | 109 comments

Perfect Crawfish Boil Recipe

Perfect Crawfish Boil Recipe

**UPDATE**  At the time this post went live I had an Amazon shop where I suggested readers go to purchase equipment such as a pot or burner for their boil.  I have taken it down since then.   However, I’ve recently been introduced to a company called that allows you to not only buy any equipment you’d need but also you can buy crawfish online and have them shipped straight to your door.  They even come cleaned and purged which, as you may already know is a major step in doing a crawfish boil.  I reviewed their crawfish here and absolutely loved them so check them out if doing a boil.  Their rates are great as well.


You may or may not know this but my husband is a Cajun.  He was born and raised in New Orleans and all his family lives there.  I find myself in New Orleans at least once a month so you could say that I’m kind of a Cajun by default.  I love Cajun food and make it for my family as often as possible.  We also have as many crawfish boils as we can so I wanted to share what we have found to be the perfect crawfish boil recipe.

Did you know crawfish has a season?  They start becoming available sometime during the month of January (although they are pretty small early on) and run through the end of May and sometimes into June.  At the end of the season they’re normally really large and begin to get hard.  The ideal period I would say is mid-February through the end of April.


Sometimes we invite friends and family over to eat and sometimes when we do a crawfish boil we just eat them ourselves.  We love crawfish!  When it’s not crawfish season I buy the frozen tails and make Crawfish Étouffée or these Crawfish Stuffed Poblano Peppers.

This time we had people over and bought two sacks of live crawfish.  A sack normally comes in a range of anywhere from 27-35 lbs.  The two sacks we bought came to a total of 64 lbs and when we were finished, none were left!  The weather wasn’t so good.  It was cloudy and a little cool but we had a blast.

two sacks of crawfish

We’ve never actually written down the recipe so I decided I would this time and share it with you!  It’s really simple.  You just need a big pot and boiler.  I bought ours online for my husband’s birthday many years ago.  I know you can get the burner at Loews or Home Depot and I’m guessing possibly the pot as well or you could order one from my Amazon shop here.  It’s up to you.  I do get a very small percentage of the any sales but mostly I like having a place where you can buy what you need when you see it used.  The pots and burners are also sold locally especially around the holidays for deep frying turkeys.  If you’re a crawfish fan, go ahead and get one…you won’t be sorry.  They do make a perfect birthday or early Father’s day gift!  Some of the best get-togethers we’ve had have been around a big boiling pot of crawfish.  And when it’s not crawfish season you could always have a shrimp boil!

crawfish pot

First you’ll take the sacks of crawfish and empty them into a big cooler or tub and rinse them several times.  Fill the container with fresh water, let them sit a few minutes while gently stirring them and then drain.

live crawfish

You’ll want to repeat this process until the water runs clear.  Don’t leave them submerged in water too long.  They will drown if they can’t get air.

purging crawfish

As you’re doing this you’ll want to keep an eye out for dead crawfish.  They may not be moving and may still be alive but if their tail is straight and they won’t move you can probably assume they’re dead.  Go ahead and pull these out and discard.  It’s normal to have about 10% die so don’t be alarmed.

crawfish ready to cook

Once the crawfish are ready get your pot ready.  Fill it so that it’s about 60% of the way full.  You’ll add your seasonings, onions, bay leaf, lemons and garlic and bring it to a boil.

crawfish boil ingredients

You’ll start to add the ingredients in order of cooking time.  For example, the potatoes need the longest amount of time to cook so you’ll add those first and let them boil for about 5-7 minutes.  I’d then add the sausage and celery and then the mushrooms and then the crawfish.  When you add the crawfish the water temperature will be reduced.  Wait for it to come back to a boil again and turn off the flame.

crawfish boil pot

Now they soak.  The longer they soak the more flavor and spiciness they’ll have.  Just start tasting.  We normally let them soak about 20-30 minutes but it all depends on you and your guests.  My husband tastes them about every 5 minutes and pulls them out when they taste the way he wants them to.

We have long tables set up in the yard or driveway and we cover them in newspaper normally.  I didn’t have any this time so we got some cheap plastic table cloths.  Just dump the crawfish on the table and dig in!


When you’re done, just roll the newspaper or table cloth up and dump it in the trash.  What could be simpler?

Here are a few photos that show just what goes in a good boil.

Loads of seasonings!

seasonings for crawfish boil


Lots of fresh veggies.



And more veggies…

more boil veggies


You’ll want to wash them and cut them up before you start the water.

prepped veggies

A Few Things…

  • Never eat a crawfish that was dead when it hit the water.  You’ll know when they’re cooked and the tail is straight.  Never eat a crawfish with a straight tail.
  • Some people believe that purging the crawfish with salt removes more of the gritty sand vein.  I don’t think it makes a difference but if you want to do that just dump a box of salt on them during the rinsing stage and let it sit about 5 minutes before rinsing thoroughly.
  • If cooking one sack just roughly half the recipe.
  • We use a large, 120 quart stock pot for this recipe.  A larger pot could be used but not smaller.

Perfect Crawfish Boil Recipe

Perfect Crawfish Boil Recipe


  • 12, 3 ounce bags Zatarain's Crawfish, Shrimp and Crab Boil
  • 5, 8 ounce bottles liquid Zatarain's Concentrated Shrimp and Crab Boil
  • 1, 4 lb jar powdered Zatarain's Crawfish, Shrimp and Crab Boil
  • 18 ounces table salt (we use about 3/4 of a large Morton's salt container)
  • 3, .12 ounce bottles bay leaves
  • 1, 1.75 ounce bottle cayenne pepper
  • 7 large onions quartered
  • 12 lemons
  • 6 heads of garlic cut in half horizontally
  • 2 large bags of celery with leaves cut into thirds
  • 5 pounds smoked sausage
  • 9 lbs small red potatoes (left in the mesh bag if possible)
  • 6, 8 ounce boxes of fresh mushrooms
  • 2 sacks of live crawfish (60-65 lbs)
  • Desired amount of frozen corn on the cob (usually 2 pieces per person)


  1. Prep veggies:
  2. Wash celery and cut into thirds.
  3. Rinse potatoes and mushrooms.
  4. Cut sausage into bite size pieces.
  5. Cut garlic and lemons in half horizontally.
  6. Quarter onions.
  7. Rinse crawfish several times until the water runs clear.
  8. Fill 120 quart stock pot about 60% of the way with cold, fresh water and turn on burner full blast.
  9. Add all Zatarain's products, salt, cayenne and bay leaves.
  10. Squeeze lemons into the pot and add the halved lemons as well.
  11. Add onions, celery and garlic to pot and bring to a boil.
  12. Add potatoes and cook for approximately 10-15 minutes.
  13. Add sausage and mushrooms and cook another 2 minutes.
  14. Add crawfish and bring pot back to a boil.
  15. Once the pot comes back to a rolling boil turn off the heat, add the corn if desired. Soak up to 25 minutes tasting in 5 minute intervals for desired amount of spice. We also like to cool the pot with a water hose on the outside to help drive the flavor into the crawfish meat and speed cooling process.
  16. Remove from the pot onto a large table covered with newspaper and enjoy!

Are you a crawfish lover?



  1. I have had shrimp boil like this and it was amazing. When we were in New Orleans after Katrina for the church building trip, a member of the church we were rebuilding did a shrimp boil for 200 people. It was the best food of the week. I might suggest this for Papaw’s family reunion at the lake this summer. Your recipe instructions are great.

    • Thank you ! You’re more than welcome to borrow the pot and burner if you decide on a shrimp boil.

  2. Back in my sorority days, we would have huge crawfish boils! We would all wear jean skirts, flip flops, and old date party t-shirts and get so messy! Seriously, too much fun. Some random bars put them on here in NYC, but it’s just not the same. Your pictures and recipe looks amazing!
    Ashley recently posted..Praised Chicken with Mustard & DillMy Profile

    • It really is some messy business but so worth it!! I hate it when crawfish season is over.

    • I hear Battery Harris in Brooklyn, NY is having one tomorrow night 6-23-14.I’ve been there once before, it’s a cool bar with good food. Not sure of the address off hand but the web is my wife and I may take our 2 year old to his first crawfish boil!

  3. Amazing photos! I am not a seafood eater but your photos captured the whole process so well. Just lovely!

    • Thank you Amy C! Although I cannot even fathom not loving seafood. I’m land-locked so it’s difficult to get fresh seafood in my hometown but anytime I go someplace close to the water I eat it non-stop!

  4. I LOVE this post! That giant table full of crawfish is so awesome! I saw a pot that size at a restaurant supply warehouse here a few weeks ago – so huge!! There is a crawfish place here called Hot and Juicy that I want to go to -its pretty famous and supposedly really good although probably not as good as authentic cajun like you make.

    • Thank you! It was really good. You should try it. You never know where you might find a transplanted Cajun.

  5. How many guests were at this party

    • Well many from my family being from New Orleans we eat A LOT! For the men it’s about 10 lbs per person and women (like me) that love crawfish will eat around 7 lbs. I think we had 9 people with some being kids. Are you trying to decide how many to buy? It’s so hard to gauge unless you know how much people like to eat. Sometimes we have boils and people come who don’t eat at all so you really have to know your guests well.

  6. You couldn’t possibly cook it all at the same time. Do you do it in layers?

    • We do it all together. We have a huge pot. The same one that’s in my Amazon Store but many people will divide and cook 1 sack at a time. It’s really a matter of personal preference. Are you getting ready for a boil?

      • Hi Christy,

        Yes, we are preparing for a crawfish boil this Saturday. Ordered the live crawfish from Louisiana and will be here Friday.

        I’ve ordered 45 pounds and thought it would be better to do it in layers. Meaning; breaking them up in batches, cooking and then putting in cooler while sprinkling some Ole Bay seasoning.

        I would keep doing it until finished. About 4 batches. Do you have any recommendations doing that way?


  7. Hi Christy,
    I have a similar question as the last person that posted. I am having a crawfish boil this Sunday. We are having 12 adults over and I only have a 24 qt pot. And since I’m not sure everyone likes crawfish I will be adding a bit more shrimp than crawfish, but I wanted to know if I make it in batches do I resuse the liquid that is left for the next batch or do I start over with new water every time? Thanks

    • Oh fun!! How many pounds of crawfish are you buying? You’ll want to ask if they’re dark and hard. It’s getting close to the end of the season. We boiled 70 pounds this past weekend and they were fine so I’m sure you’ll be ok just be aware they may be a bit tough. If I were doing them in batches I would definitely not change out the water. I would add half the seasoning and vegetables (or a third depending on how many batches you’re planning) and boil half the crawfish then fish out the vegetables and seasoning bags (to free up the room they take up) and start over with the same water (maybe add a little fresh to compensate for the boiling loss) but new seasoning bags and seasoning vegetables I think. I would add the shrimp at the very end and let them sit in the hot water for a few minutes. They literally only take about 2 minutes to cook. When they turn pink and opaque, they’re done. Please email me if you have other questions! And make sure to let me know how it goes!! 😀

      • Holy Toeldo, so glad I clicked on this site first!

  8. Have you ever froze them alive? I am new to this crawfish thing and I was told that you can freeze them alive and bring them out and reanimate them to life and then have a boil.

    • Well, if you truly freeze crawfish it will kill it and won’t revive and you should never eat a crawfish that was dead before it went into the boiling pot. I would definitely recommend against it. Sometimes when crawfish are stored in a walk-in cooler they get so cold that they won’t move and appear dead but when you start rinsing them and they warm up, they seem like they come back to life but they were never truly frozen. I’ve never heard of anyone actually freezing them and cooking them at a later time. If you try it, when you thaw them out, if they’re dead I would not use them. At that point you’d be wasting a lot of money in dead crawfish. Best to cook the day they’re purchased in my opinion. Hope this helps!

      • I’m very curious about this dead before it hits the water thing. I understand that if you’re doing a boil live ones are best. But you’re saying not to eat a crawfish that’s dead before you cook it. Yet they sell frozen crawfish in the store. I’m pretty sure they aren’t coming back to life… are we not supposed to be eating those????

        • The crawfish you buy frozen are precooked crawfish tails. Some people have said the rule about not eating a crawfish that was dead when it went in the water is a myth however, if you’ve ever tasted one you won’t do it again. It is beyond vile.

  9. I am throwing my husband a surprise birthday party and we are doing a crawfish boil. Expecting around 30 guest, how many pounds should I order? Would the 2 bags be enough?
    Thank you! Can not wait to use your recipe!
    Jammie recently posted..Mixed 2013My Profile

    • Oh I suck!!! I’m so sorry. I know I must have dropped the ball on this one. Is the party long over? To answer your question it is totally relative to the guests and how much they eat. Some people will come and eat less than a pound but others (if they’re real crawfish fans) can upwards of 7-10 pounds alone. Do you know much about the guests and their tastes for spicy Cajun food?

      • Yes we had the party went by your recipe and it was a hit!! Thank you so much!!

        • That’s awesome!! So glad you enjoyed the recipe. My husband and I have worked on it for years and think we have it down.

  10. Dead crawfish = straight tail is a myth. I have been operating a crawfish stand for 5 years. Also pouring salt on them does nothing other than kill them. Any real cajun knows that. To truly purge them, they have to not eat for at least 24 hours. Just like a human. For whatever reason people think pouring salt on them purges them. It does not.

    • Well that’s news to me and good to know but I think I’ll still have a hard time eating the straight tail ones!!! It just seems weird I guess because I’ve had it in my head for so long.

      • I have tried a limp straight crawdad before to see if it was true and it was not edible! I will never eat another and will not allow my guests to, but if folks want to try them, by all means.

        I try not to eat things that taste nasty myself!

        I haven’t boiled any at home in a long time, and was refreshing my memory and found your recipe. It looks great, and is very similar to the way I have done it the past. I am looking forward to it.

        I only wish that I knew a place locally to catch them myself. That is the best way. No tiny crawfish, those get thrown back to be caught later!

        Another thing about catching them yourself is that they also have more fat (the best part!) when caught wild. I’m assuming the reason is that they must live off their fat reserves for a certain amount of time while in shipment in that bag, and their fat reserves tend to get depleted.

        An advantage of bagged bugs seems to be that while they might need cleaning, they don’t really seem to need purging since they haven’t been eating for a while, while wild caught do need to be purged first.

        This might vary depending on how close one is to the source and how long the bugs have been in transit.

        Thanks for posting the recipe!

        • Hi Brian…thanks for stopping by! Glad you like the recipe. There seems to be some debate about eating them with a straight tail but to be honest I am sticking with what I know and staying away from them, too.

          I’ve actually never had them except purchased in sacks, live either from a local restaurant or cooked and eaten there as well so I can’t speak to the difference in taste, especially when caught and cooked immediately.

          I’ve just ordered 2 sacks of large crawfish from to be delivered tomorrow. They come cleaned and purged. They’re farm raised so I’m really interested in reviewing them. The rate is great though as it includes shipping to my door (and THEY’RE CLEAN). Will post soon to let you guys know how they turned out. If you’re doing a boil soon take a look at their site. They’re guaranteed.

  11. Hello there

    Was hoping you could help me. We currently run a rum and crab shack in Cornwall England and are looking to do our own interpretation of a Mardi gras. Looking at your recipe it would be perfect for us. However getting hold of the different spices in the u.k is proving difficult. Can you help with tracking them down or even ordering from yourselves. Thanks for your time

    Speak to you soon hopefully

    Stu McGuire

    • I am so sorry for the delay in responding! Truly. I’ve been away a lot lately but I would be more than happy to send you whatever you need. I really hope I haven’t missed it!!! If not, I’ll get it out tomorrow. 🙂

      • That’s great thank you.

        How do you want to go about it. If u contact me by email on the address above we can sort out payment before you send.

        Our event isn’t till the end of April so this is great. I’ll take some pics too. Also Looking forward to trying a few different recipes using the different spices an maybe add to our menu!

        Thanks again for your time

        Stuart mcguire

  12. Great tips and recipe, I can see that you’ve got plenty of experience around cooking and preparing crawfish, for boils and parties.

    I live in southern Louisiana, in Lafayette, LA 70508 to be exact, and crawfish season is just as important to my family and I, almost as much as Mardi Gras does and is for us. So, the recipes have to be perfect, and the beauty is that there are literally thousands of ways to cook crawfish, and almost each is just as awesome as the next.

    I’d like to commend you, for you’re efforts in creating this article and publishing it on the web, for the world to see. I hope that my future wife is out there, and by chance she finds this exact post, and learns you’re recipe. That way, I am set for life, ha ha.

    Glad to find this blog, I will be back, as long as you continue posting such guides, and interesting information.

    You’re new friend and fan,

    Whitney Segura
    “Things will come to those who wait, but only things left behind by those who hustle.”

    • Hi Whitney! I think some of my husbands family may have been from Lafayette (not entirely sure). There are a lot of ways to cook crawfish and it seems like everybody has a different recipe. Recently someone asked me if I ever used butter in the boil. Sounds interesting but maybe a little messy (not that they aren’t super messy anyway). Glad you liked the recipe!! Let me know if you get a chance to try it.

  13. My husband and I had a Mardi Gras party and used your recipe for the crawfish boil. People loved it including my 3 year old who loves crawfish like her dad. I took all the cooked left overs and used your étouffée recipe and my husband said it was one of the best things I have ever made. Love your website!

    • Wow!! This just makes my whole week! I’m so happy it all worked out well for you. Thanks so much for letting me know. 🙂

  14. Add sliced sweet potatos/yams just before the crawfish. Also a 1/4 cup of vegetable oil makes them easier to peel.

    As Adam commented, you need to have them in a water for 24 hours to truly purge them. When you put them in a tub of water, you are really just washing the dirt from them.

    Check the LSU Agriculture site for some more on crawfish.

    Thank you for setting up the blog.

    • I love the sweet potato idea!! We are having a boil Easter weekend so will definitely try that. We don’t peel the crawfish though. We are more pinch and bite kind of eaters. 🙂

  15. I was curious how I divide this up if I only have a 30 gallon pot

    • We’ll let me ask a quick question. Is your pot 30 gallons or 30 quarts? That will make a huge difference. There are 4 quarts in a gallon so if your pot is truly 30 gallons then it’s an 120 quart pot which is what I use ans there would be no reason to divide anything.

      • Yea that’s my bad it’s quart not gallons

        • I should have asked this before. How many pounds of crawfish are you cooking? Is there any chance if getting a bigger pot? When is the boil? If you’re trying to do 2 sacks which is roughly 60 lbs then you’re going to kill yourself doing a bunch of mini boils. That’s what we normally do in our 120 qt and we just barely have enough room for everything.

          • I was gonna do 60 lbs

          • Well if there’s no way to get a bigger pot (if it’s an option then go to your local Lowes Home Improvemwnts Store or and order a larger pot) then I would say divide your crawfish, veggies and seasonings by at least 3 but preferably in 4ths and do several mini boils back to back.

            I wish I had better news to tell you.

  16. Great recipe. My whole family loved it and couldn’t believe it was my first time cooking crawfish. Christy is very helpful, thank you so much.

    • Thank you Christopher! I am so, so happy we were able to come up with a good game plan for you that worked out the way it did. Now you’re a pro!! 🙂

  17. Hi,

    I live in Ohio and wanted to try to have a crawfish boil for my friend’s 30th birthday. Can you recommend any reputable places to order live crawfish online from louisiana?

    Also, how much kick/how spicy does your reciped turn out with the amount of cayenne pepper you put in? I personally like spicy/a decent kick, but I want all guests to be able to enjoy. thanks.

    Finally, I see that I can order equipment like the burners, pots, and strainers online…any recommendations of where I can find this stuff locally at large national chains (home depot?)


    • Hi Phil! That sounds like a great idea and I do have some information that will help out a lot. I’ve just recently been introduced to a company in LA who sell live crawfish and ship them to your door. They clean and purge them, send instruction videos and the shipping rate is included at a great rate. It’s actually less than I pay locally in Birmingham and close to what you’d pay in Louisiana. They also have equipment for sale. The company is called I haven’t tried them myself but I plan to soon. They also guarantee their product so you can’t go wrong.

      It looks like the largest pot they have is 90 qts if I’m not mistaken. How many people are you cooking for? I use a 130 qt pot for roughly 60 lbs of crawfish. I’ve bought pots and burners locally at Lowes and Home Depot. You’ll just have to look at the stores near you.

      As far as the spice…it’s all just so relative. I would say it is on the spicy side. If there’s someone that states they don’t like spice then they wouldn’t like this recipe. If you’ll notice in my post I talk about soaking the crawfish. Once they begin to boil and you turn off the flame you’ll let them sit and soak. They get spicier the longer they soak. What we normally do is start tasting them after the first 5 minutes and then taste one every 5 minutes after until they get where we like them. You could always use less cayenne as well.

  18. This may be the finest Louisiana delicacy there is! Fried Softshell Crawfish First, dip the soft shell crayfish in a mixture of egg white and milk. Then, roll in a mixture of flour, cornmeal, and Cajun spices. Add enough Cajun spices to reach the level of spiciness you like. Seafood seasoning can be substituted for Cajun spices if you prefer less bite to your food. Deep fry for 2 to 3 minutes in hot oil. Drain and serve. A sauce that can be used to drizzle over fried soft shell crayfish or that can be served on the side as a dipping sauce can be prepared as follows: 1 egg yolk 3 green onions, finely chopped 1 teaspoon brown mustard ¼ teaspoon Tabasco sauce (hot sauce) ¼ cup ketchup 2 tablespoons dry sherry ¼ teaspoon white pepper ¼ teaspoon salt ½ cup vegetable oil Place all of the above ingredients except the oil in a food processor or blender. Process for about 30 seconds. With the blender running, add the oil in a thin steady stream. Continue processing until smooth, about 1 minute. Makes about one cup. Recipe from Paul Prudhomme.

    • Wow! Thanks for the recipe. I’ve never had soft shell crawfish before. Sounds super cool. 🙂

  19. Have done a few boils before but came across your recipe and wanted to try it. Will be my first time using the concentrated liquid. The bottle says 1 tbsp per 5 lbs while your recipe has me adding 2.5 bottles for 30lbs. Is this correct? If so how spicy does your recipe make them?

    • Hi Brian,

      You’re right. It is a LOT more than what the bottle calls for but my recipe is correct. As far as how spicy it is that’s such a hard thing to call since it’s relative to daycare person. One thing I can say is that the spiciness in the crawfish comes from the length of time you soak them. If you cooked it to the recipe here and then once turning off the flame soak them for 5 minutes and taste one. You’ll be shocked at how flavorless they are compared to what you put in the water. Keep them soaking and tasting in 5 minute intervals and pull them out when they taste the way you want. That’s how you control the spiciness.

      Let me know if you have anymore questions.

  20. Thanks for the quick response. We will be using the recipe this weekend.

  21. here goes nothing… using your recipe today, thanks in advance, this is so far the most user friendly recipe..

    • Hi Erwin! I’m glad you found the recipe helpful and I hope everything turns outs well with your first boil. I’m sure it will. It’s really not that difficult…just several easy steps. Please stop back by and let me know how it turned out?

      • Christy.. we had a blast, learned a few lessons on how to divide and conquer. I only had a 60 Qt pot so ended up doing 4 batches. We had 15 adults and about 10 kids ages 1 to 14.. but overall it was awesome and your recipe was a hit as well. I printed them out and everytime someone would ask me on how to do it, I just point them to the recipe..
        I got my crawfish from our local HEB, was traveling last week and did not get home till friday, so not much time to go around. It was $1.97/lb and really good sizes. Had to clean it a lot and no purging…this will become a yearly gig here in the woodlands..thank you

  22. Hi there. I am born and raised in Louisiana but have been living in Canada for ten years. I am dying for crawfish. Is it possible to have crawfish shipped here?

    • Hi Lindsay. I have a link on both my crawfish posts to a company who ships them. I’m not sure if they include Canada but if so they’re a great resource. They have great size and ship them to your door already clean. I’m sure you know it’s not crawfish season right now but when it is they are who I would use. Just take a look at the post and follow the link.

  23. Hi there.

    I am curious if you have tried roasting some garlic and onions before boiling them. I have had many boils in my days, some better than others, yet few others were simply outstanding.

    Finding that perfect recipe that yields incredible flavors is a difficult task even for a native of New Orleans.

    • Hiya!! That’s very true. My husband is a native New Orleanian and when we go to boils or restaurants when visiting (which is a lot of times 2 weeks out of the month) while there it’s very difficult to find good crawfish anywhere. I guess it’s like being from Alabama and having a hard time finding someone who can make really good fried chicken or chicken and dumplings. Almost no one can!
      One of the things I think makes a big difference is of course the seasoning. If you look at the directions on the seasonings it calls for very little compared to how much we really use. The salt also. If we stuck to the directions the boil would be super bland. This receipe is a joint effort between my husband and I and I will honestly say it’s the best I’ve tried…hands down. And we have had a lot of crawfish. We worked on it for a while and have whittled it down to just about perfect.
      I’ve never tried roasting any of the vegetables. I suppose that would bring out a sweetness to them. It might be interesting. Is that what you do?

  24. ++Notification/Subscription…

    Hi there.

    I am curious if you have tried roasting some garlic and onions before boiling them. I have had many boils in my days, some better than others, yet few others were simply outstanding.

    Finding that perfect recipe that yields incredible flavors is a difficult task even for a native of New Orleans.

  25. Hi there

    I don’t know if you remember but we requested some spices off you guys a while back to try our own crayfish boil in cornwall England. Well we finally managed to organise ourselves and we held it last night. What can i say …. big success!!!! If u have the time have a look at our Facebook page therumandcrabshack for pictures. Basically just wanted to say a big thanks for the spices and inspiration to try something different.

    thanks stu

    • I’m really glad it was a success! I guess I need to bill you now for the ingredients. I emailed you a couple times but never heard back so I’m happy to know it all made it to you. Thanks for letting me know. If you could just respond to one of those emails we can get this all taken care of. Thanks!

      • Oh my god. Can’t believe I never payed you for them spices!! Really sorry.. Please email ur details across an ill make sure that’s done straight away. Again really sorry!!!

        I don’t suppose u could bill me twice and once Iv payed you send us the same spices again. I understand if not but we would Lov to add this crayfish boil to our seafood menu in our restaurant. Or maybe you could point us in the direction of an online company we could order them spices off… As they amazing!!!

        Thank you and again I’m sorry for the delay in payment

        Stuart mcguire

  26. Hi there! Thanks for you recipe.

    I have made crawfish twice and both times have had them come out tasting like fish. yuck! I was sure soaked them enough times.

    I would like to try your recipe but cut it down for 30 – 35 lbs. Would I just cut the water amount? I have a 120 quart pot too btw.

    • Yes. I would just roughly cut everything right down the middle.

  27. That is the same way I do my boiling.i have been in Louisiana for 60 years Slidell and New Orleans .

    • We have worked for so long trying to perfect our recipe and I really think we’ve done it. Glad you agree!!!

      • Hello Christy, every year I host crawfish boil in April with an average of 200-250 lbs. of crawfish, and this year I came across your recipe and it sound so good that I’m going to try it these year, but my pot is 160qt and yours I think is 120qt so should I increase quantity of the ingredients or should I just fill to120qt of water to my pot ?

        • I’m away from home today but will be back tomorrow evening. Let me check my pot again and be sure the size and we can figure out what quantities you should go with.

          • That would be great, thanks

          • I’ve done everything I can to determine exactly what size pot I have and I just can’t figure it out. It’s large and I want to say it’s the 120 qt but I can’t be 100%. With the size pot you have ho many batches do you normally do to cook 200-250 lbs? My pot will hold 2 sacks with all the other ingredients and it is filled to the rim. That’s right at 60 lbs. If you went by my recipe you would need anywhere between 3 and 4 times additional ingredients. (3 for closer to 200 lbs and 4 if you’re in the 250 range.) I think if it were me I would use my ingredients times 3 or 4 then divide them in half and the crawfish in half and do 2 separate boils, one after the other starting fresh after the first boil is finished. I’ve thought about it a lot and that’s the best option in my opinion, especially to insure consistency in your finished product. Does that make sense? If you want to talk more in length email me and we can continue there. Hope this helps. :/

  28. Why the bags and the jar of zatarains? Are the different other than the sizes?

    • I can’t honestly say if they’re exactly the same but I do know that for some reason it makes a difference. If you look at the instructions on the bags and/or the liquid, the amount of seasoning it calls for is so small compared to what we use. It takes so much more to get good flavor into your crawfish meat. Also, the bags are dried herbs and spices in their natural form. I’m not entirely sure what the liquid is but it seems to penetrate better to some degree. You could try using all of one but you won’t get the same result. The liquid is the spice more so than the seasoning bags. They are just very different.

  29. This was G R E A T …….
    I mailed to friends away from NOLA.
    I just used google images and picked your picture and viewed the page. PERFECTION.


    • I’m glad you liked it!! Thank you. 🙂

  30. I was told by a native from lafeyette La. that they add butter to the boiling water to make the tails easier to peel. does that help?

    • I have heard someone mention that in the past but have never tried it myself. Two reasons for that. The way we eat the crawfish doesn’t really involve peeling. We twist the head off then bite the small exposed meat while pinching and gently pulling on the tail. The meat comes right out in your mouth. Also, I know some people peel what is left over to use in other crawfish dishes (crawfish salad, etoufee, etc) but we never really have enough left over. We are having a boil this weekend so I may try the butter in the boil just to see. I mean it can’t hurt I don’t guess?

  31. Great recipe… I’ve been doing crawfish boils for a few years now and each time I make a few modifications. I also like to make sure I’m staying close to the basics, which this recipe does, by checking what others are doing. 100 pounds of mudbugs are on the way to Kansas City in a few weeks and I’ve boiled a few hundred pounds already. Highly recommend this recipe to anyone… only exception is that I don’t use salt for the purging/rinsing phase but to each their own.

    • Hi Paul. We never use a salt purge either. I didn’t list it in my directions. I just mentioned it in my extra tips because I know some people firmly believe in it. Like you said, to each his own! 🙂 I’ve spoken with the experts ( about it and was told salt doesn’t purge them at all. He told me how, which has something to do with letting them sit in water for an extended period of time without food. When they don’t eat they purge themselves. But it’s one thing I don’t have to worry about any longer since I purchase from and have them delivered, they’re already cleaned and purged when they arrive.
      Glad you agree with my recipe! We worked to perfect it for many years. We just boiled 75lbs last weekend and they were perfect!!! Hope you enjoy your next boil!

      • Hi Christy. A couple of quick points:
        -great recipe. Love it and easy to follow too!
        -you are 100% correct about not eating crawfish with straight tails. I’ve eaten one before, carelessly by not paying attention, and it was more gross than Rosie O’Donald (sp?) in lingerie. Yuck! A couple of northerners became violently I’ll after eating them and have sworn off crawfish forever. Poor guys! Much better to be safe than sorry.
        -I love sausage with my crawfish but never cook them together because the sausage tends to make the crawfish greasy/slippery/etc. Since the sausage is already cooked, after removing the crawfish and putting them into a ice chest (close to keep crawfish hot) I place the sliced sausage into the hot seasoned water for 4-7 minutes and it comes out great!
        -my friend swears that by dumping ice onto the crawfish while it’s still in the seasoned water, the crawfish really soak up a lot more of the spice and juices. I’m not sure if he is scientifically accurate-but his crawfish is always really good.
        –on a final note, as a kid growing up in New Orleans East, I remember riding down Chef Mentuer Hwy and seeing thousands of crawfish crossing the street. We’d jump put of the truck (along with dozens of others with the same idea), grab a shovel from the back (always handy to carry), and scoop them up and toss into the truck bed. And we knew what was for dinner that night!!!

        Thanks for the great recipe!


        • Hi Steve! Thanks for the comment. I’ve never noticed the crawfish being oily or slippery? Maybe the amount of sausage I’m using isn’t enough to cause a problem in a pot so large? Some people add butter to the boil because they say it makes them easier to peel. I never peel mine, just pinch the tails and eat. We never have enough left over to peel for another use. I’ve never seen anyone use ice but my husband says he’s seen it done. We use a water hose and spray the outside of the pot with cold water while they soak. Maybe the same result. And it gives my husband something to do while he’s waiting!
          I’ve NEVER heard of crawfish WALKING across Chef Hwy?? That’s crazy but sounds super cool!!! Wow

  32. Were you able to cook all 65lbs at once or did you have to cook half and then repeat the process?

    • I was able to cook them all at once. That’s why I love my big pot. We always cook two sacks at a time and that’s about all we can eat!!

  33. When do you add the celery? With bay leafs, lemons etc.

    • Hi Angela. Yes, put the celery in with the other seasoning vegetables like lemons, garlic, etc. It’s more to season the pot than to eat (although a lot of people like the celery). They’ll cook almost the whole time so they’re pretty mushy at the end.

  34. Hi I am in Canada. Is frozen cajun crawfish good?

    • Sorry Deb that I’m just seeing this. I’ve taken a “leave of absence” in a way and haven’t visited or done site maintenance in a while. Please forgive? If you’re talking about frozen tails only, yes we use them when it’s not crawfish season to make lots of cajun recipes BUT I’ve never purchased frozen whole crawfish and don’t think I would. Hope this helps and that I’m not too terribly late in answering.

  35. What’s the difference in the 12, 3 ounce bags and the 4lb jar? Also, do you put all 40oz of liquid boil in there?

    12, 3 ounce bags Zatarain’s Crawfish, Shrimp and Crab Boil
    5, 8 ounce bottles liquid Zatarain’s Concentrated Shrimp and Crab Boil
    1, 4 lb jar powdered Zatarain’s Crawfish, Shrimp and Crab Boil

    • The spices/herbs in the bags (which are mostly herbs instead of ground spices) are different than the ingredients in the jar. There are powdered jar seasonings as well as liquid jar seasonings that both come in large quantities. We have found that with a mixture of all 3, we get the best flavor. As for the second question, yes, we use all the ingredients included in the list at once in a boil this size. Let me know if you have other questions. 🙂

      • Awesome. Clear now. Thank you!

  36. Hi Christy,

    I will be hosting my first crawfish boil this year. I plan to invite about 30 (20 adults and 10 childern) and plan to make around 90lbs of crawfish (going to be using a 150qt cooker, so planning to make one batch). My question is, do you think the amount of seasoning in your recipe would be enough to season 90lbs of crawfish?

    Best Regards,

    • Hi Veronica,

      I’m not entirely sure why this question is just now popping up for me when it looks like you posted it a while back? It’s very strange.

      Anyway, I would use a bit more seasoning if it were me. I’d add another 2 bottles of liquid and 2-3 more seasoning bags. They also make the powdered seasoning in small bags, I’d grab 1 of those and up my salt and cayenne as well. Try 1/8 cup salt and maybe 1-2 tablespoons of red pepper. This is just an educated guess but that’s what I would add to my boil if my pot was bigger. We boiled so many crawfish trying to get the perfect recipe. It’s not an exact science.

      You may have already had your boil. If that’s the case I am so sorry. I have several comments that were tangled up with my spam for some reason. My software normally takes care of all that for me. I apologize if I’m too late answering.

      Good luck!!! Please let me know how it goes? It’s always good to hear what works and what doesn’t and I’d love for any future readers be able to read and learn, too.

  37. I have an 82qt pot so can only cook 40lbs at a time. Would you suggest I just use 2/3 of the ingredients for the first boil? I imagine I could use the last 1/3 for the second boil.

    • Hi, so sorry for the delay. I’m sure you’ve already worked out this problem. I am on extended leave due to family health issue and apparently I missed several responses. Your questions is tricky and one I have worked on with not much good result. For your size pot I would just buy a sack of 35 lbs and use roughly half of my recipe but make sure you only use roughly half the water as well. I’ve made the mistake of doing smaller batches and forgetting not to use the water for 60-70 lbs of crawfish. I cut the ingredients in half but used the water we are used to and they were so bland because the water wasn’t flavorful at all. Hope this helps.

  38. U still answering questions to this blog?

  39. If doing one save of crawfish do I have the crabboil dry powder seasoning and the 4lb seasoning? What about the vegetables? Or just do everything the same and just use sack of crawfish thanks

    • I have been on an extended break due to family health issues and I apparently missed a whole slue of questions. I’m so sorry. If I were doing one 30 lb sack I would roughly cut it all in half but also remember to cut your water down or your amount of veggies will be watered down. Hope I’m not too late with the answer.

  40. I have heard some people put ice in the pot once they are cooked. Is it necessary?

    • I AM SO SORRY! I’m just now seeing this. Please forgive me? I’ve never used ice but I’m sure it wouldn’t hurt and might be a great way to help cool the pot. 🙂

  41. Hi Christy,
    Couple of questions. I know you bring the water to boil and cook the potatoes, sausage and mushrooms. Does this naturally make the water stop boiling or do you need to turn down the temperature so it stops? Do you add the crawfish and the corn at the same time? So, you add the crawfish and corn while the water isn’t boiling but once it starts to boil turn off the heat and spray the pot with cold water correct? Just want to make sure I have things right. Thank you!

    • Thank you for your interest! I’m happy to answer all your questions and those are good ones. If we get too involved we will move to email to make it easier but I’ll try this way for now. If it doesn’t clear it up for you, let me know and I’ll email you to finish up.

      First you’ll put in your water and all your seasonings and also seasoning veggies (onion, celery, lemon, garlic, bay leaf) the items in my first two ingredient photos and bring it to a boil. You’ll add the potatoes (I’ve found another trick to make the potatoes get even more amazing flavor…see below) and sausage, mushrooms if you want and yes it does bring the boil down but your fire should be at full blast the entire time. Potatoes should be in for about 30 minutes before you add the crawfish. Stick a fork into a few to check for doneness. They should be around 75% done. Not hard by any means but not super soft either. Once you put the crawfish in it will again reduce the water temp to below boiling point, again with your fire being at full power the whole time. Once the pot comes back to a FULL ROLLING BOIL turn off the fire and add the corn. Replace the lid and we like to spray the outside of the pot with cold water from a hose for 10-15 minutes to cool it and force flavor into your little mudbugs. Taste them at intervals. DO NOT be alarmed if the first one at 5 mins is bland, that’s normal. They will gain flavor as they cool but don’t let them soak for longer than probably 25 minutes. I hope this cleared up most of your questions? If not, please don’t be afraid to ask and PLEASE let me know how your first boil turns out. I hope to have my first one for the season very soon! It is a lot of work but it’s so much fun. Enjoy 🙂

      Oops, almost forgot my newly found potato trick. We take each potato and with a knife score an X on each one to pierce the skin and allow the seasoning to penetrate better. You could probably use a fork as well but I haven’t tried that yet. It is a small amount of additional work but it is worth it. The flavor is much deeper and I use the left over potatoes for Cajun potato salad.

  42. Hello! I have 3 questions… 1: Would this recipe feed around 60 people? Not as a main course because we would have other dishes at the party. 2: If I wanted to, because crawfish is quite costly around here, could I do half the weight in shrimp and the other half in craw fish? And 3: Is their a website or place you know of that rents out 120 qt Crawfish stock pots with the basket and Burners that would either be in Wisconsin or ship to Wisconsin?? Thank you if you take the time to answer these questions!

    • Hi Nolan,

      1. I would say with almost 100% certainty the answer is no. I’m sure that not all those eating will be heavy eaters like we are (7-10lbs per adult male, 6-8lbs women) but if for the most part, they like crawfish I’d say 3-5 lbs per person. We have the other foods in the boil as well but if you have other heavy side dishes then maybe you could reduce the crawfish per person to 1-2, I can’t really say. Large crawfish per lb are about 15. My guess is you’ll be getting quality which is a mixture of sizes. If so, I’d say you’ll have anywhere from 17-20 per lb. That might sound like a lot but 20 small to medium isn’t much at all. You’re only getting tail meat. You really should probably go through your guest list and count the number of adults you think will eat and go from there.

      2. Where and how are you getting the crawfish? Have you tried
      You can always do shrimp but they will behave very differently so you can’t follow these recipe instructions. I would add the shrimp to the pot when the crawfish is almost done soaking. I’d drop them down in the hot water and once they turn pink (and that could actually be very soon after they get submerged) let them soak for maybe 5 minutes and get everything out. Most people over cook shrimp. If they’re over cooked they’ll be a little tough/chewy but the worst part is they’re miserable to peel. The shells hold on so tight you end up tearing them up before they come out of the shell. Just stay close and taste them as you go.

      3. Unfortunately I have zero clue about pot and burner rental. In Alabama we have a local rental store that could possibly have them so maybe you do as well. When calling I would ask for a stock pot or even a turkey boiling pot. They sell the pots to boil turkeys here around the holidays at Lowes and Home Depot (probably all year round really) and they are exactly the same thing. They have the burners as well.

      I hope this helps. Please don’t hesitate to ask if you have other questions and please let me know how it all goes??

  43. Hi Christy! First of all, I have to just say THANK YOU so much for sharing such detailed crawfish/shrimp boil recipes + instructions — we hosted our first last year and had no idea what we were doing! It came out pretty good, but we’re so glad to have found this resource to reference this year, haha!

    I know you’re not really blogging anymore, but hope you’ll answer as I just have a few questions!

    1. When you say to leave the potatoes in the mesh bag if possible, do you mean to rinse them, do the little cut trick (<– we do this!), and then put them back into the bag and then put them into the boil in the mesh bag?

    2. We are doing a combination of the traditional items (potatoes, mushrooms, corn + sausage) with crawfish (if our local seafood market still has them available), shrimp + other seafood (we have everyone bring a few pounds of their preferred shellfish to help keep costs down on us) for roughly 20 people, do you think an 80 quart stockpot would work? or do you think we should do it in batches? Last year the potatoes were pretty overcooked and we really want to avoid that. I know they are filler, but still!

    3. Would you say to cut the seasonings in half for that amount? We all LOVE spicy + flavorful food, so I wasn't sure if you had any recommendations or advice. Any and all advice is very welcome — and again, thank you so much!

    • Hi. So sorry for the delay!! 😬 If you still need help, send me a quick email and I’ll respond immediately. That’s the best way to get help. Sorry again.

  44. Thank you very much for your recipe and cooking instruction in details. Our family members love crawfish. I used your recipe once a couple of years ago, but I did not prepare well enough as your instruction. However, they turned out very good. Thanks God. This time I will prepare it more carefully and thoroughly for even better cook and taste. Thanks again and again.


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