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Shellfish stock in a large stock pan with a wooden spoon submerged into the liquid.

Shrimp / Crab Stock

Course: Stock
Cuisine: Cajun, Italian, Seafood
Keyword: easy seafood stock, how to make shellfish stock
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 35 minutes
Servings: 8 people
Calories: 171kcal
Shellfish Stock is an essential ingredient when you want to make your gumbo or fish stew be the very best it can be. Stock up on shells from your favorite shellfish such a shrimp, lobster, and crab. The difference of this stock vs. store-bought is night and day.
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  • Large (8 quart) stock pot, or Dutch oven


  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 lbs shellfish shells shrimp, lobster, and/or crab. Heads on even better.
  • 1 cup onion chopped
  • 1 cup celery chopped
  • 1 large leek sliced, green parts only
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp Kosher salt
  • 3 cups white wine
  • 3 quarts water


  • If using shrimp or prawns with the heads still attached, simply twist the head off from the body, and then remove the shells. You'll be using both the shells and the heads for the stock.
  • Heat the butter and oil in a large pot, or Dutch oven, over medium-high heat. Add the shells (and heads if using) and cook until pink, about 8 minutes.
  • Add in the onion, celery, leeks, and white wine. Bring to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes.
  • Add the water, bring to a boil and then lower the heat. Cover the pot and simmer on low heat for 1 hour.
  • Let cool for about 20 minutes, and the strain the stock through a fine-mesh sieve into another pot or large heat-proof bowl. Use a spoon or small ladle to skim off any fat (from the butter) and/or impurities that may have formed on the surface of the stock.



You can find shrimp with the heads still on at well-stocked fish markets.  Prawns (with heads) are a great substitute.  
You'll need about 3 cups of shrimp shells.  Every time you cook with shrimp, be sure to throw the shells into a freezer baggie and freeze them for when you're ready to make shellfish stock!
When making this stock for gumbo, we usually leave the smoked paprika out of the shellfish stock because it's included in the gumbo. 
The stock will keep in the fridge for up to 5 days and freezes beautifully for up to 2 months. 


Calories: 171kcal | Carbohydrates: 6g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 15mg | Sodium: 327mg | Potassium: 148mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 417IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 37mg | Iron: 1mg