Photo: Randy Mayor; Styling: Cindy Barr
8 servings (serving size: 3/4 cup soup and about 1/4 cup crabmeat mixture)

"I wanted to create a second course that is indulgent, rich, and pretty, too. Funny: The first time we tried this crab bisque and pureed the soup in a food processor, we almost decided to start over because the texture wasn't smooth enough. But then we put it in the blender, and it came out perfectly creamy." --Mary Drennen Ankar, Test Kitchen Professional

How to Make It

Step 1

Heat a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add shallots and celery to pan; cook 10 minutes or until softened, stirring occasionally. Add garlic; cook 1 minute. Stir in vermouth; cook 1 minute or until liquid evaporates. Add salt, peppers, and 8 ounces crabmeat.

Step 2

Combine milk and clam juice in a large bowl. Weigh or lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Whisk flour into milk mixture; add to pan. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Cook 1 minute or until slightly thickened, stirring constantly.

Step 3

Place half of milk mixture in blender. Remove center piece of blender lid (to allow steam to escape); secure blender lid on blender. Place a clean towel over opening in blender lid (to avoid splatters). Blend until smooth. Pour into a large bowl. Repeat procedure with remaining milk mixture. Return pureed mixture to pan. Stir in cream; cook over medium heat 3 minutes or until thoroughly heated.

Step 4

Combine the remaining 8 ounces crabmeat, chives, and lemon juice in a medium bowl. Top soup with the crabmeat mixture.

Step 5

Wine note: If there's ever a time to pull out a good chardonnay, it's when crab is on the table. The wine's lush apple fruit loves the sweet shellfish, and if you pick a wine with an edge of creamy citrus, it works like a twist of lemon. Napa Valley's 2007 Antica Chardonnay ($35), from Italy's Antinori family, is your bottle for the Crab Bisque, with crisp citrus and bracing herbs balancing its sweet fruit. --Sara Schneider

Ratings & Reviews


June 05, 2016
I thought this recipe was delicious.  I made a couple of modifications. I like a little more heat, so I added some extra black and red pepper.  Also I substituted 2% milk instead of fat-free milk and then omitted the cream.  Lastly, instead of adding the flour to the milk/clam juice mixture, I added 1 tablespoon butter to the pot and added the flour to that after step #1.  I cooked that for about 1 or 2 minutes before adding the milk/clam juice and it turned out perfectly. 

MyTastyRecipes's Review

January 10, 2014
This was OK, a bit bland. It could use a little kick.

mrscrazyed's Review

March 22, 2012
Unfortunately, DH and I didn't particularly care for this dish. I was excited that it had so little fat and calories, but in the end the lack of creaminess one expects in a bisque was missing. The only thing I did different was to add a little white pepper for a little bit of a kick. I did, however, like the mixture of crab, lemon juice and chives. May use that idea for something else.

Lindabrady's Review

January 29, 2012

cduffy370's Review

December 23, 2011
We enjoyed this bisque tonight for a pre-Christmas dinner with salad and sourdough bread. It was delicious and very filling. I only had 1 cup of shallots, so that is all I used. And I used sherry in place of the vermouth.

Belladonna714's Review

July 06, 2011
A lot of prep...worth it. Because of other reviews, I made it two ways, the way the recipe states (except subbed better than bouillon clam base for clam juice) and the second way with sherry and lobster base. Both were good but the first was better! I used half shallots and half Vidalia onion (ran out of shallots) and fat free half and half for both. I served with a side salad. I would make this again.

awesomepeople's Review

June 17, 2011

cmlimani's Review

March 26, 2011
This is an awesome recipe! I serve it weeknights paired with a good vegetable for dinner or I'd serve it to company coming over.

nwilker's Review

January 01, 2011
I used sherry vs vermouth, and fake crab instead of real - but it was great! Hubby was scared of the clam juice but admitted later he couldn't tell. Will definitely make again!

MaryEv's Review

February 14, 2010
I used gravy flour and it worked great....very creamy. Be careful adding all the shallots, it makes it very peppery and spicy. Would make it again with shrimp, lobster or clams and potatoes.