Crab and Shrimp Seafood Bisque

Crab and shrimp seafood bisque in a bowl with bread alongside

The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 15 mins
Total: 30 mins
Servings: 4 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
501 Calories
35g Fat
16g Carbs
31g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 501
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 35g 44%
Saturated Fat 21g 107%
Cholesterol 277mg 92%
Sodium 902mg 39%
Total Carbohydrate 16g 6%
Dietary Fiber 1g 2%
Total Sugars 10g
Protein 31g
Vitamin C 5mg 23%
Calcium 340mg 26%
Iron 1mg 6%
Potassium 601mg 13%
*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, though it is often used to describe any creamy soup. This delicious seafood bisque is made with crab and shrimp. It's super easy to prepare and cook for a weeknight meal because it's ready in just 15 minutes.

Traditionally, a bisque is thickened with a paste made from the crustaceans' shells. This recipe takes a different approach and uses a flour-based roux. It's adaptable too; you can substitute another seafood or add a third, such as lobster, scallops, or firm, flaky fish. 

Serve the seafood bisque with freshly baked biscuits or crusty bread. If it's a lunch or main course soup, add your favorite salad.



  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • 2 tablespoons chopped green onion

  • 2 tablespoons chopped celery

  • 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

  • 8 ounces crabmeat

  • 2 tablespoons sherry wine

  • 3 tablespoons chopped parsley, cilantro, and/or green onion tops

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for crab and shrimp seafood bisque recipe gathered

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

  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, about 2 minutes.

    Green onion and celery in melted butter in a pot

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

  3. Blend the flour into the butter and vegetables until well incorporated. Continue cooking, stirring, for about 2 minutes.

    Blending flour into the butter and vegetables in a pot

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

  4. Warm the milk in another saucepan over medium heat.

    Milk warming in a saucepan

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

  5. Slowly stir the warmed milk into the butter and vegetables. Continue cooking, stirring until thickened, about 3 minutes.

    Warmed milk stirred into the butter and vegetables

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

  6. Add the freshly ground black pepper, tomato paste, and heavy cream. 

    Black pepper, tomato paste, and heavy cream added to soup base

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

  7. If desired, puree the soup in a blender or food processor at this point and then return it to the saucepan. 

    Crab and seafood bisque soup base pureed and returned to the pot

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

  8. Stir in the shrimp, crab, and sherry. Bring it to a simmer.

    Shrimp, crab, and sherry added to the soup base in a pot

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

  9. Serve hot, garnished with parsley, cilantro, and/or chopped green onion tops.

    Crab and seafood bisque with garnishes in a pot with a wooden spoon

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

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.


  • When making the roux, the goal is to heat the milk so it's about the same temperature as the flour-thickened butter mixture. If either element is too cool or hot, the roux may be lumpy or separate.
  • 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

  • Use small, cooked bay scallops or lobster instead of shrimp.
  • Replace the green onions with finely chopped shallots.
  • If desired, add a spoonful of sour cream to each bowl of bisque and swirl it in. 

How to Store and Freeze

The bisque will keep in the fridge, covered, for three to four days. To freeze, cool the soup and transfer to covered, freezer-safe, airtight containers. Date and label them and freeze for up to six 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.

Why Is It Called "Bisque"?

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. 

What's the Difference Between Seafood Bisque and Chowder?

Bisque and chowder are two popular styles of creamy soup that most often feature seafood or fish, though vegetables are popular alternatives for both. The primary difference is that a bisque is smooth and includes cooking wine, while chowder is chunky and incorporates hearty ingredients like potatoes.