Quick Instant Pot Low Country Boil Recipe

What's really in a name, anyway? Sometimes, a lot of history, as it turns out with the dish known as low country boil. Don't worry, we'll stick with the abridged version so we can get you to the cooking ASAP. 

According to Charleston Magazine, this dish was inspired by "the social traditions of the Gullah-Geechee people. Enslaved African Americans kept their culinary traditions alive while working on plantations, including making one-pot meals using readily available seafood and vegetables to serve large gatherings of people." When it was revived by a man named Robert Gay in the 1960s, the hearty dish was originally called Frogmore Stew. But then, the postal service stopped using the name "Frogmore." From then on out, it became known as a "low country boil."

Still with us? Just in case, let's sum it up like this: Low country boil is a dish combining seafood, sausage, corn, and potatoes. It was eaten in the past because that's what was available, and it's eaten today because it's delightful. And whereas in times gone by, it would have taken hours to cook up this savory meal, when you use an Instant Pot and this recipe courtesy of chef and recipe developer Erin Johnson of Probably in the Kitchen, you can be serving out bowlfuls of low country boil in less than a half-hour. Let's get to it!

Gather your ingredients for this quick Instant Pot low country boil

There is room for improvisation and experimentation here but for the first time, stick to the script! You'll need small red potatoes, scrubbed and rinsed (and halved if they're not bite-sized), corn, sliced smoked sausage, minced garlic cloves, a can or bottle of beer (12 ounces, or even 16, with a good lager working best), lots of Old Bay seasoning, lots of shrimp, de-veined, butter, and freshly chopped parsley.

"You can use peeled or unpeeled shrimp depending on your preference," says Johnson. "The shell-on shrimp will provide a stronger shrimp flavor but is not required. And if you prefer a spicier boil, use andouille sausage and add hot sauce to the boil."

Prep the veggies, then get cooking

Start off by thoroughly scrubbing and rinsing the potatoes, as you'll be leaving the skin on, and halve or even quarter any that are much larger than bite-sized. Next mince the garlic, halve the corn cobs, and slice the sausages. (You can chop the parsley later when things are cooking.)

Now add the potatoes, corn, sausage, garlic, beer, and three teaspoons of Old Bay to the Instant Pot, and stir to combine everything. Now cook these ingredients on high pressure for 10 minutes, then quick release the pressure as soon as this first step is done.

Add the shrimp and seasoning and keep cooking

Once you have finished with that first 10 minutes of cook time, add the shrimp to the Instant Pot and sprinkle it with half of the remaining Old Bay. Then, close the lid as quickly as you can in order to preserve the internal heat. Now set the Instant Pot to cook on low pressure for one minute, then again quick release the pressure. (If you're nervous about the shrimp being undercooked, you can check a few pieces with a meat thermometer — it should be at least 145 degrees for proper food safety.)

Now drain and pour the contents from the Instant Pot into a large, shallow bowl.

Top the dish with seasoning and butter, then serve

Top the dish with melted butter, the remaining Old Bay, and the fresh chopped parsley, then serve your bowls of low country boil immediately: The hotter and fresher, the better. And all the better to serve it alongside a big hunk of bread and with a cold glass of beer or lemonade.

Oh, and if you left the shells on the shrimp, now is probably a good time to remove those, or at least to point such out to your dinner guests so they can handle that part before taking a bite!

Quick Instant Pot Low Country Boil Recipe
5 from 42 ratings
In times gone by, it would have taken hours to cook up this savory meal. But now, you can throw it together in no time with the help of an Instant Pot.
Prep Time
Cook Time
Quick Instant Pot Low Country Boil
Total time: 20 minutes
  • 1 ½ pounds small red potatoes
  • 4 ears corn, halved
  • 1 pound smoked sausage, sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 can or bottle of beer (12 to 16 ounces)
  • 5 tablespoons Old Bay seasoning, divided
  • 1 ½ pound shrimp, de-veined
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted
  • ¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped
  1. Add potatoes, corn, sausage, garlic, beer, and 3 teaspoons of Old Bay to the Instant Pot and stir.
  2. Cook on high pressure for 10 minutes, then quick release pressure.
  3. Add shrimp to the Instant Pot and sprinkle with half of remaining Old Bay
  4. Cook on low pressure for 1 minute, then quick release pressure.
  5. Drain and pour contents into a large, shallow bowl.
  6. Top with melted butter, the remaining Old Bay, and parsley. Serve immediately.
Calories per Serving 857
Total Fat 43.4 g
Saturated Fat 17.0 g
Trans Fat 0.6 g
Cholesterol 324.2 mg
Total Carbohydrates 60.0 g
Dietary Fiber 5.7 g
Total Sugars 9.8 g
Sodium 1,860.9 mg
Protein 48.9 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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