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How to Make Seafood Stock

Seafood stock jarred with parsley

Unlike beef or chicken stock which — if you have the budget — you can actually buy some pretty decent stuff off the shelf, seafood stock is INFINITELY better when you make it at home. Of course, I would rather make all my stocks at home but in a pinch, the top-shelf beef and chicken stocks work well.

With seafood stock, on the other hand, even the premium stuff just falls kind of flat. That changes today with this homemade seafood stock recipe made from actual seafood shells. Lobster shells and shrimp shells are a must, but if you have crab shells or fish bones, toss those in too. This stock is perfect for my lobster stuffing recipe but also makes some amazing soups.

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Where to Get Shellfish Shells for Seafood Stock

Depending on where you live, you can sometimes go to your local fishmonger and get some shells for this homemade seafood stock recipe. Having said that, I find it much easier to just collect your leftover shells as you go. I keep a two-gallon sealable plastic bag in the freezer and just toss in any seafood shells as I go. They generally keep well frozen for a few months, and once I get a full bag I know it’s time to make some stock.

Can I Freeze Homemade Stock?

Absolutely, I’ve never kept it frozen for more than 6 months or so before it’s used but freezing it is perfectly fine and I don’t notice any degradation in the flavor. When freezing, consider freezing it in usage-size portions. I usually freeze it in roughly 3-cup portions but portion it out to what best fits your family. This stock also keeps well in the refrigerator for several days as well, for that, I just use a glass jar.

vegetable stock jarred

How to Store Homemade Stock

I find it easiest to pour room temperature stock into the vacuum-style storage bags in portion size. I then freeze them lying flat, so they take up as little room as possible in my freezer. These bags generally come with an area to label them so be sure you don’t forget to do that, especially if you’re making several different types of stock. Chicken, veal, turkey, and seafood stock all look very similar so labeling is key.

frozen seafood stock

Seafood Stock Recipe

Serves: N/A | Prep Time: 10 min | Cooking Time: 3 hours

Ingredients
2-gallon bag of shellfish shells (lobster, shrimp, crabs, mussels, etc.)
6 cup water
2 tbsp salt, or salt to taste
1 medium yellow onion, quartered
1 handful fresh parsley
2 sprigs rosemary
3 cloves garlic, smashed
3 bay leaves
1 cup white wine
1 cup carrots, roughly chopped
1 cup celery, roughly chopped

How to Make Seafood Stock

Step 1: In a large stockpot, combine all ingredients (except bay leaves) for stock.

Step 2: Cover the pot with a lid and bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce to a simmer and leave covered for 1–2 hours.

pot filled with stock ingredients

Step 3: Remove lid and add bay leaves. Continue simmering uncovered for another hour. Taste occasionally and add salt as required to your taste.

TIP: A bay leaf isn’t like a sprig of rosemary or bunch of parsley. The flavor from those herbs sort of diminishes over time as they’re being cooked. Quite the opposite really with bay leaves, they will continue to impart flavor into the stock over time to the point they get bitter. So add them the last hour of the stock making.

Step 4: Remove from heat and let the stock cool slightly. Pour contents of stockpot through a fine mesh strainer and into a large bowl.

shells strained from seafood stock

Step 5: Stock is now ready to use or be placed in a glass jar for temporary storage or vacuum-seal bag for frozen storage.

Seafood Stock jarred and ready to use

Seafood Stock Recipe

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seafood stock jarred with parsley
Seafood Stock
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
3 hrs
Total Time
3 hrs 10 mins
 

A perfect base for many dishes, this seafood stock is surprisingly easy to make.

Course: Soup
Cuisine: American
Ingredients
  • 2-gallon bag shellfish shells (lobster, shrimp, crabs, mussels, etc.)
  • 6 cup water
  • 2 tbsp salt
  • 1 medium yellow onion, quartered
  • 1 handful fresh parsley
  • 2 sprigs rosemary
  • 3 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 1 cup carrots, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup celery, roughly chopped
Instructions
  1. In a large stockpot, combine all ingredients (except bay leaves) for stock.

  2. Cover the pot with a lid and bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce to a simmer and leave covered for 1–2 hours.

  3. Remove lid and add bay leaves. Continue simmering uncovered for another hour.

  4. Remove from heat and let stock cool slightly. Pour contents of stock pot through a fine mesh strainer and into a large bowl.

  5. Stock is now ready to use or be placed in a glass jar for temporary storage or vacuum-seal bag for frozen storage.