Looking for a great one-pot dish that tastes amazing and serves a crowd? Cioppino is a hearty and healthy meal that’s great for a casual dinner with friends, but is special enough to enjoy on a holiday too. Wait until you try this incredible recipe for seafood stew!

My family loves this Italian seafood stew on Christmas Eve, but I also make it when I want to change up my cooking repertoire or when entertaining friends.

What I love most about it is that you can play around with the seafood ingredients so you can go with 7 or drop it down to 4 if you wanted to make it with less.

Wait until you try this super delicious recipe for seafood stew!

The great thing about this seafood stew recipe is it is easily modifiable. So if you don’t like a certain type of seafood, swap it out for something else.

Want to make it more budget-friendly? Remove some of the seafood. Just keep the stew base ingredients so you don’t sacrifice flavor.

I prefer to make this recipe with lobster. But most recently omitted it out to make it more budget-friendly. So if you want to omit the lobster, don’t include it and adjust the cooking time.

When my mother makes this dish, she does not make it with lobster but adds crab and swordfish instead.

This cioppino recipe is so good. Wait until you try it!

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What is Seafood Stew

Seafood stew is a delicious and easy-to-make dish that is sure to please the whole family.

While it’s Italian seafood stew is easy to make overall it can be a little more time consuming in terms of the preparation because of the seafood.

So tweak it to your time, energy and liking.

But cioppino is a healthy stew that’s high in protein, perfect to serve to a crowd, and tastes SO GOOD.

I recently made it for friends on New Year’s Eve and it was the hit of the night!

Cioppino - recipe for seafood stew close up in white bowl with crusty bread

Why I Love This Cioppino Recipe

There is so much flavor and depth to this recipe that you can’t rival the taste!

I’ve been dying to make it lately as a restaurant near our Vermont cabin used to have it on their menu but stopped making it in 2020.

It was so good there I wish they’d put it back on the menu, but since they haven’t, I’ve been making it more lately.

This recipe for seafood stew is a little more time-consuming to make than most recipes I gravitate too in terms of preparation but is totally worth the extra time and effort if you are craving seafood.

And depending on my mood or seafood availability, I swap out or add different types of fish. So feel free to make this dish what you want!

Sometimes I include less fish if I want to do a little less prep work or want to make it more budget-friendly.

So this is one of those recipes you can easily tweak based on your needs and preferences.

To some, working with seafood can be a daunting task, but it does not have to be. My mother found frozen mussels and clams that were already out of their shells which quickened the prep time.

As much as I prefer fresh to frozen, feel free to substitute if you want to simplify things.

This recipe is super delicious either way!

seafood stew preparation cleaning the mussels in a glass bowl
Prepping the Mussels
close up of raw shrimp in a bag before makingseafood stew
Prepping the shrimp

How to Make This Recipe for Seafood Stew

Not gonna lie, there’s a big list of ingredients but don’t let that intimidate you. The list looks more daunting than this is to actually make.

And most of it, you might already have on hand aside from the seafood.

This is why I also say, you can easily modify this recipe and omit some of the ingredients. When I made it for New Year’s Eve, I made this dish with shrimp, halibut, scallops, and mussels.

However you decide to make it though, make sure you have LOTS of crusty bread on the side to soak up all that liquid.

Because it is delish!!!!

preparing to slice and chop fennel bulb to make recipe for seafood stew
Slicing and chopping fennel bulb

One thing to note, is the cook time sounds really long but it’s really only because you allow the stew base to sit on the stovetop while the flavors meld together.

It’s not all active cook time. But plan ahead so you have time to prepare the dish.

When I made this for New Year’s Eve, I prepped the stew base midday. And prepped all of the seafood then set aside chilling until I was ready to actually cook it.

I allowed that stew base to sit on the stove for several hours before cooking the fish at the last minute.

Because I don’t like to follow a recipe while entertaining, this was the best way to do it. And it was easy peasy!

chopped shallot used to make cioppino italian seafood stew
Diced shallots

Ingredients for Italian Seafood Stew

Looking at the ingredient list, it may be a little intimidating, but this list is based on including 7 fishes for Christmas Eve. If you don’t want to do that, remove whatever seafood you want and adjust the cook time accordingly.

  • 3 Tbsp of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 3 Flat Anchovy Fillets in oil, drained
  • 1 Fennel Bulb, thinly sliced
  • 1 Onion, chopped
  • 3 Shallots, chopped
  • 4 Celery Ribs, Chopped
  • 2 Tsp Salt
  • 1 Tsp Black Pepper
  • 4 Garlic Cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 Tsp Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
  • 4 Tbsp Tomato Paste
  • 28 oz Can of Diced Tomatoes in their juice
  • 1 1/2 Cup Dry White Wine
  • 5 Cups Fish Stock (can also use other stock with clam juice or beer)
  • 4 Sprigs Fresh Thyme (stems removed)
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • 4 oz. Lobster Tails (1 pp)
  • 1 lb Clams, Cleaned
  • 1lb Mussels, Cleaned and Debearded
  • 1 lb Oysters, shucked and in their liquor
  • 1 lb Shrimp, uncooked, peeled, and deveined
  • 1/2 lb Sea or Bay Scallops (whichever you prefer)
  • 1 lb Halibut cut into 1″ chunks
  • 1/4 lb Squid
  • Handful Flat Leaf Parsley, chopped
  • Grated Parmesan Cheese
  • Crusty Bread to Serve on the Side
Making soup base and adding tomato paste
Adding tomato paste to stew base

Directions for Italian Seafood Stew

Heat oil in a very large pot over medium heat, then sauté anchovies until they melt.

Add fennel, onion, shallots and celery, salt and black pepper and sauté about 7 minutes.

Stir in tomato paste and cook another 3-5 minutes until the paste carmelizes and turns a reddish-brown color.

Add garlic and red pepper flakes, cook another few minutes.

Add tomatoes with their juices, wine, stock, thyme and bay leaf.

Cover and bring to simmer.

mixing the stew and bringing to a boil
Bringing the seafood stew base to a boil
adding the mussels to make seafood stew
Adding the mussels to make seafood stew
Adding shrimp and scallops to italian seafood stew
Adding scallops and shrimp to seafood stew

Reduce heat and keep on med-low for about an hour or more to allow the flavors to combine.

Bring liquid to boil. Add lobster tails. Cover and cook over over high heat for 8 minutes.

Add clams, mussels, and oysters. Cover and cook until shells open – about 5 minutes.

Add rest of seafood and simmer gently until fish and shrimp are cooked through – about 4-8 minutes.

Discard any clams and mussels that do not open.

Remove bay leaf and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Garnish bowls with chopped parsley and grated parmesan cheese. Serve with crusty bread…Enjoy!

Cioppino - recipe for seafood stew close up in white bowl with crusty bread
Cioppino - recipe for seafood stew close up in white bowl with crusty bread

The Best Recipe for Seafood Stew

Stacy Ling
Looking for a great one-pot dish that tastes amazing and serves a crowd? Cioppino is a hearty and delicious dish that is perfect to serve for a casual evening with friends but special enough to enjoy on a holiday. Wait until you try this incredible recipe for seafood stew!
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 2 hours
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Servings 8 Servings
Calories 307 kcal

Equipment

Ingredients
  

  • 3 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 3 Flat Anchovy Fillets in oil, drained Fillets in oil, drained
  • 1 Fennel Bulb Thinly Sliced
  • 1 Onion Chopped
  • 3 Shallots Chopped
  • 4 Ribs Celery Chopped
  • 2 Tsp Salt
  • 1 Tsp Pepper
  • 4 Cloves Garlic Finely chopped
  • 1 Tsp Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
  • 4 Tbsp Tomato Paste
  • 28 Oz Diced Tomatoes in their juice Canned in their juice
  • 1.5 Cup White Wine Dry
  • 5 Cups Fish Stock (can also use other stock with clam juice or beer)
  • 4 Sprigs Thyme (stems removed) Fresh (stems removed)
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • 4 Oz Lobster Tails (1 PP)
  • 1 lb Clams Cleaned
  • 1 lb Mussels Cleaned and Debearded
  • 1 lb Oysters Shucked and in their liquor
  • 1 lb Shrimp Uncooked, peeled, and deveined
  • ½ lb Scallops Sea or Bay Scallops (whichever you prefer)
  • 1 lb Halibut Cut into 1″ chunks
  • ¼ lb Squid
  • ¼ Cup Parsley Flat Leaf, chopped
  • Parmesan Cheese Grated or shredded for garnish
  • Italian Bread

Instructions
 

  • Heat oil in a very large pot over medium heat, then sauté anchovies until they melt.
  • Add fennel, onion, shallots and celery, salt and black pepper and sauté about 7 minutes.
  • Stir in tomato paste and cook another 3-5 minutes until the paste carmelizes and turns a reddish-brown color.
    Making soup base and adding tomato paste
  • Add garlic and red pepper flakes, cook another few minutes.
  • Add tomatoes with their juices, wine, stock, thyme and bay leaf.
    mixing the stew and bringing to a boil
  • Cover and bring to simmer.
  • Reduce heat and keep on med-low for about an hour or more to allow the flavors to combine.
  • Bring liquid to boil. Add lobster tails. Cover and cook over over high heat for 8 minutes.
  • Add clams, mussels, and oysters. Cover and cook until shells open – about 5 minutes.
    adding the mussels to make seafood stew
  • Add rest of seafood and simmer gently until fish and shrimp are cooked through – about 4-8 minutes.
    Adding shrimp and scallops to italian seafood stew
  • Discard any clams and mussels that do not open.
  • Remove bay leaf and season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Garnish bowls with chopped parsley and grated parmesan cheese. Serve with crusty bread…Enjoy!
    Cioppino - recipe for seafood stew close up in white bowl with crusty bread

Nutrition

Calories: 307kcalCarbohydrates: 16gProtein: 36gFat: 8gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0.01gCholesterol: 178mgSodium: 1500mgPotassium: 1141mgFiber: 3gSugar: 7gVitamin A: 487IUVitamin C: 20mgCalcium: 138mgIron: 4mg
Keyword Cioppino, Italian Seafood Stew, Recipe for Seafood Stew
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seafood stew
The best recipe for seafood stew close up so yummy
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Thank you so much for following along.

Enjoy a beautiful day! xo

Stacy Ling
Cioppino or recipe for italian seafood stew close up with crusty bread on the side
Italian Seafood Stew in a bowl
Italian Seafood Stew
Italian Seafood Stew, Christmas Eve 2018
The best recipe for seafood stew
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16 Comments

  1. I’ve done 7 fishes for many years. Unfortunately, my adult kids/husband would freak out if I didn’t make 7 different dishes:)
    Wish I could use your recipe:( It would make my life so much easier!
    Have a great holiday season and thanks for all your info on plants, etc.