A Spicy Perspective

Seafood Cioppino

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Seafood Cioppino Recipe – A dazzling stew to delight the senses and warm the belly. This rustic seafood stew is not to be missed!

Seafood Cioppino Recipe

Seafood Cioppino 

It was luring me. Making it’s beguiling qualities present at every turn. Cioppino.

First I watched a celebrity chef make it on TV. Next, a friend of mine found a seafood cioppino recipe and emailed it to me. A few weeks later, I came across yet another version of seafood cioppino in a beloved cookbook, previously undiscovered. And again, fish soup, printed in the next edition of my favorite magazine. 

Seafood Cioppino. I couldn’t escape it.

Seafood Cioppino

American-Italian Tradition

Pronounced “Chip-een-o.” An American creation from San Francisco.

Fishermen and fishmongers, mostly Italian immigrants, invented this at the market. As the story goes, one said to another, “Can you chip-in-o some fish?” “Si!” “And you, chip-in-o some clams?” “Si, si.” This continued until every necessary item was “chipped in” for a fantastic communal meal.

Who knows if this is truly how cioppino came to be, but I love the thought of it.

Cioppino Recipe

The Perfect Casual or Show Off Meal

Regardless of it’s humble, and formally unknown origin, this is the most lovely seafood stew I have ever had the honor of tasting. This is no Tuesday night, throw-together dinner. A good Seafood Cioppino Recipe is an event in a bowl!

The broth alone has a wonderfully complex fusion of both robust and delicate flavors. And the seafood… anything you add clams or lobster to, can’t be bad. This is a perfect show-off meal, but can certainly be served in a casual setting.

Cioppino Soup

Seafood Selection

Ingredients that must be “chipped in” include: white fish (cod, halibut, pollock), shellfish (lobster, crab, shrimp) and mollusks (oysters, clams, mussels) Some recipes I’ve seen included 5-6 different types of seafood. But, I’m a less is more kind of girl, so 1 item from each group for me.

Any variety is acceptable. Just buy the freshest seafood you can find.

What is lazy cioppino

Wine Selection

The wine you select is important.

Use a light red like a Rioja or Pinot Noir. The wine produces brilliant color and intense depth of flavor. Choose a wine you would drink. You don’t want to ruin your high-quality seafood with lousy wine.

The lesson learned here: When an opportunity presents itself over and over, take it as a sign from above! Something delicious is bound to come out of it.

My Seafood Cioppino Recipe, is a culmination of what I considered the highlights in several different recipes I found. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

What does cioppino taste like

Cioppino Ingredients:

  •  Olive Oil
  • Large Fennel Bulb
  • Large Onion
  • Garlic Cloves
  • Tomato Paste
  • Dried Tarragon, or fresh tarragon
  • Fresh Thyme
  • Saffron, large
  • Crushed Red Pepper
  • Bay leaf
  • Salt
  • Wine – Pick a light red or a white.
  • Diced Tomatoes
  • Seafood Stock
  • Little Neck Clams or mussels
  • Firm White Fish
  • Large Raw Shrimp – peeled
  • Flour
  • Lemon Wedges

See The Recipe Card Below For How To Make Seafood Cioppino. Enjoy!

What does cioppino mean in italian

Frequently Asked Questions: 

What does cioppino mean in Italian? 

Cioppino is not technically Italian. It is a fish stew that is originally based out of San Francisco. It is a classic Italian-American dish. 

What is Seafood Cioppino?

This seafood stew is traditionally made with the fisherman’s catch of the day, and since it started in San Francisco that catch of the day was generally crab, clams, shrimp, scallops and fish.  

How long does this keep in the fridge? 

You can keep this in an air-tight container for up to 4 days in your fridge. A note to consider is that seafood that is warmed up for the second time can sometimes have a rubbery texture. 

You can freeze cioppino for up to 3 months, then thaw at room temperature and gently rewarm.

Other Fabulous Seafood Recipes

Seafood Cioppino Recipe | ASpicyPerspective.com
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5 from 11 votes
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Seafood Cioppino Recipe

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
Seafood Cioppino Recipe, rich and alluring. Loaded with spice and herbs. Completely irresistible! This simple cioppino recipe is bold and inviting.
Servings: 8


  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large fennel bulb, thinly sliced
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 3 tablespoons  tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon dried tarragon or 2 tablespoons fresh tarragon
  • 4-5 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 pinch saffron, large
  • 1/2  teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups wine (a fruity red or dry white)
  • 28 ounces diced tomatoes
  • 32 ounces seafood stock
  • 1 1/2 pounds little neck clams or mussels
  • 1 pound firm white fish
  • 1 pound large raw shrimp peeled
  • 1-2 tablespoons  flour
  • Lemon wedges and chopped parsley for garnishing


  • Prepare the fennel: Cut off the stalks. You can use the fronds later in the week. (Think salads, sauces, mixed with goat cheese, sprinkled over fruit...) Then halve the bulb and remove the core. Slice the bulb thin. You may want to quarter the bulb for smaller slices.
  • Place a large stock pot over medium-high heat. Add 2 tablespoon oil to the pot. Sauté the fennel and onions for 5 minutes; then add the garlic and tomato paste.
  • Sauté one more minute. Then add the tarragon, thyme, saffron, red pepper, bay, salt and black pepper to taste. Mix well. Pour in the wine, stock, and tomatoes. Bring the stew to a boil. Lower the heat, cover, and simmer for at least 30 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, cut the fish into 1-inch cubes and toss the fish and shrimp in flour. Rinse and check all mollusks for freshness. They should all be completely closed. If they are open, squeeze them shut. If they don’t instantly close up again, THROW THEM OUT. Any open or cracked mollusk should not go in the cioppino.
  • Once the stew has simmered for 30+ minutes, add the mollusks. Stir and allow them to cook for 3-5 minutes until they are mostly opened. Next add the fish and shrimp. Stir well and simmer another 3-5 minutes. The broth should thicken and all the mollusks should open wide.
  • Remove the thyme sprigs, bay leaf, and any unopened mollusks. Garnish the cioppino with parsley and lemon wedges. Then serve with lots of warm crusty sourdough bread or parmesan toast.



Calories: 258kcal, Carbohydrates: 13g, Protein: 29g, Fat: 6g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 175mg, Sodium: 1696mg, Potassium: 784mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 4g, Vitamin A: 375IU, Vitamin C: 19.2mg, Calcium: 197mg, Iron: 4mg
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American, Italian
Author: Sommer Collier

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80 comments on “Seafood Cioppino”

  1. Pingback: Delicious Low-Carb Keto Soup Recipes. Low Carb and High In Flavor

  2. What a fabulous recipe! So easy and tasty! I’ll definitely be making this one again!
    Thank you so much for the recipe!

  3. Looks absolutely divine! Can’t wait to try it. Is there anyway around using wine? Anything I can replace and not lose flavor or color? Love your recipes and photos. I always look forward to your new posts.

    • Hi Cherylynn,

      Since you can use either red or white wine in this recipe, it’s not really that important for color. You can add additional seafood stock, then a couple tablespoons of lemon juice to the broth to offer acidity. Hope this helps! :)

  4. Turned out great! So easy to make and we loved it!

  5. I loved how comforting this is!! So yummy!

  6. So cozy and comforting with incredible flavors! Outstanding!!

  7. I love all your recipes!! This one is so delicious! Thanks for sharing! 

  8. My daughter and I love seafood. I can’t wait to show her this. She’ll be so excited to try this!

  9. Great recipe. I added diced potatoes to make it more hearty. Also added more spices.

  10. Question: Are you supposed to fry up the flour coated seafood at all of just throw them just coated into the stew?

  11. Fabulous! I made it without a single change and it was really, really good.

  12. It turned out wonderfully, thank you!!

    The name actually comes from ciuppin, a seafood stew from the Liguria region of Italy.

  13. Nice blog and great pics. Looks delicious, thanks

  14. Here, we usually put the bread in the soup!

  15. Pingback: 8 Must Try San Francisco Recipes - The Collaboreat

  16. Looks excellent! However, it’s not a true SanFranciscan Cioppino without fresh Dungeness crab.

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  21. Hi Lisa! Thanks, that would be great!

  22. My goodness. This looks so delish!
    Can’t wait to try this recipe.

  23. I can’t wait to make this – Love Ciopinno! Great site and so glad I came over from SITS – Hope your day is fun!

  24. I’ve made Cioppino before. It is excellent. A few pieces of bread and the broth from a bowl are just made for each other. You are making me hungry and I just ate 2 hours ago.

  25. I’ve never heard the idea that the name comes from “chip-in-o.” That said, this is the best fish soup. It is really popular here in San Francisco. Once we had it at home with a dark syrah added. It created a breathtakingly dark broth that was stunning. I’ve heard, too, that you can use white wine for a very light visual effect.

  26. Pingback: Recipe: San Francisco Cioppino — Villeroy & Boch Blog

  27. Pingback: Weekend Round-Up | a sweet pea chef

  28. Looks fabulous…you’re invited to dinner any night, as long as you’re cooking!

  29. oh, how I wish fresh seafood were available in western Kentucky…this looks divine!!

  30. I enjoyed the explanation of the origin of the word Cioppino…thanks for sharing it. :) I’m in need of trying cioppino from a good place and then to try it on my own. You’ve inspired me to make this a priority with your well written post and gorgeous photography. What a lovely dish with complex flavors…now this is true cooking.

    Have a great week and congrats on the Top 9 today!

  31. I love the tomato-y seafood-infused broth of this dish. So succulent. The shrimps are my favorite part, I have to admit. And your photos are so beautiful.

  32. You are luring me in with all this food greatness, for some reason, seafood and summer go hand-in-hand. I’m dreaming of “old bay” seasoning now. = )

  33. Hmmm.. I feel like I can smell it from Charlotte! :)

  34. I’d never heard of this soup before but my mouth is watering now… Seriously. I need a napkin.

    :) I can’t wait to try a spoonful of this!

  35. good looking fennel. very frondy.

    (spellcheck doesn’t think “frondy” is a word, but what do they know??)

  36. So happy you got on the cioppino train! Seafood and fennel are pretty much my favorite things ever, so I’ve been a huge proponent for a while. Your recipe looks really delicious – I don’t think I’ve put tarragon in before, but I think I now have to try. I also love the “serve with sourdough” – classic SF.

  37. Fabulous recipe, Sommer! I’m actually kinda drooling… wish I could cook up such a wonderful seafood meal!

  38. This cioppinno sounds absolutely wonderful! Excellent flavors here!

  39. I have always loved cioppino but have never made it myself. This is beautiful and inspiring!

  40. what a beautiful cioppino, I never knew that story, how cute! This would be the perfect meal to celebrate any occasion with , especially with that bread to dip into the juices…..yummm

    See you soon!

  41. Just look at that rich broth!!

  42. I agree with your less-is-more philosophy. The stew, like everything else you make, is gorgeous. The plating, the hue of that broth, the toasty bread.

  43. And now I have to make this .. the mussels , shrimp and that gorgeous color broth!

  44. Pingback: San Francisco Cioppino — A Spicy Perspective « Feeds « Local News Feeds

  45. This looks absolutely stunning. I’m allergic to seafood, but I just love the stuff. What a beautiful dish.

  46. Wow this looks like the perfect summer dish! Lovely photos! :)

  47. This looks very gourmet and very delicious!

  48. I have some canned diced tomatoes an Organic Tomato company sent me to try and they have been searching for a dish and they may have found it or at least a version there of thank. Thank you this looks delicious. Bookmarked and Buzzed

  49. Sommer your cioppino is perfectly delightful! A gorgeous classic that invites Al Fresco dining :)

  50. The cioppino was the one thing I didn’t get to sample in San Fran. This looks amazing but I am drooling over that garlic toast as well. Everything looks delicious; I wish I could have this for dinner.

  51. Wow. What a fantastic post. Great pictures. This recipe looks so delicious. Come over and check out our Southern recipes this week.

  52. I love this one. I’m very into seafood but my partner seems to hate it so unfortunately I’m not making it quite often. This version of yours makes me hungry! Greetings from Poland:)

  53. I’ve been dying to make cioppinno! Yours looks yummy! Love the fennel

  54. Your cioppino looks amazing! I really love those clicks…esp. the 2nd one with garlic bread aside. Mouthwatering!

  55. You’re right, this is not a weeknight dinner, but a labor of love for a relaxing weekend! You added an interesting ingredient with the fennel and your photos just make we want to prepare of pot this weekend!

  56. I could live with the less is more approach…I think it’s often seemed overwhelming when I’ve read the more is more recipes! Beautiful photos; beautiful dish.

  57. This cioppino looks fantastic! I haven’t made it in a while, but my kids love it. The last time I made this, we were vacationing on Virginia Beach and I visited the local seafood market and picked up a variety of fish and shellfish. I looked at different recipes and took the best of each to come up with a pot of cioppino. Served with some crusty bread, we had a memorable dinner.

  58. I’m DYING. I love seafood. Dear heavens why can’t we be friends?

  59. Sommer I love love love cioppino and I adore your story about how the name came about! Too cute! I would love a bowl of this on a summer evening.

  60. Splendid recipe! And I loved the story about the name. In Italy this type of fish soup is really popular.

  61. Sommer, this looks FANTASTIC and I love the theory behind the name.

    My family divides into those who are alergic to seafood, and those who absolutely love it. I’m making this for those lucky few who can happily eat all the ingredients in this feast from the sea!

  62. mmmm I LOVE fennel! Also, I love a good Cioppino, so this is such a great recipe!

  63. I like the detailed and step by step instructions on how to prepare your recipes. Great pictures too! What kind of camera do you use ?

  64. I had dinner with one of my husband’s co-workers last night and being the foodie that she is, she actually described this very same dish to me! She said it was fantastic and looking at your creation, I would say so! I think she got her version from the Food TV show. Love the photos, love the step by step, and love your blog!!! Have a great week Sommer.

  65. We love cioppino, but don’t care for fennel. When we were visiting San Fran my husband tried cioppino at several restaurants and they were all different! Beautiful pictures!

  66. Amazing indeed, this is a bountiful seafood dish!

  67. Oh that looks amazing! Fresh summer seafood dish… Always good :)

  68. Yours looks gorgeous! Several people have mentioned this as something to try, but I just haven’t yet. I don’t normally cook with this much seafood, but it sounds divine!

  69. Shrimp, fish and mussels. Plenty of great seafood flavors in this one. Not to mention some great spices.

    Sounds great!

  70. I cannot wait to try this recipe. I LOVE cioppino, but have yet to find a recipe that matches the memory of my first, delicious taste of this dish. This one looks good!

  71. I have to admit that when I saw “San Franciscan” I thought I saw “San Francisco” and started singing “San Francisco… the Rice-A-Roni treat!” Haha. Comedic lameness aside, I’m a huge lover of cioppino. The flavors, textures, slight spiciness… mmm! As it’s actually cloudy right now in So Cal (but it’s only 6:38am) it makes me wish for a hot bowl!

  72. I will always pronounce the name of this dish wrong, but I will always know I love it. All that seafood is my friend :)

  73. Gorgeous! ‘Peasant’ food always seems to be so tasty and comforting – this dish looks no different.

  74. We love cioppino! It’s light and hearty all at the same time. An incredible combination of flavors, colors and textures all in one bowl. Pretty darned near perfect, I’d say.

  75. It looks wonderful. And it does require care and time. Think I can get fresh seafood in the middle of Oklahoma? I might have to drive to Asheville to get the real thing.

  76. Sommer, this looks amazing! I love the story of how cioppino got its name. This reminds me of a French bouillabaisse – I am sure it is delicious!

  77. Hi Sommer! This looks great! Kelly directed me to ! Spicy Perspective –– I will add you to my collection of food blogs! I look forward to following along and getting inspired! (typo in previous post…)