This creamy rich lobster bisque is loaded with tender chunks of lobster meat in an easy homemade stock. This restaurant quality bisque will leave you more than satisfied!
Years ago, I got my first taste of lobster bisque at a fancy restaurant in Medora, ND. It was rich, creamy and SO delicious! Medora is a small tourist town and opens only during summer, so I used to look forward to it very year! Then after having a baby, driving for 40+ miles for a lobster bisque become less exciting.
As it turns out, it’s actually easy to make lobster bisque. However, it requires some time to make a good lobster broth, just like any broth for that matter.
Once you’ve made the broth, which can be made in advance, it takes mere minutes to finish the bisque.
Choosing and preparing lobster:
- Choose cold-water lobster tail. Wait, there’re warm-water lobster tails too? You bet! Coldwater lobsters are basically a premium version. Sure, you’ll pay a bit more, but you’ll get tastier and whiter lobster meat with a firmer texture. It’s totally worth it!
- Fresh lobster is great and all, but frozen ones will work too! Thaw frozen lobster tails before cooking. And if you’re like me, you probably forgot to transfer lobster tails into the fridge to thaw nice and slow overnight. Don’t fret though, because I have a tip for you!
To quickly thaw frozen lobster tails, place them in a bowl of tap water (on the coldish side) for about 30 minutes, changing the water halfway.
How to make lobster bisque recipe:
1. Cook the lobster tail
- Boil lobster tails. Place the entire lobster tail, shell and meat, into a pot of boiling water and cook for about 8 minutes.
- Cool lobster tail and remove the meat. I like to use a sharp knife, but kitchen shears also work great for this step. Cut the lobster tails in half lengthwise, carve out the meat with a fork, and chop it into small pieces. Save the lobster meat, shells, and 2 cups of the lobster cooking water, you’ll use this later.
2. Make lobster broth
The secret is in the stock. And it’s easy to make it! But in a pinch you could substitute seafood stock for the homemade lobster stock.
- In a large pot, sauté shallot, garlic and celery in a melted butter.
- Stir in tomato paste and cook for a few minutes, stirring frequently, over medium low heat.
- Then pour in wine and scrape off the bottom of the pot to deglaze it.
- Now, add reserved lobster shells, lobster cooking water, chicken stock and herbs. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer the broth for an hour, covered.
- Finally, strain broth and discard the shells and everything.
Lobster broth can be prepared in advance. Store it in the fridge for up to 3 days, or freeze it for up to a month.
3. Make the bisque
- Start with making a roux by toasting flour in melted butter (or bacon fat, or a mixture of two). This will thicken up the bisque.
- Then add the homemade lobster broth and heavy cream.
- Once the bisque comes to a simmer, stir in chopped lobster meat and serve.
- This soup should be stored in an airtight container for only up to two days.
- Gently reheat it over medium-low heat.
- This bisque isn’t ideal for freezing.
If you used a whole lobster carcass (including head and gills) to make the stock, it’s important not to cook it for too long as they tend lend a bitter taste to the stock. Instead remove head and gill parts and use only the shells.
There are 2 ways to thicken lobster bisque.
1. Roux is my preferred method for thickening bisques.
2. You can also add cornstarch slurry (cornstarch mixed with a little bit of water) into boiling soup to thicken it.
I recommend Pinot Grigio, Sauv Blanc, or Chardonnay. And make sure to choose a wine that you’d drink. (It doesn’t have to be expensive!) Here’s a great article about cooking with wine.
More Lobster Recipes You’ll Love:
Restaurant-Quality Lobster Bisque
For lobster broth:
- 1 lb lobster tail thawed, if frozen
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 shallot chopped
- 1 celery stalk chopped
- 3-5 garlic cloves smashed
- 2/3 cup (160ml) white wine
- ¼ cup tomato paste
- 3 cups (720ml) chicken stock
- 1 sprig fresh thyme
- 1 sprig fresh tarragon
- 1 dried bay leaf
- 1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt or sea salt
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons bacon fat you can substitute all butter
- ¼ cup (30g) all-purpose flour
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- Cayenne pepper and crackers for garnish
To cook lobster tails:
- Fill a large dutch oven with 1 quart of water and bring it a boil.
- Add thawed lobster tail and bring it to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 8 minutes, or until the shells turn bright red. Using a pair of kitchen tongs, transfer the lobster tail onto a cutting board. Cool slightly.
- Using a sharp knife or kitchen shears, cut the lobster tail in half lengthwise, as shown above. Carve out the meat and chop into small pieces. Reserve lobster meat, shells and 2 cups of lobster cooking water.
To make lobster broth:
- Heat butter in a large dutch oven over medium high heat. Add shallot, garlic, and celery, and saute for about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Reduce heat to medium low and stir in tomato paste and cook for another 3 minutes.
- Add wine and deglaze the pan. Cook for another 2 minutes. Then add the reserved lobster shells, 2 cups of lobster cooking water, chicken stock, thyme, tarragon, bay leaf and salt. Bring it to a boil. Then reduce heat to medium and simmer for 1 hour, covered.
- Strain the broth through a fine mash sieve, making sure to extract as much liquid as possible.
To make the bisque:
- Melt butter and bacon fat in a large dutch oven over medium heat. Stir in flour and cook until nice and golden, stirring constantly, for about 5 minutes. It should smell slightly nutty. (Be careful not to burn!)
- Add the prepared lobster broth and heavy cream and bring it to a simmer.
- Stir in chopped lobster meat and serve with crackers. Garnish with cayenne pepper and thyme, if desired.