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For the past 35 years, we have had a low country boil for Christmas Eve dinner.  When we first started having low country boil on Christmas Eve, it was because we wanted to create special memories and have a fun and unique meal together. 

Instant pot crab leg cluster butter potatoes and corn with a pair of scissors to cut open the crab legs

However, as our family grew with more children, we realized that making it a tradition was important because it meant that everyone would come home on Christmas Eve, even when they were adults.

Our theory proved correct – Christmas Eve is a special dinner that nobody wants to miss. Now that all our kids are grown and have families of their own, some years we can have up to 27 people gathered around our Christmas Eve table.  

That’s a lot of crab legs and a lot of buckets to throw all the trash in as we pick and peel out the delicate meat.

Family pictures of Low Country Boil on Christmas Eve

🪺 However, now that we are empty nesters, every once in a while, I get hungry for a small serving of lowcountry boil recipe. Hence, the creation of this recipe, Instant Pot Low Country Boil for two. 

What Is a Low Country Boil? 

Low Country Boil, also known as Frogmore Stew, is a traditional Southern dish originating from the coastal regions of South Carolina and Georgia. It’s a one-pot meal featuring a combination of seafood (such as shrimp and crab), sausage, corn on the cob, and potatoes, all seasoned with a flavorful blend of Old Bay seasoning, cayenne pepper, and other spices.

Why Use An Instant Pot?

Using an Instant Pot for a Low Country Boil is the perfect option for a small gathering. Not only does it significantly reduce the cooking time, but it also makes for easy clean-up.  Plus, the Instant Pot helps to infuse the flavors of the ingredients more quickly, resulting in a delicious one pot dinner. 

For this recipe, I used an 8-quart Instant Pot so the crab legs fit snugly while the Instant Pot is doing its magic.

Ingredients Needed

Ingredients needed to make a low country boil in the instant pot potatoes onions corn crab legs Old Bay and butter
  • Corn: Only use fresh corn, not frozen.  Frozen corn gets mushy when cooked in the instant pot for this recipe. 
  • Potatoes: I like to use small red and gold potatoes.  The goal is to keep them all about the same size so they cook evenly. 
  • Onions: Little pearl onions are a great option; however, a sweet onion peeled and quartered would be great also. 
  • Liquid: You will need two cups of water; however, if you prefer to substitute beer for water, this will add some nice flavor to your crab legs, corn, and potatoes. 
  • Crab: I like to use snow crab legs. They are easy to bend and fit into the instant pot. 

Crab Cooking Tip:  It’s best to defrost the crab legs before cooking them in the Instant Pot. This ensures even cooking and helps to preserve the texture and flavor of the crab meat.

What seasoning is used in a low country boil

  • Spice: I like to use Old Bay Seasoning or Zateran’s Crawfish, Shrimp and Crab Boil. Old Bay is not quite as spicy as Zateran’s which if serving to kids or someone that doesn’t like really spicy food, might be the best choice. 
  • Butter: I know butter is not really a spice, but using real creamy butter as a drizzle and a dip is key to the flavor of this yummy one-pot dinner. 

📝 Note: You can find the full recipe with ingredients and measurements in the recipe card located at the bottom of this post.

Making An Instant Pot Low Country Boil

  1. Begin by placing the baby potatoes, pearl onions, and fresh corn that has been snapped in half into your Instant Pot. 
  2. Add water to the bottom of the Instant Pot
  3. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of the Old Bay Seasoning over the vegetables.
The vegetables being put in an instant pot for Low Country Boil including potatoes corn onions sprinkled with Old Bay
  1. Secure the lid on your Instant Pot and set it to manual for 5 minutes. Once cooking is complete, release the pressure quickly.
  2. Remove the lid and add the crab legs to the Instant Pot. You might need to bend them some to get them tucked into the pot. Ensure the crab sits on top of the vegetables, not submerged in the liquid.
  3. Sprinkle one tablespoon of the Old Bay crab-boil seasoning over the crab legs.  
Crab legs going into an instant pot sprinkled with Old Bay
  1. Secure the lid on the Instant Pot and set it to manual for another 5 minutes. Then, use the quick-release option once again.
  2. Prepare the butter by melting 6 tablespoons in the microwave or a small pan on the stove. Divide the melted butter between two small bowls for serving. 
  3. After releasing the pressure, stir the contents of the crab boil. Drain the seafood and veggies into a large bowl. Drizzle two tablespoons of butter over the mixture and toss everything together. Sprinkle on some more Old Bay seasoning.
  4. Serve the low country boil in the bowl, or for a more traditional approach, spread it out on newspapers for a fun and casual dining experience.
A big platter of lowcountry boil that was made in an instant pot

Change It Up 

When making instant pot crab boil for dinner, you might want to add some of these ingredents to make this your own custom low country boil. 

Add Ins For Flavor

  • Add 1 pound of sliced, cooked andouille sausage, smoked sausage, or kielbasa.
  • Toss in 4 cloves of fresh garlic that has been peeled. 
  • Add one lemon, sliced in half.
  • Pick up the heat and add a tablespoon or so of hot sauce to the water
  • Change out the water for your favorite beer.
  • If you do not want a spicy crab boil, add 1/4 cup of my seafood boil seasoning recipe wrapped in cheesecloth and submerge it in the water. 

Other Seafoods That Can Be Added

During the second cooking time, when you add the crab legs, you could also add a pound or two of your other favorite seafood. 

  • Shrimp: Be sure they are thawed, not frozen. 
  •  Clams
  •  Mussels
  • Crawfish: raw, thawed, or live

Tips For Serving A Low Country Boil

  • Typically, a warm cup of melted butter is the perfect dipping sauce. 
  • For a special dipping sauce, I like to make Garlic Lemon Butter or Boiling Crab Sauce.
  • When serving a low country boil, be sure to provide lemon wedges for squeezing over the seafood.
  •  Be sure to serve with plenty of napkins for messy fingers. We even have warm, wet washclothes for everyone to wipe their hands on. 
  • You can serve the meal in big bowls or on a large platter, or for a more traditional approach, spread it out on newspapers for a fun and casual dining experience.
  • Additionally, set out a bowl for shells and discards to help keep things tidy during the meal.

Storage and Leftovers

  • Storage: To store leftovers of the low country boil, you should first transfer the food to an airtight container and promptly refrigerate it. Leftovers can be kept in the refrigerator for 3 or 4 days.
  • Reheat: To reheat,  place the leftovers in a microwave-safe dish, cover it with a few pieces of damp paper towel, and heat in the microwave until it’s heated through. Be careful not to overheat because the crab and corn will become tough. Serve with a drizzle of melted butter. 

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Lowcountry boil made in an instant pot on a large tray with butter melted in bowls and crab crackers
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Southern Low Country Seafood Boil (Instant Pot)

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 4
Hungry for a flavor-filled low country seafood boil, but find yourself short on time? This Instant Pot recipe for Southern-style low country boil needs only 10 minutes of prep time! Loaded with snow crab legs, fresh corn on the cob, and fork-tender potatoes, it's an impressive — but terrifically easy to make at home — one pot dinner that's great for feeding a crowd.

Note: Be sure to read through the recipe’s post for tips and details about this recipe.

hand showing you to tap on the ingredient to add to your walmart and target list.

Ingredients
 

  • 3 ears corn, husked, washed, and snapped in half.
  • 1 1/2 pounds new potatoes, a variety of small red and yellow
  • 3/4 cup pearl onions , peeled with root tips cut off
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons Old Bay Seasoning. , depending on how spicy you want your crab boil to be you can add more or less
  • 3 pounds snow crab legs , thaw in refrigerator overnight before cooking
  • 1/2 cup butter , for the love of good food, only use real butter for this recipe

Instructions
 

  • Begin by placing the baby potatoes, pearl onions, and fresh corn that has been snapped in half into your Instant Pot.
    3 ears corn, 1 1/2 pounds new potatoes, 3/4 cup pearl onions
  • Add water to the bottom of the Instant Pot
    2 cups water
  • Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of the Old Bay Seasoning over the vegetables.
    2 tablespoons Old Bay Seasoning.
  • Secure the lid on your Instant Pot and set it to manual for 5 minutes. Once cooking is complete, release the pressure quickly.
  • Remove the lid and add the crab legs to the Instant Pot. You might need to bend them some to get them tucked into the pot. Ensure the crab sits on top of the vegetables, not submerged in the liquid.
    3 pounds snow crab legs
  • Sprinkle one tablespoon of the Old Bay seasoning over the crab legs.
  • Secure the lid on the Instant Pot and set it to manual for another 5 minutes. Then, use the quick-release option once again.
  • Prepare the butter by melting 8 tablespoons in the microwave or a small pan on the stove. Divide the melted butter between two small bowls for serving. *Set aside 2 tablespoons of butter to drizzle on cooked crab legs and veggies.
    1/2 cup butter
  • Note* Another option would be to make garlic lemon butter to dip the crab in and pour over the corn and potatoes. See notes for the ripe link.
  • After releasing the pressure, stir the contents of the crab boil. Drain the juices from the seafood and veggies into a large bowl. Drizzle two tablespoons of butter over the mixture and toss everything together. Sprinkle on some more Old Bay seasoning.
  • Serve the low country boil in the bowl, or for a more traditional approach, spread it out on newspapers for a fun and casual dining experience.

Equipment

Notes

Crab Cooking Tip:  It’s best to defrost the crab legs before cooking them in the Instant Pot. This ensures even cooking and helps to preserve the texture and flavor of the crab meat.
Dipping Sauce Option
Garlic Lemon Butter: intentionalhospitality.com/how-to-make-lemon-garlic-butter-sauce/
Storage and Leftovers
  • Storage: To store leftovers of the low country boil, you should first transfer the food to an airtight container and promptly refrigerate it. Leftovers can be kept in the refrigerator for 3 or 4 days.
  • Reheat: To reheat,  place the leftovers in a microwave-safe dish, cover it with a few pieces of damp paper towel, and heat in the microwave until it’s heated through. Be careful not to overheat because the crab and corn will become tough. Serve with a drizzle of melted butter. 
 
Serving: 1serving, Calories: 460kcal, Carbohydrates: 37g, Protein: 67g, Fat: 3g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 146mg, Sodium: 2894mg, Potassium: 1531mg, Fiber: 5g, Sugar: 5g, Vitamin A: 190IU, Vitamin C: 61mg, Calcium: 245mg, Iron: 4mg
Course: Main Dish
Author: Gina Dickson

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