Luxurious Crab Bisque

Luxurious Crab Bisque

Luxurious crab bisque is a rich, decadent soup with just a slight kiss of heat.  It’s lovely to serve for special occasions or any time you need something warm, rich, and comforting.

White bowl of Luxurious Crab Bisque, garnished with red pepper flakes and chopped parsley.

This is one of my favorite recipes to serve at a dinner party.  A Fig And Goat Cheese Tart with a pitcher of Sparkling Rosemary Pear Martinis start the party off.  Then I like to serve a Spinach Salad With Bacon and Roasted Garlic And Parmesan Palmiers along with the bisque. Dessert is usually a slice of French Lemon Meringue Pie and a bit of Espresso Irish Cream as a nightcap.

Luxurious Crab Bisque

The first time I tasted a crab bisque was at a Legal Seafood restaurant in the Boston Logan airport after my flight was delayed.  One bite and I no longer cared that my plane was nowhere to be found. One cup of bisque led to a second cup along with a lovely glass of chardonnay. Needless to say, I was very happy and maybe a bit sleepy when I finally boarded the flight.

I was on a mission after that to make it at home. This recipe has morphed and changed over the years into something that I think is pretty spectacular. I like the smooth, velvety texture of the soup and the surprise of the crab chunks at the bottom of the bowl. I hope you and your family love it as much as mine does.

Fresh lump crab meat on a white marble board.

What Is The Difference Between Bisque And Chowder?

The answer is one word:  texture. While both are creamy, seafood soups, bisque has a smooth, silky texture, and chowder is chunkier, usually with pieces of potatoes, vegetables, and seafood.

A bisque is made with more cream than chowder and is often thought of as an expensive, fancy appetizer. Both are delicious, in my opinion.

Ingredients Required

  • Butter
  • Shallots – I like using shallots in this soup.  Their delicate flavor doesn’t overwhelm the crab.
  • Celery
  • Kosher salt and white pepper
  • Old Bay Seasoning and red chili flakes
  • Garlic
  • Tomato paste – this adds the lovely orange/yellow color
  • Flour – for thickening
  • Fish stock – I used Better Than Bouillon seafood base and water, but you could use clam juice, vegetable broth, or even chicken broth.
  • Dry white wine – use a wine that you would enjoy drinking.
  • Bay leaf
  • Heavy cream
  • Crabmeat – I used canned lump crab meat, which is milder in flavor than claw meat.  Don’t use jumbo lump crab meat in this recipe – save that for crab cakes. Also, avoid the small cans of crab that are by the canned tuna.  They are very fishy tasting.  Instead, look for the containers of fresh crabmeat that are sold at the fish counter.

Steps To Make This Recipe

  1.  Saute the shallots and carrots in butter.
  2. Stir in the salt, pepper, Old Bay Seasoning, chili flakes, tomato paste, and flour.
  3. Whisk in the fish stock and wine.  
  4. Toss in the bay leaf and simmer.
  5. Pour in the cream and some of the crab meat.  Cook until the crab is hot.
  6. Puree the soup with an immersion blender.
  7. Spoon some of the reserved crab meat into the bottom of your soup bowls.
  8. Ladle the hot soup over the crab meat and garnish it with chili flakes and chopped parsley.

White bowl of Luxurious Crab Bisque, garnished with red pepper flakes and chopped parsley.

If you enjoyed this soup recipe, here are a few more to try:

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White bowl of Luxurious Crab Bisque, garnished with red pepper flakes and chopped parsley.

Luxurious Crab Bisque

  • Author: Millie Brinkley
  • Total Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4-6 1x


Luxurious crab bisque is a rich, decadent soup with just a slight kiss of heat.  It’s lovely to serve for special occasions or any time you need something warm, rich, and comforting.



4 tablespoon butter

1 medium shallot, finely minced

2 stalks celery, finely minced

½ teaspoon Kosher salt 

½ teaspoon white pepper

1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning

½ teaspoon chili flakes

2 large cloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoons tomato paste

4 tablespoons all-purpose flour

6 cups fish stock (or 6 cups of water and 2 tablespoons of seafood bouillon base)

1 ½ cups dry white wine (I used Chardonnay)

1 bay leaf

1 cup heavy cream

1 ½ pounds lump crab meat, divided

Freshly chopped parsley, as garnish

Dried chili flakes, as garnish


In a large Dutch oven over medium heat, melt the butter and saute the shallot and celery until soft – about 5 minutes.

Stir in the salt, pepper, Old Bay seasoning, chili flakes, garlic, and tomato paste.

Cook, stirring often until the garlic is fragrant and the vegetables are coated with the tomato paste – about 3 minutes.

Sprinkle the flour over the mixture, stir well to combine, and cook for another minute.

Pour in the stock and wine.  Whisk until the liquid is fully incorporated.  Nestle the bay leaf into the pot.

Reduce the heat to low and allow the mixture to simmer for 45 minutes, stirring often to prevent the soup from scorching.

Measure out 1 cup of the crab meat and set aside.

Stir in the remaining crab and heavy cream into the pot.  Simmer for another 5 minutes or until the crab is hot.

Discard the bay leaf.

Use an immersion blender to puree the soup until it’s very smooth. Taste and adjust the seasoning for salt and pepper.

To serve, spoon a bit of crab into the bottom of 4 or 6 soup bowls. Carefully ladle the soup over the crab and garnish with a sprinkle of chopped parsley and dried chili flakes, if desired.

  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Category: Starters - Soups
  • Method: Simmer
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: luxurious crab bisque, soup recipes, creamy soup, crab recipes, bisque, dinner party recipes

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