Fish Soup Recipes
The Best Fish Soup Recipes From Around The World
Fish soup is a delicious and filling meal that is made in every corner of the earth. There are plenty of varieties of fish soup that will fit every palate and suit every taste. On a chilly spring or fall night, there is nothing better than a bowl of warm fish soup enjoyed around the bonfire.
The best fish soup recipe is a simple fish soup that is cooked over lower heat for a long time and is layered with flavor. You must not rush a fish soup recipe, and instead, give the flavors time to meld together. You want the broth to pull the flavor out of the fish, herbs, and vegetables that you have included.
There are plenty of recipes for fish soup that come from all over the world. If you are ready to start exploring different fish soup recipes in your own kitchen, keep reading. We are going to give you an easy fish soup recipe, as well as show you how to make traditional recipes from all over the world.
How To Make Fish Soup
Fish soup is made from any type of fish cooked in a liquid base such as water, cream, milk, or broth. These soups usually have different types of vegetables, herbs, and spices included in the broth, as well.
In order to make basic fish soup, follow this simple recipe:
Clean The Fridge Fish Soup
This easy fish soup recipe is designed for you to use what you have on hand in order to make a delicious, nutritious, and filling meal for yourself and your family. This recipe makes four servings, but can easily be adjusted to make more or less.
- 6 tablespoons oil (such as olive oil)
- 1 chopped onion
- 3 garlic cloves
- ⅔ cup fresh herbs (such as parsley)
- 1 ½ cups cubed vegetables
- 2 teaspoons tomato paste
- 1 cup liquid base (clam juice preferred)
- ½ cup dry white wine
- 1 ½ pounds fish, filleted and cubed (red or white fish preferred)
- Dried herbs to taste
- Hot sauce to taste
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Heat your oil in a large, thick-bottomed pot over medium-high heat.
- Add your onion and cook for 4 minutes, stirring occasionally until translucent.
- Add garlic and cook for 1-2 more minutes.
- Add fresh herbs and cook for 1-2 more minutes.
- Add tomato paste and stir in.
- Add any other vegetables and sauté the mixture without burning for about 10 minutes.
- Add your liquid ingredients including the dry white wine and de-glaze the pan, adding water if needed to ensure all vegetables are covered.
- Add fish and bring soup to a simmer.
- Continue simmering until fish is flakey and easily breaks apart, about five minutes.
- Add dried herbs, hot sauce, salt, and pepper to taste.
- Serve with crusty bread.
If you only have water for this soup, that’s okay! Just make sure to add any flavorful vegetables you have such as celery and carrots to make sure you are creating a flavorful broth. You can also use a canned or boxed broth or bouillon cubes if you do not have clam juice on hand. If you want to make a creamy soup, feel free to use a cream base here as well.
Potatoes, squash, fresh tomatoes, cauliflower, asparagus, and mushrooms all make excellent vegetables to add to this soup. This recipe is designed to be flexible, so use what you think will taste the best and what you have on hand and go from there. Soon, you are sure to find the perfect fish soup recipe for your taste buds, and it will be your very own creation.
Types Of Fish Soup
Fish soup is traditionally classified into two main types of soup, clear soup, and thick soup. There are many different variations contained within these two categories. Once you understand the differences between these two main types, you will be able to create any fish soup recipe that you would like to try.
Clear Fish Soup
Clear fish soup is also called bouillon in French. These soups have a broth base. The flavor in these soups is dependent upon the fish, vegetables, and seasonings within it. Water may be used as a base to make a broth from scratch, but it is also acceptable to use vegetable broth, stock, clam juice, and other options in order to develop more flavor.
Thick Fish Soup
Thick fish soup is called consommé in French. This type of soup is characterized by its thick, creamy base. The base of this soup is made of dairy, dairy alternative, or is sometimes thickened with eggs and flour. Despite the many different options for bases, the ultimate result remains the same; a soup with a rich flavor and velvety texture.
Common Variations of Fish Soup
Now that you know the two main types of fish soup, let’s discuss some of the most common variations and their preparations. These types of soup are popular all over the world, so there aren’t necessarily particular vegetables and seasonings that are used. However, the main approach to each type remains the same throughout different cultures.
Fish Head Soup
Every fish head soup recipe requires one main ingredient; fish heads. Fish heads are used in these soups because they have an interesting variety of flavors and textures that aren’t present in the rest of the fish. Fish head soup is a great way to use the entire fish when you buy fresh produce. The rest of the fish can be used for dinner one night, and the fish heads can be used a soup the next. Salmon is the most common type of fish used for this dish.
Many cultures serve this dish with the entire fish head, but it is easier and less intimidating if you remove the meat from the head before serving. To do this, you cook the fish heads in the soup and then remove and debone them, adding the meat back into the soup as you go. This allows for a wonderful broth to be made during the cooking process. It also allows for the meat to detach from the bones easily.
Fish Tea Soup
Fish tea soup does not have actual tea in it. Instead, it is called that because of the fragrant flavors and the longer time it has to “steep” in order to fully develop.
Fish tea soup is a clear broth soup that is traditionally made in Caribbean cultures. It is traditionally made with white fish and many different types of vegetables and is known for its spicy flavor.
Fish tea is a spicy fish soup that is not for the faint of heart. Hot fresh peppers such as scotch bonnets are used. These types of peppers are very spicy for the uninitiated, so it is important not to serve this dish to anyone who does not enjoy spicy flavors or hot foods.
Fish Cake Soup
Fish cake soup is a soup that contains fish cakes, similar to crab cakes. These cakes are usually purchased from oriental markets pre-processed, but you are able to make the fish cakes yourself if you please.
Fish cake soup also has a lot of veggies in it, including daikon radish, carrots, and potatoes. It often also comes with boiled egg and dashi. This is a traditional Korean soup, but anyone can purchase fish cakes from their local oriental market. The pre-made fish cakes make this soup a perfect choice for a busy weeknight meal when you don’t have time to do a lot of preparation before you cook.
Best Fish For Soup
Before you begin to make fish soup, it is important to know what are the best types of fish to use. For most recipes, you don’t want to use a fish that is going to be too flakey, but you are also going to want to avoid fish that are too oily. For the most part, redfish and whitefish are the best varieties to use.
Red Fish Soup
There are many different types of redfish that are great to use in soups. These include snapper, salmon, red drum, rosefish, and orange roughy. These types of fish are meatier than their white counterparts and will give the soup a lot of flavor.
White Fish Soup
Whitefish has a milder flavor and flakier texture than redfish, but these varieties are meaty enough to be used in soups. Whitefish varieties include tilapia, bass, grouper, haddock, mahi-mahi, and catfish. If you do not like a fishy taste in your soup, you should choose a species of whitefish to cook with.
Cod Fish Soup
Codfish is another fish that you can use to make fish soup. This fish is going to be very flakey when cooked in a soup, so recipes that call for it account for the fact that it is likely to flake and fall apart. If you want larger chunks of fish, you might not want to use codfish. However, if you want the fish to be more of a shredded texture, this is a great variety of fish to use.
When you are making fish soup, you aren’t limited to only fish. You can use all types of seafood along with your soup. Fish and shrimp soup, for instance, is a very popular and delicious choice. You can also try using clams, mussels, scallops, and any other type of seafood you have on-hand along with the fish you are using.
The Best Fish Soup In The World
Most of the planet, seventy percent of it, in fact, is covered in ocean. Most countries in the world have access to the ocean. Civilizations have been fishing and harvesting fish for thousands of years. So, its no wonder that so many different cultures have their own variations of fish soup.
Here are a few popular variations from around the globe for you to try. Remember, many ingredients can be substituted for something that you have on hand, so it is important to be flexible and to experiment. Some types of produce aren’t readily available everywhere, so it is fine to use a replacement that you think is best.
Jamaican Fish Soup
Jamaicans often make fish tea soup. As we discussed, fish tea soup is a fragrant and spicy soup with a clear broth. This soup is usually served as an appetizer before the main dishes. You can also try a creamy version by making a fish soup with coconut milk. Below, you will find the basic recipe for Jamaican fish tea soup.
- 2 lbs white fish
- 3 quarts water
- 2 cloves fresh garlic
- Fresh thyme, to taste
- 3 stalks green onion
- 2 medium white potatoes
- 1 green banana
- 1 green scotch bonnet pepper or other spicy green pepper
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Pimento seeds
- 2 limes
- Soak fish in fresh lime juice and drain the excess.
- Combine fish, minced fresh garlic, and water in a large pot to boil until the fish falls off of the bone.
- Strain the contents in order to remove the bones.
- Wash and dice potatoes into small, even cubes.
- Add potatoes and salt to the soup.
- Peel and chop green bananas and add them to the soup.
- Bring the soup to a simmer.
- Add thyme, chopped green onion, minced scotch bonnet pepper, black pepper, and pimento seeds to the soup.
- Let the soup simmer for another 8 minutes and serve hot.
Mexican Fish Soup
Mexican fish soup is called caldo de pescado. This Mexican fish soup recipe is quick and easy to make and features a spicy tomato sauce base. You can use fresh or frozen fish in this tomato fish soup, and substitute some vegetables for what you have on hand if necessary. Below, you will find one of the best Mexican fish soup recipes around.
- One whole large fish (snapper, sea bass, or swordfish)
- 1 whole white onion
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 bay leaf
- Salt and black pepper to taste
- 3 quartered tomatoes
- 1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large russet potato cubed
- 2 sliced carrots
- 2 seafood bouillons
- 1 lime
- First, make the spicy tomato sauce by adding tomatoes, 1 cup of water, ½ of the onion, 1 clove of garlic, chipotle pepper, and salt and pepper to taste in a blender.
- Blend the ingredients until smooth and set aside.
- Then, heat the olive oil in a large stockpot over medium heat.
- Add the tomato sauce and cook for two minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add 10 cups of water and the 2 fish bouillon cubes.
- Add potatoes, carrots, and the bay leaf to the soup.
- Add seasonings to taste and bring the soup to a boil.
- Add cubed fish to the soup and cook for three to five minutes until fish is cooked through.
- Serve with lime wedges.
Chinese Fish Soup
Chinese fish soup is creamy fish soup and very fragrant. It is a nourishing dish, and it is traditionally made using any fish you have on hand. This is a great recipe to know since you can use any fish that you got a good deal on or caught while you were fishing.
- 1 Fish head
- 1 lb fish
- 1 packet pickled mustard greens
- 1 lb taro
- Fried tofu
- 1 tbs fresh ginger
- 8 stalks green onion
- Potato starch
- Salt to taste
- Sugar to taste
- 1 tbsp chicken powder
- 3 liters of water
- Rice noodles
- Wash the fish and scrape off any remaining scales.
- Cut the fish into even-sized chunks and coat them with potato starch.
- Fry the pieces of fish in oil over medium heat until golden.
- Cut taro into evenly-sized chunks and fry in oil of medium heat until golden.
- Wash and chop pickled mustard greens into small pieces.
- Pay fry mustard greens for three minutes and place in a large stockpot.
- Heat a pan with oil and add ginger and green onions. Sauté until fragrant.
- Add fried fish into the pot.
- Add pickled mustard greens to the pot.
- Pour water into the pot.
- Add salt, sugar, and chicken powder to the pot, to taste.
- Simmer for 30 minutes.
- Add taro and fried tofu halfway through simmering.
- Enjoy dish hot and serve with prepared rice noodles.
Korean Fish Soup
Korean fish cake soup is the most popular fish soup in Korea. It is considered comfort food and is very easy and affordable to make. You can buy Korean fish cakes to make your soup online or in an Asian grocery store. Below, you will find a simple and straightforward recipe for making your own Korean fish cake soup.
- 4 rectangle Korean fish cakes sheets
- 1 ounce green onion thinly sliced
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp rice wine
- 1 tsp minced garlic
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Fine pink Himalayan sea salt to taste
- 6 cups water
- ½ ounce dried kelp
- 1 ounce dried anchovy fillet
- 5 ounces daikon radish thinly sliced
- Run hot water over fish cake sheets to remove excess oil.
- Slice fish cakes into small long rectangles and stick through with wooden skewers. The end result should look like ribbon candy.
- Put 6 cups of water in a large stockpot and add dried kelp and anchovies. It is helpful to put these ingredients in a large tea infuser or cheese cloth for easy straining.
- Boil this mixture for 10 minutes, uncovered.
- Discard the kelp.
- Add radish slices and boil radish and anchovy for another 10 minutes.
- Remove radish and set aside.
- Sieve the stock through a cheesecloth or linen cloth to purify it from small particles.
- Add the radish back in and boil broth on medium-high heat. Add soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, and garlic. Stir.
- Once you have reached boiling, reduce heat to medium and add fish cakes.
- Cook until fish cakes are soft, about five minutes.
- Make sure fish cakes are submerged, if not, splash soup over them throughout cooking process.
- Add salt and pepper, to taste.
- Serve hot with fresh rice.
Japanese Fish Soup
You can make an easy Japanese-style fish soup by loosely following the directions for the Korean fish soup. However, miso fish soup is very popular in Japan, so you should try adding dried miso cubes or miso paste to your broth and using fresh seafood instead of fish cakes.
Russian fish Soup
A popular fish soup in Russia is called ukha. This soup uses the entire fish, including the head. Traditionally, the fish is caught fresh from the banks of a river and is prepared over an open flame. Sturgeon and perch are the most common varieties used, but you can also use salmon or trout for this recipe. Carrots, onions, and potatoes are the traditional vegetables used to make this soup.
These days, most Russians make ukha fish head soup on a stove in their homes, but the traditional fisherman’s method of cooking it in a pot over an open fire is still a popular pastime that families take part in while camping.
- Bones of one large fish, such as a salmon
- 18 ounces of fish fillets
- One onion
- 2 stalks celery
- 1 large carrot
- One teaspoon peppercorns
- 12 cups water
- 3 cups potatoes, peeled and cubed
- 3 bay leaves
- Fresh green onion to taste
- Fresh dill to taste
- Salt and pepper to taste
- In a large pot, combine water, chopped onion, chopped celery, chopped carrot, salt, peppercorns, and whole salmon and bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat to a simmer once it has reached its boiling point, and simmer for 45 minutes.
- Skim any impurities from the soup and strain it through a cheesecloth.
- Discard the bones of the salmon, and return liquid to the pot.
- Add chopped potatoes and bay leaves and cook until potatoes are soft.
- Add the fish fillet pieces, cut into 2” cubes and cook for about 10 minutes.
- Add salt and pepper to taste, and garnish with fresh dill and chopped green onions.
It is traditional for Russians to add Vegeta Seafood Stock powder for seasoning. You can experiment with other seasonings you have on hand, as well. The celery and carrot weren’t added in the earliest versions of this soup, so it is okay to omit them if you do not have them on hand.
Vietnamese Fish Soup
Vietnamese fish soup is called Canh Chua and it has a sweet and sour flavor. This soup is a great way to use leftover veggies. Anything fresh and vibrant will work! Below, you will find out how to make this simple and delicious fish soup.
- ¾ cup uncooked white rice
- ½ onion thinly sliced
- 2 stalks green onion, chopped
- 1 lime cut into wedges
- 1 lb tilapia evenly cubed
- 2 diced plum tomatoes
- ¾ cup diced pineapple (fresh or frozen)
- 1 cup diced green beans or okra
- 1 tbsp coconut oil
- ¼ tsp cumin
- ¼ tsp red pepper flakes
- 4 cups water
- 2 tbsp tamarind paste
- 1 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
- 2 tsp fish sauce
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1 cup mung bean sprouts
- Cilantro for garnish
- Cook rice while you make the soup.
- Heat oil in a large stockpot and add the onion. Cook while stirring until onion is soft, about five minutes.
- Add tamarind paste, soy sauce, fish sauce, sugar, and water. Bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat to medium-low and add tilapia and pineapple. Cook until fish is cooked through, about 6 minutes.
- Add green beans and okra and cook until cooked through but firm, about 2 minutes.
- Add green onion, sprouts, cumin, red pepper flakes, tomato, and cook until sprouts wilt, about 1 minute.
- Remove from heat and serve with rice and garnish with cilantro and lime wedges.
French Fish Soup
Bouillabaisse is a traditional French fish soup that is flavored with saffron. It is traditionally a Mediterranean fish soup that originated in the Provincial region of France. You can use many different types of vegetables and fish in this recipe, but the saffron is absolutely essential to get the true bouillabaisse flavor. Bouillabaisse is also often served as a cold fish soup depending upon the time of year. Below, you will find a traditional recipe, but feel free to substitute fish and vegetables with whatever you have on hand.
- 4 leeks chopped
- 1 large fennel bulb chopped
- Fennel fronds for garnish
- 3 medium carrots chopped
- 2 large celery stalks chopped
- 4 large garlic cloves minced
- ⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tbsp herbs de Provence
- 2 bay leaves
- ½ tsp cayenne
- ⅛ tsp crumbled saffron threads
- 5 lbs perch
- 4 cups chopped tomatoes
- 2 cups dry white wine
- 1 orange for zesting
- 6 cups water
- 3 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 baguette
- Heat oil in a large stockpot over medium heat.
- Cook leeks, fennel, carrots, celery, and garlic along with herbs de Provence, bay leaves, cayenne, saffron, 1 tablespoon of salt, and ½ teaspoon ground pepper. Stir occasionally until softened, about 10 minutes.
- Cut fish crosswise into 3-inch lengths while vegetables cook.
- Add tomatoes, wine, and orange zest to the vegetable mixture and bring it to a boil.
- Bring to a simmer and add fish, water, and tomato paste. Simmer for 30 minutes or until the fish completely falls apart.
- While making the soup, preheat oven to 350°F and position the rack in the middle.
- Arrange slices of baguette on a baking sheet and bake until golden brown and dried about 20 minutes.
- Force soup through a food mill or sieve and discard the solids. Reheat soup over medium heat.
- Serve by placing a slice of baguette into the bottom of a soup bowl and ladling soup on top.
Italian Fish Soup
Italian fish soup will be very similar to the French fish soup recipe we shared. However, instead of saffron, use fresh basil and parsley. Additionally, an Italian fish soup will come with Octopus, clams, and fish, and clam juice is often used in the stock. It is also appropriate to add a little kick to this soup with some red pepper flakes.
Spanish Fish Soup
Spanish Basque-style seafood soup is one of the most delicious meals around. The method for making it will be very simple to the French bouillabaisse recipe we shared earlier. However, in addition to fish, you should add octopus, bay scallops, and shrimp. Instead of saffron, you should use rosemary, parsley, paprika, sage, and basil. Additionally, you will want to add some red and green bell peppers. Finally, make sure you are finishing the soup off with some lemon juice and lemon zest.
Scottish Fish Soup
Scottish fish soup is called Cullen Skink. It is a hearty soup, and smoked haddock is traditionally used. The thick and creamy nature of this soup comes from mashed potatoes. Leftover mashed potatoes can be used, so this is a great recipe to make for lunch with leftover mashed potatoes on a chilly day.
- 2 ½ cups whole milk
- 1 handful flat-leaf parsley finely chopped, stalks set aside
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 lb smoked haddock fillet
- 2 ounces butter
- 1 medium onion finely chopped
- 8 ounces mashed potato
- Salt and black pepper to taste
- Pour the milk into a large pot.
- Add parsley stalks, bay leaf, and smoked haddock.
- Bring milk to a gentle boil and simmer for 3 minutes
- Remove the pan from the heat and let rest for 5 minutes to allow herbs to infuse.
- Remove haddock from milk and set aside
- Strain the liquid through a fine sieve or cheesecloth and reserve milk.
- In a small saucepan, heat the butter over medium heat.
- Add onions and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes.
- Add milk and mashed potato to the onions and stir until fully incorporated.
- Break apart the smoked haddock into chunks and remove any bones. Add the haddock back into the soup.
- Add chopped parsley leaves and bring soup to a simmer and cook for five minutes. Don’t over-stir.
- Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Garnish soup with chopped parsley and serve with crusty bread.
Icelandic Fish Soup
Icelandic fish soup is called Fiskisupa. It is very similar to Scottish fish soup. However, instead of parsley, use chives. Additionally, you will want to add leeks and celery into the mixture with the onions, and curry powder with the herbs, and use tomato paste in the broth. It is also preferred to use chunks of potatoes instead of mashed potatoes, and heavy whipping cream instead of whole milk.
Norwegian Fish Soup
Norwegian fish soup is also similar to Icelandic and Scottish fish soup. You will want to use celery, curry powder, chives, carrots, and parsley in this recipe. However, instead of thickening the soup with mashed potatoes or heavy whipping cream, you are going to use two egg yolks and flour. When you are adding the egg yolks, be sure to temper them by adding a little hot broth to them and whisking consistently. This will ensure that they do not scramble when you add them to the soup.