Another simple lobster recipe, this Lobster Bisque is an easy yet authentic take on the New Orlean’s classic. It has all of the flavor of the restaurant staple but is going to take you a fraction of the time thanks to a couple of clever substitutions.
Lobster Bisque Recipe
I always order lobster bisque whenever I see it on a menu, but I’m often left wanting more. More lobster meat, more flavor, more butter – and more bisque! (Seriously, it’s like they use the kiddie-sized ladle when lobster bisque is served.)
However, a couple months ago I had an amazing lobster bisque that inspired me to make my own copycat version at home. This lobster bisque tasted just like a buttered lobster, with that subtly caramelized background flavor from the classic New Orlean’s “Holy Trinity” (onions, bell pepper, and celery) and a deep, sweet roux. It had a smooth, thick consistency and plenty of lobster.
It’s taken me a couple batches and tweaks to achieve this recipe, which I personally think is a great “base” that you can then tweak to your own personal preferences. Maybe you want a spicy lobster bisque? Or maybe you want it completely smooth with the lobster removed (and used for some flavorful lobster rolls instead)? Or maybe you want more texture and veg thrown in for a hearty lobster stew?
This recipe takes a bit longer than I usually like to spend in the kitchen (just over an hour if not using an immersion blender), but it’s a delicious treat for a special occasion, like Valentine’s Day or an anniversary.
What is lobster bisque made of?
Every lobster bisque recipe is going to differ slightly, based on the inspiration (New England, French or New Orleans) and the personal tastes of the chef. Some fish bisques use ground-up seafood shells for the “roux” base or rice that has been cooked to the consistency of paste and then browned to the consistency of a roux (caramelized flour-water mixture). I skip this by using a homemade lobster stock (that adds in the same flavor as using the ground shells) and swapping the rice paste for sweet rice flour.
(I also choose not to use wine in my recipe, but you can use it to deglaze the pan after cooking the roux, if desired.)
Our lobster bisque is New Orlean’s inspired so it contains two fats (olive oil and butter), the “Holy Trinity” of onion, celery and bell pepper, homemade lobster stock, sweet rice flour, tomato paste, paprika, cajun seasoning, lobster meat, heavy cream, and salt.
Of course, if one ingredient doesn’t appeal to you – or you want to add additional flavors, go for it! There’s no point in staying authentic to a recipe if it has flavors you dislike, or there is something you think would enhance it.
What does lobster bisque taste like?
Lobster bisque should primarily taste like buttered lobster, but it should have a bit of dimension to it – which is where that deep roux and Holy Trinity of veggies come in.
The slow cooking (and addition of tomato paste) will also add a slight sweetness while the lobster adds that umami meatiness.
Can I use lobster bisque as a sauce?
Absolutely – but you would need to use less broth, perhaps just one cup of broth in this recipe. You can also double the amount of your roux ingredients (sweet rice flour and butter/oil) to thicken the soup.
Lobster bisque sauce would be delicious on seafood, pasta, risotto, etc.
Does bisque have cream?
While there are some bisques that do not contain cream, you’ll find that the majority of bisques are at least finished with cream. However, not all creams are created equal. You are not going to get the same luxurious texture achieved by a heavy (35%) cream (sometimes referred to as a “whipping cream”) if you try to just use a table or coffee cream (at 5% or 10%). Heavy cream is going to thicken the soup, make it creamy, and add extra flavor (thanks to that fat content), while a table cream is just going to add dairy and volume.
In fact, if you don’t have heavy cream but really want to attempt this recipe without it, I would just increase the butter content – adding maybe 1/2 cup of butter and 1/2 cup of table cream or milk. (However, this won’t thicken the soup, it will just add that creaminess and flavor.)
Can you freeze lobster bisque?
In a covered container, lobster bisque will only last 3 to 4 days in the refrigerator. So, if you want to keep your bisque around for longer you will need to freeze it. Freeze in covered, airtight containers or heavy-duty freezer bags (with the air squeezed out of them) for up to four months. When reheating, heat the bisque low and slow, stirring frequently, to prevent curdling.
(Ideally, if you are planning on freezing the soup, I would freeze before adding the cream and then add that in when reheating.)
Ingredients for Lobster Bisque
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 2 Tablespoons butter plus more for serving
- 1 small onion, minced
- 1 stalk celery, minced
- 1 bell pepper, minced
- 3-4 cups lobster stock
- 3-4 Tablespoons sweet rice flour (can use all-purpose)
- 1 Tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon cajun seasoning, or more to taste
- 10 oz lobster meat (or meat from two tails or one lobster)
- 1 cup heavy cream, optional
- Salt, to taste
Tip: taste and adjust this soup to your personal preferences throughout the cooking process. You can add in additional seasonings, as desired.
Kitchen Tools You May Find Helpful
- Dutch oven or stockpot
- Measuring cups and spoons
- Sharp kitchen knife
- Cutting board
- Immersion blender <– highly recommended
How to Make Lobster Bisque
Place the butter and olive oil in a heavy duty stockpot (like a Dutch oven) and melt over medium-low heat.
Add the chopped onions, celery and pepper and cook until they are past the sauté stage and are beginning to brown, about 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Doing this low and slow (low heat and over a longer period of time) allows for the veggies to develop a caramelized sweetness and all of the water in them to evaporate.
Add the sweet rice flour and stir well. Allow the flour to brown to your comfort level, adding in a bit more oil or butter as needed to prevent the “roux” (flour-fat mixture) from burning. You can stop this browning stage as soon as the flour starts to take on a light brown color, but you can slowly take it all the way to a chocolate brown, as long as you are watching it and stirring frequently (and adding in that fat, as needed).
Once you achieve your desired roux color, add in your seasoning, lobster stock and tomato paste. If your
(Note: if you want to use wine, add about 1/4 to 1/2 a cup of white wine to deglaze the pan before adding in the lobster stock and tomato paste.)
Stir well and increase heat to medium. Let the soup come to a simmer, and keep simmering for about 8-10 minutes.
Remove soup from heat and let cool until you are comfortable placing the mixture in a blender or using an immersion blender. (Note that placing the soup in a blender when hot can cause the soup to build pressure in the blender which can be very dangerous. An immersion blender may not get the soup as smooth, but it is a lot safer if you don’t have time to let the soup cool completely.)
Place the soup back in the heavy stockpot. If the lobster meat is uncooked, add it now.
Heat over medium heat until the soup is simmering. Slowly stir in the heavy cream (and then the lobster meat if cooked) and reduce heat to medium-low.
Continue heating for two to four minutes, until the bisque coats the back of a spoon. Taste and adjust the seasoning and butter, as desired.
Serve immediately with a generous tablespoon of butter on top of the hot bisque.
Grab your free printable for our super simple lobster bisque recipe:
Taste and adjust this soup to your personal preferences throughout the cooking process. You can add in additional seasonings, as desired. If you want to use wine, add about 1/4 to 1/2 a cup of white wine to deglaze the pan after cooking the roux but before adding in the lobster stock and tomato paste.
Taste and adjust this soup to your personal preferences throughout the cooking process. You can add in additional seasonings, as desired.
If you want to use wine, add about 1/4 to 1/2 a cup of white wine to deglaze the pan after cooking the roux but before adding in the lobster stock and tomato paste.
This lobster bisque recipe is incredibly flavorful and so indulgent. It’s the perfect appetizer or starter for a special occasion meal.