Chef John's Cioppino Recipe -
Chef John's Cioppino Recipe
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Chef John’s Cioppino
See how to make San Francisco's famous seafood stew! See more

Chef John's Cioppino

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"When you feel like splurging a little, San Francisco's famous Cioppino is a great choice. This spicy fish and shellfish stew is a big red bowl of yummy, and when paired with a loaf of crusty sourdough bread, it's downright otherworldly."

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Ingredients Edit and Save

Original recipe makes 6 servings Change Servings
  • PREP

    20 mins
  • COOK

    1 hr

    1 hr 20 mins


  1. Combine butter and olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-low heat.
  2. Stir in onion and celery with a pinch of salt; cook until onion is soft and golden, 6 to 7 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook for 1 minute.
  3. Stir wine into onion mixture; increase heat to high and bring to a simmer.
  4. Stir in tomato puree, water, bay leaf, oregano, red pepper flakes, and Worcestershire sauce. Reduce heat to low and simmer 35 minutes.
  5. Increase heat to high and bring mixture to a boil. Stir in lemon and cod, return to simmer, about 2 minutes.
  6. Stir in crab, shrimp, and mussels. Cover and simmer until all mussels are cooked and open, about 5 minutes.
  7. Stir in fresh parsley and basil; season with salt and pepper to taste.
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Reviews More Reviews

Most Helpful Positive Review
Oct 26, 2012

I made the broth exactly as directed except I forgot the bay leaf. I added the seafood that is available in Baltimore in October..... little neck clams, snow crabs, grouper, mussels and bay scallops. It was very simple but very elegant and tasted like a high priced restaurant cioppino!!! The lemon is a must but a couple of slices goes a long way. I did add some chili oil in addition to the red pepper flakes to wake it up. I have made many cioppino recipes and this was my favorite by far! Crusty sourdough bread is required by law.

Most Helpful Critical Review
Aug 20, 2012

too sweet & citrus-y for my taste.

Jan 13, 2015

This is one of the best recipes here on AR. Chef John, you hit the nail on the head with this one. I followed the recipe exactly beside cutting the recipe in 1/2 for the 2 of us. I used about 1 1/4 lbs of fresh shrimp, 1 large claw of large snow crab, 1/2 lb mussels, and 1/2 lb cod filet, all fresh from Joe Patti's here in Pensacola, FL. We didn't care for the cod fish so when I make it again I'll leave that out and use all mussels, shrimp and crab. It's not cheap but it's truly a treat to be savored more than once in a lifetime. I had this back when I was a teenager and loved it then but just never seemed to have the nerve to make it myself. I am sooo very glad to have found this recipe. I had some fresh french bread for dipping in that lucious sauce. I can't wait to make it again. Thank you again Chef John for a wonderful recipe. *** 1/13/15 - I've made this many, many times since I've reviewed this and now I make the whole recipe of the sauce and 1/2 it and that goes in the freezer. I also don't use any lemon as we don't like hot lemon in anything, but the rest of the recipe is spot on!

Aug 12, 2012

This may be the single best recipe on It is flawless in its simplicity and as natural in its ingredients as any on this site. The recipe is easily adaptable to your personal taste or to moderate variation of ingredients. I served it in a bowl with a variety of warmed breads and Irish butter. On the side I served Spicy Eggplant over seasoned white rice. The scent of the garlic and Chardonnay rich Cioppino filled the house and I prepped my guests with Starry Night Zinfandel and butter crackers with lobster, red caviar and garnishes. This is a wonderful recipe for a husband-wife or couple to prepare together.

Jul 31, 2014

It was tough to make a recipe and stick to it, but I only made very small changes to this one. Instead of water I used chicken broth, but only because I needed to use it before it went bad. I also skipped the Dungeness crab, as I wasn't sure how to clean it and wanted to keep things simpler for myself. That being said, this recipe was awesome. Very flavorful and perfect with the fresh baked bread I served it with. I'm fairly sure that the person who said it was too sweet must have used a sweet wine (like a moscato or white Zinfandel), as mine wasn't sweet at all. I used the same Sauvignon blanc that I drink regularly and it turned out great. Not sweet at all. I couldn't find tomato purée at my grocery store, so I bought the tomato sauce that that didn't have any other ingredients than tomato purée and water. Be careful, though. Most tomato sauces had all kinds of extra seasoning added. Read the labels! This was my first time working with live mussels. Make sure you clean the outside of the shells and the easiest way to de-beard them is to use a paring knife to pull the beard against your finger and up out of the shell. Also, if you have any mussels in your bunch that are open and won't close back up that probably means the mussel is dead and you want to discard it. My only regret was that I didn't make a seafood stock from the shrimp I peeled (I bought large shell-on deveined shrimp) to add in place of the chicken stock I used out of necessity. Very good.

Feb 20, 2014

Great recipe. Had unexpected dinner guest and a leftover crab so made this. Everyone loved it and it was easy to make. Added a pinch more spices. Didn't have cod so used salmon. Decreased amount of mussels and shrimp and added octopus and clams.

Jun 06, 2012

Very good! It is easy to make, well explained and just very good if you are a seafood lover! It is a little pricey but fun to make and well worth it. And don't forget the bread, it's a must

Jan 31, 2015

citrus rind ruined it for me


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  • Calories
  • 431 kcal
  • 22%
  • Carbohydrates
  • 32 g
  • 10%
  • Cholesterol
  • 187 mg
  • 62%
  • Fat
  • 12.1 g
  • 19%
  • Fiber
  • 7.9 g
  • 32%
  • Protein
  • 41.3 g
  • 83%
  • Sodium
  • 1059 mg
  • 42%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

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