San Francisco Cioppino

Total Time

Prep: 35 min. Cook: 50 min.


8 servings (4 quarts)

Updated: Sep. 12, 2023
Traditionally, cioppino is made with whatever seafood was caught that day or whatever seafood is on hand. It began as a soup for the working class, but with how delicious it tastes, it's no wonder this dish made its way into high-end restaurants and hotels. Feel free to use whatever fish, shellfish and seafood you can find. —Barbara Pletzke, Herndon, Virginia


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium fennel bulb, thinly sliced
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 6 fresh thyme sprigs
  • 2 fresh rosemary sprigs
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 cans (15 ounces each) crushed tomatoes, undrained
  • 2 bottles (8 ounces each) clam juice
  • 1 cup dry red wine
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 16 fresh topneck clams
  • 16 fresh mussels, scrubbed and beards removed
  • 16 uncooked shrimp (26-30 per pound), peeled and deveined
  • 1 pound halibut fillets, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 16 snow crab claws
  • 16 bay scallops
  • 2 cleaned fresh or frozen calamari (squid) tubes, thawed and sliced into 1/8-inch rings (about 2 ounces)
  • 4 tablespoons anise liqueur, such as sambuca


  1. In a Dutch oven, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add fennel; cook until crisp-tender, 2-3 minutes. Add shallot and garlic; cook 1 minute longer. Add thyme, rosemary, parsley and red pepper flakes; cook 1 minute longer. Stir in tomatoes, clam juice, wine, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes. Discard herb stems.
  2. Add the clams, mussels and shrimp. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in halibut; cook 3 minutes. Add crab claws, scallops and calamari; cook until clams and mussels open, shrimp turn pink and scallops are opaque, 5-7 minutes longer. Discard any unopened clams or mussels.
  3. Serve in bowls; top with liqueur and additional minced parsley.
Cioppino Tips

What else can you add to cioppino?

It’s easy to slightly modify this cioppino recipe to suit your tastes. Consider adding other types of fish or seafood such as lobster, oysters or smoked herring fillets. If you don’t have access to halibut, some great substitutes would be sea bass, swordfish or another sturdy, non-oily fish. Feel free to toss in extra veggies such as mushrooms, chopped green pepper or scallions.

How should you serve cioppino?

Cioppino is served hot in bowls. Top each serving with sambuca and minced parsley. Since some of the seafood is served in the shell, you may need special utensils such as seafood forks or crab crackers.

What should you serve with cioppino?

This stew is typically served with warm crusty sourdough or French bread to dip in the succulent tomato and seafood broth. We suggest serving this stew with a rich white wine to drink. Chardonnay pairs beautifully with many types of fish and seafood. Chablis, sauvignon blanc, or vermentino are also good choices. If you prefer red wine, zinfandel and pinot noir are great matches. Look here for more seafood recipes you’re sure to love, and other food and wine pairings to add to your dinner rotation.

Amy Glander, Taste of Home Book Editor

Nutrition Facts

2 cups: 298 calories, 8g fat (1g saturated fat), 140mg cholesterol, 830mg sodium, 15g carbohydrate (6g sugars, 3g fiber), 35g protein.

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