Seafood Boil for Shrimp, Crab, & Crawfish

Recipes for boiling these shellfish in the Deep South often call for using commercial blends like McCormick’s, Old Bay, or Zatarain’s and then adding salt. My version of these “boils” combines herbs, spices, and salt (both for flavor and to preserve the mix). Allow ½ tablespoon of the mix for each quart of water, plus half a lemon. For shrimp you will need a quart of water per pound of shrimp.


  • ¼ cup mustard seeds
  • 2 tablespoons ( cup ) black peppercorns
  • 2 tablespoons ( cup ) hot red pepper flakes
  • 6 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon celery seeds
  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger
  • a few blades of mace, or ¼ teaspoon ground
  • ¼ cup salt


Place all of the ingredients except the salt in a blender and blend until evenly ground. Add the salt and blend briefly to incorporate the salt into the seasonings. Store in well-sealed jars in a cool, dark, dry place.