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    Creamy Shrimp Bisque Recipe

    Published March 19, 2021. This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.

    Don’t let those leftover shrimp shells go to waste, because this super easy-to-make creamy shrimp bisque is nothing short of delicious!

    We are a soup family, and yes, we eat it all year long.  If you are just like us then you definitely have to check out how to make my Tortilla soup or my Corn Chowder.

    bowl of shrimp bisque with shrimp and chives

    Shrimp Bisque

    Shrimp bisque is a smooth soup made from shrimp stock that is then thickened with a roux and creamed at the end.  A bisque can only be considered a bisque if it is made from shellfish, any other soup claiming to be a bisque is simply a cream of fill in the blank.

    Bisque is a soup that has French origins and can apply to any soup that uses crustaceans and their shells when preparing the stock portion of the soup.  There are multiple ways to make a bisque, but I believe this recipe is the most classical version.

    Here are some typical shrimp bisque ingredients:

    • Shrimp Shells
    • Mirepoix
    • Herbs
    • Tomato Paste
    • White Wine or Cognac
    • Water or Fish Stock
    • Roux
    • Heavy Whipping Cream

    How to Make Shrimp Bisque from Scratch

    Follow these simple instructions below to make this delicious homemade shrimp bisque recipe from scratch:

    Start by cooking the shrimp shells in a large pot over medium heat until the shells turn pink.  Set them aside.

    cooking shrimp shells in a pot

    In the same pot with a little more butter, lightly brown the mirepoix and herbs, about 4-6 minutes.

    cooking mirepoix and herbs in a pot

    Mix in some tomato paste and cook until it becomes fragrant about 2-4 minutes.

    adding tomato paste to a pot

    Deglaze with white wine and cognac and cook until it’s almost gone, or au sec.

    mixing tomato paste with with mirepoix

    Add the shrimp shells back in along with water and simmer for 45 minutes to 60 minutes over low to medium heat.

    making a shrimp stock in a pot

    Using a hand blender roughly blend the soup, don’t worry about trying to get it perfectly smooth, it won’t happen.

    blending a shrimp stock in a pot

    Strain the stock through a fine-mesh strainer or a chinois into a container or pot.  Set aside.

    straining a shrimp stock

    Make a roux in a large pot over low heat and pour the soup back into the pot.

    adding strained shrimp stock to a pot with roux

    Turn the heat up to medium-high to activate the roux while continually stirring until it becomes very thick.

    thickening a shrimp bisque in a pot by boiling

    Add in the cream, salt, and pepper, and whisk until combined.

    adding cream to a shrimp bisque

    Strain the soup through a fine-mesh strainer and serve with optional garnishes.

    straining a shrimp bisque

    Make-Ahead and Storage

    Make-Ahead: This soup is meant to be eaten right away, but you can make it up to 1 day ahead of time.  Be sure the cream has not broken from the soup before serving.

    How to Reheat: Add the desired amount to a small size pot and cook over low heat while whisking until warm.  You can also heat in a microwave until warm.

    How to Store: Cover and keep in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.  Cover and freeze for up to 3 months.  Thaw in the refrigerator for 1 day before reheating and serving.

    Chef Billy Parisi

    chef notes + tips

    • If you are using pink shrimp shells then they will turn white when cooking them in the first step.
    • If you don’t want to puree the shells because it weirds you out, back off the 12 cups of water and only put in 8 cups of water to further concentrate the flavor.  You will have less soup of course.
    • Use this exact same procedure with leftover lobster tails and lobster bodies if wanting to make lobster bisque.
    • You may need to strain both the stock and the creamed bisque a few times to ensure it is really smooth.
    • There are some optional garnishes for this soup that include some cooked shrimp, crème Fraiche, thinned sour cream with milk, and thinly sliced chives.
    • If the cream breaks and the cream separates from the soup, whisk in a small amount of roux over medium heat in a pot to help bring it back together.  The same rules with heat and whisking apply when normally working with a roux.
    • White wine options are chardonnay, pinot grigio, or sauvignon blanc.
    a bowl of creamy shrimp bisque with sour cream

    More Soup Recipes

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    Let's Cook - Chef Billy Parisi

    Video

    Creamy Shrimp Bisque Recipe

    Don’t let those leftover shrimp shells go to waste, because this super easy-to-make creamy shrimp bisque is nothing short of delicious!
    Servings: 10
    Prep Time: 10 minutes
    Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes

    Ingredients 

    • 1 ½ tablespoons unsalted butter
    • shrimp shells from 4 pounds of shrimp
    • 2 small, small diced yellow onions
    • 2 small diced celery stalks
    • ½ small diced small fennel bulb
    • 2 small diced carrots
    • 1 bay leaf
    • 1 small bunch of parsley
    • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
    • 2 sprigs fresh tarragon
    • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
    • ½ cup white wine
    • ¼ cup cognac
    • 12 cups water
    • 2 ½ roux recipes
    • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
    • sea salt and ground white pepper to taste

    Instructions

    • Add 1 tablespoon of butter to a large pot over medium heat and cook the shrimp shells until they are pink in color. See note.
    • Set the shells to the side in a bowl and the remaining ½ tablespoon of butter to the pot over medium heat and in the onions, celery, fennel, carrots, bay leaf, parsley, thyme, and tarragon, and cook until lightly browned about 4-5 minutes. Stir occasionally.
    • Mix in the tomato paste and cook over low heat until fragrant, about 2-4 minutes.
    • Deglaze by adding in the wine and cognac and cook until the liquid has been mostly absorbed into the vegetables and evaporated, which takes about 3-4 minutes. There should be 1 – 2 tablespoons remaining.
    • Add the shrimp shells back in along with the water and simmer over low to medium heat for 45-60 minutes.
    • Roughly blend the shrimp stock with a hand blender or do it in batch in a regular blender.
    • Strain the soup completely with a fine mesh strainer or chinois into a container and set it aside briefly.
    • Next, in a separate large pot over low heat make the roux and then pour in the shrimp stock.
    • Turn the heat to medium-high while continually whisking until it becomes very thick. Turn the heat down to medium and cook for a further 10 minutes.
    • Finish by whisking in the cream, salt, and white pepper.
    • Strain through a fine-mesh strainer or chinois until completely smooth.
    • Serve with optional cooked shrimp, crème Fraiche, or sliced chives

    Notes

    Chef Notes:
    • Make-Ahead: This soup is meant to be eaten right away, but you can make it up to 1 day ahead of time. Be sure the cream has not broken from the soup before serving.
     
    • How to Reheat: Add the desired amount to a small size pot and cook over low heat while whisking until warm. You can also heat in a microwave until warm.
     
    • How to Store: Cover and keep in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Cover and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator for 1 day before reheating and serving.
     
    • If you are using pink shrimp shells then they will turn white when cooking them in the first step.
     
    • If you don’t want to puree the shells because it weirds you out, back off the 12 cups of water and only put in 8 cups of water to further concentrate the flavor. You will have less soup of course.
     
    • You would use this exact same procedure with leftover lobster tails and lobster bodies if wanting to make lobster bisque.
     
    • You may need to strain both the stock and the creamed bisque a few times to ensure it is really smooth.
     
    • There are some optional garnishes for this soup that include some cooked shrimp, crème Fraiche, thinned sour cream with milk, and thinly sliced chives.
     
    • If the cream breaks and the cream separates from the soup, whisk in a small amount of roux over medium heat in a pot to help bring it back together. The same rules with heat and whisking apply when normally working with a roux.
     
    • white wine options are chardonnay, pinot grigio, or sauvignon blanc.

    Nutrition

    Calories: 134kcalCarbohydrates: 6gProtein: 1gFat: 11gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 37mgSodium: 66mgPotassium: 189mgFiber: 1gSugar: 2gVitamin A: 2536IUVitamin C: 5mgCalcium: 45mgIron: 1mg
    Course: Soup
    Cuisine: French