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Feb 19, 2016

Spicy Crab Bisque

Spicy Crab Bisque

There are a lot of ingredients in this spicy crab bisque, but it is really easy to put together. Plus, you can make the soup base in advance and then add the crab right before serving.

Bisque is a creamy soup of French origin, normally made from shrimp, crab, or lobster. Traditionally, the flavor is extracted from the ground shells of the crustaceans. This short-cut version is so rich tasting, yet it does not contain heavy cream. It gets its creamy texture from lots of sautéed and roasted vegetables, which are blended with the broth and milk.

We had this soup with a big salad and slices of this caramelized onion bread, and it was the perfect weeknight dinner. The hint of heat in the soup is perfect when you are craving something warm and comforting. Never mind that we were enjoying 90 degree weather here in southern California last week. El Niño, where are you???

Spicy Crab Bisque

This soup is so elegant and delicious. It's perfect as the first course for a dinner party paired with a nice sparkling white wine.

Note: I roasted the garlic and red pepper in my toaster oven on a foil lined pan for about 15 to 20 minutes, until the garlic was soft and the pepper slices were slightly charred.

If you love crab in a soup, be sure to also try Creamy Crab Soup

Our #FishFridayFoodies theme for chilly February is Seafood Stews and Soups of the World. After the recipe, check out the many delicious recipes from our members. The theme was chosen by Stacy of Food Lust People Love.

Spicy Crab Bisque


  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 5 shallots, diced
  • 4 celery stalks, thinly sliced
  • 4 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 2 1/2 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon roasted garlic, mashed
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, roasted and chopped
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 2 tablespoons shaoxing rice wine or dry sherry
  • 1 tablespoon ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/8 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp chopped fresh thyme
  • Pinch of dried basil
  • 1 1/2 tsp Sriracha or Tabasco sauce
  • 1/2 tsp Old Bay seasoning
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1 pound lump crab meat
  • Flat leafed parsley, minced, for garnish


  1. Melt the butter in a 4 quart sauce pan. Add the shallots, celery, scallions, and bay leaf. Cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes. Add the flour and saute for about two minutes.
  2. Slowly pour in the chicken broth and bring the mixture to a boil. Simmer for 15 minutes.
  3. Add the garlic, roasted bell pepper, and milk. Bring to a simmer. Add the rice wine/sherry, ketchup, tomato paste, paprika, cayenne pepper, thyme, basil, hot sauce, and Old Bay seasoning. Bring to a simmer.
  4. Remove and discard the bay leaf and blend the ingredients with an immersion blender. Season with salt and pepper to taste. If making ahead, refrigerate the soup for up to three days.
  5. Add 1/2 of the crab meat to the soup and heat through. Divide the soup into bowls and mound the rest of the crab in the middle. Garnish with the parsley.
Yield: 4 bowls or 8 cups
Tags: crab, soup, easy, light, fish, bisque

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Would you like to comment?

  1. Oh my...this is definitely going on my to make list!!

  2. Gorgeous bisque! I am glad you added the sherry. I don't always see that in recipes but think it's a must!

    1. Totally love the sherry ever since I've started making stir fries.

  3. I can tell that your bowls are full, full of crabmeat and I am swooning over here, Karen. So rich, so gooooood!

  4. oh wow, this is amazing. Seriously, I could dive into a bowl full and come back for more!

  5. Karen, this looks amazing. I wish I had a bowl of it right now. Thanks for sharing with us.

  6. I love crab bisque and I'm sure the heat from the sriracha makes it extra special. I want to make it!

  7. Your bisque looks amazing, and sounds like it was full of yummy flavor. Your pictures made me feel like I could almost reach out and take a bite!

  8. What a great take on bisque! I usually skip it because particularly in restaurants I feel that they overdo on the heavy cream. This sounds just right to me.... we normally have crab legs for dinner maybe once every couple of weeks. I never used the crab meat to cook anything else - I wonder if it's better to buy lump crab meat for this recipe... less work to get the meat ready, that's for sure ;-)

    1. This is a lot less work, but you could probably get a lot more crab flavor if you cooked shells in the first stage. This one is the "easy" version, but if you wanted to develop a fish stock you could play around this. I was thinking of adding shrimp shells in the first stage and then fishing them out with the bay leaf. There are so many possibilities.

  9. This bisque is so delicious and love the creamy texture.

  10. I simply love your crab full of crabmeat and flavour. You won my heart Karen <3

  11. This bisque sounds lovely, and I'm jealous of your warm weather too! Luck you!

  12. Oooh this is one of my favorites. Anything that showcases crab is a winner in my book! I've got to make this again ASAP.

  13. I love bisque! I've never made it, but will definitely try this recipe, it looks delicious!!


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