Corn and Crab Bisque is a delicious recipe for seafood lovers to enjoy anywhere! Here is the best part – it’s super easy and FAST. I use powdered ingredients so you won’t need to reduce the cream and milk to thicken the soup. You can also mix most of the ingredients ahead of time so it’s ready in less than 15 min.
I’ve made several variations of this gulf coast bisque recipe, and this one is the best suited for car camping or a quick home meal. You can make it a pantry meal by using entirely canned ingredients, or fresh lump crab meat and corn if you have those.
Crab meat – This creamy soup is heavy on crab! There is enough crab that you don’t need seafood stock to provide the rich flavor. Use fresh crab, imitation crab meat, or canned lump crab meat. If you use canned crab, I strongly recommend sticking with lump crab meat. If “lump” is missing from the label, the meat will be mostly tiny bits and you won’t get any bites of crab in the soup. The lump crab meat also has more meat from the claws and legs which has a sweeter richer flavor. I’ve also been able to find packages of fresh lump blue crab meat in the seafood section of the grocery store. I used imitation crab in the photos because I needed to use up a package.
Corn – This recipe calls for a small can of whole kernel corn (8.75 oz) or about 1 cup of fresh corn kernels. You can substitute frozen kernels, fresh kernels cut from cobb, or freeze-dried corn.
Butter or Ghee – Adding some fat to meals made with powdered ingredients enhances the flavor and appeal of most DIY instant meals. It’s especially helpful for this recipe. Ghee is a shelf stable fat made from butter. You can also use vegetable oil in a pinch.
Powdered Whole Milk and Cream
These powdered dairy products are my secret ingredient for easy camping meals. I use both heavy cream powder and whole milk powder. When you start with powdered ingredients in soups, you can make thicker broth without simmering to boil off the excess water. This saves you time and fuel. They are also shelf-stable so you don’t need a cooler or refrigerator.
The spices in this bisque give it a Cajun flavor and a bit of warmth. Unless you are VERY sensitive to hot foods, you won’t find it spicy at all. Spices include chicken bouillon powder, creole seasoning, onion powder, freeze dried celery, sugar, and chipotle chili powder. You will need to buy the freeze-dried celery online – or use fresh chopped. The dried celery flakes available at the grocery store take a long time to rehydrate, so rehydrate them separately before adding to the soup. Add additional black pepper to taste if desired. White pepper is also popular to keep the light color of the soup.
For a hotter flavor, substitute cajun seasoning for the creole (it’s much hotter!) You may also use cayenne pepper in place of chipotle pepper.
I use cornstarch and instant mashed potatoes in this recipe to help thicken the soup and make it hearty. If you add too much water to your soup, just add another spoonful of mashed potatoes. (Don’t add cornstarch directly to hot soup or it will clump)
Substitutions and variations
Milk and Cream
You can reliably use more powdered milk in place of powdered cream. If using non-fat milk, be sure to increase the butter or ghee to regain the richness. Just add more to taste at the last step.
To use liquid milk and heavy cream, use the same amounts listed in the recipe and reduce the water by an equal amount. You will need to cook the bisque longer to reduce the liquid (stir frequently to prevent scorching). Note: Heavy cream and heavy whipping cream are the same thing.
The downside of the recipe is the cost. Crab and powdered ingredients are expensive. If you want to reduce the cost, stick to regular milk and cream (just be prepared to cook it longer). You can also reduce the amount of crab in the recipe by as much as half (add more corn or celery to keep the consistency). You can also substitute chicken for crab, although this will change the flavor significantly).
Add Bell Pepper
To add some variety, try including some diced red or green bell pepper. Either use freeze dried to keep the quick prep or saute diced peppers before adding them to the soup.
Add Chicken or Shrimp
When making a larger batch of soup, I sometimes used a mixture of crab and chicken, or crab and shrimp. I tend to make the crab and chicken version for family meals. You can also add some sauteed diced yellow onion.
You can change this recipe to corn bisque easily – Omit the crab, and add some creamed sweet corn and red bell pepper to replace as described above.
Mix dry ingredients – all powdered ingredients, celery, and spices. I typically mix these at home and pack the mix in a plastic bag or sealed container until I’m ready to cook.
Dice crab meat – If using imitation crab, chop the meat into bite-size chunks of whatever size you like. You can skip this step for canned or fresh crab meat.
Make the soup base – First, add the water to a medium saucepan or pot. You can also use a dutch oven over a fire. Add the dry ingredients and start mixing. It won’t mix well until the water heats up, so place it over medium heat and stir until it combines.
Add crab and corn – Add the crab meat, drained can of corn, and butter to the soup. Bring to a low boil then reduce heat. Simmer for 5-10 minutes on low heat until it reaches the desired thickness (it will get thicker as it cooks longer)
Serve – Serve hot with crackers, cornbread, or rolls. Top the soup with chopped green onions to add color and extra flavor.
Expert tip: Add a splash of white wine to the bisque base to give it some extra character.
Quick Corn and Crab Bisque
- 8 oz Lump crab meat (Imitation, canned, or fresh)
- 1 8.75 oz can Whole kernel corn drained – or 1 cup kernels
- 1 tsp Freeze dried celery
- 1/4 cup Powdered whole milk (on non-fat powdered milk)
- 1/4 cup Heavy cream powder
- 3 tsp Corn starch
- 2 tsp Instant mashed potato flakes
- 1 1/2 tsp Chicken bouillon powder
- 1/2 tsp Creole seasoning
- 1 tsp Onion powder
- 1 pinch Chiptole chili powder
- 1/2 tsp Sugar
- 1 tbsp Butter or ghee
- 1 1/4 cup Water
- In a small bowl, mix all dry ingredients including powders, celery, and spices. To prepare in advance, store this mix in an airtight bag or container until you are ready to cook.
- If using imitation crab meat, chop it into bite size chunks. You may skip this step for canned or fresh crab meat.
- Add water to a medium saucepan or pot. Add the dry mix and place the pot over a stove burner on medium heat. Stir as the water heats up and the mix fully combines with the water.
- Add the corn, crab meat, and butter or ghee to the liquid.
- Bring to a boil and then simmer until the soup reaches the desired thickness. The bisque will continue to thicken as it cooks longer.