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My easy New England Seafood Chowder recipe is ready in just 45 minutes using simple, fresh ingredients! Creamy, smoky, and overflowing with your favorite seafood. This is the best seafood chowder recipe for a quick and easy meal!
What is chowder?
Chowder is a type of rich soup recipe with a creamy base, containing seafood and vegetables like potatoes, onions, and corn. I love seafood chowder using a mix of my favorite seafoods, but there are a few specific variations like clam chowder.
There is something so cozy and comforting about a bowl of creamy seafood soup with all your favorite ingredients! The best thing is, this easy chowder recipe is totally customizable!
Don’t like shrimp? Swap it out for mussels, clams, or more fish! Not a fan of white fish? Salmon works perfectly! It is really up to you how you want to put together this New England fish chowder, and that’s what makes it so great.
Seafood Chowder vs. Clam Chowder
So, what’s the difference between a seafood chowder recipe and traditional clam chowder? It’s all in the name… classic New England clam chowder uses only clams, while seafood chowder uses a mix of seafood – which can include clams, but doesn’t always!
You can use fish (including salmon) and shrimp, or any shellfish you like to make a seafood chowder.
You can thicken seafood chowder using a cornstarch slurry (a mixture of cornstarch and water stirred into the hot chowder), or by making a roux. I prefer to make a roux (see: how to make a roux) as it adds flavor to the chowder.
Yes! However, if you plan to freeze your chowder, you should use heavy cream instead of milk.
Allow the chowder to cool, then add to a covered, air-tight container or heavy-duty freezer bag. Label with the freezing date and store for up to 4 months.
When ready to reheat, reheat slowly and over low heat to avoid curdling.
I make my New England seafood chowder recipe using bacon, onion, celery, potatoes, flour, milk, firm white fish, shellfish, corn, parsley, and, of course, salt and pepper.
You can use your favorite shellfish and swap out the fish for salmon if you like. It’s up to your preference!
My seafood chowder recipe uses flour, so it is not gluten free. However, you can leave out the flour and thicken the chowder using a cornstarch slurry at the end of the cooking process.
Properly stored in an air-tight container in the refrigerator, my New England chowder recipe will last 3-4 days.
Yes! Reheat over low heat on the stove, while stirring, until heated through.
There are so many ways you can adjust this recipe to your liking. Here are some different options to choose from:
- Make it a traditional clam chowder by using clams
- Try making a shrimp chowder with just shrimp
- Use cod for a cod chowder…
- …or salmon for a salmon chowder!
- Corn chowder is a great vegetarian option.
Try more of our easy soup recipes!
- Use whatever seafood you like! I love using firm white fish like Pacific cod or tilapia. It holds its shape easily and cooks well. You can make this a shrimp chowder by using more shrimp, or a clam chowder by using more clam. It’s the best seafood chowder recipe!
- Evenly chop your fish. For a consistent cook time, cut your fish into similar sizes. If a few pieces are larger or smaller, the fish won’t cook evenly.
- There is a fine line between simmering and boiling! When adding the milk, you want to avoid boiling the milk. You want to keep it at a consistent temperature to allow it to thicken.
- Your choice of bacon will determine how much bacon fat you need to saute the onion and celery. We use smoky bacon without a lot of fat on it. Therefore, we kept all our bacon fat for frying, and didn’t need to remove or add any additional oil.
- Don’t overcook your seafood! 5 to 7 minutes is an adequate cook time for my shrimp and fish recipe. Shrimp will turn a beautiful orange color when cooked. The fish should be soft and cooked all the way through, and if the pieces are consistent it should take the same amount of time as the shrimp.
This seafood soup recipe is honestly so easy to make, and tastes absolutely delicious! It makes enough for four servings, so in a smaller house, you may even have enough for leftovers.
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Easy Seafood Recipes
Try more of my favorite seafood recipes:
- My family’s favorite Shrimp Bisque
- Shrimp Paella Recipe
- Simple Shrimp Creole
- Easy Steamed Crab Legs
- Sous Vide Salmon with Lemon Butter Sauce
New England Seafood Chowder
- Stock pot
- Wooden spoon
- Cutting board
- 2 slices bacon
- 1 yellow onion diced
- 1 stalk celery diced
- 3 medium white potatoes diced and peeled
- ¼ cup all purpose plain flour
- 4 cups milk
- 1 cup firm white fish
- ½ pound shellfish shrimp, prawns, mussels, or clams
- ½ cup corn
- 1 Tablespoon fresh parsley
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- Saute bacon in a large soup pot over medium-high heat until crispy, 3-4 minutes. Remove the bacon from the pot and place on a plate. Drain all but 1 tablespoon bacon grease from the pot. If there is not 1 tablespoon, then don't drain the bacon fat. Add diced onions and celery to the bacon grease in the pot. Saute over medium heat until soft, 3-4 minutes.Add potatoes. Saute 1-2 minutes. Reduce the heat to low.
- Add the flour and stir, cooking until the flour is completely moistened. Add the milk and increase the heat to medium. Heat the soup until it is steaming, but just before it starts to boil, stirring often.
- Keep the soup at this point until the potatoes are nearly tender, uncovered, 10 to 15 minutes. (Reduce the heat if the milk starts to foam.) The soup should start to thicken to a nice consistency. Add the fish, shellfish, corn and bacon.
- Continue to heat, just below boiling for an additional 5 to 10 minutes, until the fish is cooked through. Add salt and pepper. Adjust seasoning if necessary.
- Serve with the fresh parsley, crackers or good quality bread.
- Use whatever seafood you’d like! I love using firm white fish like Pacific cod or tilapia. I find it holds its shape really easily and cooks well.
- Make sure your fish is chopped up evenly. To ensure consistent cooking time, try to make sure your fish is cut into similar sizes. If a few pieces are larger or smaller, the fish won’t cook at the same time.
- There is a fine line between simmering and boiling! When adding the milk, you want to avoid boiling the milk, instead, you want to keep it at a consistent temperature to allow it to thicken.
- Your choice of bacon will determine how much bacon fat is required to saute the onion and celery. We used smoky bacon that did not have a lot of fat on it. Therefore we kept all our bacon fat for frying and didn’t need to remove any or add any additional oil.
- Don’t overcook your seafood! I found 5 to 7 minutes was an adequate cook time for my shrimp and fish. Shrimp will turn a beautiful orange color when cooked. The fish should be soft and cooked all the way through, if the pieces are consistent it should take the same amount of time as the shrimp.