Our 21 Best Chowder Recipes
Shrimp and Corn Chowder
The grated plantain in this coastal Ecuadoran soup gives the dish a wonderfully light and creamy body.
New England Clam Chowder
With only 1/2 cup of heavy cream, this quick version of classic New England clam chowder is light and healthy, but still super satisfying.
Smoked Fish Chowder
Any local smoked fish, from haddock to trout, works well in this creamy chowder studded with corn kernels and tender chunks of potato. The recipe is also terrific made with fresh cod or sole and a little bacon for smokiness.
Corn Chowder with Bacon and Sea Scallops
Look for sugar-cured bacon, which is smoky and sweet but mild enough not to overpower the other flavors here.
To make this lightly smoky chowder, Andrew Carmellini cleverly cooks potato chunks in milk and cream, which both enriches the potatoes and thickens the broth. He also adds corn and a mix of herbs to brighten the flavor.
Whitefish, Leek and Celery Chowder with White Beans
Food & Wine's Justin Chapple puts his own spin on chowder here, using beans instead of potatoes, and smoky whitefish in place of bacon. It's hearty and delicious but lighter and fresher than most chowders.
Miso Clam Chowder with Parsley Oil
David Myers garnishes his chowder with an edible still life of clams, mushrooms, dried seaweed and crisp mitsuba (a Japanese herb). At home, a small amount of savory white miso paste gives New England-style clam chowder a Japanese accent. Parsley oil adds flavor.
Raw Sweet Corn and Cashew Chowder
Not only is yellow corn a good source of vitamin B, magnesium and thiamin, it also contains carotenoids (organic pigments with health benefits) not found in white corn. Ani Phyo likes to add a handful of vitamin A-rich spinach or soft lettuce to the chowder. “Then it becomes part-soup, part-salad,” she says.
With its all-American ingredients, this New England-style chowder is a comfort-food classic. The soup needs only bread, or traditional oyster crackers, as an accompaniment.
Southwest Seafood Chowder
As a native New Englander, chef Steve Sicinski loves clam chowder but prefers making a healthier version with Southwestern flavors.
There are several tricks to this terrific chowder from Linton Hopkins. He adds potato chunks to the broth for thickness, then pours in a little naturally low-fat buttermilk for creamy tanginess. And instead of fatty bacon, he uses smoked oysters to give the chowder a slightly woodsy flavor.
Smoked fish—already cooked and intensely flavorful—is an ideal addition to dishes when time is of the essence. We’ve used trout here, but another flaky fish, such as haddock or whitefish, would work just as well.
Smoky Ham-and-Corn Chowder
Melissa Rubel Jacobson deepens the flavor of this luxurious ham-and-corn chowder by simmering the scraps (the ham rind and corn cobs) in water to make a quick, tasty stock.
Peruvian Shrimp-and-Corn Chowder
In Peru, small streams wend their way from the mountains to the coast, and the delicious shrimp that fill them are cooked with local corn, squash, and potatoes to make this South American chowder called cupe. Don't peel the shrimp before cooking them in Step 1: The shells will flavor the cooking oil, which in turn will flavor the soup. the corn is traditionally left on the cob, but if the prospect of eating it this way (it is messy) bothers you, use two cups of kernels instead.
Creamy Clam and White Bean Chowder
White beans substitute for the usual potatoes in this chowder, made with sweet butternut squash, briny littleneck clams and smoky bacon. Rancho Gordo cellini beans give the soup a buttery richness, but Great Northern beans are terrific as well.
Tomato Clam Chowder
Smoky Oyster Chowder with Bacon, Rosemary and Fennel
This velvety chowder from chef Dylan Fultineer is thickened with a classic flour-and-butter roux. He packs it with plump oysters and tender fingerling potatoes, and adds a kick of heat from dried red chiles. For extra flavor, he uses bacon from Benton’s Smoky Mountain Country Hams in Tennessee, which is famous for its intense smokiness.
Smoky Clam Chowder
Chef Nicki Reiss set out to develop this hearty, healthful, tomato-packed clam chowder based on flavors she enjoyed on a trip to Spain. As an alternative to smoky (and fatty) chorizo, Reiss turned to soyrizo, her favorite soy-based vegetarian sausage.
Light and Creamy Oyster Chowder with Salsify
This light but intensely oystery soup was inspired by a recipe from Joanne Hendricks, the proprietor of the eponymous vintage-cookbook store in New York City. Salsify is a root vegetable shaped like a skinny parsnip; it has blackish skin with white flesh and tastes a little like artichoke hearts. If you have trouble finding it, you can substitute Jerusalem artichokes (sunchokes) or, as a last resort, the pedestrian potato.
Fall River Clam Chowder
A recipe from Emeril Lagasse.
Corn, Crab and Shrimp Chowder
Andrew Zimmern adds depth to his rich seafood chowder by making an easy stock with corn cobs and shrimp shells. Plenty of cream and butter make this chowder irresistibly decadent.