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Creamy Shrimp Bisque

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If you’re looking for a silky smooth, ultra-decadent, flavorful soup, this creamy shrimp bisque checks all those boxes – and then some! It’s a simple, elegant bisque that you can dress up even more with a drizzle of truffle oil (an optional garnish, but strongly recommended. ?

Overhead view of a bowl of creamy shrimp bisque and spoon

This shrimp bisque is creamy, rich and delicious. A small portion is the perfect starter at a fancy dinner party or light lunch.

why we love this creamy bisque

This creamy shrimp bisque recipe results in all the things a perfect bisque should be:

  • Smooth
  • Velvety in texture
  • Flavorful, thanks to the shrimp and aromatics like shallot and garlic
  • Simple to make
  • The creamiest!

What’s the difference between a soup and a bisque?

Here’s a tip: if you’re choosing between a regular soup and bisque, go for the bisque. Every. Time. A bisque is basically the king of tasty soups- it’s creamy and smooth, and so, so flavorful. A classic shrimp bisque recipe is made with pureed shellfish. It’s of French origin, which explains why traditional bisques require wine and cream. Can you see why we love it?

how to make this French classic

Let’s make it! The process is simple but make sure to scroll down to the bottom of the page to check out the full recipe and our useful tips!

Pot of shrimp bisque with soup ladle

You will need:

  • Medium or large shrimp, shelled and deveined (SAVE THE SHELLS)
  • Chopped shallot
  • Olive oil
  • Garlic cloves
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Brandy
  • Dry sherry
  • Butter
  • All-purpose flour
  • Heavy cream
  • Whole milk
  • Tomato paste
  • Sea salt and ground white pepper

Note: I mention it above, but be sure to save the shrimp shells! You’ll use them to make a tasty shrimp broth to incorporate into the pureed mixture. (A store-bought shrimp broth also works but why pay for it when you can make your own?!).

Overhead view of two bowls of shrimp bisque, bottle of truffle oil, napkins and spoons
  1. To make the shrimp broth, boil the reserved shells in a saucepan with the water. Reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes, then pour the broth through a sieve and toss the shells.
  2. To make the shrimp bisque, sauté the shallots and garlic in olive oil in a four-quart Dutch oven or heavy-duty large pot. Add the cayenne pepper and the shrimp and cook for 3-4 minutes, until the shrimp turn pink. Set aside six of the shrimp to use for garnish later.
  3. Add the brandy and sherry. Working in small batches, purée the mixture in a blender until smooth.
  4. Melt the butter in the Dutch oven, whisk in the flour, then stir in the cream and milk. Add the shrimp borth and puréed shrimp mixture, tomato paste, and salt and pepper.
  5. Cook while whisking continuously- don’t let the bisque boil or the cream will curdle.
  6. Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with the reserved shrimp, parsley, and a drizzle of truffle oil.  

Black Truffle Butter:

We used a portion of our Black Truffle Butter which we keep stored in the freezer for special recipes like this. If you do not have any black truffle butter subbing it with regular butter will be just fine. Caution do not sub the butter for margarine or the heavy cream with milk. The bisque will not have that rich luxurious flavor.

A sliced log of truffle compound butter with 3 truffles in the background.

pro-tips for making shrimp bisque

  • We like to use fresh, wild-caught shrimp but you can also substitute for frozen, shelled shrimp. All you’ll need to do is thaw them overnight in the refrigerator and they’ll be good to go.
  • Make sure to purée in small batches. If you fill the blender more than half full, the pressure from the hot food can force the blender cover off the container. Leaving the cap open to the small opening in the blender lid will allow steam to escape- I like to place a kitchen towel over the blender lid.
  • If the bisque curdles, you can use an immersion blender or the blender to bring it back together.

What to serve with shrimp bisque

This hearty, rich bisque can be a stand-alone meal served with a crisp salad and a loaf of garlic bread. It will be a very satisfying easy meal.

Another thing about this creamy shrimp bisque that’s worth raving about: it’s good for lunch or dinner, as an appetizer or main course, and it goes with just about everything. It is such a filling, rich soup you could even eat it solo and be satisfied.

Overhead view of bowl of shrimp bisque, truffle butter, bread in background
So good!

Our favorite ways to enjoy shrimp bisque include:

What would you serve this with? However you enjoy this creamy shrimp bisque, it will most certainly be a hit!

Some other recipes we are sure you will love:

  • Our shredded beef chimichangas without the mess of frying! These baked chimis are a simple and delicious dinner that will be devoured fast.
  • This Creole seafood gumbo that’s spiced to perfection. Bring the best of New Orleans to your kitchen with this zesty, savory seafood gumbo recipe!
  • Smoked salmon crostini is an elegant and satisfying party starter that’s a breeze to make!

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Overhead view of a bowl of creamy shrimp bisque and spoon

Creamy Shrimp Bisque

Yield: 4-6 Servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes

A thick, creamy shrimp bisque that is simple to make and delivers ultimate flavor. Add a touch of elegance with a drizzle of truffle oil as a garnish.

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds medium or large shrimp, shelled and deveined, reserve the shells
  • 1 cup chopped shallot
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 cup brandy
  • 1/2 cup dry sherry
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 cup heavy cream cream
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground white pepper

To Garnish:

  • Whole cooked shrimp
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • 4 tablespoons truffle oil

Instructions

For the Shrimp Broth:

  1. Add the reserved shrimp shells to a saucepan with 4 cups of water.  Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes.  Remove from the heat and pour through a sieve, discard the shells.  Measure the broth adding additional water to make 4 cups. Reserve.


For the Shrimp Bisque:

  1. Heat the oil In a 4 quart Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed saucepan set over medium heat, add the chopped shallots and sauté until soft, do not brown them, 3-4 minutes.  Add the garlic and cook for another minute.
  2. Add the cayenne pepper and the shrimp. Cook until the shrimp turn pink, 3-4 minutes.  Remove 6 of the shrimp and reserve for garnish.  Add the brandy and cook for 1-2 minutes, add the sherry and cook for another 3 minutes.  Working in batches, purée the mixture in a blender until smooth.  
  3. Melt the butter in the Dutch oven set over medium-low heat and whisk in the flour, cook for 1 minute then stir in the cream and milk, whisking until thick and smooth.  Add the shrimp broth, puréed shrimp mixture, tomato paste, salt and pepper.  Cook until hot while whisking continually.  Do not let the bisque boil as the cream will curdle, adjust the heat as necessary.

To serve:

  1. Ladle the soup into bowls, garnish with the reserved shrimp and chopped parsley.  Drizzle a tablespoon of truffle oil on each serving.  

    Notes

    • Frozen, shelled shrimp may be substituted, thaw overnight in the refrigerator.
    • Store bought fish broth may be substituted for the homemade broth.
    • Do not let the bisque boil as the cream will curdle, adjust the heat as necessary.
    • When pureeing the hot bisque in a blender, do not fill the container more than half full.  If it is to full the pressure from the hot food can cause the blender cover off the container.  Always process hot liquids in small batches, leave the lid on with the center opening removed so steam can escape.  I like to add a kitchen towel over the blender lid.
    • Refrigerate leftover bisque and reheat gently.
    • If the bisque curdles, use an immersion blender to bring it back together.

    Nutrition Information:
    Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
    Amount Per Serving: Calories: 479Total Fat: 41gSaturated Fat: 18gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 21gCholesterol: 78mgSodium: 591mgCarbohydrates: 20gFiber: 2gSugar: 6gProtein: 6g

    Nutrition information is a guideline only, is calculated automatically by third-party software, and absolute accuracy is not guaranteed.

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    Chef Mimi

    Sunday 24th of May 2020

    This is just a beautiful thing! It’s funny, but when I think of pureed soups or basques, I don’t think of shrimp for some reason. I mean, I have a Vitamix. I can purée anything! Love your recipe. And bread with preserved lemon butter sounds perfect!

    Pat Nyswonger

    Sunday 24th of May 2020

    Thank you for your comments, Mimi....this is a rich and delicious soup and so easy to prepare. ?

    John / Kitchen Riffs

    Wednesday 13th of May 2020

    I'll never turn down anything with cream in it. Never. :-) Terrific looking dish. I'm with you on the whole bisque thing -- head and shoulders above a regular soup. This looks wonderful -- thanks.

    Pat Nyswonger

    Wednesday 13th of May 2020

    Hi, John...This bisque is so good! Thanks for your comments ?

    angiesrecipes

    Monday 11th of May 2020

    What a creamy fine gourmet shrimp bisque! You are such an excellent cook, Pat.

    Pat Nyswonger

    Tuesday 12th of May 2020

    Thank you, Angie! ? This is a rich soup and full of flavor!

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