Crab and Shrimp Seafood Bisque

Crab and shrimp bisque in a bowl with a parsley garnish

The Spruce

  • Total: 30 mins
  • Prep: 15 mins
  • Cook: 15 mins
  • Yield: 4 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
421 Calories
20g Fat
29g Carbs
30g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 servings
Amount per serving
Calories 421
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 20g 26%
Saturated Fat 11g 57%
Cholesterol 166mg 55%
Sodium 1023mg 44%
Total Carbohydrate 29g 11%
Dietary Fiber 2g 8%
Protein 30g
Calcium 310mg 24%
*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.)

If you're a purist, you know that a true bisque is a seafood soup, but it is often used to describe any creamy soup. The soup is French, but the origin of the word "bisque" is not clear. It might be derived from Biscay, as in the Bay of Biscay, a gulf that lies off Europe's west coast, bordering western France and northern Spain. 

This seafood bisque is made with crab and shrimp, but you may choose to substitute another seafood or add a third, such as lobster, scallops, or firm, flaky fish. 

Bisque is super easy to prepare and cook for a weeknight meal: It's ready in just 15 minutes. Serve with freshly baked biscuits or crusty bread. If it's a lunch or main course soup, add your favorite salad.

1:14

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons green onion (chopped)
  • 2 tablespoons celery, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 cups milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 8 ounces cooked baby shrimp (or other seafood)
  • 8 ounces crabmeat
  • 2 tablespoons sherry wine
  • Garnish: parsley, cilantro and/or green onion tops (chopped)

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for making crab and seafood bisque
    The Spruce
  2. Melt the butter in a Dutch oven or large saucepan over medium-low heat; add the chopped green onion and celery. Sauté, stirring, until tender.

    Melted butter for bisque in a Dutch oven
    The Spruce
  3. Blend the flour into the butter and vegetables until well incorporated. Continue cooking, stirring, for about 2 minutes.

    Flour is added to the bisque base in a Dutch oven
    The Spruce
  4. Warm the milk in another saucepan over medium heat.

    A pan of warmed milk will be added and incorporated into the bisque that's a Dutch oven
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  5. Slowly stir the warmed milk into the butter and vegetables. Continue cooking, stirring until thickened.

    The thickened bisque in a Dutch oven with a wooden spoon
    The Spruce
  6. Add the freshly ground black pepper, tomato paste, and heavy cream. 

    Seasonings and cream added to the seafood bisque in a Dutch oven
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  7. If desired, puree the soup in a blender or food processor (see the tips) at this point and then return it to the saucepan. 

    Pureed bisque in a blender
    The Spruce
  8. Stir in the shrimp, crab, and the sherry. Bring it to a simmer.

    Simmering crab and shrimp in the bisque
    The Spruce
  9. Serve hot, garnished with parsley, cilantro, and/or chopped green onion tops.

    A bowl of crab and shrimp bisque with parsley garnish
    The Spruce
  10. Enjoy!

    Use Caution When Blending Hot Ingredients

    Steam expands quickly in a blender, and can cause ingredients to splatter everywhere and/or cause burns. To prevent this, fill the blender only one-third of the way up and puree in small batches. Vent the top, and cover with a folded kitchen towel while blending.

Tip

  • Sherry is a wine fortified with brandy. Dry sherry is a good choice for this recipe. After sherry is opened, it should be stored in the refrigerator.

Recipe Variations

  • Feel free to add small cooked bay scallops or lobster instead of shrimp.
  • Replace the green onions with finely chopped shallots.
  • If desired, garnish the soup with thinly sliced green onion tops, cilantro, or parsley. Or add a spoonful of sour cream and swirl it in. 

How to Store and Freeze

  • This recipe will keep in the fridge, covered, for 3 to 4 days.
  • To freeze, cool the soup and transfer to covered, freezer-safe, airtight containers. Date and label them, and freeze for up to 6 months.
  • Defrost the bisque in the fridge and reheat gently over low heat to prevent it from getting too grainy and/or curdling. Stir well.