Lobster bisque is a creamy soup made from lobsters and enriched with cream or milk. It’s a popular appetizer or first course at many restaurants. But with its rich, creamy texture, some people wonder just how fattening lobster bisque really is.
Is lobster bisque high in calories?
The calorie content of lobster bisque can vary depending on the recipe, but a typical serving contains around 200-400 calories. For comparison:
- Chicken noodle soup: 175 calories per 1 cup serving
- French onion soup: 330 calories per 1 cup serving
- New England clam chowder: 245 calories per 1 cup serving
So at 200-400 calories per serving, lobster bisque lands in the moderate calorie range for soups. It contains more calories than a broth-based soup like chicken noodle, but less than some cream-based soups like French onion.
What makes lobster bisque high in calories?
There are a few ingredients in lobster bisque that boost its calorie content:
- Lobster meat – A 100g serving of lobster contains about 90 calories. Using lobster meat adds to the calorie density.
- Cream – Heavy cream is high in fat and calories. Just 1/4 cup of heavy cream contains about 215 calories.
- Butter – Many recipes call for butter, which contains 100 calories per tablespoon.
- Flour – Thickening the bisque with a roux made from butter and flour further increases the calorie content.
So while lobster meat contributes some calories, the cream and butter are the biggest reasons why the bisque is higher in calories than a broth-based soup.
What is the fat and cholesterol content?
Lobster bisque is high in saturated fat and cholesterol due to the full-fat dairy ingredients:
- Fat content: Around 10-15 grams of fat per 1 cup serving
- Saturated fat: Around 7-10 grams per 1 cup serving
- Cholesterol: Around 115-180 mg per 1 cup serving
To put this in perspective, the American Heart Association recommends limiting saturated fat to 13 grams daily and cholesterol to 300 mg per day for a standard 2000 calorie diet. So just one cup of lobster bisque provides a significant amount of your recommended intake for the entire day.
Is lobster bisque unhealthy?
Lobster bisque can be high in calories, fat, and cholesterol compared to other soups. However, an occasional indulgence in moderation is unlikely to be detrimental to your health.
Some factors to consider when deciding if lobster bisque fits into a healthy diet:
- It can be high in sodium, with some restaurant preparations containing over 1000mg per serving.
- The saturated fat and cholesterol content is concerning for heart health, especially for those with high cholesterol.
- On the positive side, lobster is an excellent source of protein and minerals like copper and zinc.
Enjoying lobster bisque in sensible portions as part of an otherwise balanced diet is fine for most healthy individuals. But it’s best to limit intake of this rich soup if you have high blood cholesterol or are limiting sodium.
Tips for lightening up lobster bisque
There are some easy ways to reduce the calories, fat, and sodium in lobster bisque:
- Use milk instead of heavy cream. Milk has about 1/3 the calories and fat of heavy cream.
- Reduce the amount of butter. Cutting the butter in half saves about 50 calories per serving.
- Go easy on extra salt. Allow diners to salt to taste.
- Use a low-sodium seafood stock as the broth base.
- Finish with just a drizzle of truffle oil instead of extra cream.
- Garnish with fresh chives instead of buttered croutons.
With some simple substitutions and changes, you can still enjoy the delicious flavor of lobster bisque while limiting calories, fat, and sodium.
Healthier lobster bisque recipe
Here is a recipe for a lighter lobster bisque that still delivers on rich flavor:
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 small onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tbsp flour
- 4 cups low-sodium seafood stock
- 1 cup milk
- 8 oz cooked lobster meat
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp thyme
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Chives for garnish
- Heat oil in a pot over medium heat. Add onion and cook for 5 minutes until translucent.
- Add garlic and cook for 1 minute until fragrant.
- Whisk in flour and cook for 2 minutes to make a light roux.
- Gradually whisk in seafood stock. Bring to a simmer.
- Add milk, lobster meat, lemon juice and thyme. Cook for 10 minutes.
- Use an immersion blender to puree the soup until smooth and creamy.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Ladle bisque into bowls and garnish with fresh chives.
This lighter take on lobster bisque cuts the cream and butter in half. It still delivers on richness from the lobster stock and milk. With only 245 calories, 9g fat, and 450mg sodium per serving, it’s a more waistline-friendly version of the classic soup.
The bottom line
Lobster bisque is higher in calories, fat, and cholesterol compared to many other soups and appetizers. Much of this comes from heavy cream, butter, and lobster meat. However, enjoyed in moderation as part of an overall balanced diet, lobster bisque can still fit into a healthy lifestyle. There are also many ways to lighten up the classic recipe while still enjoying its signature flavor.