Tomato Crab Bisque (Dairy Free Option)


This Tomato Crab Bisque recipe is a gluten free take on a classic bisque for a warm and nourishing meal that is packed with good-for-you ingredients that will keep you feeling satisfied without weighing you down. Serve this seafood bisque for every occasion to impress your guests! Dairy free option.

three bowls of tomato crab bisque topped with fresh herbs and lemon slices

SOUPer Delicious

Is there anything more comforting than a good soup? Whether you’re making a Curried Cauliflower Kale Rice Soup, Thai Chicken Soup, or Instant Pot Butternut Squash Soup, it always hits the spot, especially when the weather is cool. In fact, I have been known to whip up soup even in the summer. Call me crazy, but I just can’t get enough! So, with the New Year coming around, I decided to embrace the tradition of eating seafood (Did you know it’s considered good luck?). However, instead of making a traditional recipe like Baked Salmon or even Shrimp Cocktail, I decided to create a soup!  

What resulted was this crab bisque. Unlike traditional tomato bisque soup recipes, it’s made with gluten free flour and coconut milk for a dairy-free friendly option that tastes just as good if not better than the original. Even better, it comes together super easily in under an hour in just 1 pot! It’s the perfect recipe for every occasion from weeknight dinners, to holiday parties, and more! This crab and tomato bisque recipe is guaranteed to become a staple in your kitchen. Keep reading to learn everything you’ll need to know to make the perfect seafood bisque recipe! 

a bowl of tomato crab bisque topped with lemon and herbs with a spoon sticking out

What is Crab Bisque? 

Bisque is defined as being a thick cream soup made with shellfish or game or as being a thick cream soup of pureed vegetables (Source). Originally made with game, the use of bisque with shellfish or seafood can be dated back to the 17th Century. Originating in France, what is considered to be a bisque has changed throughout the years and is now referred to as any kind of creamy, blended soup. 

What Makes a Bisque a Bisque? 

Originally, a bisque was defined as being a soup made from shellfish and thickened with a paste made from their shells. Today, bisques are defined by their thick texture and inclusion of cream rather than the ingredients used. 

a bowl of tomato crab bisque with a spoon in it


Tomato bisque soup recipes contain a wide variety of flavors. They are slightly sweet and contain a distinct seafood taste. However, as you eat, the flavors of the tomatoes and white wine also shine through. 


A defining characteristic of any bisque recipe is its smooth and velvety texture created by blending up the veggies along with the addition of cream. 

Crab Bisque vs Crab Chowder

Often confused with one another, crab bisque and crab chowder are not the same. In fact, there are several key differences between the two including the texture and ingredients. For example, crab bisque is a smooth and creamy soup whereas crab chowder is distinguished by being chunky. In addition, crab chowder contains chunks of potatoes and other vegetables not found in bisque. 

Key Ingredients

While every crab bisque recipe varies and can be adjusted to suit your preferences, there are a few staple ingredients that help create the taste and texture you want. For this recipe they include: 

cans with ingredients for tomato crab bisque
  • Veggies – I used celery, scallions, and shallots.
  • Tomato Paste – Tomato paste is used to create the base of the tomato bisque soup recipe and helps add to the flavor. If you don’t have tomato paste, ketchup can be used in its place.
  • Gluten Free Flour – To keep this recipe gluten free, I used a gluten free all purpose flour. However, oat flour works just as well!
  • Stock Seafood stock or vegetable stock works best to help incorporate the crab in with the acidity of the tomatoes. 
  • Fire-Roasted Tomatoes – A primary ingredient in the base of this soup, fire-roasted tomatoes help add flavor to this recipe.
  • Coconut Milk – In this recipe, coconut milk is used to replace traditional creamy to lighten the recipe up a bit and reduce the amount of dairy used while still maintaining a creamy texture.
  • Crab Meat – For the best results, make sure to use lump crab, not imitation crab meat! Fresh or canned wild-caught white lump crab meat will work. However, if you’re looking for the real deal, I highly suggest using Alaskan King Crab with the shell removed!

Foodie Swap: For a dairy-free seafood bisque, swap out the butter for a plant-based butter or pure olive or avocado oil. It won’t be quite as creamy as the original recipe but is just as tasty! 

How to Make a Tomato Bisque Recipe with Crab

Contrary to popular belief, making crab bisque is a super simple process and an easy way to impress your guests. Take a look below to see how it’s done.

  • Melt. To begin, melt your butter in a large saucepan or dutch oven over medium heat.
  • Saute. Then, add in the celery, scallions, and onions, and let them saute for 4 minutes or until they are fragrant and the celery has softened. Next, add the garlic, tomato paste, salt, pepper, and seasonings, and stir.
  • celery and onions being sauteed with a wooden spoon for tomato crab bisque
  • tomato paste being added to celery and onions for tomato crab bisque
  • Combine. Add the flour to the mixture, and let it cook another minute until it is absorbed. Pour in the seafood stock, wine, and fire-roasted tomatoes, and mix until everything is well-combined.
  • Boil and Simmer. Bring all of the ingredients to a boil. Then, reduce the heat to a low simmer, add a bay leaf to the pot, and keep it covered for 25-30 minutes.
a pot of tomato crab bisque being stirred with a wooden spoon
  • Puree. After simmering, remove the bay leaf, and use an immersion blender to puree the bisque into a smooth texture. 
  • tomato crab bisque base being pureed in a blender
  • crab meat being swirled into tomato crab bisque with a wooden spoon
Pro Tip

Note: If you don’t have an immersion blender, you can transfer the soup to a high-speed blender (in batches) instead. 

  • Season. Add in the coconut milk and crab meat. Then, give the bisque a good stir, let it simmer for another 10 minutes, add any additional seasonings you might like, and enjoy! 
a pot of tomato crab bique

Serving Suggestions

This crab and tomato bisque recipe is filling enough to be served all on its own. However, if you want to pair it with a side or two, some of my favorites include:

three bowls of tomato crab bisque topped iwth lemon slices and fresh herbs

Storage Tips

Once fully cooked, crab bisque can be kept in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days

Freezer Option: Most of the time, it is not recommended that you freeze crab bisque due to the concern that the cream will clump when reheated. However, if you really, really want to save your soup for later, let it cool completely. Then, store it in the freezer for up to 3 months. When you’re ready to eat, the key to preserving your crab bisque’s taste and texture is in how you reheat it. 

How to Reheat Crab Bisque: Let it thaw in the refrigerator overnight. Then, make sure to reheat it on the stove, and don’t forget to stir frequently! 

Common Questions About Crab Bisque

Can I use a different stock? 

Yes, you can use any stock you have on hand. However, seafood stock is best to enhance the natural flavors of this bisque and contains calcium, gelatin, and omega 3 fatty acids, all of which are great for your health!  

Can I make this tomato bisque soup recipe without alcohol? 

Yes, if you don’t have cooking sherry or white wine on hand, try using apple cider vinegar instead. Just be sure to dilute it with water, and add a pinch of sugar to replicate the flavor of sherry! 

Can I replace the crab? 

Yes, although your bisque technically wouldn’t be crab bisque anymore. Common tomato bisque recipes often use lobster or shrimp instead.


Tomato Crab Bisque (Dairy Free Option)

  • Author: Lindsay Cotter
  • Total Time: 55 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings
  • Diet: Gluten Free


This Tomato Crab Bisque is the perfect twist on a classic recipe for a gluten-free dinner that is full of flavor and good-for-you ingredients!


  • 1 Tablespoon butter (*See notes for substitute)
  • 3 celery sticks, chopped
  • 2 scallions, white portion
  • 1 small shallot or 1/3 cup onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 Tablespoons tomato paste or ketchup
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 23 teaspoons seasoning, to taste (Old Bay Seasoning or a seasoned salt) (*See notes)
  • 3 Tablespoons all-purpose gluten-free flour or oat flour
  • 4 cups seafood broth/stock
  • 1/2 cup cooking sherry or white wine
  • 13 ounce can of fire-roasted tomatoes
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/41/3 cup coconut milk (*real cream may be substituted if well tolerated)
  • 10 ounces lump crab meat
  • Optional: chopped fresh parsley and lemon to serve


  1. In a large pot or dutch oven, add the butter, and let it melt over medium heat.

  2. Add the celery, scallions, and onions. Saute the ingredients for 4 minutes or until they are fragrant and the celery has softened.

  3. Add the garlic, tomato paste (or ketchup), salt, pepper, and seasonings, and stir to combine. Continue cooking until the ingredients are fragrant.

  4. Add the flour to the tomato and vegetable mixture, and cook another 1 minute or until the flour has been fully absorbed.

  5. Pour in the seafood stock, sherry, and fire-roasted tomatoes. Mix to combine.

  6. Bring the ingredients to a quick boil. Then, reduce the heat to a low simmer, add the bay leaf, and cover the pot for 25-30 minutes.

  7. After 25-30 minutes, remove the bay leaf, and puree the soup with an immersion blender. (See notes)

  8. Return the pureed soup to the pot, and stir in the coconut milk (or cream) and crab. Simmer the ingredients for 10 minutes.

  9. Adjust seasonings to taste, and garnish with chopped parsley and fresh lemon to serve.


*If the seasoning used does not contain paprika, add 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika

*No immersion blender? Transfer the bisque to a high-speed blender in batches, and blend until a creamy texture is formed.

*Avocado oil or pure olive oil may be substituted for butter

  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 50 minutes
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Stove Top
  • Cuisine: French


  • Serving Size:
  • Calories: 189
  • Sugar: 3.2 g
  • Sodium: 1328.2 mg
  • Fat: 6.9 g
  • Saturated Fat: 3.4 g
  • Carbohydrates: 13.1 g
  • Fiber: 1.7 g
  • Protein: 18.8 g
  • Cholesterol: 70.6 mg

Keywords: crab bisque, bisque, soup, seafood, dinner

A crowd-favorite, this Crab Bisque recipe is one of the easiest ways to serve a seemingly fancy meal without spending much time in the kitchen at all! If you do serve it, I’d love it if you let me know in the comments below! 



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