Quick Easy Fish Stew

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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.

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 205 Comments

  • Jan Martino

    How much liquid should I add if I want to turn this into a soup?

  • Kim G

    wow. I don’t comment often but this was so easy and absolutely perfect! I followed the recipe exactly except I didn’t have Tabasco and used a pinch of red pepper flakes.. LOVED IT

  • Mimi

    I got to the supermarket after the fresh fish section closed. I was going to give up hope, but I looked in the freezer and found grouper filets. A quick Google search told me the grouper family included sea bass, so I took a shot. My gamble paid off. SO SO DELICIOUS. Thank you!

  • Ryan Elder

    I made this stew for a nice cozy night in on a cold autumn evening. This was a great stew to make, as I have never made fish stew before. I toasted up some ciabatta and had some leftover rice. It was good. I probably would add more spices such as bay leaf and coriander, and more tabasco. Nevertheless, I’m keeping this one for the recipe books. And Btw, get some calamari rings and mussels for an Italian twist.

  • Pinback

    This is an extremely good base recipe. There’s freedom to add and remove to taste, but if you stick with this general structure, you are gonna have a FINE meal. Five spoons outta five.

    Also, was this originally titled “soup”? I can’t figure out why so many commentors seem to think it’s supposed to be soup.

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