Calling all seafood lovers! This incredible seafood soup recipe is for you! My creamy, smoky and delicious crab bisque is made with bacon, corn and chives. The broth is so savory and delicious, made with white wine and a bit of tomato sauce. This crab soup is one of my all-time favorites! It’s easy to make and great with real or imitation crab. Want to change up the soup? Try using lobster to make lobster bisque!
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What’s a Bisque?
If you’ve never had this creamy soup before, you’re in the a real treat! Bisque is the French word for a creamy, seafood-based soup, typically made with a seafood broth. This crab bisque certainly doesn’t disappoint! You’ll love the rich, creamy broth with bits of real crab! If you are able to source a whole crab, I recommend using that instead of packaged crab meat. Cook the crab in a large pot of salted water with aromatics such as onion, carrots, celery and a seafood seasoning blend. Once the crab is cooked, strain the broth and use it in place of the chicken broth I have listed in this recipe.
My Crab Bisque Video Tutorial
Watch my YouTube video for step-by-step instructions and all the details for making this creamy crab bisque. Want to receive new recipe emails in your inbox? Make sure to subscribe to my website emailing list and my YouTube channel and turn on notifications!
Ingredients for Smoky Crab Bisque
Here are the main ingredients you’ll need to make this creamy seafood soup:
- Real Crab: I highly recommend using only real crab for this recipe. More about that next!
- Smoked Bacon: use your favorite smoked bacon for adding smoky flavor to this crab soup.
- Onion, Garlic, Celery: for making the soup base.
- White Wine: use a dry white wine such as pinot grigio or chardonnay. This will add great flavor and balance the richness of the bisque.
- Smoked Paprika: for adding lots of smoky flavor!
- Cream & Milk: for making the creamy base.
What Crab Do I Use?
The top question I get from readers is ‘what crab do I use’? That’s a great question! There are a few different options that will work great for this recipe! If you are able to source a whole crab, I recommend using that instead of packaged crab meat. Cook the crab in a large pot of salted water with aromatics such as onion, carrots, celery and a seafood seasoning blend. Once the crab is cooked, strain the broth and use it in place of the chicken broth I have listed in this recipe.
- Packaged Crab Meat: most grocery stores will carry packaged crab meat that has been cleaned and it’s ready to use. It’s usually sold in vacuum sealed containers; just separate the crab once you open the package.
- Imitation Crab Meat: this type of crab I only recommend as a last resort! It won’t offer the same, delicious flavor as real crab so only use this if you can’t find anything else!
How to Make Smoky Crab Bisque
You’ll love how easy this seafood soup is to make! This recipe is made in a few separate steps that all come together in the end! First, you’ll need to render the bacon slices until crispy and then use the bacon fat for frying the aromatics. This will give the soup all the delicious smoky flavor!
- Aromatic Tomato Base: once you have the bacon rendered, add the onion, celery and garlic into the fat. Saute this mixture of ingredients for a few minutes until tender. Next, add in the white wine, tomato sauce, Worcestershire, and seasonings (salt, pepper, basil and paprika) – simmer over medium heat until mixture is reduced and thick, about 6 to 7 minutes. The white wine will add so much great flavor! Add in the chicken or seafood broth next and simmer for another 10 minutes. This aromatic base needs to be pureed until smooth; you can use an immersion blender or pour it into a tall blender instead.
- Creamy Base: while the tomato and onion base is simmering, it’s the perfect time to prepare the creamy base of this seafood soup! Just melt a few tablespoons of butter in a medium saucepan and add in the flour to create a roux. The roux will help thicken the bisque! Slowly add in the milk and cream, adding about 1 cup at a time and whisking well after each addition.
- Seafood & Toppings: Once you have the two bases ready, combine them together in a large pot and add in all the goodies: crab, bacon, corn and green onion! I recommend using crab leg or chunky crab meat for this recipe! Let the final soup simmer for 7 to 8 minutes, so the crab flavor can really infuse into the soup!
- Serve the crab bisque with warm bread or rustic baguette on the side! I like to add more crab and chives on top to make the soup extra special!
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Enjoyed this amazing seafood recipe? Check out some of my other recipes you’re sure to enjoy!
- King Crab Rolls – the best crab rolls ever, with brioche bread and smoky garlic butter!
- Creamy Crab Pasta – the most delicious crab pasta dinner, with a creamy white wine sauce and loads of crab!
- Easy Clams Linguine – this restaurant-style dish is so easy to make at home, with steamed clams cooked in white wine!
- World’s Best Crab Cakes – the best ever crab cakes recipe, with tons of crab, bell pepper, mustard and Worcestershire!
- Smoked Salmon Chowder – my favorite recipe for smoky salmon chowder with gnocchi, bacon bits, corn and more! Extra creamy, too!
Smoky Crab Bisque with Corn (video)
- 2 cups cooked real crab, pulled apart
- 4 slices thick-cut bacon
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 medium celery sticks, diced
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 1/2 cup tomato sauce
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon EACH: smoked paprika, black pepper, dried basil
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 cup cream
- 2 cups milk
- 2 green scallions, diced
- 1 cup corn, fresh or canned
- diced chives for garnish
- Heat a large sauté pan with a tablespoon of canola oil and render the bacon slices crispy. Remove the bacon from the pan, dice into bits and then set it aside in a small bowl. Into the same pan, add the onion, garlic and celery. Sauté the mixture over medium heat until onion is translucent, about 4 minutes. Add the white wine, tomato sauce, Worcestershire, and seasonings (salt, pepper, basil and paprika) next – simmer over medium heat until mixture is reduced and thick, about 6 to 7 minutes.
- Transfer the prepared onion mixture into large soup pot and add the chicken or seafood broth. Bring the soup to a simmer over medium heat for 8 to 10 minutes. Remove it from the heat and let mixture cool for about 10 minutes before transferring to blender. Puree until smooth (I like to use a stick blender – no extra dishes to wash later!). Return pureed soup to stove top.
- Prepare the cream sauce for the soup: place the butter into medium saucepan and let it melt completely. Whisk in the flour and cook over low heat for 2 to 3 minutes, cooking the flour. Gradually begin adding the milk and cream, adding about 1 cup at a time and whisking until smooth after each addition. Cook the sauce for 2 minutes and then pour it into to soup.
- Next, add the crab, bacon bits, corn, and green onion and bring soup back up to a simmer over medium heat. Once the soup is simmering, cook it for an additional 7 to 8 minutes until the soup thickens. Sprinkle the top with chives before serving with fresh baguette.