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    Just in time for Mother’s Day, Cioppino is a fantastic seafood stew that originated in the Italian-American community in San Francisco. This pot features a big variety of seafood, all simmered in a well-seasoned tomato-based broth. You’re going to love it!

    Large pot of cioppino.

    I’m a big fan of mixing different seafoods into one dish. I’ve pretty much perfected Moqueca, a Brazilian seafood stew. This past New Year’s I tried my hand at Cioppino, and the results were so good that Alpana said “this needs to be on GypsyPlate!”

    What is Cioppino?

    Cioppino is a stew that was born in the fishing wharves of San Francisco in the late 1800s.So the story goes, when a fisherman came back empty-handed, he would walk around with a pot to the other fishermen asking them to chip in whatever they could. Whatever ended up in the pot became his “cioppino”.

    One beauty of this dish is that you can use whatever seafood you want in it. Add or subtract at your heart’s content, it’ll still turn out great. I’ve tried just about every seafood you can imagine in Cioppino. Except for conch. Maybe next time!

    Bowlful of seafood stew.

    Ingredients Needed

    • Seafood – The star. This time I am using white fish (specifically cod), shrimp, scallops, mussels and clams.
    • Extra virgin olive oil – You can use regular olive oil, but I like that slight hint of extra flavor from EVOO.
    • Aromatics – Onion, garlic and fennel. If you’re unfamiliar with fennel, it has a unique flavor like anise or licorice. I really like what it adds to this soup.
    • Crushed red pepper – For just a hint of heat.
    • Wine – A nice dry white.
    • Tomatoes – Today I am using whole canned San Marzano tomatoes, which I crush by hand, though I sometimes use fresh tomatoes if I can find some good ones.
    • Clam juice – This ups the seafood factor.
    • Stock – You can use chicken, vegetable or seafood. I prefer chicken. Seafood stock is a bit too overpowering for my taste, but some people prefer it.
    • Herbs – Oregano, thyme and parsley. I am using fresh, but if you don’t have it that’s fine too. Just use ⅓ the amount, because dried is more potent.
    • Salt and Pepper – To taste, of course.
    Uncooked fish, shrimp, scallops, clams and mussels in a baking dish.

    Easy Cioppino Recipe

    First I get the aromatics started by sautéing the onion and fennel, along with a few pinches of salt, in some extra virgin olive oil until they begin to soften, about 4-5 minutes. Then I stir in the garlic and crushed red pepper and cook for another minute.

    Next I deglaze the pot with white wine and let it reduce for 3-4 minutes. I finish off the broth by adding the tomatoes, clam juice, stock and herbs. I simmer it for 15-20 minutes, tasting and adjusting for salt and pepper as I go.

    Now for the grand finale. I add in fish, shrimp and scallops and gently spread them throughout the stew, ladling the broth all over. I’m careful not stir, as the fish can break apart. Then I nestle the mussels and clams into the stew. I cover the lid and simmer the soup for about 5-8 minutes, or until the fish and shrimp are cooked through and the mussels have opened (discard any mussels or clams that have not opened).

    Very closeup image of the potful of seafood stew.

    Jason’s Tips

    • Use fresh seafood, it makes a big difference. Especially if you’re cooking it for a special occasion!
    • If any of the clams are open before cooking, tap on the shell. If they do not close, this means they have died and must be discarded.
    • Discard any clams or mussels that do not open after cooking. I made it bold in the instructions, and I’m telling you again here. If they do not open, they can make you sick.
    • Don’t forget the bread! In San Fran, they eat it with sourdough or French bread. Our No Knead Bread is also great for dipping into the stew.
    Hearty serving of this famous Italian-American seafood dish in a white bowl.

    Try this iconic dish from the City by the Bay, and find out why it’s so popular there. Personally, I would be happy to have this on the weekly menu. It’s that good.

    If you try this recipe, please leave a star rating and comment, we love to hear from you. And be sure to stay in the loop by subscribing to our newsletter or following us on Pinterest.

    Cioppino, on our Gypsy Plate… enjoy!

    Bowl of cioppino on the Gypsy Plate.

    More great seafood recipes:
    Spanish Garlic Shrimp
    Finnish Salmon Soup
    Shrimp Saganaki
    Fish en Papillote
    Clam Linguine
    Shrimp and Grits

    Featured image for cioppino recipe.


    Yield: 6 servings
    Prep Time: 20 minutes
    Cook Time: 40 minutes
    Total Time: 1 hour

    Cioppino is a classic Italian-American stew originating in San Francisco. My recipe features an array of seafood in a tasty tomato and wine broth.


    • 3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
    • 1 medium onion, diced
    • 2 cups fennel, diced
    • 4 cloves garlic, minced
    • ½ tsp crushed red pepper
    • ¾ cup dry white wine
    • 28oz crushed tomatoes
    • 16oz clam juice
    • 1 cup stock (I use chicken, but you can use vegetable or seafood)
    • 1 Tbsp fresh oregano (or 1 tsp dried)
    • 1 Tbsp fresh thyme (or 1 tsp dried)
    • 1 Tbsp fresh parsley (or 1 tsp dried)
    • 1 pound white fish, cut into chunks
    • 1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
    • ½ pound scallops
    • ½ pound mussels, scrubbed and debearded
    • 12 littleneck clams, scrubbed (see note 1)
    • salt, to taste
    • black pepper, to taste


    1. Heat olive oil in a large soup pot or dutch oven. Add onion and fennel, along with a few pinches of salt, and sauté until they begin to soften, about 4-5 minutes.
    2. Stir in garlic and crushed red pepper. Cook for 1 minutes, then deglaze the pot with white wine. Simmer and reduce for 3-4 minutes.
    3. Add crushed tomatoes, clam juice, stock and herbs. Season with salt and pepper. Simmer for 15-20 minutes.
    4. Add in fish, shrimp and scallops. Gently spread them throughout the stew, and ladle the broth over. Do not stir, as the fish can break apart. Nestle the mussels and clams into the stew. Cover and simmer about 5-8 minutes, or until the fish and shrimp are cooked through and the mussels have opened (discard any mussels or clams that have not opened).


    1. If any of the clams are open before cooking, tap on the shell. If they do not close, this means they have died and must be discarded.
    2. I prefer to eat my seafood on the day it is cooked, but you can refrigerate leftover cioppino in an airtight container for up to 2 days.

    Nutrition Information
    Yield 6 Serving Size 1
    Amount Per Serving Calories 490Total Fat 17gSaturated Fat 3gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 12gCholesterol 258mgSodium 1737mgCarbohydrates 23gFiber 4gSugar 9gProtein 57g

    Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

    Did you make this recipe?

    Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Pinterest

    Picture of Alpana, blogger and recipe developer at GypsyPlate

    Welcome to GypsyPlate! I'm Alpana, former wordwide tour manager and professional caterer, now full time blogger. I love exploring cuisines from around the world, and my recipes have been featured on sites such as MSN, Parade, Brit + Co, CNET and AOL. You can explore my entire collection of sortable recipes in my Recipe Index or learn more about me here.

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      2 thoughts on “Cioppino”

      • I wish you would make your recipes pin-able right from the link. Sometimes it’s hard to find on Pinterest. I want to add this to my collection of pins and try this soon! Looks fantastic!

        • Hi Cindy. You can pin the recipes by hovering over an individual image, or clicking on the little share icon in the lower right (both on desktop and mobile).

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