Easy-Peasy Prawn Bisque

Silky and rich shrimp / prawn bisque flavored with aromatics, finished with cream, is a delicious, easy and show stopping appetizer recipe.

Prawn bisque made with jumbo shrimp / prawns and aromatics.

Ingredients

Full recipe + amounts can be found in the recipe card below. 

  • Prawns  / Shrimp. I have made this many times using only the shells and heads and thickening the soup with a little flour, this is especially great when you have shells and heads left over from using the prawns for another recipe. However, the prawn meat definitely adds more flavor and texture. Use raw, whole but deveined shrimp for the best results.
  • Chicken / Fish stock. 
  • Aromatics: Bay leaf, garlic, lemon peel, peppercorns.
  • Onion. 
  • Smoked paprika.
  • Tomato paste. 
  • Sugar. 
  • Cream. 
  • Lemon juice. 
  • Salt and pepper. 
  • Parsley, to serve.

Prawn bisque

How to make prawn bisque

  1. Make the base: In a large pot set over medium-high heat, cook the shells and heads of the prawns until orange and fragrant. Add the bay leaf, garlic, peppercorns and lemon peel as well as the stock. Season with salt then allow to simmer for 30 minutes with the lid ajar. After 30 minutes, blend with an immersion blender until as smooth as possible then run through a sieve and discard all of the shells.
  2. Make the bisque: In a separate pot, melt the butter and cook the onions and garlic until soft and translucent. Then add the smoked paprika, tomato paste and sugar. Pour in the prawn stock. Cook for 20 minutes then add the prawn/shrimp meat and cook for a few minutes until the prawns are cooked through. Blend the soup until smooth. I do this in my high-powered blender to make sure it’s very smooth but you can use any blender and then pass the soup through a fine-mesh sieve again.
  3. Finish: Pour the strained/blended soup back into a pot set over medium heat. Pour in the cream and lemon juice and bring to a simmer. Season to taste and allow to simmer for 5 minutes. At this point, if the soup seems too thin, whisk in some flour mixed with water and allow to cook until thickened. Serve the bisque with a swirl of cream and parsley. I fried some whole shrimp/prawns in a splash of oil to add to the top but this is optional.

Can I make this ahead?

The shrimp bisque can be made a day in advance and kept covered in the fridge. Reheat in a saucepan set over medium-low heat, avoiding allowing the bisque to boil.

This bisque made with shrimp/prawns, aromatics and cream is a show stopping recipe.

Prawn/shrimp recipes

  1. Prawn cocktail stuffed avocados
  2. Creamy lemon garlic shrimp pasta
  3. White wine garlic prawns
Prawn bisque

Easy-Peasy Prawn Bisque

4.46 from 74 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Appetizer, Soup
Cuisine: French
Keyword: Bisque, Prawn bisque, shrimp bisque
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Calories: 276kcal
Author: Alida Ryder
Servings: 6 as a starter/appetizer

Ingredients

  • 1 kg (2lbs) prawns Shells and heads remove, meat reserved
  • 6 cups (1.5l) chicken/fish stock
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 teaspoon whole white peppercorns
  • 2 pieces of lemon peel yellow part only
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt flakes
  • 1 red onion finely chopped
  • 1 garlic cloves crushed
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 cup cream
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • Fresh parsley chopped, to serve
  • 1.5 tablespoons flour mixed with 1/2 cup water (to thicken if necessary)

Instructions

  • Place the prawn shells and heads in a pot and add the stock, bay leaves, peppercorns, salt, lemon peel and garlic. Bring up to a boil and allow to simmer for 30 minutes, covered until the stock is well infused by the shells.
  • After 30 minutes, blend with an immersion blender until as smooth as possible then run through a sieve and discard all of the shells. 
  • In a separate pot, melt a little butter and fry the onion until soft and translucent. Add the garlic and fry for a few seconds before adding the smoked paprika, tomato paste and sugar.
  • Allow to fry for 30 seconds then pour in the prawn stock.
  • Cook for 20 minutes then add the prawn/shrimp meat and cook for a few minutes until the prawns are cooked through. Blend the soup until smooth. I do this in my high-powered blender to make sure it's very smooth but you can use any blender and then pass the soup through a fine-mesh sieve again. 
  • Pour the strained/blended soup back into a pot set over medium heat. Pour in the cream and lemon juice and bring to a simmer. Season to taste and allow to simmer for 5 minutes. At this point, if the soup seems too thin, whisk in some flour mixed with water and allow to cook until thickened. Serve the bisque with a swirl of cream and parsley. I fried some whole shrimp/prawns in a splash of oil to add to the top but this is optional.
  • Season to taste and serve with a sprinkling of chopped parsley.

Nutrition

Calories: 276kcal | Carbohydrates: 6g | Protein: 40g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 442mg | Sodium: 1782mg | Potassium: 410mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 325IU | Vitamin C: 9mg | Calcium: 269mg | Iron: 4mg

 

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30 Comments

    1. You can use frozen prawns but I wouldn’t recommend freezing the soup – unless you don’t add the cream to it before freezing. The cream has a likelihood of splitting once thawed so perhaps only add it after thawing.

  1. Hoping to give this a go next week 🙂 Looks delicious.

    Please can you let me know if the peppercorns could be substituted with ground white pepper? Thanks

  2. The recipe sounds great! If I’m making thr chicken broth from scratch, can I add the prawn heads along wiyh the chicken bones and simmer for 30 mins?

  3. Hi! Your recipes look delicious!! Thank you for sharing your wisdom with us ?
    Can I freeze cooked prawn heads and then use them for the bisque or is it a bad idea?
    Many thanks,
    Tamsin

  4. Just so easy and the end result is delicious. Also freezes well. I added Moreton Bay Bug shells but removed from the mix before blending.

  5. Fantastic taste just like a top restaurant. Sautéd the onions and garlic in olive oil instead of butter.

  6. Made this yesterday with Christmas prawn shells. Yummmm. I once worked in a restaurant where chef made a seafood bisque and this tastes almost identical. I wasn’t exact with my measurements, never am but the flavour is divine. Thanks for the easy to do recipe.

  7. Made Masterchef Turmeric Garlic prawns last night, today I made this wonderful bisque with the heads/shells. Adjusted the recipe a bit, braised the heads and shells in olive oil. Only used 1 litre of stock. Popped the Spanish onion top & tail into the stock. I always use cornflour for thickening and about 1/2 cup of cram at the end.
    Alida, thank you, that’s what recipes are for, guidelines, always moveable.
    Served with sourdough garlic baguette.
    Thank you,
    Mary.