Get 5 Secrets to Make Homemade Taste Food Better + New Recipes Weekly!
Published March 3, 2023. This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.
You will love this Creamy Fish Chowder Recipe that is loaded up with Yukon potatoes, crispy bacon, fresh fish, and herbs in a delicious creamy broth. This is an easy-to-make hearty soup that is a great way to use up leftover seafood.
I’m a massive fan of cooking and serving seafood because it’s simple to prepare and it cooks in minutes. If you are similar and love it, you must try my Sicilian Swordfish or my Blackened Salmon.
Fish chowder is a thick chunky seafood soup consisting of onions, celery, potatoes, seafood, stock, and milk. In the early days of this 18th-century recipe, it didn’t initially start off using clams like in the classic clam chowder we know today. The seafood in the chowder was whatever was caught in the ocean. This could be fish, clams, lobster, or anything they were able to gather was used.
The word chowder gets its roots in the Latin word calderia, which originally meant a place for warming things, like a cauldron, that big black pot that hangs over the fire. In French, the word became chaudiere which describes fishermen who made their stews fresh from the sea.
This recipe can be customized to your liking depending on what seafood is available.
- Fish – Any fish is good to use. You can additionally add shellfish to this recipe. I used halibut, cod, sea bass, and sablefish.
- Bacon – Regular-cut bacon will add a lot of flavor to the soup.
- Onions – I like to use a combination of yellow onions, leeks, and garlic. You can use white, sweet, or yellow onions for this recipe.
- Celery – A few thick-sliced celery ribs add a lot of body and flavor to the soup.
- Potatoes – You can use Yukon gold, russet, or red potatoes in this recipe.
- Herbs – I used bay leaves and dry thyme in the soup and garnished with chopped fresh parsley and thyme.
- Wine – Cream sherry makes this fish chowder incredibly flavorful. Other options are regular sherry, white wine, or vermouth.
- Cream – Half and half is perfect in this. However, you can use whole milk or heavy whipping cream.
- Stock – I used homemade fish fumet in this recipe. The other alternatives are clam stock, water, a combination of clam and water, or chicken stock.
How to Make Fish Chowder
Remove the skin from your fish, and season both sides with salt and pepper.
Start by browning some diced bacon in a large rondeau pot over medium heat, which takes about 6 to 8 minutes.
Remove the bacon and set it aside.
Turn the heat to high until it begins to lightly smoke and add in the fish and 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter, and sear it for 2 to 3 minutes per side or until it starts to turn brown. If the fish falls apart, it’s no problem. I sear it to add more flavor to the fish and soup.
Remove the fish and set it to the side.
Add the onions and leeks to the pot and cook over low to medium heat for 15 to 20 minutes or until browned while occasionally stirring.
Pour in the celery and cook for 3 to 4 minutes.
Stir in the garlic until fragrant, which takes 30 to 45 seconds.
Deglaze with the cream sherry and cook to au sec or almost gone and absorbed.
Add in the stock, bay leaves, salt, pepper, and potatoes, and bring to a boil.
Once boiling, turn the heat to low-medium, and place back in the pre-seared fish.
Place on a lid and cook for about 5 minutes until the fish is cooked.
In the meantime, heat the half and half in a small pot until scalded.
Add back in the crispy bacon, and pour the half and half into the chowder with Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, salt, and pepper. Gently stir the soup to incorporate the flavors and to break apart the fish into large bite-size pieces.
Serve with optional garnishes of chopped fresh parsley, thyme leaves, and oyster crackers.
What’s the Best Fish to Use?
You can use pre-frozen or fresh fish in this fish chowder. Here are my favorite fish to use:
- Mahi Mahi
Make-Ahead and Storage
Make-Ahead: This soup is meant to be eaten right away, but you can make it up to 1 day ahead of time.
How to Store: Cover and keep in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Cover and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator for 1 day, or until thawed, before reheating and serving.
How to Reheat: Add the desired amount of fish chowder to a small pot and cook over low heat while whisking until warm. You can also heat it in a microwave until warm.
CHEF NOTES + TIPS
- White wine options are chardonnay, pinot grigio, or sauvignon Blanc.
- This makes a substantial amount of soup, so cut the ingredients in half if necessary.
- If you are nervous about pan-searing the fish, place it in seasoned and raw in step 12 and cook for a total of 15 minutes instead of 5.
More Fish Recipes
Creamy Fish Chowder Recipe
- 2 pounds fish, cod, halibut, bass, etc.
- 8 strips of bacon, cut into thin slices
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 peeled and small diced yellow onion
- 2 thinly sliced leeks
- 6 thickly sliced ribs of celery
- 2 finely minced cloves of garlic
- ½ cup creamy sherry
- 6 cups fish stock, clam juice, or water
- 2 teaspoons dry thyme
- 2 bay leaves
- 4 large Yukon potatoes, cut into 1” cubes or quarter moons
- 2 cups half and half
- Worcestershire to taste
- Hot sauce to taste
- sea salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste
- Remove the skin from your fish, and season both sides with salt and pepper.
- Start by browning some diced bacon in a large rondeau pot over medium heat, which takes about 6 to 8 minutes.
- Remove the bacon and set it aside.
- Turn the heat to high until it begins to lightly smoke and add in the fish, 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter, and sear it for 2 to 3 minutes per side or until it starts to turn brown. If the fish falls apart, it’s no problem. I sear it to add more flavor to the fish and soup.
- Remove the fish and set it to the side.
- Add the onions and leeks to the pot and cook over low to medium heat for 15 to 20 minutes or until browned while occasionally stirring.
- Pour in the celery and cook for 3 to 4 minutes.
- Stir in the garlic just until fragrant, which takes 30 to 45 seconds.
- Deglaze with the cream sherry and cook to au sec or almost gone and absorbed.
- Add in the stock, bay leaves, salt, pepper, and potatoes, and bring to a boil.
- Once boiling, turn the heat to low-medium, and place back in the pre-seared fish.
- Place on a lid and cook for about 5 minutes until the fish is cooked through.
- In the meantime, heat the half and half in a small pot until scalded.
- Add back in the crispy bacon, and pour the half and half into the chowder with Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, salt, and pepper.
- Gently stir the soup to incorporate the flavors and to break apart the fish into large bite-size pieces.
- Serve with optional garnishes of chopped fresh parsley, thyme leaves, and oyster crackers.
Made this tonight with fresh halibut we caught 2 weekends ago in Deep Creek, AK. Substituted half n half with organic whipping cream, used organic chicken stock, added garlic and onion powder, smoked sea salt, added chives, corn and substituted potatoes with radishes. So delish! Waited till far after dinner to tell my husband they weren’t potatoes. Didn’t tell anyone else lol! Buy the big ones and peel the skins. No one will know 😂
Absolutely delicious! I even gave some to my neighbors and they loved it as well.
The creamy fish chowder recipe is delicious. I made it with haddock and it was better than anything I have ordered at a restaurant. My family loved it too !!
Made this and even my family who said “I don’t like fish chowder” changed their minds! Delicious delicious!!
This soup was absolutely delicious!!
thanks for giving it a shot!!
Delicious and comforting!
Glad you liked it!
The whole family loved this recipie! We substituted leftover frozen salmon tails and cod. Fantastic flavor!
I found this recipe to be a little more involved than I usually make, but the extra steps made it so much better. It’s totally worth the effort. Thank you Chef!
thanks for trying it.
Thanks chef, great recipe!
My pleasure. Thanks for trying it.
Made this last night and it was delicious. Used homemade shrimp stock we had; used a mix of real sherry and cooking sherry. Also used no-fat Half & Half – sorry Billy, and, how do they do that? It worked fine. Had good success in my Dutch oven, and searing the cod and halibut was perfect. Based on amount of fish we had, I reduced everything to a little more than half the full recipe, but wish I had made it all! This is a keeper.
Made it for supper. It was delicious.
The best chowder ever made. (I have made a few)
Also fried the salmon skin to crisp it and topped each bowl with the crispy bits of salmon skin!
Made this with cod, sockeye and scallops. This is the BEST chowder I have ever eaten! And I am from the PNW where chowder is a staple! Make this recipe! You won’t be disappointed!
I will be making this and will come back to rate it. I may need to change a few things since I was diagnosed with diabetes a couple of months ago. Your recipe is making me drool.
Looks amazing! I grew up on Cape Cod and fish and clam chowder were eaten regularly. We didn’t use cream, just milk and seasoned only with salt and pepper. I love how recipes now include thyme and other herbs. Can’t wait to make it!
Absolutely fabulous! We used gifted rockfish here in AK.
New family favorite. Living in Oklahoma means halibut is at a premium, so we used cod, and it was absolutely delicious. Thank you for posting this recipe. It is really good.
Is Alaskan Halibut easy to find? Or any idea for a Substitute on the east coast?
grouper would work well, so would cod.
corn starch will work as well. Just mix it with water or milk and follow the recipe
Quick question. Do you think gluten free flour will work okay for the roux? I have a family member that loves chowder but recently diagnosed with a gluten intolerance. I’d love to make this for her. Thank you for any thoughts on this. Love everything you post.💖
It will not, but you can make a slurry using arrowroot which is gluten-free!
Base is tasty- everything turned out really well. Just didn’t use full fat cream, so i think that’s what made it less creamier. Really tasty. Thanks – Husband approved!
Billy, your recipes are just top flight the ingredient and you way of teaching! Your expressions are so captivating I can’t stop watching and learning! I’m so very thankful you’ve given your time to teach ones who certainly don’t have your knowledge and skill. You might think about selling some aprons and cooking things with your name! Anything with your name etched in would be great. Even your own mixture of spices having your name! A pic of your face with your hat, wide eyed expression and your mannerism of pointing should be on the bib of the apron if you decide in that suggestion! May as well jack up your cash as you enjoy teaching us what you love best to do. I’d be latching onto flour companies promoting products. I’ve only been watching for the past 3 weeks but I’ve got my eye to business! I’d have loved opening a restaurant or just being the chef. Here I invested in a ton of baking supplies and a few displays to open a cookie shop before Covid hit! My grandchildren named me Cookie so my business was going to be called Cookies Place and was planning to have birthday parties in the back for kids 1-5 plus a photographer on hand.,Oh I had a lot of ideas so trust me I enjoy your classes tremendously! Thank you! I’m still looking for the best uncut extra virgin olive oil and I have no idea about what wine (exact name) to use in dishes. Once I had eaten French onion soup and I believe the chef made it using Brandy. Does that sound right to you? Of course it was cooked off but the taste was excellent. I don’t know how much to use??? Thank you for your time! Kathy💝 I put that heart so you’ll know it’s me! And probably with a question! I wish you and your family a happy, healthy new year! It’s only up from here! A great meal helps! Thank you Billy!!
So good Billy! Thank you. 🙂