Rich And Creamy Lobster Bisque Recipe

There's nothing quite like a spoonful of velvety soup ... except if it's made with the king of crustaceans: lobster. Tasting Table recipe developer Michelle McGlinn brings us this rich and creamy lobster bisque recipe, and you'll want to pay attention. Made with stock from lobster tails and loaded with tender chunks of meat, this bisque is worthy of a fine dining experience. McGlinn shares, "It feels luxurious to eat because of the silky, buttery texture and flavor so natural to lobster!" Meanwhile, if you're lucky to live in a coastal region, it may just be a casual weeknight dinner during lobster season. 

"I love how savory and creamy lobster bisque is — plus those buttery bites of lobster are luscious," McGlinn raves. She goes on to describe, "This bisque is thick and creamy, with a silky-smooth consistency made by blending the vegetables and aromatics. The lobster flavor comes from the quick-stock made when boiling the lobsters, the sweating of the shells, and then the lobster garnish." If you've never tried this French classic before, she notes that "It tastes similar to a tomato or carrot soup with a rich, savory flavor and hints of anise." You'll understand once you take a bite!

Gather the ingredients for this rich and creamy lobster bisque

For this bisque, you'll need about 10 ounces of lobster tails. "When lobsters are in season, the tails can be quite large — around 8 to 10 inches long and thick," McGlinn explains and adds, "If the lobsters are large, you'll only need one or two. More commonly, lobster tails are about 4 to 5 inches long and about the width of three fingers. For these, I'd recommend grabbing two or three — even four if there's a sale!" If you're worried about extra tails taking up space in your fridge, she says, "The benefits of having more tails would be better lobster flavor and more meat for garnishing, so it's always worth buying extra."

Next, you'll need water (you'll be making your own stock), butter or olive oil, a yellow onion, large carrots, celery stalks, and garlic cloves. Brandy and Pernod (an anise liqueur) add flavor, along with fresh tarragon (plus extra to garnish), bay leaves, and black peppercorns. Finally, you'll need clam juice, tomato paste, heavy whipping cream (save some to drizzle on top), cornstarch (dissolved in water), and salt and pepper to taste.

Before starting, chop the onion, carrots (peel them first), and celery. Peel and smash the garlic, and finely chop the tarragon to garnish. McGlinn notes that rough cuts are fine since "everything will be blended," though she recommends ½-inch pieces for the carrots and celery since "they will soften a little faster."

Boil the lobster tails and remove the meat

Set a large saucepan with water on the stovetop and bring it to a boil. When it starts bubbling, add the lobster tails and cook them for about 5 minutes until the shells turn red and the meat is cooked through. Take the shells out of the pot, leaving the water behind for later. Working on a cutting board, take the meat out of the shells and set it aside.

Cook the vegetables until soft

Set a large pot or Dutch oven on the stovetop and heat the oil or butter over medium-low heat. Drop in the lobster shells, onion, carrots, celery, and garlic. Sweat the vegetables in the pot for about 10 minutes until they become glossy and start to soften.

Simmer and boil the contents

Next, add the brandy, Pernod liqueur, tarragon, bay leaves, and peppercorns, then raise the burner to medium heat. Simmer the contents for around 5 minutes until most of the liquid is reduced. Pour in the lobster cooking water and clam juice and bring the liquid to a boil. Keep boiling the mixture for another 10 minutes or so until the carrots are soft and can be cut with a butter knife.

Blend the mixture until smooth

Take the lobster shells, tarragon stems, and bay leaves out of the pot and blend the mixture until it is smooth. Either place an immersion blender straight into the pot or carefully pour the contents into a blender. If you use the latter approach, pour the blended mixture back into the pot. "The final consistency should be that of a milkshake," our recipe developer describes. If your mixture is looking too chunky, "you may need to add water to blend smooth."

McGlinn notes, "A high-powered blender will work much faster than immersion," though she points out that the downside is it "require[s] transferring everything to the blender and back." If you do choose this method, she recommends: "Keep the center of the lid open and cover [it] with a towel to let steam escape.

Add the remaining ingredients

Once the mixture is smoothly blended, place the pot back on the burner on medium heat to bring it to a gentle simmer. Add the tomato paste, heavy cream, and cornstarch slurry. "If the mixture is already very thick, continue without cornstarch," McGlinn advises. Stir the contents with a whisk until they are velvety. If the bisque is too thick at this point, use water or clam juice to thin it out.

Garnish and serve this lobster bisque

Season the bisque with salt and pepper to taste, then transfer the lobster meat back into the pot to warm. Serve it with a sprinkling of finely chopped tarragon and a drizzle of heavy cream.

This recipe produces about 4 cups of bisque, which McGlinn suggests serving "as an appetizer or a side to sandwiches or salads." If you're looking for more inspiration, she says, "I'd recommend pairing it with more refined sandwiches, maybe a grilled cheese made with brie, or a homemade Caesar. It would also be great paired with deviled eggs or salmon and creme fraiche on blini!" If you want to add a crunch factor, she notes that "It goes really well with oyster crackers or parmesan crisps." 

Store leftovers in a sealed container in the fridge for up to a week. McGlinn notes, "You can also prep the lobster ahead of time and store the cooked meat and separated shells in the refrigerator for up to two days. This is helpful in the event you are hosting a dinner party and need the burner space (or head space!)" 

Rich And Creamy Lobster Bisque Recipe
5 from 36 ratings
Learn how to make a silky-smooth lobster bisque that will bring the taste of fine dining to your next dinner party.
Prep Time
Cook Time
garnished lobster bisque in bowl
Total time: 50 minutes
  • 3 cups water
  • 10 ounces lobster tails (2 large or 3 small tails)
  • 2 tablespoons butter or olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
  • ½ cup brandy
  • 2 tablespoons Pernod liqueur
  • ¼ cup tarragon, packed, plus more for serving
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
  • 1 cup clam juice
  • ¼ cup tomato paste
  • ½ cup heavy whipping cream, plus more for serving
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch, dissolved in water
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  1. Bring the water to a boil in a saucepan.
  2. Once boiling, add the lobster tails and cook for about 5 minutes until the shells are red and the meat is done.
  3. Remove the shells from the water and reserve the water.
  4. Remove the meat from the shells and set it aside.
  5. Heat the oil or butter over medium-low heat in a large pot or Dutch oven.
  6. Add the lobster tails, onion, carrots, celery, and garlic and sweat the vegetables for about 10 minutes until they become glossy and begin to soften.
  7. Add the brandy, Pernod, tarragon, bay leaves, and peppercorns and turn the heat up to medium.
  8. Simmer for about 5 minutes until the liquid is almost completely reduced.
  9. Add the reserved water and clam juice to the pot and bring to a boil.
  10. Boil for about 10 minutes until the carrots are soft enough to cut with a butter knife.
  11. Remove the lobster tails, tarragon stems, and bay leaves and blend the mixture with an immersion blender until smooth. (Alternatively, transfer the contents to a blender.)
  12. Once blended, return the contents to the pot.
  13. Bring the mixture back to a low simmer over medium heat and add the tomato paste, heavy cream, and cornstarch slurry. (If the mixture is already very thick, continue without cornstarch.)
  14. Stir the bisque until it's smooth and creamy. (If needed, thin using water or clam juice.)
  15. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  16. Return the reserved lobster meat to the soup to warm through.
  17. Sprinkle the top with tarragon and a drizzle of heavy cream as desired, then serve.
Calories per Serving 399
Total Fat 18.6 g
Saturated Fat 8.1 g
Trans Fat 0.4 g
Cholesterol 123.6 mg
Total Carbohydrates 21.8 g
Dietary Fiber 3.9 g
Total Sugars 9.7 g
Sodium 1,169.6 mg
Protein 19.1 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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