Quick Easy Fish Stew

Quick, easy, and absolutely delicious fish stew! Fresh fish fillets cooked in a stew with onions, garlic, parsley, tomato, clam juice and white wine.
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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Showing 4 of 174 Comments

  • Rita D.

    I’ve made this several times now and it is always good. Tonight was shrimp and cod. I enjoyed it less in the past with clams and cod. The consistency of the two types of seafood was too different. Next go-round, I’m going to add a diced potato and maybe some crabmeat. The herbs are from my garden. So good, so good!

  • Christi Meyers

    Fabulous- everybody ate it all up! I followed other commenters and added potatoes. Also used a bit of miso stock at the end to further add flavour. Bonus is that this can be completely made out of the freezer and fridge.

  • Frances

    This was absolutely delicious and so easy to make! My mother-in-law gave me a bag of cod and I had no idea what to do with it, until I found this recipe! I didn’t have clam juice so I improvised and mixed chicken stock with a splash of fish sauce as an alternative and I turned out wonderfully! Hubby approved and gave it 5 stars. This soup is a total game-changer. I will definitely be making it on the regular. Next time, with clam juice ;-)

  • Dean

    Wonderful recipe! The only thing I changed was using two 8 oz bottles of clam juice for the stock and adding a few pats of butter to the finished product to add some velvetyness to the soup. Overall this recipe was very satisfying and was easy to put together for a weeknight dinner. Thanks very much for sharing it!

  • todd

    was having a terrible time making baked cod. needed to do something different with the remaining cod in my freezer. saw this recipe last week and made it tonight. my 12 year old son loved it. “dad, we should have this again.” he’s getting thirds now. ’nuff said.

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