Crawfish Stock

shellfish stock ready to boil

Crawfish stock is very easy to make when you have the essential ingredient of shells and parts. The more shells, claws, heads and morsels of meat you have the better it tastes. This is a variation of shellfish stock for my crawfish bisque, but you can use any shellfish, like lobster, shrimp, crab, or any combination. The best source for the main ingredient comes from a crawfish boil!

The Process

Many are intimidated by making stock, but it is one of the easiest cooking tasks and your recipes will thank you. The basics include dumping all the ingredients in a large pot with water to simmer for a few hours, skimming and straining to reach the finished product. Stocks freeze well and keep a long time, so parcel them into pints or quarts and you will have a wonderful base for soups and bisques a long time.

This recipe uses crawfish and a saffron infusion specifically for my crawfish bisque. Omit the saffron and use any other shellfish to create a basic stock.

saffron infusion 1

Saffron infusion early in the process

saffron infusion 2

Saffron infusion ready to use

shellfish stock ready to boil

Beginning the cook

shellfish stock simmering


shellfish stock

Finished stock

Saffron Infused Crawfish Stock

This is my recipe for stock used in my crawfish bisque, but again can be used as a base recipe with any shellfish. The saffron is optional, but I love it because it adds a beautiful golden color with a sweet floral aroma and flavor. Print

Crawfish Stock

Saffron Infused Crawfish Stock

  • Author: Tim
  • Prep Time: 15
  • Cook Time: 165
  • Total Time: 3 hours
  • Yield: 4 quarts 1x


  • 4 lbs crawfish heads, claws and shells – leftovers from a crawfish boil
  • 41/2 quarts water – enough to cover all the “parts”
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 large yellow onion – roughly chopped – substitute leeks for crawfish stock
  • 1 large carrot – roughly chopped
  • 1 celery stalk – chopped
  • 2 TBL tomato paste
  • 4 thyme sprigs
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 TBL whole peppercorns
  • 1 TBL sea salt
  • 2 big pinches saffron threads


  1. Warm a cup of water in a small pot, add the saffron, stir, turn off heat and steep until ready to use
  2. Place the crawfish, onion, carrot, celery, thyme, bay leaf and peppercorns in a large stock pot and fill with water to 2″ above the ingredients
  3. Bring to a high simmer for an hour, skimming off any foam that accumulates and adding water if necessary to keep it covered. Stir occasionally.
  4. Add the saffron infused water through a small sieve to keep out the threads, add the wine and salt
  5. Low simmer for 1 more hour, again adding water if necessary to keep it covered and stir once or twice
  6. Turn off the heat, remove the bay leaf and let it steep and cool for 30 minutes, then strain out the large parts with a colander
  7. Strain again through a double cheesecloth lined strainer and cool in the refrigerator overnight
  8. Scrape any fat off the top, then parcel into quarts to freeze until ready to use