Halibut Cioppino – San Francisco Italian Fish Stew

Cioppino is considered an Italian dish, but actually was introduced in San Francisco by a Portuguese and Italian fisherman who settled in the North Beach back in the 1800s. The name gets its origin from chopping up the leftovers from the day’s catch and making a tomato-broth-based stew.

This is a hard recipe to title because “fish stew” just doesn’t sound appetizing. I’ll admit when one of my friends said it sounded like there would be fish heads floating in it, I had to agree. But, alas, that is not so.

I used fresh halibut in this recipe, but you can use your favorite fresh catch of the day (crab, clams, shrimp etc.)

I’m a big fan of the house smelling like a home-cooked meal (and not fish) so I was wow’d when this delicious soup turned out to be just about the best soup I’ve ever tried.

Melissa at The Fresh 20 provided the original recipe for this dish. I edit her amazing weekly fresh meal plan recipes to be gluten free and always try to make a couple before she publishes her weekly menu. This one is naturally gluten free (as long as you have gluten free chicken broth).

Hands down, it is one of the easiest, healthiest and freshest soups that I have cooked and it took just 45 minutes from start to finish.

*When selecting ingredients, go for organic, local and FRESH. Ask about what the freshest catch of the day is when choosing your seafood. Mixed with fresh herbs, this dish will be a big hit.

History buff like me? Want to know more about the history of Cioppino soup? Check out this link.

Halibut Cioppino - San Francisco Italian Fish Stew

4 servings


  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 whole onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 6 oz organic tomato paste
  • 32 oz organic gluten free chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, minced
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup white wine (not sweet)
  • 1 lb fresh halibut fillet, cubed


  • Over medium-low, heat olive oil in a large stockpot. Add onions, garlic and cilantro. Cook slowly and stir occasionally until onions are soft.
  • Add tomato paste to the pot and mix well with onions.
  • Add chicken broth, basil, oregano, salt and wine. Mix well. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes.
  • Stir in the fish. Bring to a boil. Lower heat, cover and simmer 5-7 minutes.
  • Remove from heat. Divide into four deep bowls. Serve immediately.
Prep Time: 10 - 15 Minutes
Cook Time: 35 - 45 Minutes
Total Time: 45 - 60 Minutes
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