Cioppino Recipe

If you love stew and love seafood, then you’ve got to try my Cioppino recipe. I’ve been using this recipe for many years and my family really enjoys it!

History of Cioppino

From my research online, cioppino was created in the late 1800s by Italian immigrants who lived in San Francisco. When fishermen came back from sea empty handed, they would walk around the docks with a pot asking other fishermen to chip in whatever seafood they could. Whatever they received that day became their Cioppino, so you can add whatever seafood you like. Cioppino later became a staple of Italian restaurants in San Francisco.


  • Small bowls for ingredients
  • Larger mixing bowls
  • Large pot
  • Colander
  • Ladle
  • Kitchen knife
  • Cutting board
  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Can opener
  • Corkscrew


This recipe made enough for my family of five and we still had at least 2-3 bowl sized servings left over.

  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 4 medium yellow onions chopped
  • 8 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 red bell pepper chopped
  • 1 cup celery chopped
  • 1 tbsp dried flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 28 oz. can whole tomatoes with juice
  • 4 8 oz bottles clam juice
  • 2 cup dry white wine
  • 4 bay leafs
  • 2 tbsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried thyme leaves
  • 1 tsp salt or more
  • 24 small hard-shell clams in shell
  • 2 lb extra-large shrimp peeled and deveined
  • 2 lb firm white fish fillets 
  • 2 whole crabs

Again, you should use whatever types and amounts of seafood that you prefer. For example, mussels are often added to cioppino, but I personally don’t care for them, I prefer clams. I did add some mussels to the cioppino for the sake of this blog article. And, I’m not a huge fan of crab, but my wife and oldest daughter like them.

Step 1

Warm up oil and butter in a large pot over medium heat, then add onions, garlic, bell pepper, celery and parsley. Cook bell pepper, onions and celery to your liking. I typically like to cook them until soft.

Add wine, mix and let simmer for a few minutes.

Step 2

Add tomatoes and tomato liquid, clam juice, bay leaves, basil, oregano, thyme and salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and let simmer for about an hour.

Step 3

Prepare the seafood.

  • Frozen & Cooked Crab: We steamed our frozen cooked whole crabs for ten minutes, then cleaned them. Here is a link to video I found about how to clean a cooked crab: Put crab legs, claws and body aside.
  • Frozen & Cooked Clams: Rinse frozen cooked clams in a colander under cold water, then put aside. If you have fresh clams, see this article about how to prepare them, click here.
  • Frozen Fish Fillets: Cut frozen fish into chunks and put aside. If fish is too hard, then you can put in refrigerator overnight to defrost or if you need the fish immediately you could put in zip lock bag and place in bowl of cold water for 30 minutes to defrost. Or, you can pick up fresh fillets from your local supermarket.
  • If you’re using fresh or frozen uncooked seafood, you’ll want to make sure the seafood is thoroughly cooked before serving. If there is any other seafood you enjoy like mussels or scallops, then prepare it too. My family prefers clams and crab.

Step 4

Bring the sauce to a boil and stir the seafood into the sauce. If you’re using frozen cooked clams, frozen cooked crab and frozen fish, then once sauce is boiling you’ll need allow the fish to cook from 10-15 minutes. Then, after the fish is cooked you can serve the cioppino.

If you’re using fresh clams, fish and crab to your sauce, then you’ll want to cook accordingly. Below are some videos/articles I found for cooking fresh seafood:

Step 5

Then ladle your cioppino into bowls and serve. Our family eats cioppino with toasted loaves of French garlic bread and melted butter for the crab. Enjoy!

Hope you’ve enjoyed my cioppino recipe! Below are some other recipes for you to try.

Chuck Wagon Recipe

Pad Thai Recipe

Vietnamese Lemongrass Chicken & Shrimp Recipe

Breakfast Burrito Recipe

Sushi Roll Recipe

And more….

%d bloggers like this: