Classic French Bouillabaisse


Iain Bagwell / Getty Images

Prep: 30 mins
Cook: 30 mins
Total: 60 mins
Servings: 10 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
1067 Calories
28g Fat
54g Carbs
152g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 10
Amount per serving
Calories 1067
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 28g 36%
Saturated Fat 7g 36%
Cholesterol 312mg 104%
Sodium 769mg 33%
Total Carbohydrate 54g 20%
Dietary Fiber 4g 15%
Total Sugars 7g
Protein 152g
Vitamin C 17mg 87%
Calcium 139mg 11%
Iron 7mg 41%
Potassium 2711mg 58%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Bouillabaisse is by far one of the best known classic French dishes. It is more than stew many often refer to it as. The rich dish teems with fresh fish and seafood with the classic combination being conger, scorpionfish, sea bass, whiting, monkfish, octopus, crab, spiny lobster, and angler fish, among many other seafood varieties.

Marseille is the recognized home to the famous dish, though it can be found elsewhere, for the authentic and best, then you need to head to the South. 

This bouillabaisse recipe is an heirloom recipe dating back 150 years to ancestors in the south of France. This is the original Marseille bouillabaisse, a simple seafood stew fishermen made with their unsalable fish. Many additions have been made to other versions over the years, as cultures intermeshed and international ingredients became widely available. This bouillabaisse, on the other hand, is delicious in its simplicity.


  • 2 large onions, chopped

  • 1/2 cup olive oil, divided

  • 4 tomatoes, chopped

  • 1 large bouquet garni

  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed

  • 1 large strip orange zest (not in the original recipe)

  • 1 teaspoon saffron threads (not in the original recipe), optional

  • 1 1/2 pounds potatoes, cubed

  • 12 pounds assorted fresh fish, cleaned and prepared

  • Salt, to taste

  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

  • Fresh crusty baguette, sliced and toasted

  • Sauce rouille or aioli, for garnish

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. In a large stockpot set over medium-low heat, cook the onions in 1/4 cup of the olive oil until they turn translucent and tender, taking special care to make sure they do not burn.

  3. Add the chopped tomatoes, bouquet garni, garlic, orange zest, saffron, and potatoes to the pot. Generously season the vegetables with sea salt and pepper.


    Do not be afraid to season generously, the fish can take it. The salt will bring out the flavor.

  4. Layer the prepared seafood over the vegetables. Drizzle the seafood with the remaining olive oil and allow it to rest for 10 minutes.

  5. Pour just enough boiling or very hot water over the vegetables and the seafood to cover all the ingredients. Bring the stew to a full, rolling boil for 15 minutes. Turn the heat off and let the soup stand for 5 minutes. 

  6. Place the toasted baguette slices in the bottom of soup bowls and ladle the bouillabaisse over the bread.

  7. Serve the sauce rouille and/ or aioli on the side or take a spoonful of either and stir into the soup—but do this only if you are sure you really like them, they can sometimes be too strong for milder palettes. 

  8. In some areas, the broth would be eaten first, poured over the toasted bread, then the fish and seafood afterward. Both ways are delicious. 

  9. Serve and enjoy.