Classic Lobster Bisque

Classic lobster bisque recipe

​The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

Prep: 45 mins
Cook: 60 mins
Total: 105 mins
Servings: 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 (1 1/4-pound) lobsters (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. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for lobster bisque
    ​The Spruce / Diana Chistruga
  2. Twist the claws and tails off of the lobsters.

    Twist claws
    ​The Spruce / Diana Chistruga
  3. Remove and discard the green tomalley and organs from the bodies, reserving the shells.

    Remove and discard tomalley
    ​The Spruce / Diana Chistruga
  4. Remove the meat from the claws and tails, reserving the shells.

    Remove meat
    ​The Spruce / Diana Chistruga
  5. Coarsely chop the lobster meat, transfer to a bowl, and cover and chill until ready to use.

    Chop lobster meat
    ​The Spruce / Diana Chistruga
  6. Chop the lobster shells into smaller pieces.

    Chop lobster
    ​The Spruce / Diana Chistruga
  7. Melt the butter in a Dutch oven or large pot.

    Melt the butter
    ​The Spruce / Diana Chistruga
  8. Add the shallots and celery and cook, stirring often, until softened.

    Add shallots
    ​The Spruce / Diana Chistruga
  9. Add the lobster shells and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 to 7 minutes, or until lightly browned.

    Add lobster shells
    ​The Spruce / Diana Chistruga
  10. Add the sherry and cook, stirring occasionally, until it almost all has evaporated.

    Add sherry and cook
    ​The Spruce / Diana Chistruga
  11. Stir in the fish broth and water, and add the garlic and bay leaves.

    Stir in fish broth
    ​The Spruce / Diana Chistruga
  12. Cover and bring the mixture to a boil.

    Cover with lid
    ​The Spruce / Diana Chistruga
  13. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 40 minutes.

    Reduce heat
    ​The Spruce / Diana Chistruga
  14. Pour the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer into a large bowl, discarding the solids. Wipe the pot clean.

    ​The Spruce / Diana Chistruga
  15. In the clean pot, whisk together the tomato paste, cornstarch, and 1/2 cup of the lobster broth.

    ​The Spruce / Diana Chistruga
  16. Once the mixture is blended, gradually pour in the remaining broth and whisk until blended.

    Whisk the sauce
    ​The Spruce / Diana Chistruga
  17. Bring to a boil and reduce the heat to medium-low.

    Bring to a boil
    ​The Spruce / Diana Chistruga 
  18. 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.

    Stir in spices
    ​The Spruce / Diana Chistruga
  19. Simmer for 5 minutes or until the lobster meat is thoroughly heated.

    ​The Spruce / Diana Chistruga
  20. Ladle the bisque into shallow bowls, top with the reserved lobster pieces, and serve with extra sherry (for stirring into the soup), if desired. 

    Ladle into bowls
    ​The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

How to Steam a Lobster

  1. 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.

  2. Add the lobsters, cover, and steam for 12 to 15 minutes, or until the shells are bright red and the antenna pulls out easily.

  3. Using a large pair of tongs, remove the lobsters to a large bowl or platter and let cool until they can be handled.