As the vibrant colors of Mardi Gras parade through the streets of Jefferson Parish, another beloved tradition simmers to life in countless backyards during the holiday: boiling crawfish. This Cajun delicacy isn't just about indulging in succulent shellfish; it's a cherished ritual that brings families together in celebration of culture, community, and good food.

Mardi Gras, or Fat Tuesday, marks the culmination of Carnival season, a time of revelry and feasting before the solemnity of Lent. While the streets of Metairie, Kenner, Marrero, and New Orleans pulsate with music and masquerade, many households turn their focus to preparing a feast fit for "kings and queens" – and at the center of it all is the crawfish boil.

Do you know how to peel and eat a crawfish? Charlene explains her favorite way HERE. Looking for crawfish recipes or businesses in Jefferson Parish that sell crawfish? Click HERE.

How to Boil Crawfish


•    35 to 40 pounds live crawfish
•    1 Jar of Zatarain’s Crawfish, Shrimp & Crab Boil Seasoning
•    1 4 oz Zatarain's Concentrated Liquid Shrimp & Crab Boil
•    Extras: lemons, onions, garlic, red potatoes, corn on the cob, sausage, mushrooms (whatever you like!)

Special equipment:

•    20-gallon crawfish pot with basket and lid, or equivalent pot used for frying turkeys 
•    lifting hook to lower the basket into the cooking pot Propane burner
•    Heavy-duty rubber kitchen gloves to protect against burns and spices 
•    Heavy-duty apron (optional)
•    1 or 2 large ice chests with a drain plug 


1) Clean the crawfish if they are not pre-cleaned. Place the bag of crawfish in 1 of the coolers, or, on the ground and hose down the bag until the water runs clear, about 5 minutes. Open the bag and pour the live crawfish into 1 of the coolers. With the drain of the cooler open, continue to rinse the crawfish for 5 minutes or until the water runs clear. (optional)
2) Place the cooking pot with its basket on the propane burner & fill with 11 gallons of water, about halfway. This should be the right amount of water to protect against spillage when the crawfish is added later. Add all of the seasonings. Cover & bring to a boil. 
3) Pour the crawfish into the cooking basket and lower the basket into the pot. Bring to a boil and cook the crawfish for 15 minutes. Turn the heat off and allow the crawfish to simmer in the liquid for an additional 20 minutes. 
4) Remove the crawfish and EAT UP. Traditionally, the crawfish is dumped onto a newspaper-covered table. 

*Variation: Feel free to add 1 to 2 pounds of various fruits & veggies, like onions, garlic, and lemons to the cooking liquid.