Homemade Seafood Stock is the easy way to add a touch of culinary magic to your seafood dishes. Transform kitchen scraps into liquid gold in this delicious and versatile fish broth.
Seafood stock is one of those secret ingredients that can turn a good dish into an unforgettable one.
While you can always opt for the store-bought variety, there's something incredibly satisfying about making your own. It's like creating your personal stash of culinary magic.
And it is SO MUCH BETTER! No really, it's worth every minute to make your own.
I've found some store bought beef stocks and chicken broths that are pretty good and worth it for the convenience. But I'm always super disappointed by store bought fish and seafood stock.
But homemade seafood broth, made from a few simple ingredients and kitchen scraps, is so easily turned into serious liquid gold.
Why You'll Love This Recipe
- Intense Flavor: Homemade seafood stock is a flavor powerhouse. It's like liquid umami. When you use it in your recipes, it adds a depth and complexity that you just can't achieve with water or store-bought broths.
- Full Control: When you make your own seafood stock, you decide what goes in it. You can tailor it to your preferences and dietary restrictions. Plus, you'll know exactly what's in your stock, which is a big win for those who like to keep things natural.
- Cost Savings: Seafood stock can be expensive if you buy it pre-made. By making your own, you're not only getting a superior product, but you're also saving money. Those shrimp shells and fish heads that you might have tossed out? They're now the stars of your stock.
- Reduce Food Waste: Using seafood trimmings and shells that would otherwise be discarded is a sustainable way to reduce food waste. It's a win-win for your taste buds and the planet.
You only need simple pantry ingredients for this fish broth recipe!
- Seafood Shells and Trimmings: This is where the magic happens. Gather shrimp, mussel, crab, and clam shells, along with any fish heads or bones you can get your hands on. If you don't have all these options, don't fret; even one type of seafood can make a delicious stock.
- Onions: These provide a sweet base note to the stock. You'll quarter them to release their flavor.
- Carrots: Carrots add a subtle sweetness and a lovely golden hue to the stock. Roughly chop them for maximum flavor extraction.
- Celery: For a mild earthy flavor and a hint of freshness, chop up some celery stalks.
- Garlic: This aromatic powerhouse adds depth and complexity. Mince it for even distribution.
- Bay Leaf: A single bay leaf imparts a subtle herbal note. It's a small touch that goes a long way.
- Fresh Thyme: Thyme brings in a delicate, herby fragrance. A sprig or two will do the trick.
- Fresh Parsley: Parsley adds a hint of freshness. A single sprig complements the seafood beautifully.
- Dry White Wine (Optional): If you have some on hand, a splash of white wine can enhance the complexity of your stock. It's optional, so feel free to skip it if you prefer a non-alcoholic version.
- Water: It's the medium that brings all the flavors together and bulks out the stock.
- Salt and Pepper: These are your seasoning agents. Season to taste, but remember that you can always add more salt later when you use the stock in recipes.
See the recipe card for quantities and method.
Substitutions: Don't stress if you don't have every ingredient on hand. Seafood stock is forgiving and flexible. Use what you have and adjust as needed. No celery? No problem. Out of white wine? Your stock will still shine. Cooking is about adapting and making the most of what's available.
How to Make Seafood Stock
Follow these step-by-step instructions, then scroll down for the full ingredients list and method.
Add all ingredients to a large pot over a medium heat.
Bring it to a boil, then cover with the lid, reduce the heat to low and allow to simmer for 1 hour. You may need to occasionally skim off and discard any foam or impurities that rise to the surface.
Remove the pot from the heat and allow it to cool for 10 minutes.
Place a fine mesh strainer over a large bowl and carefully strain the liquid into another pot or large bowl, discarding the solids. If any debris is still remaining, strain it again.
Let the seafood stock cool to room temperature.
Once cooled, refrigerate it in an airtight container for up to 3 days or freeze it for up to 6 months.
Scroll down for the full ingredients list and method.
- Seafood Soups: Use your homemade seafood stock as a base for clam chowder, bouillabaisse, or any seafood bisque.
- Risotto: Substituting seafood stock in your favorite risotto recipe will infuse it with a deep, oceanic flavor. Try it in seafood risotto.
- Paella: Elevate your paella game by swapping out regular broth for seafood stock. The result is pure Valencian perfection.
- Cioppino: This Italian-American seafood stew demands the rich flavor of homemade stock to truly shine.
- Gumbo: Take your gumbo to the next level with a roux made from seafood stock.
- Ramen: Use it in a prawn ramen for a flavorful base.
More Fish and Seafood Recipes
- Refrigeration: If you plan to use your seafood stock within three days, store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Make sure it cools down to room temperature before refrigerating.
- Freezing: To keep your stock for up to six months, freeze it in airtight containers or ice cube trays for convenient portioning. Just remember to leave some space at the top of the container to account for expansion during freezing.
- Quality Matters: The quality of your seafood stock depends on the quality of your ingredients. Use fresh, high-quality seafood trimmings for the best results.
- Don't Rush the Simmer: Let your stock simmer gently. Low and slow is the name of the game here. Rushing the process can result in a less flavorful stock.
- Skim the Surface: While simmering, you might notice some foam or impurities rising to the surface. Skim them off gently with a spoon to keep your stock clear and pristine.
- Taste as You Go: Season your stock with salt and pepper towards the end of cooking. Remember, you can always add more seasoning later when using the stock in recipes, so go easy at first.
Absolutely! While a mix of seafood shells and trimmings will give you a more complex flavor, you can certainly make stock with just one type. Shrimp, for example, makes a fantastic single-ingredient seafood stock.
Wine is optional. It can add a nice depth of flavor, but if you don't have any or prefer not to use it, your seafood stock will still be delicious.
Yes, you can use frozen seafood trimmings to make stock. In fact, I tend to freeze my fish and shellfish trimmings in a ziplock bag until I'm ready to use it for broth.
- large pot
- fine mesh strainer
- 2 pounds of seafood shells and trimmings such as shrimp, mussel, crab, and clam shells, and fish heads/bones
- 2 onions peeled and quartered
- 2 carrots roughly chopped
- 2 celery stalks roughly chopped
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 sprig of fresh thyme
- 1 sprig of fresh parsley
- ½ cup dry white wine optional
- 8 cups of water
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Add all ingredients to a large pot over a medium heat.
- Bring it to a boil, then cover with the lid, reduce the heat to low and allow to simmer for 1 hour. You may need to occasionally skim off and discard any foam or impurities that rise to the surface.
- Remove the pot from the heat and allow it to cool for 10 minutes.
- Place a fine mesh strainer over a large bowl and carefully strain the liquid into another pot or large bowl, discarding the solids. If any debris is still remaining, strain it again.
- Let the seafood stock cool to room temperature.
- Once cooled, refrigerate it in an airtight container for up to 3 days or freeze it for up to 6 months.
The nutritional information provided is approximate and can vary depending on several factors, so is not guaranteed to be accurate. Please see a registered dietician for special diet advice.