Creamy Crawfish Soup

This velvety bisque is the perfect starter for spring dinner parties.

Creamy crawfish soup in a bowl on a plate with a spoon.

Greg DuPree, Food Stylist: Ruth Blackburn, Prop Stylist: Christine Keely

Active Time:
35 mins
Total Time:
35 mins

If you’ve ever been to a fancy French restaurant, you’ve probably seen a bisque on the menu. Basically, that’s exactly what this creamy crawfish soup is—except deliciously easier!

This Cajun-Creole twist gets a double blast of rich flavor from seafood stock and crawfish tails. While fresh is best, you can use thawed frozen crawfish meat in this recipe—half is blended with the stock to achieve this soup’s signature creaminess; the rest is stirred in near the end of cooking so that every bite has extra crawfish flavor.

If fennel is a vegetable you don’t cook with often, give it a try in this recipe. Although its faint anise flavor takes some folks off guard, it mellows during cooking and lifts this rich, creamy soup with its herbaceous freshness.


  • 6 Tbsp. (3 oz.) unsalted butter

  • 1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour

  • 1 large (16 oz.) fennel bulb, chopped (about 2 cups), fronds reserved for garnish

  • 2 medium-size (3 oz. each) plum tomatoes, cored and chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)

  • 1 medium-size (9 oz.) yellow onion, chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)

  • 2 tsp. kosher salt

  • 1 tsp. black pepper, plus more for garnish

  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper

  • 4 cups seafood stock or vegetable stock

  • 1 lb. peeled cooked crawfish tails (or 1 lb. frozen peeled cooked crawfish tails, thawed and drained), divided

  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream

  • 1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice (from 1 lemon)

  • Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling


  1. Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium. Whisk in flour; cook, whisking constantly, until bubbling and golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Add fennel, tomatoes, onion, salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper; cook, stirring often, until vegetables are almost tender, 4 to 5 minutes. Whisk in stock; bring to a boil over medium. Reduce heat to low; stir in half of the crawfish tails, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until thickened and vegetables are completely tender, 10 to 15 minutes.

  2. Remove pan from heat. Using an immersion blender, process mixture until completely smooth, about 1 minute. Return pan to low heat; stir in cream and remaining 1/2 lb. crawfish tails. Cook, stirring occasionally, until heated through, about 5 minutes; stir in lemon juice. Drizzle with olive oil, and garnish with fennel fronds and additional black pepper.

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