How to Make The Best Viet-Cajun Crawfish


My dad has the best Viet-Cajun crawfish recipe and nothing beats his backyard boils! This style of crawfish was popularized in the Houston area and is an awesome blend of the Vietnamese and Cajun cultures there. It’s known for being coated in rich garlic butter and for its fresh orange citrus flavors.

Viet-Cajun crawfish

What is a Viet-Cajun Crawfish?

Viet-Cajun is a popular style of crawfish in the Houston area. Houston is home to a large population of Vietnamese immigrants and Louisiana transplants. As a result, a wonderful fusion of two delicious food cultures was created. Viet-Cajun crawfish is known for being tossed in a garlic butter sauce after it is boiled. Traditional Louisiana crawfish on the other hand is not covered in sauce. Everyone has a unique way of making their boil. Some Viet-Cajun boils may include lemongrass, ginger, scallions, etc. My dad’s recipe features oranges which enhances the natural sweetness of the crawfish meat and adds a nice balance to the salty seasonings. If you haven’t already check out Netflix’s Ugly Delicious, Season 1, Shrimp & Crawfish episode to learn more about Viet-Cajun crawfish!

Viet-Cajun crawfish boil ingredients

How to Eat Crawfish

My favorite way to eat crawfish is to squeeze fresh lemon and/or lime on top right before eating. We also usually serve with melted butter, crawfish seasoning, ketchup, and mayo. My mom’s favorite is mixing equal parts ketchup and mayo to dip the crawfish tails in. Although tails are universally loved, the crawfish heads are where all the actual flavor is. Suck on the heads to really savor all the delicious seasonings from the boil. Then crack it open and eat the yellow stuff inside the ribs. Don’t forget to suck on the ribs too! The yellow stuff is commonly mistaken for poop but it is actually the hepatopancreas which is like the crawfish’s version of a liver. It is rich and creamy like seafood butter or foie gras of the sea (or bayou), as I like to call it. Some say it tastes similar to uni!

crawfish ketchup mayo sauce

Frequently Asked Questions

How many pounds of crawfish per person? A good rule of thumb is 3-5 pounds per person but it also depends on who you’re feeding. Remember most of the weight is in the shells!

Why do you add boiled peanuts? My family loves boiled peanuts with our crawfish! Boiled peanuts are a popular snack in the south. It soaks up the flavors of the boil really well and is just fun to snack on when you need a break from peeling crawfish. Like potatoes, it doesn’t add flavor to the boil so you can omit them if you’re allergic or not a fan.

Do the oranges make it sweet? Oranges add a nice citrusy flavor and balance out the saltiness. It adds a slight sweetness that enhances the crawfish meat. It won’t make the boil taste like dessert or a fruit juice. I wouldn’t omit these ingredients because I think this is what makes my dad’s Viet-Cajun crawfish recipe special!

Viet-Cajun crawfish family recipe

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Viet-Cajun Crawfish

Prep Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings 5


  • 64 quart boiler pot with strainer pot (may have to cook crawfish in multiple batches, 32 quart pot minimum)
  • propane stove
  • propane



  • 15 lbs live crawfish
  • 2 gallons water
  • 4 navel oranges, halved
  • 2 lbs Louisiana Crawfish, Shrimp, & Crab Boil Seasoning
  • 2 garlic bulbs, halved
  • 2 onions, halved
  • 3 12 oz andouille sausage links, cut into chunks
  • 1 lb boiled peanuts, shell on
  • 1 stalk celery, sticks cut in thirds
  • 2 gallons orange juice
  • 12 frozen corn on the cob mini
  • 7 red potatoes


  • 3 cups butter
  • 1/2 cup Louisiana Crawfish, Shrimp, & Crab Boil Seasoning
  • 5 garlic bulbs, minced
  • 2 onions, chopped


  • fresh lemons
  • fresh limes
  • melted butter
  • ketchup
  • mayo
  • Louisiana Fish Fry Products Crawfish, Shrimp, & Crab Boil Seasoning



  • To the pot add water, oranges, seasoning, garlic, onions, sausage, boiled peanuts, celery, and orange juice. Bring to a boil.
  • Add corn and potatoes. Cook and boil for 15 minutes.
  • Add crawfish and boil for 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and let it soak for 10 minutes.


  • In a medium pot add all ingredients for the garlic butter sauce.
  • Cook on medium heat until garlic and onions are soft and translucent.


  • Remove crawfish with the strainer pot or strainer.
  • Toss in garlic butter sauce.
  • Serve with fresh lemon, lime, melted butter, mayo ketchup, and crawfish boil seasoning.



4 thoughts on “How to Make The Best Viet-Cajun Crawfish”

  • Hi! I have a 42 quart boiler pot and about 33 lbs of crawfish to cook, how would you recommend I go about this? I’m not sure if the exact amounts from your recipe will fit in my 42 quart pot. I was wondering if I would have to maybe half your recipe and then only cook about 7.5 lbs every time and then pour out every thing from the pot with it and then do another whole batch? because I have to double this recipe so that there’s enough sausage and corn for my entire family. Or do you think it’ll all still fit fine in my pot? I’m assuming it wont because my pot is much smaller and I doubled it.

    • Hello! I would definitely do it in batches! The ingredients + liquids in my recipe fills up almost 32 quarts, so you will have some room to cook the crawfish but not the whole 33 pounds at once. You can reuse the liquid for each batch instead of pouring it all out and starting over. Just add in new crawfish, potatoes, sausage and corn for each batch, remove it with the strainer pot when it’s done cooking, and repeat. Sausage and corn won’t really affect the flavor of the boiling liquid much so you can just add in extra of those without increasing the other ingredients proportionally. Hope this helps and that your boil turns out amazing!

  • It has been a few years since I saw that Ugly Delicious episode. We live in the Houston area and I have wanted to try this vietnamese-cajun fusion for a long time. It has been hard to get away from our traditional cajun style boil. I am going to give this a shot this weekend. I will report back.

    • I hope you liked it! Since you are in Houston, next time crawfish season rolls around, I recommend trying Crawfish Cafe (Bellaire/Hong Kong location) when you don’t feel like cooking. It is my favorite for Viet-Cajun style!

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