Lobster Bisque

February 6th, 2006 by Jeff in Soups

In my youth I worked in a restaurant called the Lobster Pound in Gardiner New York. The owner has since retired along with the business. Everything I ever learned about cooking seafood started there. Sole proprietor restaurants make the most interesting meals because they are not tied down to franchise recipes.

The winter is the slow time of the year for the seafood business and during those slow nights in the restaurant, we spent many hours just experimenting with recipes and making our own. The owner was from New England and had many old books on cooking. We would scour through them and find eclectic recipes from ages ago.

At the end of the week before the new lobster shipment would come in, we would have to do something with the old and tired lobsters from the previous week that did not sell. This is when the owner showed me how to make Lobster Bisque. This recipe ensured that no lobster went to waste because the soup could last almost another week, even though generally it was finished in a couple days.

My Lobster Bisque recipe is in part borrowed from Bernie, the owner of the Lobster Pound, but as with many of my recipes, adapted to the way that I enjoy it.

Many people just use lobster parts they find in the supermarket to make bisque, but that will always end in a so-so version of it. Sure, you can use some lobster meat from the store, but you will need at least one lobster to make this soup right. My recipe will call for four pound and a half lobsters, but you could easily get away with just one of those lobsters and the rest in lobster meat purchased at the supermarket.


  • 4 – 1 1/2 pound prepared Maine lobsters (omit roe).
  • 2 cups cold water.
  • 3 tablespoons of butter.
  • 3 tablespoons of flour.
  • Salt.
  • Cayenne pepper.
  • Paprika.
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons white pepper.
  • 2 cups of milk.
  • 1 cup cream.
  • 1 small can of tomato paste.


After you have prepared the lobsters, remove the meat from them and set aside.

Take the remaining shells from the lobsters and add to a large sauce pot. Add the cold water and boil for the 30 minutes.

Strain the water and SET it aside. Discard the shells.

Add butter and once melted, slowly stir in the flour.

Slowly add the liquid and mix well.

Add about a pinch of salt and a pinch of cayenne pepper.

Add white pepper.

Slowly stir in the milk. You do not want to boil the milk!

Now with your tomato paste and paprika, you want to color the soup a little. Add the tomato paste one table spoon at a time, along with 1/4 teaspoon of paprika until the mixture is a light red. You do not want to make this look like tomato soup, a lighter color of red is preferred. I usually find that about 3 tablespoons and a 1 teaspoon of paprika usually does it.

Add the lobster meat and let cook for about 10 minutes.

Add the cream and stir.

If you feel the cream made the soup too light colored, add more tomato.

That’s it!


Many people like to add small cubed (cooked) potatoes to the soup. I consider this more of a lobster chowder, but it still tastes good.

Some people will add a really dark red wine while the lobster shells are boiling. This will give the soup a lighter flavor as you will not need as much tomato paste to darken it.

Add more heat to the soup by upping the white pepper and cayenne to taste.

Regular black pepper also adds a bit of a zing to this dish.

I have substituted Alaskan King Crab instead of lobster. It is much more expensive, but delicious. If you do this, eliminate salt from the recipe. King crab is very salty and will take care of it for you.

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