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Classic cioppino in a large blue Dutch oven pot

Classic Cioppino (San Francisco-Style Seafood Stew)

Course: Seafood
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: Italian seafood
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours
Servings: 6 people
Calories: 280kcal
This Classic Cioppino is a true favorite Italian seafood stew originating in the incredible city of San Francisco. It is beautiful, and actually quite easy to make. You just need a couple hours from start to finish. Plus, you can tweak to you own tastes. Enjoy!!
Print Recipe


  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 medium yellow onions chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 1/2 red bell pepper cored, seeded, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1/2 cup celery chopped
  • 1/4 flat-leaf parsley chopped
  • 1 28 oz. can whole tomatoes San Marzano are excellent, with juice
  • 2 8 oz bottles clam juice
  • 1 cup dry white wine Sauvignon blanc is good
  • 2 bay leafs
  • 1 tbsp dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme leaves
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flake
  • 1/2 tsp salt more to taste
  • Juice of 1 lemon about 2 teaspoons
  • 12 small hard-shell clams in shell
  • 12 mussels in shell
  • 1 lb extra-large shrimp peeled and deveined
  • 1 lb bay scallops
  • 1 lb firm white fish fillets cod, halibut, haddock are all good choices
  • 2 lbs fresh steamed crab legs


  • In a large soup pot, or preferably large Dutch oven, over medium-low heat, heat olive oil, then add butter and let melt. Add onions, garlic, bell pepper, celery and parsley. Cook until soft, about 8 minutes.
  • Add tomatoes (break them up with your hands as you add them to the pot), and add the juice from the can.
  • Add the clam juice, wine, bay leaf, basil, oregano, thyme, red pepper flakes, salt, and lemon juice; bring to just a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 1 hour.
  • NOTE: At this point, stock may be refrigerated, covered and kept up to 2 days before serving. Just bring the stock back to a boil about 20 minutes before serving, lower the heat, and progress with the recipe.
  • Scrub the clams and mussels with a small stiff brush under cold running water; remove beards from mussels.
  • Discard any open clams or mussels. Let cold water run over shells for 5 minutes (shaking every minute, or so).
  • Gently stir into the sauce the clams, mussels, shrimp, scallops, and fish fillets. Cover the dish and let simmer for 7 - 8 minutes, until the clams and mussels open. Discard any shells that have not opened.
  • Add the crab legs and steam until heated through, another 2 - 3 minutes.
  • Try not to stir too much (it will break up the fish), and don't overcook!!
  • Remove the bay leaves. Adjust seasonings
  • Ladle sauce and seafood into large bowls and serve with toasted bread.


Calories: 280kcal