Creamy Seafood Chowder

Dive into flavor with our irresistible Creamy Seafood Chowder! Packed with succulent salmon, halibut, shrimp, and baby clams, this recipe is a tidal wave of deliciousness for every seafood enthusiast.

A bowl of creamy seafood chowder adorned with fresh herbs.

Hey there! So, let me tell you about this amazing dish I’ve been hooked on – Seafood Chowder. You’ll savor juicy salmon chunks, halibut that effortlessly flakes, and, oh, those tender shrimp and baby clams – each a delight in its own right. They’re swimming in a creamy, rich broth that’s so flavorful! It’s the kind of comfort food that’s perfect for any day, whether it’s a chilly evening or just when you need something hearty and satisfying. This is one of the best seafood chowder recipes!

Last summer, when we were in Alaska, we were able to enjoy some great Alaskan seafood. One night, we had dinner in Anchorage at the 49th State Brewing Company. My husband ordered the highly recommended King Crabby Grilled Cheese, which was delicious. This grilled cheese sandwich was made with grilled sourdough bread, a crab meat blend, Swiss and cream cheeses and served with brewpub fries and our famous Alaskan seafood chowder for dipping. It was awesome, and the Alaskan Seafood Chowder on the side was really good. See the photo below.

Alaskan seafood chowder on a plate.

I was determined to make this chowder at home, and I have to say that mine is the best seafood chowder recipe, but I’m a little biased, and I added shrimp!

A large pot filled with creamy seafood chowder, sprinkled with herbs, and accompanied by a bread bowl.

Reasons to Love This Chowder

  • Seafood Chowder combines diverse seafood like shrimp, clams, and fish, offering a symphony of flavors in every spoonful.
  • Its rich, creamy broth provides a comforting, hearty experience, perfect for cozy evenings.
  • Packed with high-quality protein and essential nutrients from various seafood, Seafood Chowder offers a healthy yet indulgent choice.
  • It’s very adaptable to personal tastes and the availability of local seafood.

Recipe Ingredients

Ingredients for seafood chowder arranged on a table.
  • Mixed Seafood: Including salmon, halibut, baby clams, and shrimp, these provide the chowder’s distinctive flavor and hearty texture.
  • Heavy Cream: This adds the rich, creamy consistency that’s a hallmark of a classic chowder.
  • Vegetables: The combination of onion, celery, and carrots forms a flavorful base and contributes to the overall depth of taste.
  • Red Potatoes: They offer a starchy component that gives the chowder body a comforting, homely feel.
  • Seasonings: Herbs and spices like basil, thyme, white pepper, and cayenne pepper enhance the flavor of the chowder. These spices make it more aromatic and savory.

See the recipe card for full information on ingredients and quantities.

Variations

  • Gluten-Free Version: Replace all-purpose flour with a gluten-free flour blend for thickening. It caters to those with gluten sensitivities or preferences.
  • Bacon Variation: Add crispy bacon bits for a smoky twist. Cook the bacon separately and sprinkle it on top of the chowder just before serving for a flavorful crunch.
  • Seafood Extravaganza: Transform your Seafood Chowder into an extravagant delight by adding lobster and scallops. This medley of premium ingredients creates a seafood feast in every spoonful.
  • Fish Substitution: Substitute another type of fish for the halibut, especially if halibut is hard to find in your area. Cod and Haddock also work well because their delicate flavor pairs well with the creamy base.
  • Chicken Broth Option: Replace fish base and water with chicken broth for a lighter alternative.

How to Make Seafood Chowder

Step #1: Cut the salmon and halibut into 1/2-inch chunks.

Step #2: In a small saucepan, boil the diced red potatoes until tender, about 10 minutes.

Step #3: While the potatoes are boiling, use a 4-quart pot to cook the onion, celery, and carrots in butter over medium heat until the onions are translucent, about 5-7 minutes.

Pot with celery, onion, and carrots.

Step #4: Stir in the flour to make the roux, then cook for 5 minutes.

Adding flour in the pot with vegetables to make a roux.

Step #5: Add the water, fish base, salmon and halibut chunks, and the clam juice (saving the clams for later).

Pot with fish base and chunks of salmon and halibut.

Step #6: Add the potatoes, white pepper, cayenne pepper, basil, thyme, and garlic. Cook the fish on medium heat, stirring frequently, until it cooks. Please note that this will be a thick paste, which is okay. You can add more water if needed. But do not add too much because the 3 cups of heavy cream, added in the next step, will lighten the thickness to make it a thick chowder.

Spices and potatoes added to the pot.

Step #7: Add the heavy cream, shrimp, and clam meat. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring often.

A pot of creamy seafood chowder with shrimp and clam meat.

Step #8: Garnish with fresh parsley and serve.

Creamy seafood chowder in a white bowl with a handle.

Serving note: If you want to serve this amazing seafood chowder in a bread bowl, buy small cannon ball French bread. Then, scoop out most of the inside, and fill it with the chowder.

Seafood chowder served in a bread bowl.

Expert Tips

  • Gentle Simmer, Not a Boil: When cooking chowder, maintain a gentle simmer. Boiling can break down the cream and make the seafood tough. A slow simmer allows flavors to meld together perfectly.
  • Final Thickness Adjustment: After adding all ingredients, if the chowder is too thick, thin it with a bit of fish stock or water. To thicken it without altering the flavor, use a cornstarch slurry if the chowder is too thin. Remember, the chowder will continue to thicken as it cools.
  • Sauté Vegetables to Perfection: Take your time to sauté the onions, celery, and carrots until they are just translucent. This step builds a flavor foundation for the chowder without overcooking the vegetables.
  • Roux Consistency Matters: When making the roux, ensure it’s cooked long enough to remove the raw flour taste but not so long that it darkens. This can alter the chowder’s flavor and color.
  • Don’t Overcook the Seafood: Add the seafood towards the end of the cooking process. Overcooking can make seafood tough and chewy. The residual heat will continue to cook the seafood even after you turn off the stove.

Frequently Asked Questions

What’s the best way to thicken Seafood Chowder?

The traditional method is using a roux made from butter and flour. Cornstarch mixed with a little cold water can also be used as a thickener.

Can Seafood Chowder be made dairy-free?

Yes, you can use dairy-free milk alternatives like coconut milk or almond milk to create a dairy-free version.

What seafood works best in chowder?

Firm fish like salmon or halibut and shellfish like shrimp, clams, and scallops are popular choices for their texture and flavor.

Can I use water instead of fish stock in Seafood Chowder?

Yes, but using fish stock or clam juice enhances the flavor significantly.

What are the best herbs and spices for Seafood Chowder?

Thyme, basil, bay leaves, white pepper, and cayenne pepper are commonly used to enhance its flavor.

Is New England Clam Chowder similar to Seafood Chowder?

Yes, New England Clam Chowder is similar in that it’s a creamy soup with potatoes and clams. But it typically focuses on clams. On the other hand, Seafood Chowder includes a variety of seafood like fish and shrimp.

Storage Info

To store Seafood Chowder, place it in an airtight container in the refrigerator; it will remain good for up to 2-3 days. Freezing is possible, but be aware that the creamy texture might change slightly upon thawing. To reheat, gently warm it on the stovetop over low heat, stirring occasionally to prevent separation. Avoid reheating in a microwave, as it can unevenly heat and potentially spoil the delicate seafood.

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A bowl of creamy seafood chowder adorned with fresh herbs.

Creamy Seafood Chowder Recipe

Dive into flavor with our irresistible Creamy Seafood Chowder! Packed with succulent salmon, halibut, shrimp, and baby clams, this recipe is a tidal wave of deliciousness for every seafood enthusiast.
4.3 from 65 votes
Pin Rate
Course: Soups & Stews
Cuisine: North American
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes
Servings: 10 servings
Calories: 552kcal
Author: Linda
Print Recipe

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Ingredients

  • 1 ½ cups onion - diced into ½ inch pieces
  • ¾ cup celery - diced into ½ inch pieces
  • ½ cup carrots - diced into ½ inch pieces
  • 2/3 cup salted butter
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 Tablespoons fish base
  • 3 cups water
  • 10 oz. salmon
  • 10 oz. halibut
  • 10 oz. canned baby clams shucked with clam juice
  • 10 oz. red potatoes - diced into ¾ inch pieces
  • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 ½ teaspoons basil dried - or 3 teaspoons fresh
  • 1 ½ teaspoons thyme dried - or 3 teaspoons fresh
  • 1 ½ teaspoons chopped garlic
  • 12 oz cocktail shrimp peeled - deveined and the tails removed. (Left whole or chopped into ½ inch chunks.)
  • 3 cups heavy cream
  • Optional: Fresh parsley for garnish
  • Optional: Small cannon ball French breads for a bread bowl
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Instructions

  • Cut the salmon and halibut into 1/2-inch chunks.
  • In a small saucepan, boil the diced red potatoes until tender, about 10 minutes.
  • While the potatoes are boiling, use a 4-quart pot to cook the onion, celery, and carrots in butter over medium heat until the onions are translucent, about 5-7 minutes.
  • Stir in the flour to make the roux, then cook for 5 minutes.
  • Add the water, fish base, salmon and halibut chunks, and the clam juice (saving the clams for later).
  • Add the potatoes, white pepper, cayenne pepper, basil, thyme, and garlic. Cook the fish on medium heat, stirring frequently, until it cooks. Please note that this will be a thick paste, which is okay. You can add more water if needed. But do not add too much because the 3 cups of heavy cream, added in the next step, will lighten the thickness to make it a thick chowder.
  • Add the heavy cream, shrimp, and clam meat. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring often.
  • Garnish with fresh parsley and serve.
  • Serving note: If you want to serve this amazing seafood chowder in a bread bowl, buy small cannon ball French bread. Then, scoop out most of the inside, and fill it with the chowder.

VIDEO

NOTES

Storage Info:
To store Seafood Chowder, place it in an airtight container in the refrigerator; it will remain good for up to 2-3 days. Freezing is possible, but be aware that the creamy texture might change slightly upon thawing. To reheat, gently warm it on the stovetop over low heat, stirring occasionally to prevent separation. Avoid reheating in a microwave, as it can unevenly heat and potentially spoil the delicate seafood.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 552kcal | Carbohydrates: 21g | Protein: 26g | Fat: 41g | Saturated Fat: 25g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 10g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 206mg | Sodium: 244mg | Potassium: 667mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 2677IU | Vitamin C: 6mg | Calcium: 116mg | Iron: 2mg

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About the Author

Linda

Hi, I'm Linda! Welcome to The Wanderlust Kitchen, where I share recipes and travel adventures from all around the world. Here you'll find a world of recipes you can have confidence in. These recipes celebrate authentic food heritage as well as modern techniques and ingredients. Be adventurous and try a new recipe and travel somewhere you have never been before.  Bon Appétit! Bon Voyage!  

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Comments:

  1. 5 stars
    Oh my goodness. This chowder is loaded with seafood, no skimping here. Not the cheapest to make but I gotta say the best I have ever made.Yum!! We are going to Alaska in Sept 24. Mother to 3 , step mom to two and 10 grands….blessed!

  2. 5 stars
    I have made this many times and family loves it. We have eaten it at the same Alaskan restaurant so makes it even more special!