How to Boil Conch in the Shell

by Christina Kalinowski
Conchs are widely recognized by their pretty pink spiral shells.

Conchs are widely recognized by their pretty pink spiral shells.

Conch are quite the delicacy. Pronounced "konk," these exquisite sea snails have a delicate and sweet flavor like that of clams. Conch in the shell can be difficult to but locate but can often be found fresh frozen in Chinese or Italian marketplaces or specialty fish stores. If you’re lucky enough to find conch in the shell, treat yourself to a classic boiled preparation.

Lightly scrub and rinse off the conch shells with cold water. If you're using frozen conch, thaw them first.

Fill a pot with salted water or vegetable stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and add the conch to the pot. Simmer the conch for 3 to 5 minutes and remove from heat, letting them cool briefly in the liquid.

Remove the conch from the pot and serve them with small forks or toothpicks to fish the meat out of the shells. Pair conch with sauces for dipping, such as melted herb butter or a simple Asian-inspired sauce with a soy sauce base.

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Items you will need

  • Conch, in shell
  • Pot
  • Salt (optional)
  • Vegetable stock (optional)
  • Small forks or toothpicks


  • Conch meat can be tough. If you find the boiled conch are too tough to eat, finely chop them and incorporate them into soups or stews.
  • Boiling conch in salted water or vegetable stock is a classic preparation, but feel free to season the water any way you want.


  • Trim the orange and dark flesh from the conch prior to eating; these are the skin and intestines, and are not edible.


  • Fish & Shellfish: The Cook’s Indispensable Companion; James Peterson
  • The Food Lover’s Companion; Sharon Tyler Herbst and Ron Herbst
  • My Bay Kitchen: Memories of My Homeland, Travels and More; Rene M. Astudillo

About the Author

Christina Kalinowski is a writer from the Twin Cities who began her career in 2011. She contributes food and drink related articles to The Daily Meal. She holds a Master of Arts in sociology from Purdue University.

Photo Credits

  • Thinkstock Images/Stockbyte/Getty Images