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Creamy Crab Bisque

This Creamy Crab Bisque brings sweet lumps of Dungeness crab meat to your bowl with a rich flavor-packed broth. This makes for a great starter, side, or bougie lunch option.
5 from 15 votes


  • 6 cups vegetable or seafood broth
  • 1.5 lbs Dungeness crab legs with shells; reserve the shells
  • 1 rib of celery, chopped
  • 1 large carrot, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped, white, yellow, or red onions all work fine
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 3 garlic loves, chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp Old Bay seasoning
  • Kosher salt + cracked black pepper
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 3 TBSP corn starch
  • 1/2 cup cold milk
  • Freshly chopped parsley, for garnish


  • Spread the crab legs and claws over a baking sheet or pan and bake at 350º F until heated through (6-8 minutes if thawed, 12-16 minutes if frozen, depending on packages instructions). Let them cool. Once cool to the touch, crack the shells open with crab shell crackers or strong scissors, and carefully remove the meat, setting it into a large bowl. Reserve your crab shells in a separate bowl.
  • Roughly chop the crab meat. You can leave a few larger lumps for soup garnish if you wish. When done, cover the crab meat and place it in the fridge.
  • In a large stockpot or Dutch oven, bring your veg or seafood broth to a simmer. Add the crab shells to the broth and let simmer for about 20 minutes. When done, place a strainer over another pot in the sink, and carefully pour the broth into the pot through the strainer to catch any shells and bits. Set the broth aside.
  • Give your original stockpot a quick rinse to rid of any possible shells or bits that might have been missed. Set on top of the stove over medium heat. Add the butter and heat until melted.
  • Stir in the onion, garlic, carrots, and celery, and cook until soft and tender—about 5 minutes.
  • Transfer your strained broth to your stockpot with the veggies and bring to a boil. Stir in the bay leaves, smoked paprika pepper, old bay seasoning, salt, and pepper. Simmer for about 10 minutes.
  • Discard the bay leaves and carefully transfer the soup to a high-powered blender. Do this in batches if you must. Blend until smooth. Transfer the smooth soup back to the stockpot on the stove. (If you have a good immersion blender, you can keep the soup in the stockpot and blend it right in there.) 
  • Over medium heat, bring the soup to a low simmer. Pour in the heavy cream, stirring to blend.
  • In a small bowl, mix the corn starch and milk vigorously with a fork; ensure there are no clumps. Then, slowly stir this mixture into the simmering soup, stirring constantly to thicken.
  • Reduce heat to low, stir in crab meat, and simmer until warmed through—about 5 minutes.
  • Serve and garnish with a drizzle of cream, chopped fresh parsley, and lumpy crab meat if you reserve some.


Be extra cautious when cracking your own shells. It's easy to leave bits of shell behind in the crab meat and you don't want that. Broken crab shell is rough and sharp. Use your bare fingers to press and feel through the meat thoroughly for any hard bits and discard them.