Lobster Stock 101

3 quarts

Use this lobster stock as a base for dishes such as seafood chowder, bisque, stew, and risotto.


  • Shells from 4 cooked lobsters, including carapaces

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 2 small onions, quartered

  • 2 small carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces

  • 2 celery stalks, cut into 1-inch pieces

  • 4 garlic cloves

  • 1 small fennel bulb, trimmed and quartered (optional)

  • 1 can (14 ½ ounces) whole peeled plum tomatoes, chopped, including juice

  • 2 cups dry white wine (optional)

  • 8 whole black peppercorns

  • 6 fresh thyme sprigs

  • 6 fresh flat-leaf parsley sprigs

  • 1 bay leaf


  1. Remove head sacs (behind eyes) in carapaces; discard. Remove any green tomalley or red roe; reserve for another use or discard. Wrap shells in a clean kitchen towel. Using a rolling pin, meat pounder, or hammer, break shells (some large pieces might remain).

  2. Heat oil in a Dutch oven or stockpot over medium heat until hot but not smoking. Add shells; cook until fragrant (do not let blacken), about 3 minutes.

  3. Stir in onions, carrots, celery, and garlic, and fennel (if desired). Cook, without stirring, until vegetables begin to brown, about 3 minutes. Add tomatoes, wine (if desired), peppercorns, thyme, parsley, and bay leaf.

  4. Fill pot two-thirds with cold water (about 4 1/2 quarts). Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer. Skim froth from surface with a ladle. Cook until broth is aromatic and flavorful, about 1 hour 45 minutes.

  5. Carefully pour stock through a fine sieve set over a large bowl or container. Discard solids; let stock cool completely. If not using immediately, refrigerate in airtight containers up to 3 days, or freeze up to 2 months.

Originally appeared: Martha Stewart Living, July 2004
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