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!
Cozy dinner season is here, and this Seafood Chowder is deliciously creamy and packed with so much goodness. It’s filled with white fish, shrimp, red potatoes, carrots and more.
If you’re a fan of New England Clam Chowder, this recipe is similar, but possibly even better! My mom has actually been making it for over 20 years, after finding the recipe in 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 it 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!
Made this recipe recently and it did NOT disappoint! It was delicious – and the whole family loved it. Paired it with some freshly baked bread and it hit the spot in on a cold, rainy evening.— Crista
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!
This wonderfully creamy seafood soup is made with nourishing, simple ingredients and packs plenty of fiber and protein. Here’s everything you’ll need to make it:
- Veggies & produce. You’ll need onion, fennel, red potatoes and carrots as the veggie base to this delicious soup.
- Butter. To cook down all of those veggies.
- Spices. Add salt, pepper and thyme for extra flavor. 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 we 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 heavy whipping cream will yield maximum rich creaminess.
How to make this recipe
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. Here’s the simple process for making this easy seafood chowder recipe:
- Sauté veggies. While you’re finishing up all of the prep work, heat butter in a large pot or dutch oven over medium heat, and once heated, sauté the onion and fennel in the butter for about 10 minutes. You can 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. We love this paired with crusty bread on the side!
- If you can’t find fennel or don’t have it available, feel free to sub with celery.
- We recommend buying peeled and deveined shrimp, so that’s one less step you have to worry about, plus it’s less mess.
- Feel free to add more veggies to this recipe. Sometimes we add corn for color and a hint of sweetness. Other vegetables that work great are mushrooms, peppers, or peas.
Frequently asked questions
A chowder is a type of soup that typically has a creamy base and a chunky texture. Several different types of chowder are: 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.
If you’d like to use something other than heavy cream to make this lighter, you could use a light cream, like half and half or whole milk, but you’ll want to mix in about 1 tbsp of cornstarch with the lighter cream or milk before adding it to the soup, to help with thickening.
Seafood chowders are usually not overly thick. Most rely on the starch from the potatoes to slightly thicken the broth and milk or cream. If you follow this recipe as instructed, you will not need to add any extra flour or cornstarch to thicken it.
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. Here’s some options:
- Seafood. Try different types of fish. We really like 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. 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 milk or coconut milk instead.
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.
- Crusty bread. Our favorite way to eat seafood chowder is with some good crusty sourdough bread for dunking into the soup and sopping up all the creamy goodness at the bottom of the bowl!
- Crackers. It’s also good with the added crunch of a few oyster crackers on top. Saltine crackers are good pairing too!
- Salad. 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 also 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, reheating & freezing tips
Seafood chowder is a great make-ahead meal! Leftovers keep well in the fridge and you can enjoy piping hot bowls for lunch for the next several days without having to do any additional cooking!
- Storing leftovers. Let leftovers cool completely, and place them 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. We don’t recommend freezing this soup. According to MyRecipes, dairy-based soups tend to separate when freezing, resulting in a grainy texture with perhaps even a film of fat on the top.
- 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. Be sure to subscribe to our mailing list to receive more healthy delicious recipes straight to your inbox.
Healthy Seafood Chowder
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 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 whipping cream****
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
- Melt butter 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 and serve.
**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.