Seafood Chowder

at a glance
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Servings 6 Servings
4.3 — Votes 6 votes

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This is the only seafood chowder recipe you will ever need. It’s easy, dependable, and you can toss in the ingredients you love the most. My recipe has three different kinds of seafood, crispy bacon, plenty of garlic, lemon, and dill. Silky smooth, full of vegetables, seafood that isn’t over cooked, you’re going to love this chowder.

A single-serving bowl of seafood chowder next to another single-serving bowl of chowder, a large pot of seafood chowder, a couple of glasses of wine, and two baguettes.

Best Seafood Chowder Recipe

My goal for this seafood chowder recipe was to give you a guide that you can use to make your own! We’re building big flavor here, starting with bacon, garlic, and onion …then some bright vegetables to help add color and texture. Then, three different kinds of seafood come together in a brilliant way that makes each one even more flavorful.

Don’t skip the cream and feel free to adjust the veggies and seafood to your favorites!

So what’s the difference between a chowder and a soup anyway? Chowders are thick, creamy (from milk, cream, or a roux), and most often made with seafood and vegetables. A soup, on the other hand, may be thick or thin, broth-based or cream-based.

Ingredients in Seafood Chowder

The ingredient list is loaded with seafood and veggies, among a few other things. Here’s everything you’ll need:

The ingredients for seafood chowder: broth, bacon, carrots, salt, crab meat, shrimp, scallops, potatoes, parsley, lemon, heavy cream, onion, garlic, and corn sitting on a marble surface.
  • ½ pound of bacon
  • ½ of an onion, diced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • ½ pound of scallops
  • 4 cups of chicken broth
  • 1 cup of heavy cream
  • 2 cups of frozen corn
  • 1 pound of Yukon gold potatoes, cut into ½-inch cubes (no need to peel them)
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into rounds
  • 1½ teaspoons of sea salt, divided
  • ½ teaspoon of black pepper
  • ½ pound of crab meat
  • ½ pound of shrimp
  • 2 tablespoons of lemon juice
  • Fresh dill, for garnish

Ingredient Modifications and Variations

  • Fresh or frozen seafood – get your hands on whatever sustainably sourced seafood is at the best price. Fresh and frozen will both work!
  • Make it dairy-free – use full-fat canned coconut milk in place of the heavy cream for a delicious dairy-free seafood chowder.

How to Make Seafood Chowder

For as fancy and sophisticated as it sounds, seafood chowder is exceptionally easy to make! Follow along for a full step-by-step how-to:

a person cutting potatoes on an orange cutting board next to chopped onion and minced garlic
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bacon cooking in a pot next to onion and garlic
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scallops searing in a pot next to bacon
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  1. Crisp the bacon – heat a large pot over high heat, and, once hot, add the bacon. Cook the bacon on one side until it starts to crisp, then flip the bacon and cook on the other side until fully cooked. Remove the bacon from the pot and set aside to cool. Once cool, chop the bacon into small pieces.
  2. Sear the scallops – pat the scallops dry and season them with a ½ teaspoon of salt. Add the scallops to the side to sear for 2 minutes per side. Remove the scallops and set aside.
  3. Saute the garlic and onion – reduce the heat to medium and add the garlic and onion to the pot. Saute the garlic and onion for 3-5 minutes until softened and fragrant.
  4. Add the carrots, potatoes, corn, broth, heavy cream, salt, and pepper – add the carrots, potatoes, corn, broth, heavy cream, salt, and pepper to the pot and stir to combine.
  5. Simmer and cook – bring the chowder to a simmer and cook it, uncovered, for 30 minutes.
  6. Add the seafood – add the bacon, scallops, shrimp, and crab to the pot, and cook for 5 minutes, until the shrimp is cooked through. Then, stir in the lemon juice.
  7. Serve and enjoy – serve the chowder with a garnish of dill and a lemon wedge, and enjoy!

What to Serve with Seafood Chowder

You’ve got a couple of options when it comes to serving your seafood chowder! Traditionally, seafood chowder is served alongside saltine or oyster crackers. We chose to serve ours alongside a crusty bread, though (THIS is our favorite gluten-free baguette). Either option is great!

Suggestions for the Best Seafood Chowder Recipe

Follow these tips for the very best seafood chowder:

  • Don’t overcook the shrimp – overcooked shrimp tend to get really rubbery, so be sure to only keep the pot on the heat for about 5 minutes after the shrimp are added in.
  • Don’t skip the heavy cream – I know heavy cream may not be everyone’s thing, but it’s definitely a necessity in this recipe. Milk or half and half won’t do the job nearly as well, so be sure to stick with the heavy cream!

How to Store and Reheat

  • Store – store your leftover seafood chowder in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Stored this way, it’ll last for up to 4 days.
  • Reheat – you can either reheat your leftover seafood chowder bowl-by-bowl in the microwave (start with 45 seconds to a minute and add 15-second increments from there) or in a pot on the stovetop over medium heat.

What makes a chowder a chowder?

Chowders are rich and thick (usually from heavy cream or a roux) and most often made with vegetables and seafood. The veggies and seafood are typically cut in large chunks, similar to a stew.

What is the difference between soup chowder and bisque?

I didn’t actually know the answer to this question, but with a bit of research, I discovered that the difference between chowder and bisque all comes down to the finished texture. Bisques are super smooth and silky, while chowders are more similar in texture to a stew.

What kind of seafood can be used in Seafood Chowder?

Any kind of seafood can be put into a seafood chowder! We chose to go with crab meat, scallops, and shrimp, but clams and whitefish also make an appearance in chowder quite often.

a shallow white bowl filled with gluten free noodles and shrimp scampi

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The Best Seafood Chowder

By: Cassy Joy Garcia
4.3 — Votes 6 votes
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Servings: 6 Servings
This is the only seafood chowder recipe you will ever need. It’s easy, dependable, and you can toss in the ingredients you love the most. My recipe has three different kinds of seafood, crispy bacon, plenty of garlic, lemon, and dill. Silky smooth, full of vegetables, seafood that isn’t over cooked, you’re going to love this chowder.

Ingredients  

  • ½ pound bacon
  • ½ onion diced
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • ½ pound scallops
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 cups frozen corn
  • 1 pound Yukon gold potatoes cut into ½-inch cubes
  • 2 medium carrots peeled and cut into rounds
  • teaspoons sea salt divided
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ pound crab meat
  • ½ pound shrimp peeled and deveined
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • Fresh dill for garnish

Instructions

  • Heat a large pot over high heat, and, once hot, add the bacon. Cook the bacon until crispy. Remove and set aside. Chop the bacon once cool.
  • Pat the scallops dry and season them with a ½ of a teaspoon of salt. Add the scallops to the pot side to sear for 2 minutes per side. Remove and set aside.
  • Reduce the heat to medium and add the garlic and onion to the pot. Saute the garlic and onion for 3-5 minutes until softened and fragrant.
  • Add the carrots, potatoes, corn, broth, heavy cream, salt, and pepper to the pot and stir to combine.
  • Bring the chowder to a simmer and cook it, uncovered, for 30 minutes.
  • Add the bacon, scallops, shrimp, and crab to the pot, and cook for 5 minutes, until the shrimp is cooked through. Then, stir in the lemon juice.
  • Serve the chowder with a garnish of dill and a lemon wedge, and enjoy!

Nutrition Information

Nutrition Facts
The Best Seafood Chowder
Amount per Serving
Calories
445
% Daily Value*
Fat
 
24.2
g
37
%
Saturated Fat
 
10
g
63
%
Cholesterol
 
141.5
mg
47
%
Sodium
 
1876.5
mg
82
%
Carbohydrates
 
29.3
g
10
%
Fiber
 
3.4
g
14
%
Sugar
 
6.8
g
8
%
Protein
 
29.2
g
58
%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Recipe Notes

Ingredient Modifications and Variations
  • Fresh or frozen seafood – get your hands on whatever sustainably sourced seafood is at the best price. Fresh and frozen will both work!
  • Make it dairy-free – use full-fat canned coconut milk in place of the heavy cream for a delicious dairy-free seafood chowder.
Meet the Author
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Cassy Joy Garcia

HOWDY! I’m Cassy Joy and I am just so happy you’re here. I’m the founder, Editor-in-Chief, and Nutrition Consultant here at Fed and Fit. What started as a food blog back in 2011 has evolved now into so much more.
Get to know Cassy

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    Recipe Rating




  1. Keegan says

    Keegan —  01/23/2023 At 17:40

    5 stars
    This is delicious! Easy to throw together on a weeknight and my kids loved it, too!

    • Brandi Schilhab says

      Brandi Schilhab —  01/24/2023 At 10:00

      We’re so glad to hear that, Keegan! Thank you so much for sharing this with us!

  2. Lauren says

    Lauren —  01/31/2023 At 19:18

    Is the bacon supposed to be added back in? I made this tonight and expect it to be wonderful, but I was confused on whether the bacon was cooked just for the grease or if it’s supposed to be part of the final dish.

    Thanks!! Love this meal plan!

    • Brandi Schilhab says

      Brandi Schilhab —  02/03/2023 At 11:51

      Hi Lauren! I’m so sorry for the confusion. The bacon DOES get added back in — the recipe is fixed now!