Quick Easy Fish Stew

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

One of our favorite family recipes of all time is this simple and easy fish stew. It takes less than 30 minutes, start to finish, and is absolutely delicious!

The key ingredient to this stew is clam juice, which they sell in shelf stable 8-ounce jars, so we usually keep a couple in our pantry. I have prepared the soup for people with shellfish allergies; the thing to do is to substitute the clam juice with white wine, fish stock, or water. It works, it’s just not quite as tasty.

Quick and Easy Fish Stew

The stew works best with a firm white fish, such as halibut or cod. You could also use red snapper or even tilapia. Just stay away from delicate fish such as sole for this stew, or oily fish such as tuna.

If you want, you can add some shrimp, clams and/or scallops to the stew as well.

One of our favorite recipes for Lent, updated from the recipe archive

Quick Easy Fish Stew Recipe

  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4

For a variation, add 1/2 pound of shrimp, mussels, clams, and/or scallops to the stew. If adding shellfish, add them a couple minutes before the fish; they need more time to cook and open.


  • 6 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 3 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 2/3 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups of fresh chopped tomato (about 1 medium sized tomato) OR 1 14-ounce can of whole or crushed tomatoes with their juices
  • 2 teaspoons tomato paste (optional)
  • 8 oz of clam juice (or shellfish stock)
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine (like Sauvignon blanc)
  • 1 1/2 lb fish fillets (use a firm white fish such as halibut, cod, red snapper, or sea bass), cut into 2-inch pieces
  • Pinch of dry oregano
  • Pinch of dry thyme
  • 1/8 teaspoon Tabasco sauce (or more to taste)
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Salt to taste


1 Heat olive oil in a large thick-bottomed pot over medium-high heat. Add onion and sauté 4 minutes, add the garlic and cook a minute more. Add parsley and stir 2 minutes. Add tomato and tomato paste, and gently cook for 10 minutes or so.

2 Add clam juice, dry white wine, and fish. Bring to a simmer and simmer until the fish is cooked through and easily flakes apart, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add seasoning. Salt to taste. Ladle into bowls and serve.

Great served with crusty bread for dipping in the fish stew broth.

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Seafood watch

Showing 4 of 169 Comments

  • Jackie Kuhwarth

    FABULOUS fish stew! Five stars! We go to our friend’s restaurant and get a big loaf of his exquisite crusty and tender sourdough loaf. It goes so well with this stew.

  • Mary Haugh

    This is divine!!! The only thing I did different is added a little bit more chopped tomatoes, little extra tomato paste and a 1/2 pound shelled shrimp and a pound of cod. Served with toasted bread. Yum, Yum!!

  • Tatiana Barnes

    I want to add to my previous review a few days ago: DO NOT skip tomato paste. I cooked it the second time without tomato paste, and it was not the same. The taste was a lot blander and missed acidity and zest. It was still good, but I would never skip tomato paste anymore.

  • Mark Cote

    Just what I was looking for Elise!

    I am from Maine so I used some of my home made lobster stock I made after a lobster bake last fall as well as the liquor from clams I dug. I used atlantic pollock, scallops, and clams all taken out of my underwater grocery store, the Gulf of Maine. The only way to get it any fresher is to eat it under water!

    I eat fish often so I was looking for another way to enjoy my catch. This recipe is a keeper. Thanks for sharing!

  • Tatibarnes

    This recipe is amazing and so quick and easy to make! I cooked it couple weeks ago for a party of a few people, and it was gone without any leftovers! Followed the recipe precisely, used cod and shrimp! My only addition was to add roux to thicken the broth and served it with rice! I was asked by my guests to make it staple at my receptions, so, I am making it again this coming Saturday :)

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