We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is Bouillabaisse?

Diane Goettel
Updated May 16, 2024
Our promise to you
DelightedCooking is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At DelightedCooking, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Bouillabaisse is a traditional French fish stew that was originally created in the port city of Marseille. The word comes from the Provençal word bolhabaissa. The root words within bolhabaissa reveal the two main steps in creating the stew. The words bolhir and albaissar mean “to boil” and “to reduce,” respectively.

Although bouillabaisse is generally considered to be a traditional Provençal dish, its history extends all the way back to the Ancient Greeks. It was, in fact, the Ancient Greeks who founded Marseille over two and a half millennia ago. At this time in history, a staple Greek food was a simple fish stew called kakavia. Bouillabaisse has such a long history that it even appears in Roman mythology. According to these ancient tales, the Goddess Venus fed the stew to Vulcan. It lulled Vulcan to sleep and Venus went off to meet with Mars.

Bouillabaisse is an aromatic stew made with a fish base and a variety of fish and shellfish. In classic recipes, nearly a dozen kinds of fish are cooked into the stew. The most common fish in the dish are monkfish, mullet, and conger. Of course, many other kinds of fish can be incorporated. Bouillabaisse gains its rich flavor from vegetables such as onions, tomatoes, leeks, and celery, which are boiled and added to the stew. But it is the blend of herbs and spices that gives the stew its wonderful aromatic quality. Garlic, bay leaf, fennel, orange peel, saffron, and bay leaf all compliment the flavors in bouillabaisse beautifully.

The kinds and amounts of ingredients that go into bouillabaisse very by region. As the dish is so old, most chefs agree that it is impossible to know the exact recipe for “authentic” bouillabaisse. However, if you ask a Provençal chef about his recipe, he will probably tell you that he created the “most authentic” version. It is traditionally served atop slices of French bread. Sometimes, the bread is seasoned with a spicy sauce made of chilies and olive oil. This sauce is known as a rouille.

While bouillabaisse is a fantastic culinary treat, it is quite time-consuming to make. If the cook does not live in a place where seafood is plentiful and reasonably priced, it can also be quite expensive to make, depending on the types of fish and shellfish used. Because of these two caveats, the stew is often served when large groups of people can enjoy it together.

DelightedCooking is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Diane Goettel
By Diane Goettel
"Diane Goettel has a BA from Sarah Lawrence College and an MA in English from Brooklyn College. Diane lives in Mount Vernon, New York with her husband, Noah. They are the proud parents of a Doberman Pinscher named Spoon. Specialties: book editing, book marketing, book publishing, freelance writing, magazine publishing, magazine writing, copywriting,"
Discussion Comments
By anon990392 — On Apr 19, 2015

This is a very accurate description of Bouillabaisse. It is delicious to experience the dish in the south of France. I was lucky three years ago to actually eat it on the coast of Montreil - whether a genuine recipe I would hazard a guess as it was, much better than most British representations.

There is a particular type of bread used is called morette bread, normally just dehydrated - originally the fish stew was using up pieces from around the home. General rule of thumb is to ignore all oily fish, it doesn't cook at the right quality, and can often make the soup taste dry! Stick to your flats and round fish with some gorgeous shellfish and crustaceans!

By lovealot — On Jun 18, 2011

What do you know ..... there is a cast iron cookware that is specially designed for making bouillabaisse. It is called Staub bouillabaisse and, of course, it is handmade in France. When cooking with this pot, you need to use medium to low temperatures. Be sure to use wood or plastic utensils as metal ones might damage the pot. You need to wash it by hand. It has a cute little metal fish sitting on top of the handle.

Each of these pots takes an entire day for artisans to make using a sand mold. The bottom of the pot is almost flat, so the soup heats evenly and quickly. One drawback, the bouillabaisse pot is a little on the expensive side!

By BabaB — On Jun 15, 2011

Bouillabaisse is so delicious. I love it. Since it goes way back to the ancient Greek era, there has been plenty of time to experiment with ingredients and spices to make it a superb dish. When I have made it I have left out the saffron, since it is quite an expensive spice.

I didn't know that it was supposed to be served on top of slices of French bread. That sounds good.

There is another similar kind of fish stew, which, I think started with the Italians. It is called Ciopino. One main difference is that it is tomato based. It has a variety of vegetables and spices in it. And towards the end of a long cooking time, fish and seafood are added. Any kind of fish may be used, but commonly, crab, shrimp, clams, cod, and shrimp are used. It is served with French bread and is hearty and flavorful.

Diane Goettel
Diane Goettel
"Diane Goettel has a BA from Sarah Lawrence College and an MA in English from Brooklyn College. Diane lives in Mount...
Learn more
DelightedCooking, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

DelightedCooking, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.