Here's another great fish soup recipe to make this cold season and all year round! This fish chowder is the easiest restaurant-style seafood soup you can make at home. It is absolutely delicious!
Today, I want to share one of my favorite fish stew recipes of all time! This easy fish chowder recipe is so full of flavorful nutrients. It's so simple and easy to make. It takes less than an hour to make, from the start to finish!
This was inspired by this popular fish soup recipe on this site, and pairs well with these potato cheese balls.
Easy Fish Chowder Recipe
This hearty fish chowder soup delivers a big bowl of comfort but is not too heavy. The broth is so creamy, silky, and rich in flavors. It has a perfect consistency, not too thick and not too thin, very similar to New England chowder. I think you are going to love it!
To make this delicious fish chowder, you will need the following ingredients:
- Meaty firm fish. You can use any meaty and firm type of fish, such as cod, haddock, pollock, Pacific rockfish, grouper, snapper, tilapia, bass, or catfish.
- Potatoes. This soup is thickened with natural starch from potatoes instead of flour. Depending on your preference for consistency, you can use either Russet, Yukon, or red potatoes.
- Clam Juice. I am a big fan of clam juice and always keep it in stock in my pantry. Because clams are naturally rich in glutamates, it works great as a flavor enhancer in foods, such as stews and soups. Also, clam juice is the perfect replacement for fish stock in any recipe, from pasta to chowder.
- Bacon. I use bacon to enhance the flavors of the fish. It also adds a smoky and savory taste to the broth. And for me, a little bacon will make everything tastes better.
- Dry white wine. Dry white wine can enhance the flavor of a dish and is commonly used to deglaze a pan.
- Old Bay Seasoning. I used this Old Bay Seasoning, a spice blend that makes everything tastes better, including seafood. This seasoning mix includes celery salt, black pepper, crushed red pepper flakes, and paprika. You can use this seasoning mix to add flavors to many recipes, from seafood chowder/stew to fries.
- Unsalted butter. I used the butter to cook the aromatic vegetables.
- Onion and Celery. I used both vegetables to add umami flavor and depth to the soup.
- Bay Leaf and Thyme. I used one bay leaf to add an intense aroma and flavor to the soup.
- Broth. In this recipe, I just used regular chicken broth as a soup base.
- Heavy cream. I added a generous amount of heavy cream to thicken and add creaminess to the soup.
How to Make Fish Chowder
The preparation and cooking process is pretty simple. So, here are some important steps to follow:
- Render Bacon Fat. You want to cook the bacon on medium for about 5 minutes. Keep about 2 tablespoons of grease to cook the aromatic vegetables.
- Soup Base: Use bacon grease to cook the chopped onion and celery until softened for about 6 minutes.
- Deglaze the pan: Add white wine and deglaze the pan. Scrape and stir the browned bits from the pan over medium-high heat to dissolve all cooking residues into a liquid to flavor the soup.
- Cook the potatoes and simmer: Add potatoes, clam juice, bay leaf, thyme, and old bay seasoning into the soup. Cook on medium-high heat until the mixture comes to a boil, then lower the heat to medium and cook until the potatoes are almost done (firm on the outside and soft on the inside) for about 10 minutes or longer.
- Add the fish and heavy cream: First, you need to reheat the heavy cream in a microwave. Add fish and the preheated heavy cream into the soup pot. Cook, uncovered, on low heat for about 8-10 minutes.
Tips for Success
- Fish. Be sure to stay away from delicate fish, like sole or flounder because the meat tends to fall apart in the soup, or oily fish like tuna.
- The Best Potatoes for Chowder. Just remember that you will be making a fish chowder, and the fish should be the star ingredient instead of the potatoes. In this recipe, I used red potatoes with skin on. Red potatoes have a nice bright red color, and a firm, and waxy texture. And because they are high in moisture and low in starch, they will hold together better after cooking. Use this type of potato if you want to keep the potatoes from getting mushy in soups. The all-purpose russet potatoes aren't firm or waxy like red potatoes. They will soak up the liquid and lose their shape in soups because they are high in starch and low in moisture. Use Russet potatoes if you want a creamier, thicker, and richer broth. Yukon Gold potatoes are on the medium-starch side and they will hold their shape better than russet potatoes in soups.
- Bacon. In this recipe, you are going to render bacon fat for a few minutes. After that, use the bacon grease to saute the onion and celery then use the crispy crumbled bacon as a topping.
- Dry White Wine. As a general rule, cook only with wine that you'd drink and it doesn't have to be expensive! If you don't have any white wine on hand or simply want to avoid any alcohol, feel free to skip it!
- Heavy Cream. You can substitute an equal amount of heavy cream for half-and-half or whole milk with extra butter, coconut milk, or evaporated milk. Heavy creams contain fatter than half-and-half-creams and are also more resistant to curdling. Therefore, heavy cream would make a better choice in soups and sauces.
How to Store Fish Chowder
Discard any leftover that has been left out for more than 2 hours at room temperature or 1 hour when the temperature is above 90°F. You can learn more here.
- Let the fish chowder cool to room temperature before refrigerating.
- Transfer the leftovers to an airtight container.
- Properly stored, the leftover can last 3-4 days in the fridge or up to 4 months in the freezer.
How to Reheat Fish Chowder
You can reheat the leftover fish chowder on the stove or in a microwave. Here's how:
- On the stove. Place the leftover fish chowder in a saucepan. Reheat over medium heat and stir occasionally until hot. Add a small amount of milk or heavy cream to desired consistency if necessary.
- In a microwave. Place the leftover fish chowder in a microwave-safe bowl. Reheat in 30-second to 1-minute intervals, stirring liquids in between for even reheating. Continue reheating until the soup is fully heated.
I hope you'll enjoy this recipe and share it with friends! If you try it and don’t mind, please leave me a comment and/or give this recipe a rating.
- A heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven
- Wooden or silicone spatula
- 3 pounds meaty firm fish or white fish, (cut into 1-inch cubes)
- 2 pounds potatoes, (such as Yukon or red potatoes) cut into ¾-inch cubes.
- 3 thick bacon slices
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 cups diced onion
- ¾ cup small diced celery
- ½ cup dry white wine
- 1 bay leaf
- 6 small thyme sprigs
- 24 oz clam juice
- 2 cups chicken broth, (low-sodium or regular according to your liking)
- 2½ teaspoons Old Bay seasoning, (I used OLD BAY® Seafood Seasoning by McCormick)
- 2 cups heavy cream , (preheat in the microwave) - add more according to your liking
- black pepper , (to taste)
- Render Bacon Fat: In a heavy-bottom pot or Dutch oven over medium heat, cook bacon for 5 minutes or until crispy and golden brown. Transfer the bacon to a plate and set aside. Keep about 2 tablespoons of bacon grease in the pot.
- Add butter, onion, and celery. Cook and stirring occasionally over medium heat for about 5 minutes or until softened but not browned.
- Deglaze the pan: Add white wine, cook at medium-high heat, stirring to scrape the brown bits from the bottom of the pan, until it has evaporated and reduced in half.
- Add bay leaf, thyme, clam juice, broth, old bay seasoning, and potatoes. Bring to a boil then lower the heat. Cover the pot and cook until potatoes are almost done (firm on the outside but soft on the inside) for about 10 minutes or longer.
- Add the fish fillets and preheated heavy cream into the pot. Cook, uncovered, on low heat for about 8-10 minutes. Adjust seasoning with salt/black pepper if needed.
- Serve and enjoy with crispy bacon bits or allow the soup to chill at room temperature for up to an hour to enhance flavors. The broth will get thickened as it sits. Reheat at low heat just before serving. Do not let it boils.
I have never tried fish chowder before. This recipe sure looks amazing though. I may need to give it a try now after seeing this. Yum!
Wow that looks delicious. I can already smell this recipe to my kitchen. I love eating fish and my kids will definitely love this dish. The ingredients are easy to find and this is easy to make. Thank you for sharing this recipe this is amazing.
This would be great to make when my DIL comes to visit. She loves a good fish chowder.
Delicious dinner idea!
I love fish and this recipe looks simple enough to follow so going to try during the cooler weather
Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment. Please check out this fish soup recipe https://poshjournal.com/fish-soup . It's pretty light, you can enjoy it all year round.
The actual recipe doesn’t state when to add the Old Bay seasoning.
It’s only mentioned in the “How to make fish chowder” section.
Thanks for pointing it out. I appreciate it! I just added the missing ingredient to the recipe card.
I've been trying fish chowder recipes at various restaurants.some were very good and others no so good,and for the price you pay your hoping its going to be delicious! I came across this recipe and decided to make my own. I'm so glad I did as it was very tasty and my whole family really enjoyed it.
Thanks for taking the time to share your feedback. I am glad that you think this homemade version of fish chowder is tasty 🙂 I agree with you, restaurants charge a lot of money for a seafood dish and for that amount of money customers should expect a good quality dish.
Thanks for trying and taking the time to share your feedback. I am glad that you liked it.
I used halibut and subbed the heavy cream with ½ block of cream cheese blended with some of the hot broth (I didn’t have heavy cream).
I had a bit of trouble locating the clam juice at the store - it’s near the canned tuna.
Between the price of the clam juice and the fish, this isn’t a cheap soup to make - BUT absolutely worth it.
Thanks for sharing this amazing recipe. I will be making it again!
Fantastic, thanks for the comment! Good tip on the clam juice, probably not something that people buy every week. 🙂
Yes this one could be pricier, but I guess compared to eating it out it might also be a huge money saver, too. It's definitely chowder time of year, enjoy!
My first time leaving a review on a recipe because this one is fantastic! I couldn't believe that I had made the dish. It tasted like restaurant quality. So flavourful and easy to make. I didn't have clam juice so I subed with 2 tablespoons of fish sauce. I also added 400 grams of frozen already buttered mussels. Topped it with parsley. The bacon bits is a wonderful touch.
My partner loved this. 100% would make again
Thanks, P for the review! Fish chowder is so yummy and often overlooked. Sounds good with the fish sauce, I like your substitution choice. Very happy it worked out and that your partner also enjoyed it!