Abstract In the current study an optimum design technique of stiffened liquid-filled steel conical tanks subjected to global and local buckling constraints is developed using a numerical tool that couples a non-linear finite element model developed in-house and a genetic algorithm optimization technique. This numerical tool is an extended version of an earlier one, adapted for the optimum design of unstiffened conical tanks. The design variables considered in the current study are the shell thicknesses, the geometry of the steel vessel as well as the dimensions and number of stiffeners. The developed numerical tool is capable of selecting the set of design variables that leads to optimum safe design. The analysis is conducted twice; first, case of stiffeners free at their bottom edge, which represents the case of retrofitting an existing tank. In the second case the stiffeners are assumed to be anchored to the bottom slab of the tank, which represents the situation of a newly designed tank. Finally, the optimum design of the stiffened tanks is compared to the optimum design of unstiffened tanks computed in a previous study.