Recipes for shrimp, crab and oyster boils and broils

A round pan heaped with shrimp and artichokes, sliced sausage, orange slices, and corn.
Dress up seafood with spices and aromatics for simple, hands-on dinners, like this indoor shrimp boil.
(Shelby Moore / For The Times)

“Hot seafood spring” is my favorite time of year. Though all seafood is hot when you cook it, of course, I’m referring to the seafood boils of my youth that proliferate in the South (where they use crawfish), the mid-Atlantic (blue crabs), New England (lobsters, clams) and the Pacific Northwest (Dungeness crabs).

I wrote about the crawfish boils that marked springtime for me growing up in Mississippi, and how I now like to re-create them in Los Angeles using the best shrimp I can find. I keep the seasonings and the rest of the elements the same, but I add artichokes and oranges to the mix because that’s what my cousin does in Louisiana — and his crawfish boils are the best. Though those two ingredients tie in with his Sicilian heritage, they are very “California” ingredients as well, and they give my shrimp boil a wonderful symbiosis with his.

If you try out my Indoor Shrimp Boil and like what you taste, maybe check out these other fun iterations on the idea. Frequent drinks contributor to The Times Rebekah Peppler created a French Shrimp Boil for her cookbook “À Table” that also uses artichokes, but she cooks the melange in a mustardy broth flavored with herbes de Provence. And my pal Susan Vu makes a super simple aversion that uses no liquid at all: a Sheet Pan Shrimp Broil. She seasons the shrimp, potatoes and baby corn with dried kimchi seasoning — a brilliant substitute for Cajun seasoning when shopping at H Mart — then serves everything hot from the broiler with seasoned butter and a baguette.

And if you want to try something even more elemental, try Grilled Dungeness Crabs coated with fresh parsley, scallions, chile flakes and ground fennel seeds. Or, for a return to where my inspiration started, try these charbroiled oysters from Drago’s in Metairie, La. Shuck fresh oysters, spoon on a buttery mix of garlic and Parmesan, then grill the oysters until warm and bubbly. On cool spring nights, there’s nothing better to eat to keep you warm while waiting for summer to arrive.

Indoor Shrimp Boil With Oranges and Artichokes

This seafood boil is an homage to the crawfish boils of Louisiana, with a Sicilian twist courtesy of the addition of oranges and artichokes steeped in the broth. You can use this same method with crabs, lobsters or, as I do here, shrimp tails.
Get the recipe.
Cook time: 2 hours.


A plate heaped with shrimp, small potatoes, sliced sausage, artichokes, hunks of corn, sections of orange and shrimp.
(Shelby Moore / For The Times)

French Shrimp Boil

A Frenchified take on a low-country boil (or a New England clambake), a French Shrimp Boil is communal eating at its finest, best piled over newspaper, avec beaucoup d’amis and napkins on hand for all.
Get the recipe.
Cook time: 40 minutes.

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Sheet Pan Shrimp Broil

A Viet-Cajun version of a shrimp boil, dried kimchi seasoning stands in for Cajun seasoning in this one-pan shrimp, potato and corn dish. If you can’t find dried kimchi seasoning, you can use the flavor packets from instant kimchi ramen, which can be found nearly everywhere nowadays.
Get the recipe.
Cook time: 45 minutes.

A rectangular pan with small potatoes, large shrimp and baby corn.
(Lindsay Kreighbaum / For The Times)

Grilled Dungeness Crab

Cooked cracked crab is marinated in an herbal mash, then grilled, scraping and turning it with a big spatula until the herb mixture and the edges of the shell start to char. Eating crab grilled this way is a lot like eating Chinese black bean crab: It’s messy, and you probably get almost as much flavor from licking your fingers as you do from the crabmeat.
Get the recipe.
Cook time: 20 minutes.

Drago’s Charbroiled Oysters

Butter, fresh garlic and Parmesan cheese combine to add richness to fresh Pacific oysters in this adaptation of the signature dish at Drago’s. Serve with lots of crusty bread for sopping up all the flavorful juices from the oysters.
Get the recipe.
Cook time: 30 minutes.

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