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Crawfish Bisque Recipe

A crawfish bisque is made from a rich and thickened roux-based soup base.

It’s traditionally prepared by simmering onions, celery root, carrots, bell peppers, tomatoes, bay leaves, and seasonings in a chicken or vegetable stock until all the vegetables have softened, then adding whole peeled crawfish tails as well as heavy cream (or milk) and butter.

The sauce is often finished off with fresh herbs like parsley, rosemary, and thyme.

The resulting soup is an extremely rich and flavorful concoction, similar to lobster bisque.

Crawfish bisques are typically served as appetizers at Louisiana restaurants during the Mardi Gras season.

They’re also popular around New Orleans’ French Quarter when people want something different than their usual gumbo or jambalaya.

Crawfish bisques aren’t just limited to the South, though.

You’ll find them on menus across America, especially in coastal cities like San Francisco, Seattle, Portland, Boston, and Miami.

Here we’ve rounded up some of our favorite recipes so you can get started on your own version!

Crawfish Bisque Recipe

What Ingredients Are Needed To Make A Crawfish Bisque?

First things first: What exactly is a crawfish bisque anyway? A crawfish bisque is simply a very rich and flavorful soupy stew using a roux base.

Roux refers to a paste made of equal parts browned flour and fat, which gives this dish its signature color and flavor.

To prepare a crawfish bisque, start by sautéing onions, celery root, carrots, bell peppers, and tomatoes in oil over medium heat.

Once they’ve become translucent, add salt and pepper to taste along with garlic powder, dried thyme, and minced bay leaf.

When those aromatics have cooked down, pour in a small amount of water to deglaze the pan, scraping up any bits stuck to the bottom.

Add a pinch more salt if necessary, then cover and reduce the heat to low.

Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, to let the flavors develop.

Remove the lid and continue cooking until the water has evaporated completely.

Add enough chicken or vegetable stock to create a smooth consistency, then stir in 1 cup of butter melted into a small amount of cold water.

Add two tablespoons of flour and mix thoroughly.

Continue adding stock and flour gradually while whisking constantly until a smooth and silky texture is achieved.

This is where a little practice comes in handy.

If you don’t know how to properly blend your roux, you could end up with lumps that will ruin your bisque.

So keep checking back frequently, tasting the mixture as you go, and adjusting accordingly.

Once the roux is blended together smoothly, you’ll need to add the crawfish meat.

Since crawfish tend to come frozen already cleaned, you won’t need to do anything but thaw them out before proceeding.

Simply drop them in a bowl filled with ice water and drain them afterward.

Then cut each tail in half lengthwise — if you prefer your crawfish tails to remain uncooked, leave the head intact.

Chop the legs and claws separately.

Combine everything in a large pot, including a bit of chopped parsley, rosemary, and/or thyme, depending on what kind of herb you prefer.

Bring the contents of the pot to a boil, then lower the heat to maintain a gentle simmer.

Cover and cook for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

To finish the bisque, remove the cover and increase the heat slightly.

Simmer for another 20 minutes, stirring occasionally and skimming off any foam from time to time.

Afterward, turn off the burner and allow the bisque to cool for at least 30 minutes before serving.

Crawfish Bisque Recipe

How Much Crawfish Is Typically Used In A Crawfish Bisque Recipe?

Most crawfish bisques contain between 2 and 4 pounds of crawfish per quart.

That said, some chefs prefer to use less because of the expense, whereas others choose to include more to serve as a main course rather than an appetizer.

Either way, however, don’t expect too many leftovers!

What Type Of Broth Is Usually Used In A Crawfish Bisque Recipe?

The type of stock varies according to where you live, whether you want to stick to standard stock or opt for a richer option, and personal preference.

Chicken stock tends to work best since it’s easy to obtain and doesn’t require additional preparation.

But you should feel free to substitute whatever you’d normally use for homemade stock.

Some chefs even recommend using beef or veggie stock instead of chicken stock, although that may result in a darker bisque overall.

If you’d like to boost the flavor, you might consider adding a few pieces of smoked sausage like boudin blanc or kielbasa, or perhaps even bacon.

Adding a touch of Worcestershire sauce can help enhance the sweetness of the bisque, too.

And if you’re looking to really ramp up the flavor, try throwing in a teaspoon of Tabasco or other hot sauce after the bisque has simmered for a short period of time.

Crawfish Bisque Recipe

Are There Any Special Techniques For Making A Crawfish Bisque?

There’s no set method for preparing crawfish bisques, but one thing to be aware of is that the longer the bisque cooks, the thicker it becomes.

It’s important not to overcook it, otherwise it can begin to curdle.

In addition, avoid letting the bisque boil once the crawfish are added, as boiling the shellfish releases enzymes that can spoil the bisque quickly.

Instead, bring the mixture to a rolling boil, then lower the heat to a simmer.

How Long Does It Take To Make A Crawfish Bisque?

It depends on the size of your batch, the quality of your equipment, and the skill level of your chef, but a good rule of thumb is anywhere between 45 minutes and an hour to prepare.

Are There Any Variations Or Substitutions To The Traditional Crawfish Bisque Recipe?

Yes! Most chefs are happy to accommodate requests regarding both the crawfish and the bisque itself.

For instance, you could swap regular shrimp for crawfish in the bisque, or switch out the cream for coconut milk.

Or maybe you’d prefer to omit the crawfish altogether for a lighter, vegetarian alternative.

There are plenty of possibilities here!

What Other Seafood Can Be Added To A Crawfish Bisque Recipe?

Fish works great in place of crawfish, and crabmeat makes an excellent substitution for either.

Other options include clams, scallops, mussels, oysters, squid, octopus, calamari, sea bass, snapper, salmon, trout, tilapia, cod, haddock, grouper, sole, flounder, and prawns.

Even lobster would probably fit the bill, if you wanted to go that route.

Just remember to adjust the cooking times appropriately.

And lastly, what spices are most commonly used in a crawfish bisque recipe?

Generally speaking, crawfish bisques are seasoned heavily with black pepper and lots of freshly ground white pepper.

Many chefs also add a bit of cayenne pepper or chili flakes for extra spice.

Depending on where you live, you might see a smattering of paprika or curry powder mixed in, too.

Rosemary, sage, basil, tarragon, oregano, and thyme are common garnishes, too.

Finally, crawfish bisques are almost always finished off with a sprinkle of finely grated Parmesan cheese.

Want to learn more? Check out these related articles:

How to Make Homemade Stock

Best Seafood Recipes

Peanut Butter & Jelly Ice Cream Recipe

Crawfish Bisque Recipe

Crawfish Bisque

Crawfish bisque is a rich, flavorful soup made from pureed crustaceans.
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Course: Side Dishes
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Crawfish Bisque
Servings: 6
Calories: 244kcal


  • Saucepan


  • 6 tablespoons salted butter
  • 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 medium yellow onion diced
  • 1 red bell pepper diced
  • 2 stalks celery diced
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 medium tomato diced
  • 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 3 cups seafood stock
  • 4 thyme sprigs fresh
  • 2 bay leaves
  • ½ cup dry sherry cooking wine divided
  • 1 pound crawfish tails frozen peeled, thawed and divided
  • ½ cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice fresh
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce
  • 2 tablespoons chives chopped


  • In a saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Whisk in the flour until well combined. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring constantly, for 10 minutes, or until the roux is pale brown. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes with the onion, bell pepper, celery, garlic, tomato, salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper. Turn the heat up to medium-high. Cook for 10 minutes after adding the stock, thyme, bay leaves, and 1/4 cup cooking wine. Cook for 2 minutes after adding half of the crawfish.
  • Transfer mixture to a blender and process for 30 seconds, or until smooth. Return to the pan and heat over medium-low. Combine the cream, lemon juice, hot sauce, remaining crawfish, and 1/4 cup cooking wine in a mixing bowl. Bring to a low simmer and cook for 5 minutes, or until heated. Divide among six bowls and top with chives.



Calories: 244kcal | Carbohydrates: 12g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 20g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 0.5g | Cholesterol: 65mg | Sodium: 1105mg | Potassium: 327mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 1617IU | Vitamin C: 34mg | Calcium: 79mg | Iron: 1mg
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