How to Create a Seafood Tower at Home

by A.J. Andrews ; Updated September 28, 2017

Round tables work best for serving seafood towers to multiple seated guests.

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Items you will need

  • 3-tiered seafood tray holder with trays
  • 1 lobster
  • 4 king crab legs
  • 1 1/2 pounds shrimp
  • Lobster cracker
  • Crushed ice
  • 1 pound seaweed (optional)
  • Oyster knife
  • Clam knife
  • 20 oysters, such as Olympia
  • 15 clams, such as littleneck
  • Lemon wedges
  • Seafood sauce, such as mignonette
  • Lemon butter
  • 4 ounces caviar, such as osetra

Seafood towers consist of copious amounts of fresh shellfish served in a tiered stand containing three serving platters of descending sizes. They’re primarily presented at informal functions and served family-style – like a refined seafood buffet. Classic fruit de mer constitutes the tower’s offerings, which commonly include oysters, clams, crabs, lobster, shrimp and caviar. Making a seafood tower at home is simply a matter of acquiring the proper serving vessel – the tiered seafood stand and trays – and arranging the seafood on them.

Step 1

Crack the lobster claws. Separate the crab legs at the joints and cut through the shells to expose the flesh.

Step 2

Fill the trays of the 3-tiered seafood tower with 2 inches of crushed ice. Cover the ice with seaweed. Shuck 20 oysters and 15 clams.

Step 3

Arrange the oysters around the edge of the bottom tray. Place the clams inside the circle of oysters, making a second circle.

Step 4

Place several lemon wedges and a ramekin of sauce, such as mignonette, in the center of the bottom tray.

Step 5

Remove the shellfish from the refrigerator. Position a ramekin of lemon butter in the center of the second tray. Arrange the crab legs around the lemon butter.

Step 6

Line the perimeter of the second tray with the shrimp. Position the caviar in the center of the top tray and arrange the lobster around it.


  • Serve the caviar in the gold-plated tin it came in or transfer it to a glass or ceramic dish. Use a plastic, gold, glass, silver or ceramic spoon to serve and transfer the caviar to a separate dish for the tower. Inert metals, such as stainless steel, impart metallic flavors to caviar.
    Add the sauces of your choice to the tower, such as cocktail or saffron aioli. A set of 12-inch, 14-inch and 16-inch seafood trays with the accompanying tier system accomodates the quantity of seafood prescribed in the above tutorial. You can adjust the types of seafood for the tower to your preferences. For instance, substitute mussels for clams, or crayfish for shrimp.

Photo Credits

  • mapasik/iStock/Getty Images

About the Author

A.J. Andrews' work has appeared in Food and Wine, Fricote and "BBC Good Food." He lives in Europe where he bakes with wild yeast, milks goats for cheese and prepares for the Court of Master Sommeliers level II exam. Andrews received formal training at Le Cordon Bleu.