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A big red pot filled with classic homemade cioppino.

Classic Homemade Cioppino

  • Author: Melissa Latin
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x


This Seafood Stew is a combination of fresh fish and seafood poached in a tasty tomato broth and served up with tons of crusty bread for dipping. Cioppino is an incredibly versatile dish. Easily adjust the type of fish and seafood used, according to your preferences. 


  • 1/2 pound peeled and deveined shrimp
  • 4 large scallops (cut into three pieces), or a 1/2 pound bay scallops
  • 1/2 pound mussels, cleaned and debearded
  • 1 1/2 dozen littleneck clams, cleaned
  • 3/4 pound flaky, white fish (cut into bite-sized pieces)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 white or yellow onion, minced
  • 1/2 fennel bulb, sliced thin
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 1/2 cups white wine
  • 3 cups crushed tomatoes
  • 2 bottles clam juice
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 bunch fresh parsley, chopped 
  • 5 fresh torn basil leaves, plus more for garnish
  • lemon wedges, for serving


  1. Heat the olive oil and butter in a deep, heavy-bottom pot.
  2. Add the minced onions and fennel. Sauté for 8 minutes to soften. Do not brown or burn.
  3. Add in the garlic, fresh thyme and crushed red pepper. Sauté for another minute, or two.
  4. Add in the white wine, clam juice, crushed tomatoes, bay leaves and fresh parsley. Turn up the heat to just under a boil. 
  5. Lower heat. Cover and simmer for 25-30 minutes.
  6. While the broth is simmering, prepare the seafood (soak the clams and mussels to remove any dirt or debris, peel and devein the shrimp, cut the fish into chunks, quarter the scallops).
  7. Once the broth has simmered taste for salt. Remove and discard the bay leaves.
  8. Turn up the heat. Add the clams. Cover and allow to steam open. This may take 5-8 minutes. 
  9. As the clams steam open, remove and reserve in a bowl. Discard any clams that do not open.
  10. Add the mussels to the broth and allow to steam open (this will only take about a minute).
  11. As the mussels steam open, reserve in the bowl with the clams. Discard any that do not open.
  12. Reduce the heat to medium.
  13. Gently, add the fish and scallops to the seafood broth. Cook for two minutes.
  14. Add the shrimp (if adding crab legs, do so now).
  15. Cook until the shrimp are no longer translucent (this should only take about two minutes).
  16. Gently add the reserved clams and mussels back to the pot. Toss gently. Allow to heat through for a minute, or two.
  17. Top with fresh basil and parsley.
  18. Ladle into big bowls. Garnish with additional fresh parsley and basil.
  19. Serve with crusty bread and lemon wedges.
  20. ENJOY!


  • Cioppino can be made with any combination of seafood (choose what is fresh that day, or what you enjoy).
  • Any firm, white fish, or even salmon can be used in replacement of cod.
  • Celery can be used in replacement of fennel.
  • Easily adjust the heat level to your liking.
  • Bay scallops can be substituted for dry-packed scallops.
  • Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc are great choices for the white wine. 
  • Easily replace the wine with additional clam juice or seafood stock.
  • While the broth is simmering, prep the seafood (cut the fish into chunks, cut the scallops into pieces, peel and devein the shrimp, soak and rinse the clams and mussels).
  • If adding Dungeness or crab legs, do so when you add the shrimp.
  • Blanched and peeled Campari tomatoes are a great substitute for canned, crushed tomatoes.
  • Taste for salt throughout the cooking process.
  • Serve garnished with fresh herbs and crusty bread.
  • Turn leftovers into a seafood risotto or seafood chowder.
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes


  • Serving Size: 1 serving

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