Easy Crab and Shrimp Bisque is a creamy soup made with crab meat, shrimp, half-and-half, veggies and seasonings.
Update: This recipe was originally posted in January 2010. The recipe and photos have been updated and republished in January 2022.
When I first made this recipe, I only used shrimp and felt as though it was missing something. Being from Maryland, it's only natural to add crab and Old Bay to seafood recipes and that was exactly what this creamy soup recipe needed!
What is easy crab and shrimp bisque?
A bisque is a creamy soup that has been pureed. Commonly, bisque is made with lobster, shrimp or crab. My version of this recipe includes both crab and shrimp. And instead of using cream, I chose the lighter option of using half-and-half. The bisque is still creamy and delicious, but you save a few calories.
- crab meat
- olive oil
- red pepper
- tomato sauce
- Old Bay
- hot sauce
- Parmesan cheese
- chives or parsley
- salt and pepper
First, prepare your crab and shrimp. Gently pick through the crab meat to remove any shells. Remove the tails and legs from the shrimp and devein them.
Then, cook your vegetables. Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium high heat. Add the onion and red pepper and cook for 5-7 minutes, until softened. Then add in the garlic and cook for another minute.
Next, stir in the tomato sauce, hot sauce, Old Bay, half-and-half and salt and pepper. Stir until combined, then add in the crab and shrimp. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.
Then, transfer the mixture to a blender or food processor. (Optionally, remove some shrimp and crab to garnish the bowl with). Puree until smooth.
Finally, plate and garnish the soup. Pour soup into bowls and sprinkle Parmesan cheese and chives or parsley on top. If you reserved shrimp and crab, place them in the center of the bowl. You can also drizzle the soup with more half-and-half, if desired.
- Replace half-and-half with heavy cream for a creamier soup
- Add in carrots and celery for more veggies
- Use all crab or all shrimp
Cream of crab soup features more veggies and sherry added into the soup. It is not blended. A bisque is blended, or pureed, before serving.
A chowder is more like a stew with hearty pieces of vegetables, while a bisque is a pureed soup.
It depends on how fancy you want to be. Backfin is the crab meat I used in this soup. Lump crab meat would be more impressive as a topping on the soup, but the lumps would be wasted going through the blender. Claw meat would be the most affordable option, providing large pieces at the cheapest price.
I prefer to serve the soup in a shallow bowl, like a pasta bowl, but it would also be delicious served in a bread bowl.
Crab and Shrimp Bisque is delicious when served with toasted crusty bread! But, you could also serve it as an appetizer, maybe in some fancy shooter glasses, and round out the meal with another seafood entrée like my Maryland Crab Cakes or Shrimp Scampi and a green salad.
If you love crab, shrimp and Old Bay, you'll love my other Maryland recipes.
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Easy Crab and Shrimp Bisque
- 1 high powered blender or food processor
- 4 oz crab meat
- 6 oz shrimp
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 large red pepper roughly chopped
- 1 medium onion roughly chopped
- 1 tablespoon garlic minced
- 8 oz tomato sauce
- 1 tablespoon hot sauce
- 1 tablespoon Old Bay
- 2 cups half-and-half
- ⅓ cup Parmesan cheese grated
- 1 teaspoon chives chopped
- salt and pepper, to taste
- Gently pick through the crab meat to remove any shells. Remove the tails and the legs from the shrimp and devein them.4 oz crab meat, 1 tablespoon olive oil, 6 oz shrimp
- Add the olive oil to a medium saucepan over medium high heat. Add in the red pepper and onion and cook for 5-7 minutes until softened. Add in the garlic and cook for another minute.1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 large red pepper, 1 medium onion, 1 tablespoon garlic
- Stir in the tomato sauce, hot sauce, Old Bay and half-and-half. Stir until combined, then mix in the crab and the shrimp. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer.8 oz tomato sauce, 1 tablespoon hot sauce, 1 tablespoon Old Bay, 2 cups half-and-half
- Transfer the soup to a food processor or high powered blender and process until smooth.
- Pour into bowl and sprinkle Parmesan cheese on top. Garnish with chives and season to taste with salt and pepper.⅓ cup Parmesan cheese, 1 teaspoon chives, salt and pepper, to taste