This thick and creamy seafood chowder is a wonderful way to enjoy seafood. Use whatever seafood you like! Great with fish, shrimp, scallops and/or lobster.
Why you’ll love this creamy seafood chowder recipe
I love soup season and seafood chowder is one of my favourite colder weather soups. A chowder, of course, is simply a thick, chunky and hearty soup and like most chowders, this seafood chowder is endlessly adaptable to whatever seafood you have around.
This seafood chowder is probably best described as East Coast Canada style. It is classic, thick and creamy chowder, with vegetables and potatoes in addition to seafood. You’ll also love the easy homemade fish stock that forms the base of this delicious chowder.
While this soup may look rich, much of the “creaminess” comes from the potatoes. There is a relatively small amount of added cream (for 8 servings), so this soup comes in at just about 300 calories a serving, plus all the seafood goodness :)
Ingredients and Substitutions
Seafood – you’ll need about 1 1/2 lbs. of seafood, but you can use whatever combination of seafood you like. I used 1/2 sole and 1/2 scallop. Shrimp, cod, haddock, salmon or other white fish or seafood are all fine. Or just use all fish and enjoy it as a creamy fish chowder.
Potato – For the thickest soup, be sure to use baking potatoes, such as russet. They break down as they cook a bit and act to thicken the soup naturally, without needing to add too much cream.
- This soup really needs a generous seasoning to bring out all the great flavour of the seafood. Don’t be shy. Keep adding salt until the flavours really shine!
- You can garnish seafood chowder with oyster crackers, crumbled cooked bacon, chopped chives or green onion, fresh thyme or parsley, dill, pea shoots or a little sprinkling of paprika.
- For the creamiest chowder, you’ll want to use heavy cream. If you don’t have or don’t want to use heavy cream, you could use a light cream, but you’ll want to mix in about 1 Tbsp of cornstarch with the lighter cream before adding to the soup, to help thicken the soup.
No need to use fresh seafood or to thaw your seafood ahead, if you don’t want to. You can add frozen seafood directly to the poaching liquid. Just note that it will take a few extra minutes to poach from frozen.
What to serve with seafood chowder
- Crusty bread or rolls
- Oyster crackers
- Green side salad
- Grilled corn on the cob
Storing and freezing creamy seafood chowder
Leftover seafood chowder will keep in the fridge for 3-4 days.
Seafood chowder can also be frozen in an airtight container up to 4 months. Defrost in the refrigerator and re-heat on the stove-top, stirring well as it reheats.
Get the Recipe: Thick and Creamy Seafood Chowder
- 2 Tablespoons butter
- 1 small onion, diced
- 3 ribs celery , diced
- 4 cups baking potato, such as Russet, peeled and diced
- Water, to cover
- 2/3 lb sole filet, cubed (or fish of your choice)
- 2/3 lb scallops, whole (or shrimp, lobster etc.)
- 4 cups water
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 /4 medium onion
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup heavy, whipping cream, 35% b.f. *see Notes below
- 1 pinch nutmeg
- Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- Cook the vegetables: Melt butter in a heavy-bottomed, large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the celery and cook, stirring for 8-10 minutes. Add the potatoes. Add enough water to the pot to just cover the vegetables with water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until potatoes are tender but not too soft, about 10-15 minutes (depending on the size of the dice). Remove from heat.
- Poaching Liquid: In a second pot, heat the 4 cups of water with a bay leaf and the 1/4 onion until just before boiling. Maintain temperature just below boiling and add the sole and scallops. Cover and cook just until seafood is opaque and tender. Remove fish and and scallops to a bowl with a slotted spoon or strainer, reserving the poaching liquid for your stock. Discard the bay leaf and quartered onion.
- Soup: Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour, stirring to make a smooth paste. Cook for about 1 minute. Gradually whisk in the reserved poaching liquid until you have a smooth mixture. Cook until it begins to thicken. Return the pot with the potatoes to medium heat. Slowly add the the butter/flour/poaching liquid mixture to the pot with the potatoes. Add the fish and scallops. Continue cooking and stirring until chowder thickens. Add the cream and stir until heated through, but do not boil. Season with a pinch of nutmeg and a generous amount of salt and black pepper, to taste.
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Hi! I’m Jennifer, a home cook schooled by trial and error and almost 40 years of getting dinner on the table! I love to share my favourite recipes, both old and new, together with lots of tips and tricks to hopefully help make your home cooking enjoyable, stress free, rewarding and of course, delicious!