Easy Seafood Cioppino Recipe

Loaded with fresh seafood and swimming in a mildly spicy tomato broth, this Easy Seafood Cioppino Recipe is a healthy meal that’s easy to prepare.  A perfect alternative to a calorie laden chowder and ready in under 30 minutes.

Overhead shot of seafood cioppino in white bowls on a blue background.

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Originally published July 2015 and updated January 2020.

I LOVE seafood, especially that of the shellfish variety. If it has a shell and comes from the sea, chances are I’ll eat it.  We kinda live on it during the summer months with frequent trips to the Jersey shore where shellfish is a staple but if you’ve ever been to San Francisco, that’s really the shellfish capital in my opinion.

A quick trip to San Francisco and I was immediately smitten by the outdoor restaurants bursting at the seams with fresh seafood.  Everything you can imagine and Cioppino Seafood stew at just about every eatery. It was so fresh and flavorful, hard to beat coming back to the east coast unless you make it yourself.

Overhead shot of seafood cioppino in a blue stock pot with a blue speckled ladle.

SEAFOOD CIOPPINO

Wondering what Cioppino is?  Well, Cioppino, pronounced “Chu – Pe – No”, is an Italian-American seafood stew that’s made up, primarily, of the catch of the day.  Created in the 1800’s by Italian fishermen who settled in San Francisco and threw in anything they had from their return from the sea, mainly Dungeness Crab, clams, shrimp, scallops, mussels, squid and fish.

It’s really up to you what you want to include in this recipe, for mine…I used what I could easily find at the fish market that day.  I, usually, add mussels and dungeness crab but they didn’t have it the day I shot the photos so for this recipe I used jumbo lump crab, clams, shrimp and scallops.

I’ve also made my Cioppino recipe with fresh fish, mussels and calamari when the budget was a little tighter.  That’s a great way to stretch it out, too, if you’re feeding a crowd.

Seafood cioppino being served in a blue speckled ladle.

You can also tailor the recipe to feed as little or as many people as you like.  The broth is easily doubled or tripled to make enough for entertaining.  To punch up the flavor a bit, I like to use Fire-Roasted crushed tomatoes.  If you can’t find fire-roasted tomatoes, regular crushed tomatoes will work also.

I like to serve it at the table right in the pot, this is my favorite one and I use it several times a week because it’s a real workhorse in the kitchen!

THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN CIOPPINO AND BOUILLABAISSE

If you’ve made my Bouillabaisse recipe already, then you may thing this is the same thing.  While Cioppino and Bouillabaisse are very similar, they are different in that Cioppino is more tomato based while traditional Bouillabaisse has more of a fish stock base with very few tomatoes in the stew.

Close up overhead of a bowl of cioppino stew.

 

TIPS FOR MAKING SEAFOOD CIOPPINO

  • If using clams, be sure to clean the clams by soaking the clams in cold water for one hour. Clams will filter the sand out themselves if soaked in water. I place the clams in a fine mesh sieve and place the sieve in a bowl filled with water. After one out, lift the strainer with the clams out of the water and rinse. Sand free clams!
  • Cook the clams first….just until they open before adding the other seafood.
  • Shrimp cooks quickly so add the shrimp and crab to the soup last.
  • You can make the cioppino base in advance and freeze it. Do not add the seafood until just before serving. To reheat, simply bring to a boil and then add the seafood as instructed below in the recipe card.
  • If you don’t want to use wine in your Cioppino, you can skip it or replace it with apple juice. The sweetness is lovely with the acidity of the tomatoes.

White bowl with seafood cioppino in it.

WHAT TO SERVE WITH CIOPPINO

This easy seafood stew is a one pot dinner that I usually just serve with a crisp white wine and some crusty bread (with lots of butter, of course.) But if you want to add some additional freshness, we love to serve a light green salad with a homemade Thousand Island dressing

Or you could serve your Cioppino alongside this epic Wedge Salad or this easy Pear Salad.

Ready in under 30 minutes, Easy Seafood Cioppino is a healthy stew perfect for an easy, and pretty high brow, weeknight dinner. 

If you’re looking for a few more easy soup recipes, this Easy Seafood Gumbo is on repeat pretty much weekly. Also, this simple and quick Gazpacho is a summertime dream. 

Looking for something a little more fancy, this super simple Lobster Bisque is totally amazing!

Overhead shot of Lobster Bisque in a white bowl with bread on the side and a lobster claw in the center of the soup.

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Easy Shellfish Cioppino Recipe

Course: Seafood
Cuisine: American
Keyword: cioppino
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 349 kcal

Easy San Francisco Style Seafood Cioppino made with fresh seafood is a classic seafood stew that comes together in just 30 minutes.

Print

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 vidalia onion diced
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1 28- ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 4 cups fish stock or you can use chicken stock in a pinch
  • 3 tablespoons fresh chopped tarragon
  • 12 littleneck clams
  • 1 lb medium uncooked shrimp peeled and deveined
  • 1/2 lb large sea scallops
  • 1/2 pound jumbo lump crabmeat
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley

Instructions

  1. In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium high heat.

  2. Add the onion and Cook until softened. Stir in the garlic. Cook for 1 minute. Add the red pepper flakes, oregano and tomato paste. Cook the mixture until the tomato paste turns a deep red color.

  3. Stir in the wine and deglaze the pan scraping up any brown bits on the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Continue cooking until the wine is reduced by half.

  4. Add the tomatoes and fish stock. Bring the mixture to a boil and stir in the tarragon.

  5. Add the clams to the broth and cook until the clams open. Stir in the shrimp and scallops continuing to cook until they become opaque. Add the crab and cook until warmed through.

  6. Top with the parsley and basil. Serve immediately with warm crusty bread.

Recipe Notes

The Cioppino base can be made in advance and stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 4 days.

You can also freeze the Cioppino base for up to 3 months.

Be sure to bring the mixture to a boil before adding the seafood and cooking to completion.

Nutrition Facts
Easy Shellfish Cioppino Recipe
Amount Per Serving (1 g)
Calories 349 Calories from Fat 54
% Daily Value*
Fat 6g9%
Saturated Fat 1g6%
Cholesterol 39mg13%
Sodium 1902mg83%
Potassium 1527mg44%
Carbohydrates 32g11%
Fiber 6g25%
Sugar 15g17%
Protein 29g58%
Vitamin A 1735IU35%
Vitamin C 42.8mg52%
Calcium 284mg28%
Iron 7.1mg39%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

14 comments on “Easy Seafood Cioppino Recipe”

  1. I just LOVE Cioppino! And your version not only looks delicious, but is beautiful to boot! 🙂

  2. I also love shellfish!! This looks so amazing! Unfortunately, my hubby doesn’t do seafood so I’ll have to make this on a night when he’s gone!

  3. This is absolutely gorgeous – my favorite type of meal. I want to sit and eat a huge bowl of this ON the beach!

  4. Wow – now this is summer in a bowl. Now I have visions of some shore visits and this seafood cioppino on the menu!

  5. I can’t resist ordering seafood Cioppino at a restaurant… I always thought it would be more difficult but this easy recipe makes me want to go cook it right now. Thanks!

  6. Cioppino is a long-time favorite of ours! Love that tomato-ey broth and all the beautiful seafood. Just add a good loaf of homemade bread and … yum!

  7. This is one of my favorite meals…perfect in every way! great job.

  8. This seafood cioppino recipe looks so amazing. Super easy to make too!

  9. We love it! The seafood goes so well with the broth and so very tasty too!

  10. Made this for the family and it was a hit!

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