The Best Seafood Stock

How to make fantastic seafood stock for your seafood based soups, risottos and more! Save and freeze your shellfish shells to use in this recipe!

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Seafood stock isn’t that commonly sold when compared to other animal stocks, but it is an amazing way to add an instant hit of umami fishiness. Why not learn how to make your own and improve every dish with some homemade seafood stock, especially in my new seafood chowder recipe!

For more great Shellfish recipes, why not make some Grilled Shrimp or a Shrimp Salad instead – and make sure to keep the shells for this recipe!

seafood stock in a Dutch oven

The Best Seafood Stock

While the process of making a seafood stock at home might seem a bit arduous, it is also really environmentally friendly because it utilizes waste products that you would otherwise throw away.

After deshelling your shellfish for a tasty recipe, instead of just throwing away the shells, you can use them later, along with some clam juice, leftover onion skin, and a few extra flavor additions, to make a really amazing shellfish stock that will taste way better than anything store-bought.

Freeze all the shells from your cooking until you have enough to make this! Make sure you don’t skip on the browning of the shells, either! That’s where all of the amazing flavors comes from.                                                                                                            

ingredients for seafood stock

The Best Seafood Stock Ingredients

Make sure you look at the recipe card at the very bottom for the exact amounts, as there are a few fiddly ingredients here.

• Shellfish shells

• Olive oil

• Onion skin

• Carrots

• Celery

• Garlic cloves

• Water

• Clam juice

• Tomato paste

• Dry white wine

• Bay leaf

• Fresh thyme

• Peppercorns

• Salt

• Fresh parsley

cooking vegetables in a Dutch oven

How To Make The Best Seafood Stock

• Heat the oil in a large stockpot over medium heat

• Add in the shellfish shells, onions, carrots, and celery and sauté for 10 minutes until lightly browned

• Add in the garlic  and cook for 3 minutes until fragrant

• Stir in the water, clam juice, tomato paste, wine, bay leaf, thyme, and parsley

• Add in the seasonings and then bring to a boil and reduce and simmer for 1 hour

• Cool and then strain through a mesh sieve

• Store in the fridge for 2 days, or freeze in containers for 6 months

seafood stock with crab leg shells and shrimp shells in a Dutch oven

How To Know If Your Seafood Stock Is Seasoned Properly

Most of the time, when you make stock, you aren’t looking to season it very much because you will want to adjust your seasoning for each individual recipe.

For this seafood stock, though, you do want to make sure it has enough salt to let all of the seafood flavors shine through. You ideally don’t want it to taste noticeably salty, but instead just a lot more “bright”.

To be able to easily tell whether or not you have seasoned it enough, without having to cool the entire mixture, take a regular tablespoon and spoon out a small amount of the stock.

Blow on it for a minute to cool it down, and then taste it to see if you like it! Maybe it needs more salt, or maybe even a touch of garlic powder. Regardless, make sure that you like how it tastes before you cool it down and store it because otherwise, you won’t like the dishes you end up using it in.

seafood stock in a glass jar

How To Freeze Seafood Stock

The great thing about making stock is able to save it up for future use. While this recipe might be intended to help make a delicious seafood stock from the leftover shellfish shells from a different recipe, the real use in making something like this is able to use it again to add an instant hit of flavor.

As this stock will really only last for about 2 days in the fridge, the best way to store it in the long term is in the freezer.

Once it is completely cooled, spoon out the liquid into a regular (cleaned!) icecube tray and put it in the freezer until it has firmed up and solidified about 2-4 hours.

Once frozen, you can crack the icecube tray and store the little cubes of stock in a freezer-safe bag. This lets you easily reach into your freezer and grab a handful of stock cubes to throw into whatever recipe you are looking for.

Don’t worry about it getting freezer burnt either – as long as you transfer the cubes to a bag as soon as they are solid; they won’t have time to get all freezer burnt and horrible while in the tray.

Looking for more delicious Seafood recipes? Try these out:

• Manhattan Clam Chowder

Cedar Plank Salmon

Bacon Wrapped Scallops

Enjoy! This is definitely a recipe that you should try at least once, even though it is time-consuming. It’s so worth it!

Happy cooking!



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 How to make fantastic seafood stock for your seafood based soups, risottos and more! Save and freeze your shellfish shells to use in this recipe!

The Best Seafood Stock

How to make fantastic seafood stock for your seafood based soups, risottos and more! Save and freeze your shellfish shells to use in this recipe!
5 from 8 votes
Prep Time
5 minutes
Cook Time
1 hour 10 minutes
5 cups
Karlynn Johnston


  • 4-5 cups shellfish shells (shrimp, lobster, etc.)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion skin on chopped
  • 2 medium carrots roughly chopped
  • 2 medium celery stalks roughly sliced
  • 3 large garlic cloves smashed
  • 4 cups water
  • one 236ml bottle clam juice
  • one 6 ounce can tomato paste
  • 1/4-1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4-5 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 teaspoons peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4-5 sprigs fresh parsley


  • In a large stockpot over medium heat, heat the oil. Add in the shellfish shells, onions, carrots, and celery and saute for 10-15 minutes, or until lightly browned.
  • Add in the garlic and cook 3-4 more minutes until fragrant – you are cooking smashed whole cloves so brown the outside.
  • Stir in the water, clam juice, tomato paste, wine, bay leaf, thyme and parsely. Add in peppercorns then salt.
  • Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 1 hour.
  • Cool a small spoonful and then taste and see if you need to add more salt. Remove from the heat and strain though a mesh sieve.
  • Store in the fridge for 2-3 days or freeze in portions in freezer safe containers for up to 6 months.

Recipe Notes

  • the white wine gives this a nice bite, but as long as you use the clam juice this doesn’t have to have wine in it for flavor
  • start with a small amount of salt, then taste-test AFTER you have boiled the shellfish shells 

Nutrition Information

Calories: 73kcal, Carbohydrates: 4g, Protein: 1g, Fat: 6g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Sodium: 29mg, Potassium: 107mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 1g, Vitamin A: 4190IU, Vitamin C: 4mg, Calcium: 23mg, Iron: 1mg

All calories and info are based on a third party calculator and are only an estimate. Actual nutritional info will vary with brands used, your measuring methods, portion sizes and more.

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Karlynn Johnston

I’m a busy mom of two, wife & cookbook author who loves creating fast, fresh meals for my little family on the Canadian prairies. Karlynn Facts: I'm allergic to broccoli. I've never met a cocktail that I didn't like. I would rather burn down my house than clean it. Most of all, I love helping YOU get dinner ready because there's nothing more important than connecting with our loved ones around the dinner table!

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