How to Make Fish Bone Or Shellfish Stock (with video)

How To Make Fish Bone Or Shellfish Stock at home like a professional chef, for the best home cooked seafood soup and chowder recipes.

Homemade Seafood and Shellfish Stock
Homemade Seafood And Shellfish Stock

Homemade Seafood Stock Recipe Like A Pro

A great stock for any type of soup or sauce, no matter if it’s seafood, meat or vegetarian, starts with the boiling of bones, shells, stalks or stems of things often thrown away. 

Why buy a flavorless carton of chicken stock in the store when you can cook like a high-end chef, and be frugal at the same time by making a fabulous tasting stock out of Trash!

Oyster Liquor Is Full Of Flavor And Nutrients
Oyster Liquor Is Full Of Flavor And Nutrients

Who Needs Chicken Broth When We’ve Got A Simple Seafood Stock

It always tickles me when I read a recipe for seafood soups, seafood stew or chowder that calls for chicken broth, when homemade stock is so easy to make. 

Just grab a large pot, toss in some leftover shells, or fish bones, fresh herbs and boil your own stock for amazing flavor!

A great stock for any type of soup or sauce, fish, vegetable or meat, start with the boiling of bones, shells, stalks and stems of things often thrown away. 

Why buy a flavorless carton of stock in the store when you can make a fabulous tasting stock out of trash!

The Best Homemade Lobster Stock

Maybe you don’t eat lobster often, but the stock from lobster shells tastes rich and makes for an amazing stock. 

Try asking the guy behind the fish counter if he could save you the carcass of the lobster when he is using the tail and claws to sell.

The body part of lobster doesn’t have much in it to eat, but the collagen, and essence from the lobster is more in the body than the expensive parts people buy. 

Toss the large carcass and smaller pieces that you think might just be trash, into a large stock pot and simmer the flavors out for many recipes for the weeks ahead. 

Homemade Lobster Stock

How To Make Seafood Chowder From Homemade Shellfish Stock

Okay, so you want a delicious seafood chowder for a few friends that are stopping over to dine with you, but you don’t have time to cook, here’s what you are going to do:

  • Pick up a pint of oysters or clams at the store, already in a container.
  • Grab that bag in the freezer of fabulous seafood stock you made last month.
  • Plop it into a pot over medium heat, let is melt, quick peels and dice some potatoes and add to the simmering stock, and just before serving, toss in the pint of oysters with a little cream and cook just 5-minutes and you’ve got a fabulous seafood chowder on the dinner table in under 30-minutes!
Clams Shells Make For A Delicious Shellfish Stock
Clams Shells Make For A Delicious Shellfish Stock

Adding Extras To Seafood Stock

Save the tomatoes or veggies you plan to use, for later and don’t put them in the stock but by all means toss in all the fresh herbs you can get your hands on. 

Toss in a whole garlic, cut in half, a few onions, skins on but cut in half, chilies or just sweet peppers and salt and let the stove do all the work.

I don’t know what went into the making of store bought stock, other than way more sodium than I want, and not much in the way of distinct flavors.

Once the stock is made, fresh veggies can be added to the stock for a favorite soup, chowder or sauce.

fresh veggies for soups and chowders
Fresh Veggies For Soups and Chowders

Leftover Seafood Shells For A Flavorful Stock

Perhaps you don’t buy shellfish often for cooking but a fishmonger spends his days separating seafood from shells to place into containers to sell. 

All those flavor enhancing shells usually go into the trash. 

Have a chat with this person, ask if there is a particular day or time you could stop in and take those shells off his hands. 

Into a large pot of cold water they go, along with any vegetable scraps you have, like peels from potatoes and carrots, end pieces from peppers, veggie scraps you normally throw away. 

Simmer on medium heat for an hour to create a depth of flavor, cool, strain and store the stock in freezer bags for the easiest way to create ‘next level’ flavors for last minute meals.  

Conch shells- Island Flavors
Conch Shells – Island Flavors!

How To Save Seafood Stock

While you may not have had ‘making seafood stock’ on you list of things to do today, but had obtained some leftover shellfish shells or fish bones,

homemade stock can be made with little effort. 

However, once the stock is made, simply use a fine mesh strainer to remove the rest of the ingredients you will throw in the trash. 

Now, you have stock to store and save for lots of recipes. 

While a resealable plastic bag works to freeze the stock, I do prefer a glass jar, mason jars, to store in both the fridge and freezer. 

Mason jars were designed for canning and freezing and hold up to extreme temperatures. 

Seafood Stock Is Made, Now What?

One day my son (a professional chef), called to say he got a huge order of clams, and did I want some.

Of course, I was thinking mostly of the stock I could make with the.

 I wasn’t sure what I would do with the clams, though, once I boiled all their flavor into my huge pot for stock making. 

cooked clams
Cooked Clams

Since there were so many clams, more than I needed for dinner that night, I simply divided the cooked clams into individual bags to freeze and use as and when I wanted them. All the work was done. 

clams and garden tomatoes over pasta
Clams & Garden Tomatoes Over Pasta

Once the shells opened in the boiling water, I simply tasted one of them and knew in a moment what I would make.

They became the star on a bowl of homemade pasta and garden fresh tomatoes; simple and yet so Delicious. 

Favorite Recipes With Homemade Seafood Stock

The list would be endless, depending on the type of cuisine, because for sure, every culture has their own favorite seafood recipes.

Here are just a few of mine:

  • Maryland Oyster Stew – The Best Maryland Oyster Stew Recipe starts with plump oysters and Old Bay seasoning from Maryland, white wine, cream and mushrooms. 
  • Brazilian Fish Stew – Moqueca – encompasses the velvety texture of coconut milk, the briny scent of the sea, lime, chilies and either yuca of potato.
  • Asian 30-Minute Shrimp Ramen – Fish stock, shrimp, bonita flakes and a menage of Asian flavors will have this Ramen in your bowl in less than 30-minutes. 
Seafood Stock Soups And Stews
Seafood Stock Soups And Stews

Ingredients Needed

  • Seafood shells or Bones
  • Olive oil
  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Celery
  • Carrots
  • Bay leaf
  • Parsley
  • Cilantro
  • Salt
  • Peppercorn
  • White wine
  • Water
Fish Bone Broth

Equipment Needed

  • Stock pot with a lid – a favorite in my kitchen.
  • Strainer
  • Tongs
  • Slotted spoon – extra large for easy removal of shells.
  • Herb infuser – stainless steel for cooking and easy removal.
  • Cutting board
  • Chopping knife
  • 32 oz. Mason jars with lids – mason jars in every size are used throughout my kitchen.
  • Stovetop or burner
Seafood stock flavors, spices and herbs
Seafood Stock Flavors Spices and Herbs
How To Make Fish Bone Or Shellfish Stock

How to Make Fish Bone Or Shellfish Stock

The best seafood stock is made out of trash… literally, all those bones and shells often thrown in the trash, make the best stock.
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Soups
Cuisine: Fusion
Keyword: Fish Bone Stock
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours
Servings: 5 quarts


  • Large stock pot
  • fine mesh strainer


  • 1-2 lbs Seafood shells or fish bones
  • 1/4 cup Olive oil
  • 1 Onion with onion peels rough chopped
  • 3 Garlic cloves rough chopped
  • 3-4 Celery stalks and leaves rough chopped
  • 2-3 Carrots rough chopped
  • 2 Bay leaves
  • 1 Fresh Parsley bunch chopped
  • 1 Cilantro bunch chopped
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 tbsp Peppercorns
  • 1 cup White Wine
  • Water enough to cover


  • Heat the olive oil in a large stockpot and add the vegetables.
    Stir over high heat for a 5 minutes until the onions become translucent.
  • Add the bones or shells, stirring for another minute or two until well mixed with the cooked vegetables.
  • Add spices and wine.
    Bring to a simmer, add enough boiling water to cover.
    Bring to a simmer again, turn down low with a cover on and simmer for an hour.
  • Let the stock cool.
  • Strain through a fine-mesh sieve to separate the natural flavors from the shells. 
    The seafood stock is now ready for all your recipes or to store for later use.
  • Pour into glass jars to keep a few days in the fridge, or an airtight bag to freeze.
    For smaller amounts to be frozen for added flavor to sauces and soups, freeze in ice cube trays, once frozen, store the cubes in a large resealable bag. 



Leftover lobster shells and crab shells also make for great flavor, however when you don’t have many shells or bones, simply add some clam juice to the stock to deepen the flavor. 
Best Seafood and Shellfish Stock - Stored In Mason Jars
Best Seafood and Shellfish Stock – Stored In Mason Jars
5 from 1 vote (1 rating without comment)
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