Spicy Crab Bisque
© John Kernick

Spicy Crab Bisque

  • ACTIVE: 30 MIN
  • SERVINGS: 12

Tanya Holland's decadent crab bisque is studded with plenty of lump crabmeat. Thanks to a hit of cayenne and Tabasco, the soup has a sneaky heat.

Slideshow: Fast Soups


  1. 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  2. 1 small white onion, finely chopped
  3. 6 celery ribs, finely chopped
  4. 6 scallions, thinly sliced
  5. 2 bay leaves
  6. 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  7. 5 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  8. 2 tablespoons Mashed Roasted Garlic
  9. 3 cups whole milk
  10. 2 tablespoons dry sherry
  11. 1 tablespoon ketchup
  12. 1 teaspoon tomato paste
  13. 1/4 teaspoon sweet smoked paprika
  14. 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  15. Pinch of ground cloves
  16. Pinch of ground mace
  17. Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
  18. 1 cup heavy cream
  19. 1/2 to 1 tablespoon Tabasco
  20. Salt
  21. Freshly ground pepper
  22. 2 pounds jumbo lump crab or Dungeness crabmeat
  23. Oyster crackers, for serving
  1. In a large soup pot, melt the butter. Add the onion, celery, scallions and bay leaves and cook over moderate heat until softened, 5 minutes. Stir in the flour and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Gradually whisk in the chicken broth and bring to a boil. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the broth is thickened and the vegetables are very tender, 15 minutes.
  2. Add the roasted garlic and milk; bring to a simmer. Stir in the sherry, ketchup, tomato paste, paprika, cayenne, cloves, mace, nutmeg, cream and Tabasco and bring to a simmer. Season with salt and pepper, then add the crab; simmer until hot. Discard the bay leaves. Serve the bisque with oyster crackers.
Make Ahead
The crab bisque can be refrigerated without the crab for up to 3 days. Reheat the bisque gently and then add the crab just before serving.

Suggested Pairing

Ripe, fruit-forward California Chardonnay.