All the Essentials for a Southern-Style Seafood Boil

Who doesn't love a party that revolves around melted butter?

With the sun shining bright until nearly 9 every night, there’s no time like the present to host a Southern-style seafood boil in your back yard. I’m outlining all the must-know hosting essentials to pull the party off, so go ahead and invite your friends and family over to partake in some buttery, messy fun.

The Shopping List

Crawfish boil

Crawfish boil

The spoilings of a crawfish boil, a Louisiana tradition.

Photo by: istock


A true seafood boil will, without question, include the following key ingredients: red potatoes, onions, corn, lemon, melted butter and seafood boil seasoning. Add in your seafood of choice – be it shrimp, crawfish or crab – and thickly sliced kielbasa, too. Fresh French bread and other seasonings are encouraged, optional additions to the boil. Find the full recipe below.

Lowcountry Boil Recipe

Also known as Frogmore Stew, this simple shrimp boil is traditionally served family-style.

Stock the Bar (Cart)

Local Drinks and Decor

Local Drinks and Decor

You can always impress guests with a specialty drink, and you don't have to be a mixologist or sommelier to do it, just find one at your local gourmet grocery store. Many specialty grocery stores will have food and beverage experts on site who can offer recommendations for locally-produced nonalcoholic beverages as well as picks from local breweries and wine that works with your menu. Additionally, they almost always have information packets about the products that you can take home and place on your table for guests to explore.

Photo by: Nicole Caudle

Nicole Caudle

Don’t forget to grab some boozy libations on the way home from the grocery store. Boils are casual backyard parties – no need to grab the top-shelf Chardonnay. Opt for refreshing big-batch cocktails, locally brewed beers or try out my personal favorite – the watermelon keg.

Set the Scene

Wicker Always Works

Wicker Always Works

Wicker is my go-to item for an outdoor party. If you can’t afford to buy a new set of wicker lounge furniture, a wicker plate charger is all you need. By planning ahead and buying in the winter months, you can always find a deal at a local showroom or thrift store. With this classic base, be sure to add character with a favorite plate that matches the personality of your guests. No matter if you choose a modern square plate or gold-rimmed china, your wicker charger will add the right element of relaxed style to your party.

Photo by: Nicole Caudle

Nicole Caudle

Again, keeping things casual is key here. Line the center of the table with tons and tons of newspaper or butcher paper. You’ll be pouring the boiled feast straight onto the table, so paper is key. Set the table with light, airy accessories and blue accents to give off a beachy, backyard vacay vibe. I’m obsessed with the wicker placemats pictured above. Get a similar set and you’ll be sure to reach for them at every summer soiree to come.

Pretty Paper Goods

Red and White Napkins


Keep your spread colorful and fun by offering guests paper napkins with summer prints and patterns such as checkerboard or gingham.

Photo by: Flynnside Out Productions

Flynnside Out Productions

Pretty paper plates and napkins are equally as crucial to a successful seafood boil as the paper lining the table. Guests are peeling shrimp, dunking corn in butter and breaking bread with their hands. These classic, red-and-white gingham-print napkins scream summer, don’t they?

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Let the Games Begin

Red and Blue Corn Hole Boards

How to Make a Corn Hole Game From Pallets

Liven up your next backyard bash with this vintage inspired corn hole game made from old wooden pallets.

Photo by: Flynnside Out Productions

Flynnside Out Productions

Add some fun to the feast with backyard games. You can’t go wrong with a nice set of cornhole games for the adults or an easy, DIY water game for the kids. (Trust me, the parents will thank you for providing water-based entertainment after their kiddos are drenched in melted butter!)

Sticky + Sweet

Red, White and Blue Berry Pops

Red, White and Blue Berry Pops

Beat the heat in style with this colorful holiday dessert.

Photo by: Photo by Mick Telkamp

Photo by Mick Telkamp

Provide your partygoers with one last sticky, messy treat before they head home for the evening. These red, white and blue popsicles are easy to make and the perfect way to cool off at the end of the day.

End on a Pleasant "Pop!"

kettle popcorn in weck jars

Popcorn Party Favors

Send guests home with kettle popcorn party favors that stick with the county fair theme.

Photo by: Cheyenne Mojica Photography

Cheyenne Mojica Photography

Don’t forget to make our easy, DIY popcorn party favors ahead of time so you can hand them out as guests hit the road. (Because who doesn’t love a salty late-night snack?)

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