Classic Lobster Bisque

Bowl of Lobster Bisque
Annabelle Breakey/Photolibrary/Getty Images
  • Total: 105 mins
  • Prep: 45 mins
  • Cook: 60 mins
  • Yield: 6 to 8 Servings

This rich and creamy lobster bisque will make a heavenly entrée or can be served in smaller portions as a first course. Dry sherry and lobster make a natural flavor pairing, and here they come together in perfect harmony. See below for tips on cooking the perfect lobster. 


  • 3 lobsters (1 1/4 lb) (steamed)
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup shallot (or onion, chopped)
  • 1/2 cup celery (chopped)
  • 1/2 cup​ dry sherry, (plus extra for serving)
  • 4 cups fish stock (or clam juice)
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 garlic cloves (pressed)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons fresh tarragon (chopped)

Steps to Make It

  1. Twist the claws and tails off of the lobsters.

  2. Remove and discard the green tomalley and organs from the bodies, reserving the shells.

  3. Remove the meat from the claws and tails, reserving the shells.

  4. Coarsely chop the lobster meat, transfer to a bowl, and cover and chill until ready to use.

  5. Chop the lobster shells into smaller pieces.

  6. Melt the butter in a Dutch oven or large pot.

  7. Add the shallots and celery and cook, stirring often, until softened.

  8. Add the lobster shells and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 to 7 minutes, or until lightly browned.

  9. Add the sherry and cook, stirring occasionally, until it almost all has evaporated.

  10. Stir in the fish broth and water, and add the garlic and bay leaves.

  11. Cover and bring the mixture to a boil.

  12. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 40 minutes.

  13. Pour the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer into a large bowl, discarding the solids. Wipe the pot clean.

  14. In the clean pot, whisk together the tomato paste, cornstarch, and 1/2 cup of the lobster broth.

  15. Once the mixture is blended, gradually pour in the remaining broth and whisk until blended.

  16. Bring to a boil and reduce the heat to medium-low.

  17. Stir in the cream, tarragon, and chopped lobster pieces (reserving a few of the larger pieces for garnish). Season to taste with salt and pepper.

  18. Simmer for 5 minutes or until the lobster meat is thoroughly heated.

  19. Ladle the bisque into shallow bowls, top with the reserved lobster pieces, and serve with extra sherry (for stirring into the soup), if desired. 

How to Steam a Lobster

To steam the lobsters, choose a kettle large enough to generously hold them. Add about 1 quart of water mixed with 2 tablespoons salt. The water should be about 2 inches deep. Bring the water to a boil. Add the lobsters, cover, and steam for 12 to 15 minutes, or until the shells are bright red and the antenna pulls out easily. Using a large pair of tongs, remove the lobsters to a large bowl or platter and let cool until they can be handled.