Crab Bisque is an incredibly creamy and irresistibly flavorful soup that will warm you right up. After you create a base of sautéed onion, garlic, and celery along with tomato paste, flour, and broth, blend until smooth and stir in lump crab meat. Once you know how to make this recipe, you can have a little bit of Cajun flavor whenever you want!

Crab bisque is creamy and delicious.

Creamy Cajun Crab Bisque

Growing up we would only ever go to Pappadeaux on special occasions. Like a Mother’s Day kind of occasion.

And every time we went, I always looked forward to a big bowl of their bisque.

It was creamy and savory, with hints of tomato flavor and bites of seafood throughout.

Then recently on a cold winter night, the craving hit and I had to satisfy it. But instead of using crawfish, I decided to go for crab since they were in season.

And the result was out of this world delicious!!

The Cajun seasoning is the perfect addition. It just feels like my childhood. You might find seafood lovers and skeptics alike flocking to the velvety texture of this dish.

Be sure to add this soup to your next fancy dinner night. Or don’t wait and whip up this easy recipe right away.

Crab, onion, celery, seasonings, flour, tomato paste, and stock are the ingredients for this dish.
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Ingredients

To make this homemade crab bisque recipe you need:

  • Fish stock. This will give this soup the most seafood flavor, but it might be overwhelming to some. You can easily sub with vegetable broth if you’re not a huge fish person.
  • Half and half. I have found this is a good middle ground. You still get that creaminess without too much fat. Use heavy cream if want extra creaminess or dairy-free full-fat milk if want a plant-based alternative. Of course, regular milk can be included, too.
  • Old Bay Seasoning. It’s not recommended to substitute anything else for this. If you don’t have it, you can whisk up celery salt, paprika, and black and red pepper. Here’s a quick recipe to make your own.
  • Butter. Go for salted butter for the most flavor. If you use unsalted butter, be sure to add additional salt.
  • Onion. Either sweet or white onion will be best, but you can use yellow if needed.
  • Celery. Finely diced celery is sautéed with the onion for a flavorful base.
  • Garlic. Minced garlic is best, but garlic powder can be subbed if absolutely necessary.
  • Lemon juice. While bottled will work, fresh-squeezed lemon juice is the better option.
  • Flour. Depending on your dietary preferences, either an all-purpose or a gluten-free 1-to-1 blend will work.
  • Tomato paste. This ingredient adds a delightfully creamy and rich texture to the soup. Don’t use tomato sauce, especially one that is seasoned.
  • Crab meat. This recipe can use fresh crab meat or canned meat interchangeably. But, the higher the quality, the better the soup will be. If possible, get jumbo lump over claw or finger if possible. You can also go with whatever is affordable and in season—blue crabs, stone crab, and Dungeness crab are great choices. If you opt for a whole crab, watch out for the shells.

How to Make Crab Bisque

These are the steps to follow to make this easy crab bisque recipe:

Prep the Onion and Celery

Before you start making the bisque, you want to cut the vegetables.

Using a sharp knife and a cutting board, dice the onion and celery into very small pieces. You will process the soup, so it’s ok if some pieces are bigger than others.

Sauté the Veggies

Heat the butter in a Dutch oven or large saucepan over medium or medium-high heat. Melt butter slowly so it doesn’t scorch, then add the onion and celery.

Cook the vegetables for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the onions are translucent. Then add the garlic. Sauté for another 30 seconds.

Make the Base

Carefully pour in the flour, tomato paste, seasoning, and salt. Stir well with a spatula or wooden spoon, being sure nothing is stuck to the bottom.

Cook for 2 to 3 minutes.

Next, add in the broth and bay leaf. Increase the heat to high, and bring the mixture to a boil.

Reduce the heat and place the lid on the Dutch oven. Allow the soup to simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. Don’t rush it here, this step ensures a rich and flavorful bisque.

Purée the Soup

After the mixture has simmered, remove the bay leaves.

Carefully pour in the half and half along with the lemon juice. Be careful not to splash the hot liquid out.

You can use an immersion blender (the easiest option), a high-speed blender, or a food processor to purée the soup. Whatever way you choose, remember that the mixture is extremely hot.

Process the bisque until it is smooth, and no chunks remain.

Add the Crab Meat

After the soup is creamy, stir in half of the crab meat. Save the other half to sprinkle on top when serving.

You can also top the finished soup with a sprinkle of fresh parsley for a pop of color.

Meal Prep and Storage

  • How to prep ahead of time: You can dice the vegetables up to 2 to 3 days before making if needed.
  • How to store: Place leftover crab bisque in an airtight container and keep in the fridge for up to 3 to 4 days.
  • How to freeze: Cream-based soups tend not to freeze well, but you can try by placing the bisque in a freezer-safe bag or container for up to 4 to 5 months.
  • How to reheat: For the best results, warm this bisque back up in a stock pot or Dutch oven on the stove over medium heat until warmed through. Be careful not to boil it again or the cream can curdle.

What do you eat with crab bisque?

There really is no wrong way to enjoy crab bisque. It is absolutely delicious with a slice of crusty bread, like a good sourdough. You can also serve it alongside a healthy salad. You can’t go wrong with your favorite salty cracker, either.

What makes a soup a bisque?

Many times, people use these terms interchangeably. However, there is a slight difference between soups and bisques. Traditionally, soup is a broth-based dish with a variety of proteins, vegetables, or noodles. A creamy bisque, on the other hand, is milk or cream-based and much thicker than soup. They are usually puréed, as well.

What is the difference between crab and imitation crab?

Real crab and imitation crab are used interchangeably in some recipes. Imitation crab is a blend of fish flakes and fish parts with other ingredients, like starch, to create a distinctive crab flavor, appearance, and texture. Real crab is better for you with higher amounts of vitamins, like vitamin C, healthy fats, dietary fiber, and protein.

A spoon scoops out crab bisque with chunks of crab from a white a bowl.

Dietary Modifications

The recipe you’ll find below is already low-carb as written. Here are some adjustments and substitutions you can make to help it fit your other dietary requirements:

  • Dairy-free: Stick with a butter alternative and dairy-free milk instead of the traditional half and half.
  • Gluten-free: Make sure the seasoning mix you use is free from gluten.

Expert Tips and Tricks

  • Go big. Jumbo lump crab meat is the absolute best option if possible.
  • Low and slow. Don’t rush the simmering time. It makes the bisque thick and creamy.
  • Serve it up. Opt for homemade croutons and fresh parsley on top of this bisque.
  • A change is nice. You can use different herbs to enhance the flavor of this soup, or choose a different spice blend, like creole seasoning. You can also include different veggies, like a red bell pepper along with onion and celery.
  • Make your own. If you don’t have Old Bay Seasoning and can’t find any, you can easily whip up your own at home.
Two bowls with crab bisque next to the pot.

What to Serve with Crab Bisque

This creamy soup goes well with a variety of recipes.

To top off this crab bisque, make homemade croutons or sprinkle it with chopped green onion.

You can also double down and make some Maryland Crab Cakes.

If you’re a soup and salad kinda person, try it with a Fall Harvest Salad or Chopped Kale Salad.

You can also pair it with a main dish like Air Fryer Salmon or even Salmon Burgers.

More Creamy Soup Recipes

When colder winter months hit, there’s nothing better than a warm dish. Try any of these easy soup recipes next.

This Creamy Tomato Basil Bisque and Gluten-Free Clam Chowder with Bacon are absolutely delicious.

For a healthy option, try Creamy Zucchini Soup, Healthy Cauliflower Soup, or Cream of Asparagus Soup.

Of course, Roasted Butternut Squash Soup and Roasted Pumpkin Soup are the perfect blend of sweet and savory.

Tap stars to rate!

5 from 17 votes

Crab Bisque Recipe

Crab Bisque is an incredibly creamy and irresistibly flavorful soup that will warm you right up. After you make a base of sautéed onion, garlic, and celery along with tomato paste, flour, and broth, blend until smooth and stir in lump crab meat.
Yield 6 servings
Prep 10 minutes
Total 20 minutes
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Ingredients 

  • 3 Tbsp. butter salted
  • 1 small onion sweet or white, finely diced
  • 2 ribs celery finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic finely minced
  • ¼ cup flour gluten-free 1-to-1 blend, if needed
  • 2 Tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1 ½ tsp. Old Bay seasoning
  • ½ tsp. salt to taste
  • 4 cups fish stock or vegetable broth, regular sodium
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cup half and half heavy cream, or a dairy-free milk
  • ½ lemon juice
  • 1 lb. lump crabmeat divided
  • Parsley fresh, finely chopped

Instructions 

  • Add butter to a large Dutch oven over medium heat and allow it to melt. Once melted add onion and celery. Cook for 3-4 minutes, or until the onion becomes translucent. Mix in garlic and continue sauteing for 30 seconds or until it becomes fragrant.
  • Stir in flour, paste, seasoning, and salt. Cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Pour in the stock or broth and add the bay leaves. Turn the heat to high and bring everything to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and let simmer for 15-20 minutes.
  • Pour in half and half and add the lemon juice. Puree the soup with a handheld immersion blender until smooth or carefully transfer it to a high-speed blender or food processor.
  • Once pureed until creamy, stir in half of the crabmeat. Serve the bisque immediately with additional crabmeat and a sprinkle of finely chopped fresh parsley.
Last step! If you make this, please leave a review letting us know how it was!

Tap stars to rate!

5 from 17 votes

Video

Notes

Meal Prep and Storage

  • How to prep ahead of time: You can dice the vegetables up to 2 to 3 days before making if needed.
  • How to store: Place leftover crab bisque in an airtight container and keep in the fridge for up to 3 to 4 days.
  • How to freeze: Cream-based soups tend not to freeze well, but you can try by placing the bisque in a freezer-safe bag or container for up to 4 to 5 months.
  • How to reheat: For the best results, warm this bisque back up in a stock pot or Dutch oven on the stove over medium heat until warmed through. Be careful not to boil it again or the cream can curdle.

Nutrition

Calories: 232kcal, Carbohydrates: 11g, Protein: 20g, Fat: 12g, Saturated Fat: 7g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 3g, Trans Fat: 0.2g, Cholesterol: 62mg, Sodium: 1422mg, Potassium: 454mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 4g, Vitamin A: 470IU, Vitamin C: 13mg, Calcium: 155mg, Iron: 2mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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  1. 5 stars
    Just finished making this, I followed your instructions to the letter. All I can say is WOW ! Amazing !
    Thank you for putting this recipe out there.

    1. Yay! So happy to hear you enjoyed the recipe, Debra! This is such a delicious soup. Thanks so much for taking the time to leave a comment and rating!

    1. Yay! So happy to hear you enjoyed the recipe! Thanks so much for taking the time to leave a comment and rating!