A lot is going on with every shrimp boil. You have the classic seafood, but there are also potatoes, sausages, sauce, corn, and other ingredients. It’s fun and delicious, so you would be surprised to know it can only get better when paired with the perfect side dishes.
Yes, even a dish as complete as a shrimp boil works well with various sides, such as grilled vegetables. However, the best are salads, bread, and sauces. Keep reading to find out the 13 best sides for a shrimp boil for you to try today!
1. KFC Coleslaw
Salads are impeccable with shrimp and seafood boils, especially the spicy ones, because their refreshing flavors tone down the heat. KFC coleslaw is one of the best options, noted for its cool, creamy, and tangy flavors. The textures are also crisp and fresh, courtesy of the cabbages, carrots, and onions. However, you don’t have to go to KFC to get this. You can make it at home with this recipe!
You can stay on the creamy and refreshing salad theme with this macaroni salad. Its dressing is made of sour cream and mayonnaise, so you’re sure it’s rich and luxurious. There’s also a ton of flavor from pickle juice, red wine vinegar, mustard, sugar, spices, and seasonings. Interestingly, this salad also has hard-boiled eggs, which make it taste creamier and incorporates a unique eggy flavor.
A shrimp boil can be made using the grill, and when you do, pair it with a classic side to grilled dishes: potato salad. If you’ve noticed, this recipe shares many elements with the macaroni salad above, like hard-boiled eggs, mustard, mayonnaise, pickles, and seasonings. However, because this one features potatoes instead of macaroni, the textures are chunky and starchy, especially if you use the recommended potato types.
While fruit salads are usually reserved for desserts, you can have your shrimp boil with watermelon salad on the side. As you’d know, watermelon is an incredibly refreshing fruit, so it’s great for combatting the heat and spiciness your shrimp boil may have. Besides the watermelon chunks, this recipe has cucumbers, onions, feta, avocados, mint or basil, hot peppers, and salt. Thus, expect an exciting partner for your meal.
In a way, cucumber would be the vegetable alternative to watermelon because it’s also highly refreshing. Both have more than 90% water content, which explains the intense moisture and cool feel, especially when served fresh. Thus, make this cucumber salad with the freshest produce you can find. Moreover, this recipe is best for those who don’t like creamy salads because it doesn’t have cream, mayo, or other similar components.
Bread is a great side dish for shrimp boil because you can tear it into chunks and dip them. They’ll absorb the juice amazingly and incorporate their flavors along the way. For instance, this cornbread has fluffy and soft textures that are excellent for sopping up the boil’s sauce. Thus, when you eat shrimp boil-soaked cornbread, you get a mixture of sweet, buttery, spicy, and savory flavors.
If cornbread is too sweet for you, make a plain one instead. A no-knead recipe is suited for beginners who want to make bread but need more time or skill to follow intricate procedures. This recipe calls for four ingredients only: flour, active yeast, salt, and water. Thus, it’s easy to follow and try, although you’d have to make this in advance because the dough has to sit overnight.
Do you want something a bit more advanced than no-knead bread? Try French bread, whose subtle sweet and buttery flavors are perfect for a shrimp boil. It’s effortless to make with an electric mixer using this recipe! Another good thing is it takes less time than no-knead bread. The dough takes only 2 hours and 30 minutes to rise, so within 4 hours, you’ll have your warm bread.
Another “fancy” bread you can make at home is sourdough, which has tangy flavors that contrast those of French bread. Such a taste makes it more interesting, along with its tender flesh and crusty exterior. However, this one is more complicated than the French or no-knead bread. You must carefully follow the steps to ensure it comes out with the perfect texture and balanced taste.
10. Garlic Bread
Don’t want to make bread from scratch? That’s perfectly fine! This garlic bread recipe can upgrade whatever you buy from the bakery. Unlike other recipes, though, this one isn’t extra cheesy or rich, making it the best option for a shrimp boil. Too much cheese combined with shrimp boil will overwhelm you with oily textures and flavors, so be sure to note that.
11. Hush Puppies
Technically, hush puppies aren’t bread, but they’re similar to cornbread as they’re made of cornmeal batter. Dollops of this batter are dropped into the oil so they fry and form golden brown balls. You can munch on those as they are or dip them into sauces, such as the one shrimp boil has. Thus, like bread, it’s good for sopping up extra flavors and juices.
12. Cocktail Sauce
Although most shrimp boils are made saucy and juicy, some still dip their peeled shrimp into another sauce for added flavor and moisture. Cocktail sauce, which is creamy and spicy, is a classic condiment for seafood; thus, many have it with their shrimp boil. It’s easy to make at home as you’ll only need ketchup, chili sauce, Worcestershire, horseradish, and lemon juice.
For those who want their shrimp boil to taste fiery hot, serve it with hot sauce. You can dip the peeled, juicy shrimps into it so they’d set fire to your mouth once you taste them. Although many ready-made hot sauces are being sold already, homemade is an excellent choice for those who want to control the level of heat and spiciness.