This Crab Bisque is a restaurant worthy soup that when made at home becomes surprisingly affordable and it will completely blow your guests away! You will make this bisque time and time again.
A bisque is a French style of soup that is made from lobster, crab or shrimp. What makes a ‘bisque’ a bisque is the smooth, velvety and thick texture of the soup. Whereas chowders have chunks of potatoes, seafood, or vegetables in them.
Crab and lobster bisque are probably two of the more popular bisques and this crab bisque will seriously knock your socks off!
How to Make a Velvety Smooth Crab Bisque
It may surprise you how easy and fast this bisque comes together. It’s really quite simple to make.
- Begin by sautéing the onions in butter. Keep the flame low to medium as we don’t want to brown the onions, just soften them. Always season onions with a smidge of salt. It helps them to ‘sweat’ and release moisture.
- Next comes the roux which is simply equal parts fat to liquid. ALWAYS stir the flour in the roux for AT LEAST ONE MINUTE because flour has a very raw taste to it when it isn’t cooked. This will make a HUGE difference in your bisque.
- Add the chicken base, milk and cream and stir to warm through.
- Finally add the crab and the rest of the milk.
- Take the bisque off the heat and add the sherry.
- Please don’t omit the sherry – it is very easy to find in the supermarket. You can use cooking sherry IF YOU HAVE TO, but please try and find a DRY sherry. There are usually several to choose from and can range from light and fruity to heavy or salty.
- PLEASE do NOT use imitation crab meat. Real jumbo lump crab can be found in the seafood section of your supermarket, usually in 12 oz. cans. (pictured below).
Although this bisque can be refrigerated, it is best served immediately and I absolutely promise you …. it will KNOCK YOUR SOCKS OFF!
Be sure to follow me on Facebook and Pinterest and if you’ve had a chance to make this award winning soup, then definitely leave me a comment and a rating below!Print
The Most Incredible Crab Bisque
This decadent crab bisque is full of real crab meat, seasoned perfectly and thickened with cream. For an extra layer of flavor and depth, sherry is added at the end.
- ¼ Cup Butter
- ¼ Cup Onion, finely chopped
- ¼ Cup Flour
- ½ teaspoon Sea Salt & Pepper, to taste
- 1 ½ teaspoon Chicken Base
- 1 ½ Cups Heavy Cream, warmed
- 1 ½ Cups Whole Milk, warmed and separated 1 cup and ½ cup
- 8 oz REAL Canned Crabmeat
- ½ Cup Sherry
- In a medium saucepan melt the butter over med/low heat.
- When melted, add the onion and cook until the onion is tender, but not browned, approximately 3-4 minutes.
- Add the flour, salt and pepper. Let the flour cook for at least a minute to burn off any raw flour taste. Add the chicken base and stir to combine.
- Slowly add 1 cup of the warmed milk and all of the heavy cream, stirring constantly.
- Once all the ingredients of the soup are combined, add the crab and cook on low for 5 minutes until thick, stirring often.
- Add the remaining ½ cup of milk and the sherry and slowly stir to warm through.
- Serve warm or hot in a bowl with a side of oyster crackers
WHAT TO SERVE WITH THIS:
Jumbo Maryland Crab Cakes
Blackened Shrimp Tacos
Hi. Wondering what is meant by chicken base?? Liquid? Powder? Name brands? Thanks for your help.
Hi Anne – chicken base comes in a jar and is highly concentrated type of paste that is formed by roasting down meats and vegetables. It is usually found right next to the powdered chicken bouillion cubes.
I’ve been making this for years every Christmas. It’s become a staple at the family dinner. Although it was a recipe from a friend who had a great restaurant it’s basically the same. I begged for the recipe because my mom and dad would eat there at least twice a month and she was only there for the soup. When she retired and closed I finally convinced her that I would keep it a secret to only be handed down through my family.
My mom would boycott Christmas if I didn’t make it.
I made the mistake of making it for my mother in law and now she’s hooked too.
It’s a good thing I enjoy it also.
Honestly it’s fairly easy once you get the hang of it.
thanks for your comment LeaAnne
If there were more stars to give I’d give them all! Being a Virginia girl and blue crabs are a staple, it’s a given to have Crab Bisque. THIS is the absolute BEST recipe I’ve encountered! I do add about 1/4 cup frozen white corn and just a dash of Old Bay because… well… it’s Virginia and it’s Old Bay!! This bisque also freezes very well! Just heat it in the microwave on power level 3 for about 3-4 minutes and let sit, Voila!! Tastes like you just prepared it!!! Now… where are the hushpuppies???
Thank you Joyce! What a nice review. I used to live in Virginia (Warrenton, just outside DC) and I LOVE hushpuppies! LOL
Just made this soup for company tomorrow night. Should I add the Sherry now or when I warm it tomorrow for my guests?
Hi Helen – I’m going to assume here that you’ve already premade the soup. With that said, I would suggest reheating the soup over a very low flame until warmed through and then adding the sherry just before serving. Let me know how it turns out!!
Absolutely wonderful, thank you!
thanks Paul! Glad you liked it
Can this crab bisque be frozen?
I would not recommend it Claudia
Hi Claudia. I’m the Queen of preparing and freezing all kinds of dishes and YES! This can definitely be frozen! I do it all the time! Think of what you get in the grocer’s freezer! When you reheat, I slip it in the microwave on Power Level 3 [not high!!] for 3-4 minutes. That does not change anything about the dish it simply reheats s-l-o-w-l-y which is key. 🙂
This is THE BEST crab bisque. I make it a lot. It’s so easy. I use chicken broth instead of sherry and it tastes great. Making some now for my mom and aunt for their Christmas Eve dinner
My all time FAVORITE soup – I would make it weekly if I could afford it! LOL
Does chicken base mean powdered billion? This doesn’t seem like much liquid, how many servings does this make?
Hi Ruth – chicken base and bullion are 2 different things. Base is a highly concentrated paste that packs much more flavor than bullion does and it has less sodium.
There’s 3 cups of warmed whole milk. You say to add 1 cup and then 1/2 more. Where is the other 1 1/2 cups of milk added?
Susan I don’t see where it says “3 cups warmed milk”. It calls for 1 1/2 cups of milk and 1 1/2 cups of cream. ALL the cream is added along with 1 cup of the milk. A half cup of the milk is reserved towards the end. Does that help?
Do I use dry or cream sherry? I can’t wait to make this!
Hi Angela – this recipe calls for a dry sherry which can be found in most supermarkets.
I made this soup for the first time for 14 guests at my home on Saturday . It was amazing! Everyone raved over it! As if I were a gourmet chef!:))) Thank you for responding to me so quickly to my question dry or cream sherry! Thank you so much! You helped to make my dinner party such a success!!
Angela I have to tell you… my heart skipped a beat when I read your first sentence. What guts you have to make something brand new and serve it to FOURTEEN people!!! I am so glad you trusted my recipe that much! And I was more than happy to answer your questions. Whew! I’m sweating over this one.
I am still confused on milk. I clicked on 2x recipe for 16oz crab meat. Under ingredients it states 3 cups heavy cream and 3cups milk
that’s because the original recipe calls for 1 1/2 cups of each. If you double that it becomes 3 cups each.
How many people will this recipe feed? I can’t find anything on servings. I love crab and Brie soup, so I think I’m going to tweak it just a little and add Brie. I may need to add some chicken stock to thin it out. I wish restaurants would share their recipes. Lol. This recipe sounds wonderful, but I will substitute the onions for shallots. I love the flavor they give cream based dishes.
Hi Tara – this soup will feed 4-6 depending on size.
Debi, this was absolutely divine. I didn’t tinker with it a bit (except for a few dashes of Old Bay). Based on another comment, I assumed the chicken base was the “Better than Bouillon” stuff, and that’s what I used. The bisque was marvelous. We were blown away. Husband ate two bowls immediately after I poured in the sherry. There’s about 1/2 cup left in a mason jar — that’s all! Thanks so much for posting.
I haven’t made this yet but looking for a crab and corn bisque. What do you think about adding fresh corn? Also would like to add a little heat. Any suggestions?
Hi Deb – my personal opinion is no on the corn. If you wanted to add a little heat you, I think my first response would be Sriracha. Just a tablespoon would do it. My next would be a Tablespoon of Adobo. You can buy a small can of Adobo peppers that are in the sauce and you can scoop the sauce out. Last, would be cayenne pepper or chili powder. I hope that helps.
Hi Debbie. I add corn all the time! To cook it I add about 1/4 cup with the onion as it sautes. It’s delish!!!
Hello, I have not made this recipe yet but have tried other recipes. I am wondering how to get a semi sweet, creamy crab bisque. We got to a restaurant here in STL called J. Gilbert’s and they have the best crab bisque soup we’ve ever had. I’m trying to duplicate it but haven’t succeeded yet. I’m missing a little sweetness and not sure how to achieve it. Just curious if this recipe tasted a little sweet or not.
This recipe for crab bisque is everything it claims to be! I made it true to the recipe except for the addition of 2 tsp of Old Bay seasoning since hubby is a Maryland man and everything seafood must have Old Bay on it! The bisque is beyond incredible for so little work and effort. To us, this bisque was equal to that served at Harry’s Seafood Bar & Grill…and maybe even better! This recipe will stay close to my kitchen counters as I know I will be making it often. THANK YOU for sharing such a wonderful recipe!
Hi Susan. I have to be honest here, this soup is undoubtedly one of my favorite foods on the planet ! I’m so glad you enjoyed it too!
I have never used Sherry. Is this a cooking sherry or a drinking sherry? Sorry if this is a dumb question. I know nothing about Sherry.
Hi cindy – yes I use cooking sherry
I forgot to ask, how long does this take to make?
Hi! Would if I added fresh garlic?? Also what type of flavor does the sherry add to the soup?
I would not add garlic
I made this recipe without the Sherry and still loved it!! Amazing taste and quick to prepare.
Was very good but very salty.
This is one of my all time favorite recipes! I make it for people when I’m feeling fancy lol and everyone has been blown away! Thank you so much for including it on your blog, you’re the best!!
well thanks Tacey !!! 😀
been craving a tasty bisque soup. did not have sherry, added 1 tbsp. ACV and it may have been a bit too much, had to add more cream and flour but, definetly tasty! next time I may add carrots and corn to up my veggie intake.
I haven’t thought about making this soup in quite some time. Thanks for the reminder. The picture could use some updating as well b/c it really is a kick ass soup if I do say so myself 😉
Thank you so much for this. I have been looking for something like this. I just made it and my family loved it and so do I. I added a little cayenne pepper. I’m a little spicy.
Can you refrigerate? After being made and serve the next day?
I’m eating low carb so I subbed out flour with almond flour and it was delicious! I opted out of the sherry because I’m 18 and I don’t have it around the house, definitely making this recipe again!
Why not a good seafood stock instead of chicken base??
I added Sheri last.. Tasted it just before and loved it. Added Sheri didn’t love it.. Personal preference.
what is chicken base? I can’t find it at the store!
And is 1.5 teaspoons the right amount??
Its a paste. Comes in a glass jar, near the broths.
How much does this make exactly? Thank you!
it serves 4 nice size bowls
thank you so much Judith!
Thanks for sharing, this is a fantastic blog.Really thank you! Awesome.
Can you use chicken stock instead of sherry?
The sherry gives this soup a gorgeous flavor and I have not omitted it so I really can’t comment on how it would come out. Go ahead and give it a try and let us know what you thought of it!