How to make French Bouillabaisse Recipe

Hello everyone! I’m Julia, and welcome back to my cozy spot, Dinner with Julia. Today, we’re going to embark on a culinary adventure to the sunny coasts of France. We’ll be exploring one of my all-time favorite dishes, the classic French Bouillabaisse. Now, I know what you might be thinking, “Julia, isn’t that just a fancy name for fish stew?” Well, yes and no. There’s so much more to this rich and flavorful dish that makes it truly unique.

French Bouillabaisse Recipe

Bouillabaisse (Classic French Fish Soup) | La Cuisine de Géraldine
A medley of fresh fish, the star ingredient in our French Bouillabaisse

French Bouillabaisse Recipe

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Lunch
Cuisine French
Servings 4 people
Calories 800 kcal


  • 1 large pan


  • Two strips of orange peel
  • Three bay leaves
  • One cup of chopped onions
  • One tablespoon of black pepper
  • One cup of chopped leek
  • Two tablespoon of olive oil
  • Eight dried chilies
  • Two teaspoon of chopped garlic
  • One cup of mussels
  • One cup of mixed Mediterranean fish
  • One cup of tomato paste
  • A pinch of saffron
  • One teaspoon of black pepper
  • Two cups of ripe tomatoes
  • Two cups of fish stock
  • Two tablespoon of pernod
  • One Star anise
  • A pinch of salt
  • One tablespoon of chopped fresh chives


  • 1.Take a large pan.
  • Add the oil and onions into the pan.
  • Cook the onions until they turn soft and translucent.
  • Add the garlic into the pan.
  • Cook the mixture well.
  • Add the tomato paste, chopped ripe tomatoes and spices.
  • Cook the mixture for five minutes.
  • Add the mussels, and Mediterranean fish into the pan.
  • Cook the ingredients well.
  • Add the rest of the ingredients.
  • Add the fish stock and rest of the ingredients.
  • Cover the pan and cook for ten minutes.
  • Garnish the dish with chopped fresh chives.
  • Your dish is ready to be served.


Keyword Mediterranean, mussels

Alternative Cooking Methods for French Bouillabaisse

Seafood bouillabaisse
The Bouquet Garni, a bundle of aromatic herbs that infuses our Bouillabaisse with rich flavors

Slow Cooker Bouillabaisse

A slow cooker is a fantastic tool for making Bouillabaisse. The slow, gentle cooking process allows the flavors to meld together beautifully, resulting in a rich and flavorful broth.

  • Preparation: Follow the same steps as you would for the stovetop version – prepare your fish, make your bouquet garni, and sauté your vegetables.
  • Slow Cooking: Transfer everything into your slow cooker, add your fish stock, and set it to low. Let it cook for about 6-8 hours.
  • Adding the Fish: About 30 minutes before serving, add your fish pieces to the slow cooker. This ensures that they don’t overcook and become tough.

Pressure Cooker Bouillabaisse

If you’re short on time, a pressure cooker can be a lifesaver. It significantly reduces the cooking time while still delivering a delicious Bouillabaisse.

  • Preparation: As with the other methods, start by preparing your ingredients.
  • Pressure Cooking: Add your sautéed vegetables, bouquet garni, fish stock, and fish pieces into the pressure cooker. Secure the lid and set it to high pressure for about 15 minutes.
  • Release and Serve: Once the cooking time is up, do a quick release of the pressure according to your cooker’s instructions. Your Bouillabaisse is ready to serve!

Tips for making French Bouillabaisse Recipe

Classic French Bouillabaisse Recipe
Our French Bouillabaisse simmering gently, a dance of colors and aromas

My love affair with French Bouillabaisse started years ago during a summer vacation in Marseille. The first spoonful was an explosion of flavors – the freshness of the sea, the warmth of the Mediterranean spices, the tanginess of the tomato base – it was love at first taste. Ever since that day, making Bouillabaisse has been a cherished ritual in my kitchen, a comforting reminder of those sun-drenched days in France.

Cooking Tips

Now, let’s dive into some cooking tips to make your French Bouillabaisse experience as authentic and enjoyable as possible:

  • Choice of Fish: The traditional Bouillabaisse includes at least three different kinds of fish. I usually go for a mix of white and oily fish for a balanced flavor.
  • The Bouquet Garni: This bundle of herbs is the soul of your Bouillabaisse. Don’t skip it!
  • Cooking Time: Patience is key here. Allow the flavors to meld together by simmering gently and unhurriedly.
  • Saffron: Don’t skimp on this precious spice. It gives your Bouillabaisse its characteristic golden hue and distinct aroma.
  • Rouille: This spicy mayonnaise-style sauce is a must-have accompaniment. Slather it on a slice of crusty bread for an authentic Bouillabaisse experience.

Serving Suggestion

Bouillabaisse Recipe | Epicurious
The final touch – a sprinkle of saffron lending its golden hue to our French Bouillabaisse

The moment has finally arrived! Your kitchen smells heavenly, and your French Bouillabaisse is ready to be served. In keeping with tradition, I suggest serving the broth and fish separately. First, ladle the steaming broth into bowls, accompanied by slices of crusty bread topped with rouille. After everyone has started on their broth, bring out the platter of fish and let everyone help themselves. It’s a fun, communal way to enjoy this beautiful dish!


Over the years, I’ve received quite a few questions about making Bouillabaisse. Here are answers to some of the most common ones:

  • Can I use any type of fish? Yes, but traditionally, a mix of white and oily fish is used for a balanced flavor.
  • Can I skip the saffron? You could, but it won’t taste the same. Saffron is crucial for achieving the characteristic flavor and color of Bouillabaisse.
  • What can I serve with Bouillabaisse? A nice green salad, some crusty bread, and a glass of crisp white wine make perfect accompaniments.
  • Can I make Bouillabaisse ahead of time? Definitely! The flavors will have more time to blend together, enhancing the overall taste.
  • What if I don’t have a Dutch oven? Not a problem! You can also use a large stockpot or even a slow cooker.

And that, my friends, is all you need to know to make a stunning pot of French Bouillabaisse. It’s a dish that’s close to my heart, and I hope it brings as much joy to your table as it does to mine. Until next time, happy cooking!

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