Lobster bisque is possibly the most delicate tasting soup among all crustaceans’ based soups. Crab,  crayfish (river lobster) and shrimp also fall in these most delicious tasting soup category, characterized by lots of umami flavor. Here we will follow a similar recipe as for making the shrimp bisque, but we will make some provisions for the fact that unlike shrimps, lobsters cannot be peeled in a similar way. Lobsters can be found all over the world. In this recipe we use a fresh lobster from the subtropical seas around Hong Kong, but in the fresh waters off New Foundland, Canada, catching lobster and making lobster bisque is in the island people’s genes.

The art of making lobster bisque

Where in our shrimp recipe we can fry the shrimp peels in fat or oil right away, in this recipe we want to first detach the meat from the shells before frying the shells. We do this by briefly steaming the cracked lobster parts, removing the meat and reserving the meat, shells and broth separately.  Thereafter we fry the shells, add several vegetables and then extract lots of flavor from shells and vegetables by a brisk simmer for an hour. Do not be afraid to use chicken broth for the extraction: it provides excellent flavor to the final bisque.

The color of the lobster shells changes from blue-grey to orange-red upon heating. This comes from a breakage of the bond between astaxanthin and the protein crustacyanin at higher temperatures. All crustaceans display this phenomenon. Flamingo’s have a pink, reddish hue because they eat crustaceans and the color comes from free astaxanthin. Likewise, salmon display a pink, reddish color.

Special equipment

  • strainer or siff
  • cooksknife


Lobster as basis for lobster bisque ©️ Nel Brouwer-van den Bergh

Lobster bisque

Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 2 hours
Course Appetizer, Soup, starter
Cuisine French
Servings 12


Ingredients for the broth

  • 28.2 oz (800 g) uncooked lobster entire animal or a half of a bigger one
  • 2 medium sized brown onions
  • two large tomatoes
  • 2 white stems of a leek
  • a medium sized carrot
  • one medium sized fennel (bulb)
  • a full bunch parsley (stems only)
  • 3 large cellery sticks
  • 5 oz (140 g) tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup cup Pernod, Ricard, Rakki or Ouzo (anice liquor)
  • 4 cloves of garlic (optional)
  • few twigs thyme and/or rosemary
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tbsp sea salt flakes
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 tbsp brandy
  • 10 cups chicken broth
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • meat of the lobster

Ingredients for the bechamel thickener

  • 10 tbsp white wheat flour
  • 8 tbsp butter
  • 1 cup milk

Ingredient to make the final bisque

  • 1/2 cup cooking cream


  • Instruction to make the broth
  • Wash the vegetables and herbs to ensure there is no sand or rubbish
  • Cut the onion (skin on), the leek, the cellery sticks, the fennel, the carrot (skin on), the tomato (skin on) in course pieces
  • Measure the anice liquor and ready the tomato paste
  • Cook the lobster in an inch of vigorously boiling water for 2-4 minutes until it turns color. Thereafter remove the lobster immediately and let it cool. Reserve the cooking water
  • Take the flesh out of the lobster, and reserve. Also the flesh from the claws. Reserve the shells, Reserve all juices
  • Heat up all olive oil in a pan on high heat
  • Add the lobster shells and mix. Keep the high fire but ensure there is no black burning. But brown spots on the pan and shells are fine
  • Then add the onion parts and stir
  • After one minute add the leek. Followed by the cellery parts, the carrot, and the fennel and the parsley stems, each added after 30-60 seconds
  • Finally add the tomato and the tomato paste and bring the fire to low-medium
  • After 3 minutes, add the anise liquor and the brandy, stir and dissolve the scraps on the bottom and add so much chicken broth that the mixture of shells and vegetables is almost submersed. Do not add too much broth!!! Err on the low side
  • Add salt and pepper and continue to simmer for 40 min
  • After 40 minutes, strain the broth and press out the shell/vegetable mixture with a spatula. Take time to press, as there is a lot of great taste in the juices that are pressed out
  • Let the broth cool down a bit and use for the next step

Instruction to make the bechamel thickened broth

  • In a separate pan, melt the butter and then add the flour. Mix with a whisk
  • Let heat through at low-medium fire for 1 minute
  • Add the milk on low heat and use the whisk to mix in the milk. A course non-fluid crumbly 'dough' is formed
  • To this add in portions the broth at medium heat. Every time let thicken and then add more broth while stirring often

Instruction to finalize the bisque

  • Then add the cut lobster meat to the soup
  • Let the lightly thickened bisque simmer (low heat!) for 15 minutes
  • Serve with a little cooking cream in each bowl or plate.


Method: pan frying, simmering
Food allergy & intolerance information: shell fish, gluten, cow's milk
Keyword Appetizer, broth and soup



  1. Feel free to experiment with vegetables or herbs, but keep the shell-meat to (chicken) broth ratio the same.

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