Healthy Seafood Chowder
This Healthy Seafood Chowder is seriously the best! It’s flavorful, creamy, full of delicious seafood and can be table ready in about 45 minutes! Packed with tender shrimp and fish that are combined in a creamy clam broth with veggies. This tasty chowder recipe is a comfort food that can be easily enjoyed at home any day of the week!
best seafood chowder
I’m a huge fan of a really great New England Clam Chowder and this recipe is similar, but in my opinion, even better! My mom has actually been making this seafood chowder recipe for over 20 years, after finding the recipe in a Ladies Home Journal magazine. She still has the original recipe clipping and it’s from 1993! She often cooks it up when the whole family is together because this recipe makes a lot and we all LOVE it. This chowder recipe is also great to prepare on busy weeknights because it’s easy and cooks really quickly!
I know there are tons of seafood chowder recipes out there, but this one is just simply over-the-top delicious. Give it a try – I know you’ll agree!
what is seafood chowder?
Umm… just the most delicious soup ever. Ha! No, really, a chowder is a type of soup that typically has a creamy base and a chunky texture. There are several different types of chowder: clam chowder, corn chowder, and of course, this seafood chowder!
Seafood chowder is a complete meal on its own! It’s packed with shrimp, fish and veggies. We love to serve this bowl of deliciousness with some thick crusty bread to sop up all that creamy goodness at the bottom of the bowl!
This wonderfully creamy seafood soup is made with nourishing, simple ingredients and packs plenty of fiber and protein. To make this seafood chowder you’ll need:
- Veggies & produce. You’ll need onion, fennel, red potatoes and carrots as the veggie base to this delicious soup.
- Butter or ghee. To cook down all of those veggies.
- Spices. You’ll just need salt, pepper and thyme. Feel free to add in a dash of old bay seasoning, if you’d like.
- Clam juice. The broth that comes from clams is the liquid base to simmer all of the ingredients. You can substitute with chicken broth or vegetable broth, but you won’t get the same taste. Clam juice can be found at any grocery store near the tomato juice, or over by the tuna and canned seafood. It really gives this chowder amazing flavor and I highly recommend using it.
- Seafood. We’re using a pound each of cod (or any flakey white fish) and shrimp.
- Heavy whipping cream. Whisk in just 1/2 cup of heavy whipping cream to give the soup the right amount of creaminess. You can sub with half & half or whole milk if you’d like, but I like to use heavy whipping cream because it’s the richest.
how to make seafood chowder
It’s a good idea to start this recipe by preparing all of the ingredients first. Get all of the veggies and fish chopped up and measure everything out. I usually buy peeled and deveined shrimp, so that’s one less step, plus I hate the mess. Here’s a quick rundown of the basics:
- Sauté veggies. While you’re finishing up all of the prep work, heat butter in a large pot and once heated sauté onion and fennel in the butter for about 10 minutes. You can totally use celery instead of fennel, but if you’ve never given fennel a try, you should. Here’s a short video from Martha Stewart showing how to cut a fennel bulb.
- Cook the soup base. Now, add potatoes, carrots, clam juice, water, salt, pepper and thyme to the pot. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, cover and simmer until vegetables are just tender, about 10 minutes.
- Simmer the seafood. Next, add in the cod and shrimp and simmer for another 5 minutes. Once everything is cooked, stir in cream and garnish with fresh parsley.
- Taste & serve. Adjust seasonings as you’d like and serve hot — maybe with some crusty bread? Yum!
variations of seafood chowder
We love this seafood chowder as written, but feel free to experiment and switch up some of the ingredients depending on what you have on hand.
- Seafood. Try different types of fish. I really like using cod, but any white fish or even salmon would work well. You could also add scallops, lobster meat or crab. And if you’re not a fan of shrimp, simply leave it out.
- Vegetables. Add in any extra veggies you want. I think corn would be a really great addition.
- Other extras. Mix in cooked bacon because bacon makes everything better! If you don’t have parsley, this soup is delicious garnished with fresh chives or fresh dill.
- Cream. This seafood chowder recipe calls for heavy cream, but if you want to keep things dairy-free or lower in calories, use almond or coconut milk instead.
what to serve with seafood chowder
When I serve this chowder recipe, I like to keep the sides simple because seafood chowder is pretty much a complete meal — it has plenty of protein (shrimp & cod), loads of veggies, and carbs.
Our favorite way to eat seafood chowder is with some good crusty sourdough bread for dunking into the soup, or with a few oyster crackers on top. You could also pair it with a fresh green salad on the side. For the salad, simply toss mixed greens with lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. Feel free to add toppings to your salad such as red onion, cherry tomatoes, and/or croutons.
You can add bacon on top of the chowder, if you want to add a little something extra. It’s going to be fantastic however you enjoy it!
storing & freezing tips
Seafood chowder is a great make-ahead meal! Leftovers keep well in the fridge and you can enjoy piping hot bowls of seafood soup for lunch for the next several days without having to do any additional cooking!
Storing leftovers. Let the seafood chowder cool completely and place it in airtight containers in the refrigerator for up to about 4 days. Simply rewarm in the microwave or on the stovetop until heated through.
Freezing. This soup should freeze well! Allow it to cool completely and place it in freezer-safe containers in the freezer for up to about 3 months. To reheat, thaw the soup completely before rewarming it in the microwave or on the stovetop.
tools for making this seafood chowder recipe
Le Creuset Signature Dutch Oven – If you’re open to spending a bit of money on a piece that you’ll own forever, Le Creuset is my favorite brand for heavy pots and cookware.
Lodge Dutch Oven – Lodge is a great brand as well. I own several of their cast iron skillets and have been very happy with them. This one is more budget-friendly, but still great quality!
Wüsthof Two Piece Prep Set (Knives) – This is the knife set that I use most often and I can’t say enough great things about these high-quality knives.
If you try this creamy seafood chowder, let me know! Leave a comment and if your family loves it as much as mine does, be sure to give it a five star ⭐️ rating! Also, tag @kimscravings on Instagram with a picture of your creation. It’s so fun to see what you’re cooking! Be sure to subscribe to our mailing list to receive more healthy delicious recipes straight to your inbox.
Healthy Seafood Chowder
- 1 tablespoon butter or ghee
- 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
- 1 large (about 2 1/4 cups) bulb fennel*, cored and sliced
- 1 pound red potatoes, diced
- 2 cups diagonally sliced carrots
- 4 (8 ounce) bottles clam juice**
- 1 cup water
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon thyme
- 1 pound cod fillet***, cut into chunks
- 1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 1/2 cup heavy or whipping cream****
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
- Melt butter or ghee in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Add onion and fennel; cook, stirring occasionally until tender, about 10 minutes.
- Add potatoes, carrots, clam juice, water, salt, pepper and thyme. Bring to boil; reduce heat, cover and simmer until vegetable are just tender, 10 minutes. Add cod and shrimp; simmer, covered, until opaque, 5 minutes.
- Gently stir in cream and heat through (do not boil). Sprinkle with parsley.
**Can sub clam juice with chicken or seafood broth.
***Use any white fish.
****Sub cream for almond or coconut milk for a lighter, dairy free option.