Cioppino

4.52 from 66 votes

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Cioppino is a comforting Italian-American seafood stew which combines fresh seafood with a rich wine and tomato sauce – the ultimate seafood feast! Cioppino originated in San Francisco, California and traditionally made from the catch of the day.

In our household, we love preparing this dish, especially during the holidays when we celebrate Steve’s Southern Italian 🇮🇹 tradition of “The Feast of Seven Fishes”. The feast of the seven fishes is a Christmas Eve meal that features seven different seafood dishes.

I’m a big seafood lover, and this is one of my favourite dishes to make during the holidays, as well as when I crave something light yet satisfying. It’s a dish that will transport you to the Italian seaside 🌊, with the only worry on your mind being which wine to pair with your perfectly cooked Cioppino. So, if you haven’t tried it, give this recipe a try – I promise you will absolutely love it!

History of Cioppino

Cioppino originated in the late 1800s by Italian immigrant fisherman that lived in one of the neighborhoods of San Francisco. When a fisherman would come back empty-handed, he would walk around with a pot to the other fishermen asking them to chip in whatever they could. Whatever ended up in the pot became his “cioppino”.

Why You’ll Love Cioppino

Where do I even start? Not only is this meal delicious, comforting and hearty but it’s also completely customizable. I used Haddock, clams, shrimp 🦐 and scallops, but you can truthfully use any fish or seafood you like to make this dish.

You can also enjoy this stew in many different ways. You can eat it as it is and serve it with some fresh crusty bread on the side to soak up all that delicious broth. Alternatively, you could boil some pasta and serve this as a phenomenal seafood pasta sauce 🍝. No matter how you choose to enjoy this dish, it will definitely become a regular on the menu.

How to Prepare Cioppino

🦪 Soak the clams in cold water, and let them sit for 10 minutes until they release all of their dirt and sand. Drain the water and repeat this step until the water runs clear.

🦐 Set the clams aside along with the thawed (and peeled) shrimp, the scallops, and cubed white fish.

🧅 In a skillet, or pot, add the olive oil and let it heat up on medium heat. Add the diced onions and bacon, then sauté for a few minutes until golden or until the bacon has browned.

🧄 Add the minced garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes. Add the white wine to deglaze the pan and let the wine cook off completely.

🥫 Once the wine has reduced, stir and cook off the tomato paste. Then, pour in the tomato sauce and vegetable stock. Add the bay leaves and season with salt, pepper, and dry oregano. Let the sauce come to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low and cover with a lid making sure to leave an opening on the side. Cook the sauce on low heat for 20-30 minutes or until it has thickened.

👩‍🍳 When the sauce has reduced, add the clams and cover for 3 minutes. The clams will start opening up anywhere between 3-8 minutes. If any clams do not open, do not eat them. Discard any that don’t open.

🐟 Finally, add the cubed fish, scallops, and shrimp making sure to cover with a lid again. Cook for another 2-3 minutes and be mindful not to overcook the seafood, as it can become tough and rubbery.

🍽️ Take it off the heat, garnish with finely diced chives (or any herbs of choice) and enjoy with pasta or fresh crusty bread!

Nonna’s Tip 🦐

Make sure you don’t overcook the seafood, as it can become tough and rubbery. You only need a few minutes for the fish, scallops, and shrimp at the end, so keep a very close eye on it. If any of the clams don’t open up, throw those out, as this is an indication that they are bad.

Cioppino Variations and Substitutions

  • You can get as creative as you’d like with your seafood choices 🐟. Feel free to make this recipe with cod, halibut, salmon, mussels, squid, lobster, crab or any other fish or seafood you enjoy.
  • Any tomato sauce works in this recipe. Just be sure to choose a sauce that has cleaner ingredients, like Rao’s. Our homemade sauce only has salt, tomatoes, and basil in it. You can find the recipe for our homemade tomato sauce HERE.
  • Experiment with different spices like red pepper flakes for a touch of heat 🔥 or paprika for a smoky flavor.
  • For an even heartier meal, consider adding some chopped vegetables like diced bell peppers, potatoes or leeks.
  • Feel free to add fresh herbs like parsley, basil or thyme.
  • For a hint of freshness, consider adding some lemon 🍋 zest or freshly squeezed lemon juice on top.
Cioppino

Other Seafood Recipes

Best Served With

  • This stew pairs wonderfully with some fresh crusty bread like my No-Knead Peasant Bread to soak up all that savory broth.
  • You could boil some pasta separately and serve this stew on top of the pasta as a delicious seafood pasta sauce.
  • Serve this Cioppino on a bed of cooked white or wild rice for a healthier option.
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Common Questions

What kind of tomato sauce can i use?

Any tomato sauce works in this recipe. Just be sure to choose a sauce that has cleaner ingredients, like Rao’s. Our homemade sauce only has salt, tomatoes, and basil in it. You can find the recipe for our homemade tomato sauce HERE.

in what order do i put the seafood in?

Firstly, add the clams. After a few minutes have passed, add the cubed fish, scallops, and shrimp.

can i use any seafood in this recipe?

You can get as creative as you’d like with your seafood choices. Feel free to make this recipe with cod, halibut, salmon, mussels, squid, lobster, crab or any other fish or seafood you enjoy.

is the bacon optional?

Yes, the bacon is certainly optional. However, keep in mind that the bacon adds a smoky flavour to the broth, so leaving it out may change the flavour profile of this dish.

what can i use instead of wine?

Feel free to use broth instead of the wine. The wine adds flavor, so choose a substitution that complements the seafood.

Cioppino

Cioppino

Cioppino is an Italian-American seafood stew which combines a medley of fresh seafood with a rich wine and tomato sauce – the ultimate seafood feast! I'm a big seafood lover, and this is one of my favorite dishes to make during the holidays!
4.52 from 66 votes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American, Italian
Servings: 4
Author: The Modern Nonna
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes

Ingredients 

The Seafood

  • 400 grams Haddock , cubed and deboned
  • 12 clams, pasta clams that are soaked and scrubbed
  • 8 tiger shrimp (thawed), I used large tiger shrimp
  • 6 scallops (thawed), I used large fresh ocean scallops

The Sauce

  • 1.5 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 3 slices bacon, pancetta or guanciale also work
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 cup tomato sauce, good quality
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 cups stock , veggie or fish stock
  • ½ cup white wine, I used Pinot Grigio
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 pinch pepper
  • ½ teaspoon dry oregano
  • chives , for garnish

Instructions 

  • NOTE: Remember to practice "Mise en place" which means to put everything in place and prep all of the ingredients before you start cooking. This will set you up for success without having to scramble for ingredients.

The Seafood

  • Soak the clams in cold water, let them sit for 10 minutes until they release all of their dirt and sand. Drain the water and repeat this step until the water runs clear. Additionally, you can scrub them well in the sink to get any of the sand off.
  • Set the clams aside along with the thawed (and peeled) shrimp, the scallops, and cubed white fish.

The Sauce

  • Chop everything prior to starting and measure out your ingredients to start working on the sauce.
  • In a skillet with high sides, (or a pot) add the olive oil and let it heat up on medium heat. Add the diced onions and bacon. Sauté for a few minutes until golden or until the bacon has browned.
  • Add the minced garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes. Add the white wine to deglaze the pan and let the wine cook off completely.
  • Once the wine has reduced, stir and cook off the tomato paste.
  • Now, pour in the tomato sauce and vegetable stock. Add two bay leaves and season with salt, pepper, and dry oregano. Let the sauce come to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low and cover with a lid making sure to leave an opening on the side.
  • Cook the sauce on low heat for 20-30 minutes or until it has thickened. I like to reduce it by half.
  • When the sauce has reduced, add the clams and cover for 3 minutes. The clams will start opening up anywhere between 3-8 minutes. If any clams do NOT open, do NOT eat them. Discard any that don't open.
  • After a few minutes have passed, add the cubed fish, scallops, and shrimp making sure to cover with a lid again. Cook for another 2-3 minutes and be mindful not to overcook the seafood as it can become tough and rubbery.
  • Take it off the heat, garnish with finely diced chives (or any herbs of choice) and enjoy with pasta or fresh crusty bread!
  • I like to buy Ciabatta, cut it, drizzle the top with olive oil and place it cut side down onto a grill pan until it's nice and charred.
  • This dish is best served fresh. You can prepare the sauce ONLY ahead of time by making it, placing it in the fridge, heating it up the following day and then adding in the seafood.

Video

Nutrition

Calories: 338kcal, Carbohydrates: 12g, Protein: 39g, Fat: 14g, Saturated Fat: 3g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g, Monounsaturated Fat: 7g, Trans Fat: 0.04g, Cholesterol: 213mg, Sodium: 1854mg, Potassium: 790mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 5g, Vitamin A: 869IU, Vitamin C: 9mg, Calcium: 107mg, Iron: 2mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American, Italian
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Hi! I'm Sneji. Nice to meet you!

I am more commonly known as “The Modern Nonna” on social media where I create easy home cooked meals with a modern twist. I was born and raised in Sofia, Bulgaria and learned how to cook at the best culinary school in the world – my grandma’s kitchen. I lived in Greece on the Island of Crete with my parents for a while and then moved to Toronto, Canada when I was in grade 5. I started to really cook and experiment with food 11 years ago when I was 21 years old. Everything I currently know is a reflection of some part of my life…

Keep up to date with me on social media! Follow @themodernnonna

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2 Comments

    1. I’m so happy to hear it, Geralyn! Sounds like a wonderful celebration. Appreciate your rating! 🥰❤️