Slow Cooker Bouillabaisse

Fennel, saffron and cayenne pack a flavorful punch in this traditional French fish stew that you can easily make in your slow cooker. To mix it up, add other seafood such as shrimp or scallops.

Bouillabaisse in bowl with croutons
Photo: Jacob Fox
Prep Time:
40 mins
Slow Cook Time:
5 hrs
Total Time:
40 mins
13 cups


  • 1 medium fennel bulb

  • 2 cup baby carrots

  • 4 cup vegetable broth

  • 1 14.5 ounce can diced fire-roasted tomatoes, undrained

  • 1 pound tiny red-skinned potatoes, cut into quarters

  • 1 cup sliced celery (2 stalks)

  • 1 cup finely chopped onion (1 large)

  • 4 cloves garlic, minced

  • ½ teaspoon salt

  • ½ teaspoon finely shredded lemon peel

  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper

  • 1 pound fresh or frozen skinless cod, orange roughy, or haddock fillets

  • 12 ounce fresh or frozen shrimp in shells or fresh or frozen scallops

  • ¼ teaspoon saffron threads

  • 1 recipe Cracked Black Pepper Croutons

Cracked Black Pepper Croutons

  • 3 cup firm-textured bread, cut into 1-inch cubes

  • 2 tablespoon herb-flavored olive oil, or olive oil

  • ¼ teaspoon coarsely ground black or tri-color peppercorns

  • ¼ teaspoon coarse sea salt or kosher salt (optional)


  1. Core and finely chop fennel, reserving leaves If desired. Snip leaves; wrap and chill until needed. Cut baby carrots in half lengthwise, then in half crosswise.

  2. In a 5- to 6-quart slow cooker combine fennel, carrots, broth, tomatoes, potatoes, celery, onion, garlic, salt, lemon peel, and cayenne pepper. Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 5 to 6 hours or on high-heat setting for 2 1/2 to 3 hours or until carrots and potatoes are tender.

  3. Meanwhile, thaw fish and shrimp or scallops, if frozen. Peel and devein shrimp, leaving tails intact. Rinse fish and shrimp or scallops; pat dry with paper towels. Cut fish into 1-inch pieces. Cover and chill until needed.

  4. If using low-heat setting, turn to high-heat setting. Stir in fish, shrimp or scallops, and saffron. Cover and cook for 20 to 30 minutes more or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork and shrimp or scallops are opaque.

  5. Ladle soup into bowls. Top each serving with Cracked Black Pepper Croutons and, if desired, the reserved fennel leaves.

Cracked Black Pepper Croutons

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 15x10x1-inch baking pan with parchment paper. Place bread cubes in a large bowl. Drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with pepper and, if desired, salt. Toss to combine. Spread cubes into prepared pan. Bake about 20 minutes or until golden, stirring once or twice. Cool in pan on wire rack.

Make Ahead Tip:

Prepare and bake the Black Pepper Croutons up to 2 days ahead of time. Place in a container with a tight-fitting lid and store at room temperature.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

344 Calories
7g Fat
42g Carbs
28g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 6
Calories 344
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 7g 9%
Saturated Fat 1g 5%
Cholesterol 102mg 34%
Sodium 1165mg 51%
Total Carbohydrate 42g 15%
Total Sugars 9g
Protein 28g
Vitamin C 29.5mg 148%
Calcium 169mg 13%
Iron 3.9mg 22%
Potassium 1176mg 25%
Folate, total 67.1mcg
Vitamin B-12 1mcg
Vitamin B-6 0.5mg

*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.

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