If you love shrimp boil, you know how important it is to choose the right seasoning for your dish. Shrimp boil seasoning can make or break the flavor of your seafood feast, so you want to pick the best one for your taste and budget.
But how do you know which seasoning is the best for shrimp boil? And how do you make your own shrimp boil seasoning if you prefer a homemade version? In this blog post, we will answer these questions and more, as we explore the best seasoning for shrimp boil and how to use it. We will also share some of the top-rated shrimp boil seasoning brands.
What is a Shrimp Boil?
A shrimp boil is a traditional Southern dish that originated in Louisiana. It’s also known as a low country boil, a frogmore stew, or a seafood boil. It’s a festive and casual way of enjoying seafood with friends and family.
A shrimp boil is usually prepared in a large pot over an outdoor burner or a stove. The pot is filled with water and seasonings, such as bay leaves, garlic, onion, lemon, salt, pepper, and cayenne. Then, the ingredients are added in stages according to their cooking time. The potatoes go in first, followed by the corn and sausage. The shrimp go in last, as they cook very quickly.
When everything is cooked, the pot is drained and the contents are dumped onto a large table covered with newspaper or parchment paper. The shrimp boil is served with melted butter, cocktail sauce, hot sauce, and bread. Everyone digs in with their hands and enjoys the feast.
What is shrimp boil seasoning?
Shrimp boil seasoning is a blend of spices and herbs that is used to flavor the water in which shrimp and other seafood are boiled. The seasoning usually contains salt, pepper, garlic, onion, paprika, cayenne, bay leaves, thyme, and other ingredients that vary depending on the brand or recipe. The seasoning gives the shrimp and other seafood a rich and aromatic flavor that complements their natural sweetness.
How to make your own shrimp boil seasoning
If you prefer to make your own seasoning blend at home rather than buy pre-made blends, you can mix and match different spices and herbs you probably already have in your pantry to create your own unique blend. Here are some of the best spices for a flavorful shrimp boil, and how they affect the taste.
Salt: This is the most basic and essential ingredient for any seasoning. It enhances the flavor of seafood and other ingredients and helps to preserve them. You can use table salt, kosher salt, sea salt, or any other kind of salt you like.
Pepper: This is another staple ingredient for any seasoning. It adds a bit of heat and pungency to your dish, and also helps to balance the sweetness of seafood. You can use black pepper, white pepper, red pepper, or any other kind of pepper you like.
Garlic: This is one of the most popular ingredients for any seasoning. It adds a lot of flavor and aroma to your dish, and also has some health benefits. You can use garlic powder, garlic salt, minced garlic, or fresh garlic.
Onion: This is another common and versatile ingredient for any seasoning. It adds a bit of sweetness and depth to your dish, and also complements the flavor of seafood. You can use onion powder, onion salt, minced onion, or fresh onion.
Paprika: This is a spice that is made from dried and ground red peppers. It adds a bit of color and smokiness to your dish, and also has some antioxidants. You can use smoked paprika, sweet paprika, hot paprika, or any other kind of paprika you like.
Cayenne: This is a spice that is made from dried and ground hot peppers. It adds a lot of heat and spiciness to your dish, and also has some anti-inflammatory properties. You can use cayenne pepper powder, red pepper flakes, chili powder, or any other kind of hot pepper you like.
Bay leaves: These are leaves that come from the bay laurel tree. They add a bit of herbal and floral flavor to your dish, and also have some digestive benefits. You can use whole bay leaves, crushed bay leaves, or bay leaf powder.
Thyme: This is an herb that comes from the mint family. It adds a bit of earthy and lemony flavor to your dish, and also has some antibacterial properties. You can use dried thyme, fresh thyme, or thyme oil. Just be careful not to use too much, as it can make your dish too strong.
Oregano: This is another herb that comes from the mint family. It adds a bit of savory and peppery flavor to your dish, and also has some antifungal properties. You can use dried oregano, fresh oregano, or oregano oil.
Top-rated shrimp boil seasoning brands
If you don’t have time or ingredients to make your own shrimp boil seasoning, you can also buy ready-made shrimp boil blends from renowned brands. Here are some of the top-rated shrimp boil seasoning brands that you can find online or in your local grocery store.
Old Bay Seasoning: This is iconic brand of shrimp boil seasoning that has been around since 1939. Old Bay seasoning is a classic seasoning for seafood that originated in Maryland. It’s a blend of herbs and spices that includes celery salt, paprika, mustard, red pepper, black pepper, bay leaves, cloves, allspice, ginger, mace, cardamom, cinnamon, and nutmeg. It has a savory and slightly spicy flavor that goes well with shrimp and other seafood.
Zatarain’s Crawfish, Shrimp & Crab Boil: This is among the most popular and classic brands of shrimp boil seasoning. It has a spicy and tangy flavor that is perfect for Cajun-style shrimp boils. This is a Cajun-style seasoning that originated in New Orleans. It’s a blend of spices that includes salt, dextrose, spices (including red pepper), natural flavors (including lemon oil), monosodium glutamate (MSG), paprika extract (color), soy lecithin (emulsifier), and polysorbate 80 (emulsifier).
Slap Ya Mama Seafood Boil: This is a newer brand of shrimp boil seasoning that has gained a lot of fans for its bold and fiery flavor. It has a high amount of cayenne pepper that gives it a kick, as well as garlic, onion, lemon, and other spices that add depth and complexity.
Cajun Land Crab Shrimp Crawfish Boil Complete: This is also one of the best Cajun shrimp boil seasonings. It contains everything you need to make a delicious and authentic Cajun seafood boil, including salt, spices, lemon, garlic, onion and more. Just add water, seafood and your favorite sides, and enjoy the mouthwatering flavors of Louisiana in your own backyard.
Louisiana Fish Fry Products Crawfish, Shrimp & Crab Boil: This is another brand of shrimp boil seasoning that has a loyal following for its authentic and flavorful taste. It has a balanced blend of salt, pepper, garlic, onion, paprika, lemon, mustard, and other spices that enhance the flavor of seafood without overpowering it.
Factors to Consider When Choosing Shrimp Boil Seasoning
The size of the shrimp: Larger shrimp tend to have more flavor and texture than smaller ones, so they can handle stronger seasonings. Smaller shrimp are more delicate and may be overpowered by too much seasoning.
The cuisine: Depending on the cuisine you are making, you may want to use seasonings that match the flavor profile and ingredients of that cuisine or dish. For example, if you are making a Cajun or Creole shrimp boil, you may want to use Cajun seasoning or a shrimp boil mix that contains spices like paprika, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, thyme, oregano, and bay leaves.
Your personal preference: The best seasoning for shrimp boil is the one that you like the most. You can experiment with different seasonings and combinations to find your favorite flavor.
Type of guests and their preference: The best seasoning for the shrimp boil also depends on what your guests prefer. If you have guests who like their shrimp boil hot and spicy, you can choose the seasoning containing cayenne pepper to add extra heat and spiciness.
Choosing the right seasoning for your shrimp boil can make a big difference in the taste of your dish. Whether you are using homemade shrimp boil seasoning or a ready-made blend, it is important to consider the type of cuisine and what you or guests would prefer. Always ensure the shrimp boil seasoning is not too hot, salty, or spicy for you or them. Otherwise, the seasoning will ruin a perfect shrimp boil feast.