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Cioppino (Seafood Stew)


This seafood stew, an impressive crowd-pleaser, can be prepared ahead of time and finished just 15 minutes before you serve it. If you leave out the crab legs, use an additional 8 ounces of white fish to keep the stew hearty.

  • Servings: 8
cioppino seafood stew

Photography: Dana Gallagher

Source: Martha Stewart Living, April 2010


  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion, coarsely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons fresh thyme
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red-pepper flakes
  • 1 dried bay leaf
  • 1 can (28 ounces) whole peeled tomatoes with juice, crushed
  • 1 1/4 cups dry white wine
  • 1 1/4 cups water
  • 1 cup bottled clam juice
  • 2 pounds shell-on king crab legs (or Dungeness crab legs), cut into 2-inch pieces (optional)
  • 24 littleneck clams, scrubbed well
  • 1 pound firm, skinless white fish fillets (such as red snapper, sea bass, or halibut), cut into bite-size pieces
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 1/4 pounds large shrimp (about 30), peeled and deveined, tails left on if desired
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley


  1. Heat oil in a large stockpot over medium heat. Cook onion and garlic until onion is translucent, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in thyme, oregano, red-pepper flakes, and bay leaf.

  2. Add crushed tomatoes and their juice, white wine, water, and clam juice; bring to a simmer.

  3. Add crab and clams. Simmer, covered, until crab shells turn bright pink and clam shells open, about 10 minutes. Season fish with salt and pepper. Add fish and shrimp to stockpot. Simmer, covered, until fish is opaque and shrimp are pink, 2 to 3 minutes. Discard bay leaf and any unopened clams.

  4. Remove pot from heat. Stir in parsley. Season with salt and pepper.

Cook's Notes

Broth can be made through step 2 and refrigerated for up to 2 days; bring to a simmer before finishing stew.

Reviews Add a comment

  • sapod81
    26 MAR, 2016
    Omg! Loved it! This is great for a company dinner. I doubled the broth and made it a day ahead which enhanced the flavor. I cooked the broth about an hour the day I served it. Once all the seafood was cooked, I turned off the heat, added two tablespoons of unsalted butter, and let it sit for a few minutes. We served it in big bowls with linguine and crusty bread. Add a salad and dinner is done! We got rave reviews from the entire family and leftovers were delicious too.
  • jilli2
    3 SEP, 2014
    I made this cioppino recipe and even downloaded some Italian cooking music from iTunes before starting! I used clams, mussels, shrimp, a firm fish (mahi mahi) & added a small steamed lobster tail on top of each bowl! I also sizzled some crostini bread slices in olive oil and then added some grated parmesan cheese to one side.. they were sizzling crisp and I laid 2 slices next to the lobster tails on each bowl for soaking up the broth - outstanding!!
  • Kip Piper
    10 MAR, 2013
    LOVE this recipe! It was easy with a sensational result. I omitted the red pepper flakes cause I don't like the heat. I live waaaaay out in Far West Texas and don't have access to fresh clams & mussels. So used the seafood & fish I had in the freezer from a recent trip to the big city: scallops, shrimp and salmon. It worked! So my interpretation is: feel free to use whatever seafood or fish you have on hand or can easily get! The broth base pulls it all together. Thanks for a great recipe!