Quick Easy Fish Stew

VideoSoup 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 tablespoons extra virgin 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 (oregano, thyme, Tabasco). Add salt and pepper 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 of Simply Recipes. 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. Elise is dedicated to helping home cooks be successful in the kitchen. Elise is a graduate of Stanford University, and lives in Sacramento, California.

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481 Comments / Reviews

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Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. celestepersidsky

    Chicken broth I’m afraid! I even put another clam juice bottle inside, still lagging. I added more white white and game over.

  2. Beth

    I really enjoy this recipe and have made it several times. I don’t quite understand why it calls for so much oil though! I only use 1 Tbsp and it works like a charm.


  3. Sam Spofford

    It tasted okay, but like it was missing something important. I followed the recipe exactly as it’s my first time trying something like this. I have no idea what to add to make it good. I also ended up with almost zero broth? It was all fish. I have no idea where this went wrong. Anyway it was fun to try and a good waste of $35 worth of fish.


    Show Replies (1)
  4. Pat

    I was looking for a simpler version of cioppino and this looked pretty good. The amount of olive oil, however, is staggering. I cut it back to 3 1/2 Tb and still wound up with a layer of oil floating on top of the stew, which I found quite unappetizing. Dunking crusty bread into it sopped up some, but then I had greasy bread and still a layer of oil to deal with. I will be cutting back to 2 Tb oil next time. Other than that, there is a lot of flavor in this quick and simple fish stew, and I look forward to trying it again with less oil.


  5. Isabel

    Amazing! I had my homemade chicken broth on hand, frozen wild shrimp and pacific whiting. So I figured that would be good enough for the stock without clam juice.

    I added lemon, green onion, and ceyenne because I felt the extra fat from the chicken stock could use some extra acid. It turned out great and next time I will use fresh parsley and tomato (instead of dried and jar). I am sure it will be even better as the recipe states. Thank you!


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