Quick Easy Fish Stew

Soup and StewGluten-FreeLow CarbFish and Seafood

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.

How to Make Quick and Easy Fish Stew

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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Elise Bauer

Elise Bauer is the Founder and President of Simply Recipes. A blogging pioneer, Elise launched Simply Recipes in 2003 as a way to keep track of her family's recipes, and along the way grew it into one of the most popular cooking websites in the world. In 2012 Elise was named "one of America's 50 Most Powerful People in Food" by The Daily Meal. Elise is dedicated to helping home cooks be successful in the kitchen. Elise is a graduate of Stanford University. She lives in Carmichael, California.

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253 Comments / Reviews

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  • Patricia

    This recipe sounds great but I cannot tolerate shellfish or clam juice so what can I use as a substitute? Thanks!

  • Terri

    This fish stew was SO good tonight that I had to come rate it. Quick, easy, and not expensive! I only added 1 LB of cod vs 1 1/2, and added 1 LB of steamer clams. Added a rib of celery, too. I only used a can of crushed tomato–no tomato paste. Had some saffron, so added a few threads of that. Also used fresh thyme from my herb garden. My guys RAVED. I was even short on white wine (dang it!), and had just under a 1/4 cup. So I added extra clam juice. Btw, I buy the jars of Better Then Bouillon for my beef, chicken, and vegetable stock to keep on hand, and they have clam juice, too. I find it much richer and easier to keep–cheaper, too, as a little goes a long way!


  • Joann

    I can’t eat tomato and had no white wine, clam juice or garlic, so added cabbage, red wine, garlic salt, water. I thought it was quite good and my husband loved it. An earthier taste with the red wine.


  • Michelle

    I made this tonight following the recipe exactly except that I had fresh clam broth from quahogs that had been made the day before. Also I only had dried parsley so I substituted 2 tablespoons of that for the fresh. It was delicious, my boyfriend said it tasted like something you would get at a Portuguese restaurant. And so easy to make I will definitely be making it again.


  • Kaycee

    I have been eyeing this recipe for some time… it looks so good! Was wondering if anyone has added crab meat? I have a can of it I need to use up!

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