New England Fish Chowder Recipe With Perfect Ingredients For Your Seafood Craving

New England Fish Chowder Recipe, a true culinary gem, exemplifies the rich tapestry of North Eastern American cuisine.

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A veritable symphony of flavors, it marries the hearty sustenance of Atlantic sea fare with the warmth of homestyle cooking, resulting in an unmatched food experience. 

New England Fish Chowder Recipe The Untold Story From Ocean To Bowl

This cherished dish dates back to the early settlers who, braving the cold, took the bounty of the Atlantic and cooked it into a chowder thickened with hardtack, a long-lasting sea biscuit. 

Today, its popularity extends far beyond the lighthouses and lobster traps of the North East, becoming a beacon of comfort food for seafood lovers everywhere. 

Our tale will embark upon a journey through the evolution of New England Fish Chowder, highlighting its transformation from a humble fisherman’s stew to a timeless classic of American dining. 

As we unravel the Fish Chowder Recipe recipe, we’ll delve into the significance of every ingredient and technique, painting a vivid picture of its gastronomical and historical impact.

Join us on this expedition to the heart of New England cuisine.

What Is England Fish Chowder?

New England Fish Chowder is a traditional, creamy seafood soup that originates from the northeastern United States, particularly the region known as New England.

This dish is deeply rooted in the area’s maritime history, where local fish, particularly cod and haddock, were plentiful and formed the basis of the region’s cuisine.

The chowder typically consists of the fish mentioned above, along with potatoes, onions, and sometimes other vegetables such as celery or carrots.

The ingredients are simmered in a broth that is often based on clam juice, fish stock, or other seafood broths. 

The distinguishing feature of New England-style chowder is the addition of milk or cream, which gives the soup its characteristic white color and creamy texture.

New England Fish Chowder is known for its comforting, hearty qualities and is traditionally served with oyster crackers or a loaf of crusty bread. 

It is a favorite in coastal communities, especially in cold weather, but is enjoyed worldwide for its rich, satisfying flavor.

History Of England Fish Chowder

The history of New England Fish Chowder is interwoven with the story of early American settlements, maritime tradition, and the bounty of the Atlantic Ocean. 

Though its exact origins are somewhat murky, chowder-like dishes can be traced back to fishing villages in France and Britain, with the term “chowder” potentially deriving from the French word “chaudière,” a type of large pot used for cooking.

Early settlers to the New England region in the 17th and 18th centuries brought these recipes and traditions with them.

They started making their own versions using local ingredients, most notably cod and clams, both abundant in the cold Atlantic waters. A hard sea biscuit or “ship’s bread” often thickens the stew.

Interesting Facts About England Fish Chowder

  • Historical Staple: TNew England Fish Chowder was a staple for the early American settlers, specifically those in New England. It was a hearty, nourishing meal that utilized ingredients they had on hand – fresh fish, potatoes, and onions. 
  • Evolving Chowder Tradition: The chowder tradition has European roots, particularly in French and British coastal towns. The concept traveled to the Americas with settlers and adapted to the ingredients available in the New World.
  • The Great Chowder Debate: The use of tomatoes in chowder was a point of such contention that in 1939, a bill was introduced in the Maine legislature making it illegal to put tomatoes in clam chowder, an indication of how seriously New Englanders take their chowder traditions.
  • Culinary Symbol: Fish chowder has become such a symbol of New England that many coastal towns hold annual chowder festivals, where local chefs and restaurants compete for the title of the best chowder.
  • Variety Of Fish: Though traditionally made with cod or haddock, modern interpretations of New England Fish Chowder may incorporate various types of white fish, including pollock, halibut, and even shellfish like clams, based on availability and sustainability considerations.
  • Quintessential Comfort Food: New England Fish Chowder is considered a comfort food due to its creamy consistency, rich flavor, and its ability to warm you from the inside, particularly during the region’s chilly winters. 
  • Chowder And Literature: The love for chowder has even found its way into literature. In his classic “Moby Dick,” Herman Melville devoted a whole chapter to clam and cod chowder.

What Makes England Fish Chowder Special?

  • Fresh Seafood: The freshness of the fish, usually cod or haddock, and occasionally shellfish, is crucial. The New England region has access to some of the world’s best seafood, and this dish reflects that bounty.
  • Creamy Consistency: Unlike other chowders, such as the tomato-based Manhattan chowder, New England Fish Chowder is known for its rich, creamy broth. This results from adding cream or milk, contrasting the hearty fish and potato chunks.
  • Simplicity And Balance: The dish is a testament to the beauty of simplicity. It does not rely on exotic ingredients or complex techniques.
    Instead, the focus is on the quality of ingredients and a perfect balance between the creaminess of the broth, the flaky fish, and the earthy potatoes.
  • Historical And Regional Significance: The chowder carries a rich history and is deeply ingrained in the food culture of New England. Eating it is a meal and a way to partake in a culinary tradition that dates back to the early settlers.
  • Versatility: While the traditional recipe is simple, it can be easily modified. Chefs can add various types of seafood, use different herbs and spices, or even add a dash of sherry or other flavors to make it their own.
    Despite these tweaks, the essence of the chowder remains the same, which speaks to its enduring appeal.
  • Comfort Food Status: Finally, New England Fish Chowder is the epitome of comfort food. It’s the dish many turn to on cold days, at family gatherings, or when they need something warm and satisfying.
New England Fish Chowder Recipe The Untold Story From Ocean To Bowl

Ingredients List

Bacon, diced3 slices
Large onion, diced1
Yukon Gold or red-skinned potatoes, diced4
Butter2 tablespoons
All-purpose unbleached flour3 tablespoons
Clam broth1 quart
Heavy cream1/2 cup
Cod or other white fish, cut into large chunks2 pounds
Kosher salt1/2 teaspoon (or more to taste)
Fresh black pepper1/2 teaspoon (or more to taste)

    Ingredient Tips 

    • Fresh Fish: Use the freshest fish you can find, typically cod or haddock. If these aren’t available, any firm white fish will do. Freshness will significantly impact the taste of your chowder.
    • Potatoes: Yukon Gold or red-skinned potatoes are ideal because they hold their shape well during cooking and provide a nice, creamy texture.
    • Dairy: For the richest flavor, use heavy cream. If you’re looking to reduce the fat content, you can substitute with half-and-half or whole milk, but this may result in a less creamy chowder.
    • Clam Broth: Choose high-quality clam broth for the best flavor. If you can’t find clam broth, fish stock is a good alternative.
    • Thickening Agent: All-purpose flour is typically used to thicken the chowder. To avoid lumps, make sure to blend it well with the butter and onions before adding the liquid.
    • Butter: Use unsalted butter so you can control the amount of salt in your chowder.
    • Seasoning: Use kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper for seasoning. The flavor will be superior to pre-ground pepper or table salt.
    • Additional Flavors: While not traditional, you can consider adding ingredients like celery for crunch, bacon for smokiness, or a bay leaf for extra depth of flavor.

    Can You Vary England Fish Chowder With Other Ingredients?

    You can vary the ingredients in New England Fish Chowder to suit your tastes, and dietary preferences, or to add a twist to the traditional recipe. Here are a few variations:

    • Different Proteins: Though traditionally made with white fish like cod or haddock, you can also use other types of seafood. Clams, mussels, shrimp, or even lobster can be wonderful additions.
    • Vegetables: Feel free to add other vegetables to make the chowder even heartier. Corn, bell peppers, or even fennel could be added along with the traditional onions and potatoes.
    • Herbs And Spices: Dill, thyme, bay leaves, or a dash of cayenne pepper can add depth of flavor to your chowder. For a smoky twist, you could even add a touch of smoked paprika.
    • Bacon Or Salt Pork: Adding diced bacon or salt pork to the chowder can introduce a wonderful smoky flavor. Sauté it at the beginning with the onions for maximum flavor.
    • Dairy Alternatives: If you’re lactose intolerant or following a vegan diet, you could use dairy-free milk alternatives such as almond milk, coconut milk, or oat milk.
      The texture and taste might vary slightly from traditional chowder, but it can still make a delicious and satisfying meal.
    • Gluten-Free Variation: If you’re gluten intolerant, you can thicken the chowder with cornstarch or a gluten-free flour blend instead of regular flour.
    New England Fish Chowder Recipe The Untold Story

    Recipe Directions

    Prepare the Soup Base

    • Cook bacon until crispy, remove and set aside.
    • Sauté onion in bacon grease with butter until translucent and slightly browned.
    • Sprinkle flour over onions and cook to remove raw flour taste.
    • Gradually add clam broth, stirring constantly. Simmer with diced potatoes until tender.

    Prepare the Cream Topping

    • Warm heavy cream in a separate saucepan.

    Finish the Soup

    • Add chunks of fish to the soup base and simmer until cooked through.
    • Stir in warmed heavy cream, cooked bacon, salt, and pepper. Heat until hot.

    To Serve

    • Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.
    • Ladle the hot chowder into bowls.
    • Optionally garnish with fresh parsley or chives.
    • Serve with crusty bread on the side.
    New England Fish Chowder Recipe

    Variations, Add On And Toppings

    Variations And Add-Ons

    • Different Seafood: Switch up the type of fish you use or mix in other seafood such as clams, shrimp, or lobster for a more deluxe chowder.
    • Extra Vegetables: Consider adding additional vegetables like corn, carrots, or bell peppers for extra color and texture.
    • Smoky Flavor: For a smoky twist, you can add smoked paprika or replace the bacon with smoked salmon.
    • Herbs And Spices: Enhance the flavor with fresh herbs such as thyme, dill, or bay leaves. For heat, try a pinch of cayenne pepper or a splash of hot sauce.
    • Dairy-Free Or Gluten-Free: Use dairy-free milk alternatives for a lactose-free version or a gluten-free flour blend for those with gluten sensitivity.


    • Crumbled Bacon: Set aside some of the bacon used in the chowder and sprinkle it on top just before serving for a crispy, salty garnish.
    • Fresh Herbs: Sprinkle freshly chopped parsley, chives, or dill on top to add a touch of freshness.
    • Crackers Or Croutons: Add some crunch with oyster crackers, saltine crackers, or homemade croutons.
    • Cheese: While not traditional, a sprinkle of sharp cheddar or Parmesan can add a nice flavor contrast.
    • Green Onions: Slice some green onions or chives for a mild onion flavor and a pop of color.
    • Sour Cream Or Greek Yogurt: A small dollop can add a nice tang and make the chowder even creamier.

    Scaling The Recipe

    Scaling a recipe, such as New England fish chowder, up or down requires careful adjustments to the ingredient quantities.

    The process begins by determining the desired serving size or number of servings. 

    Next, a scaling factor is calculated by dividing the desired serving size by the original serving size.

    This factor is then used to multiply the quantities of each ingredient in the original recipe, resulting in adjusted quantities for the scaled recipe.

    It’s important to consider the cooking time, as increasing or decreasing the recipe size may necessitate adjustments to ensure proper cooking.

    Additionally, the taste and seasonings should be evaluated and adjusted to suit personal preferences. 

    While these guidelines provide a starting point, it’s crucial to exercise judgment and make necessary adaptations based on the specific ingredients and circumstances.

    Always double-check measurements and adjust as needed to ensure a successful outcome.

    What Is Used For Garnishing?

    New England Fish Chowder is often garnished with items that add visual appeal, texture, or a fresh counterpoint to the rich, creamy soup. Here are a few common choices:

    • Fresh Herbs: Chopped fresh parsley or chives are often used to garnish fish chowder. They provide a pop of bright green color and a fresh flavor that contrasts nicely with the creamy soup.
    • Crumbled Bacon: If you’ve used bacon in your chowder, setting aside a bit to use as a garnish can add a nice crunch and a burst of savory flavor.
    • Crackers Or Oyster Crackers: These are a traditional accompaniment to chowders and can be sprinkled on top as a garnish. They add a contrasting crunch.
    • Black Pepper: A light sprinkling of freshly ground black pepper adds a bit of spice and looks appealing against the creamy soup.
    • Green Onions Or Chives: Finely sliced green onions or chives add a mild onion flavor and a pop of green color.

    Can I Make Soup In A Slow Cooker Or Instant Pot?

    Slow Cooker

    • In a pan over medium heat, cook the bacon until crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside. In the remaining bacon grease, sauté the diced onion until translucent.
    • Transfer the onion to your slow cooker and the cooked bacon, diced potatoes, clam broth, salt, and pepper. 
    • Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours or until the potatoes are tender.
    • About 30 minutes before serving, add the chunks of fish and heavy cream to the slow cooker. Stir gently to combine, then cover and continue to cook on low.
    • Adjust seasoning before serving, if needed.

    Instant Pot

    • Using the sauté function, cook the bacon until crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside. In the remaining bacon grease, sauté the diced onion until translucent.
    • Add the flour to the onions, stirring well to combine. Gradually pour in the clam broth, stirring constantly to avoid lumps.
    • Add the diced potatoes, salt, and pepper to the Instant Pot. Secure the lid and set the vent to sealing. Cook on manual high pressure for 10 minutes.
    • Once the cooking time is up, quickly release the pressure. Open the lid and add the chunks of fish and heavy cream. Replace the lid and allow the heat of the soup to cook the fish (about 10 minutes).
    • Stir in the cooked bacon and adjust the seasoning before serving, if needed.

    Can I Use Store Bought Broth Or Should I Make My Own?

    Store-bought broth

    • This is a quick and convenient option. You can find a variety of broths available, including fish, clam, and vegetable broths, that would all work well in this chowder. When purchasing, try to find a low-sodium version to control your chowder’s salt level.

    Homemade broth

    • If you have the time and ingredients, homemade broth can add a depth of flavor to your chowder that store-bought versions can’t match. You could make fish stock using fish bones and scraps or seafood stock using shrimp shells or other seafood remnants. Add some aromatic vegetables (like onions, carrots, and celery), herbs, and spices, and simmer for an hour before straining.

    Can I Use Different Types Of Seafood/Fish/Pasta/Vegetables Etc For The New England Fish Chowder?

    New England Fish Chowder is versatile and can be adjusted based on your personal preferences, dietary needs, or what you have available. Here are a few options:

    • Different Seafood/Fish: You can use any firm white fish, such as haddock, halibut, or sea bass. Additionally, you can add other seafood like clams, mussels, shrimp, scallops, or lobster for seafood chowder.
    • Pasta: Adding pasta isn’t traditional for New England Fish Chowder, but you could include small pasta shapes if you’d like. It would then become more of a fish and pasta soup, which could be quite tasty. 
    • Vegetables: You can add a variety of vegetables to your chowder. Corn is a common addition, as are carrots or bell peppers for extra color. Celery can also add a nice crunch. Just be aware that other vegetables will change the traditional flavor profile.
    • Beans: Adding beans isn’t traditional, but white or cannellini beans could provide additional protein and fiber.

    Success Tips – Tips And Tricks For England Fish Chowder

    Prepping Tips

    • Prep Ahead: Chop your onions, potatoes, and fish in advance to save time when you’re ready to start cooking. These can be stored in the fridge in separate, airtight containers until you need them.
    • Soak Potatoes: If you have time, soak the diced potatoes in cold water for about 30 minutes before using. This helps to remove some of the starch and can result in a clearer soup.
    • Fish Selection: When choosing fish, look for firm, fresh white fish. The fish should smell like the sea, not fishy.

    Cooking Time Tips

    • Don’t Overcook The Fish: Fish cooks quickly and can become tough if overcooked. Add it towards the end of the cooking time and simmer just until it’s opaque and flakes easily with a fork.
    • Simmer, Don’t Boil: Keep the heat low enough that the chowder simmers gently. This will help to prevent the dairy from curdling and the fish from overcooking.
    • Let It Sit: If possible, let the chowder sit for a few hours before serving. This allows the flavors to meld together and can result in a more flavorful chowder.
      New England Fish Chowder Recipe The Untold Story

      Nutritional Values 

      New England Fish Chowder is a hearty, nutritious meal. One serving typically contains around 350-400 calories. It’s high in protein due to the fish, offering approximately 25-30g per serving. 

      The soup also provides essential nutrients like vitamins A and C from the potatoes and onions and beneficial Omega-3 fatty acids from the fish.

      However, be mindful of the sodium and fat content, which can be high depending on the ingredients used.

      What Are Total Calories In England Fish Chowder?

      The total calories in a serving of New England Fish Chowder can vary significantly depending on the specific ingredients and their quantities used in the recipe.

      However, a general estimate for one serving of this chowder would be around 350-400 calories. 

      This calculation considers the fish, potatoes, cream, bacon, and other ingredients typically used in the dish.

      Calculate the calories based on the specific brands and quantities of ingredients you’re using for a more accurate assessment.

      Dietary Restrictions For England Fish Chowder

      • Gluten: The recipe includes all-purpose flour, which contains gluten. To make the recipe gluten-free, you could use a gluten-free flour blend or cornstarch as a thickener instead.
      • Dairy: The recipe includes butter and heavy cream. If you are lactose intolerant or following a dairy-free diet, you could use plant-based substitutes like olive oil instead of butter and coconut milk or almond milk instead of heavy cream. 
      • Shellfish/Fish Allergies: Obviously, if you have an allergy to shellfish or fish, you should avoid this recipe. There’s not really a way to make a fish chowder without fish. 
      • Vegetarian/Vegan: As it includes fish and possibly other seafood, this recipe isn’t suitable for vegetarians or vegans. 
      • Low Sodium: This recipe can be high in sodium due to the clam broth and added salt. For a low-sodium version, use low-sodium broth and reduce or eliminate the added salt.

      Health Benefits For England Fish Chowder 

      New England Fish Chowder can provide several health benefits, primarily due to its main ingredients: fish and vegetables. Here are some of the potential benefits:

      • Protein-Rich: Fish is an excellent source of high-quality protein, which is essential for building and repairing body tissues, producing enzymes and hormones, and supporting overall growth and development.
      • Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Fish, particularly fatty fish like salmon or mackerel, is rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, which are beneficial for heart health, brain function, and reducing inflammation.
      • Vitamin And Mineral Rich: Fish is a good source of vitamins like B12 and D and minerals like iodine and selenium. Potatoes provide vitamin C, B6, and potassium, while onions offer vitamin C and certain B vitamins.
      • Heart Health: The monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats found in fish and olive oil (if used) are good for heart health.
      • Eye Health: Fish is a rich source of retinol, a form of vitamin A, which is beneficial for eye health.

      Nutrition Table

      Can I Make England Fish Chowder Low In Sodium?

      Yes, there are several strategies to make New England Fish Chowder lower in sodium:

      • Use Fresh, Unprocessed Ingredients: Fresh fish, potatoes, and vegetables generally contain very little sodium. Similarly, homemade fish or vegetable stock can be made with little or no added salt.
      • Choose Low-Sodium Broth: If you’re using store-bought broth, choose a low-sodium or unsalted version.
      • Reduce Or Eliminate Added Salt: The recipe calls for added salt. You can reduce this amount or eliminate it entirely and allow individuals to add salt to taste at the table if needed.
      • Season With Herbs And Spices: Enhance the flavor of the chowder with herbs (like thyme, bay leaves, or parsley) and spices (like black pepper or paprika) instead of relying solely on salt.
      • Avoid Salty Toppings: Instead of topping the chowder with salted crackers or bacon, consider fresh herbs, a squeeze of lemon juice, or a sprinkle of fresh ground pepper for extra flavor.

      Can I Make England Fish Chowder Lower In Sugar?

      • Broth/Stock: Choose a no-sugar-added or low-sugar variety of clam broth or fish stock. Some brands may add sugar for flavor, so it’s important to read the nutrition label.
      • Cream: While heavy cream doesn’t typically contain sugar, some lower-fat dairy products might. Again, reading labels is crucial to avoid unnecessary added sugars.
      • Bacon: Some types of bacon are cured with sugar. Look for a brand that doesn’t use sugar in the curing process if you want to minimize sugar content.

      How To Serve England Fish Chowder At Its Best?

      • Timing: Chowder, like many soups and stews, often tastes even better the next day after the flavors have had a chance to meld. However, if you’re serving it the same day it’s made, let it rest for at least 15-30 minutes off the heat before serving. 
      • Temperature: Serve the chowder hot but not boiling. You want it to be warm enough to enjoy but not so hot that it burns your mouth.
      • Presentation: Ladle the chowder into warm bowls, ensuring each serving has a good mix of fish, potatoes, and broth. 
      • Garnish: Sprinkle some freshly chopped parsley or chives on top for a burst of color and freshness. A crack of black pepper can also add visual appeal and flavor.
      • Accompaniments: New England Fish Chowder is traditionally served with oyster crackers or a crusty baguette on the side. A simple green salad or coleslaw can also balance out the richness of the chowder.
        For a beverage, consider a crisp white wine or a local craft beer if you enjoy alcohol.

      Perfect Side Dishes To Complement The Recipe 

      • Crusty Bread Or Oyster Crackers: A piece of fresh, crusty bread or a handful of oyster crackers is perfect for sopping up the flavorful broth. You could also try cornbread for a slight twist.
      • Green Salad: A light, fresh salad with a vinaigrette can balance the richness of the chowder. Try mixed greens with cherry tomatoes, cucumber, and a light lemon vinaigrette.
      • Roasted Vegetables: Roasted Brussels sprouts, carrots, or asparagus can add a nice contrast and additional nutrients. The slight sweetness from roasting pairs well with the savory chowder.
      • Coleslaw: A classic side for any seafood dish, coleslaw can provide a nice crunch and tanginess to contrast with the creamy chowder.
      • Corn On The Cob: Especially in the summer, fresh corn on the cob could be a great side dish. It’s a nod to the corn often included in some versions of chowder.
      • Pickles: The acidity and crunch of pickled cucumbers, beets, or even kimchi can be a nice contrast to the rich, creamy chowder.

      How Long Can We Store England Fish Chowder?

      New England Fish Chowder can be stored safely in the refrigerator for about 3-4 days. Store it in an airtight container to maintain freshness and prevent it from absorbing other flavors in the refrigerator.

      It can be frozen if you want to store the chowder for longer periods. Properly stored in a freezer-safe, airtight container, it can last up to 2-3 months. When you’re ready to eat it, thaw it in the refrigerator during the night and then reheat it gently in the microwave or on the stovetop.  

      Can I Make Soup In Advance?

      Absolutely! In fact, New England Fish Chowder is a great dish to prepare in advance.

      As with many soups and stews, the flavors meld and intensify when allowed to sit for a while, often making the chowder even more delicious a day after it’s been made.

      If you’re preparing the chowder a day ahead, follow the recipe as instructed, then let it cool to room temperature before refrigerating it in an airtight container.

      The next day, gently reheat the chowder on the stove until it’s thoroughly warmed. Be careful not to let it boil, which could cause the fish to break down too much and the cream to curdle.

      If you plan to freeze the chowder for longer storage, leaving out the cream when you first make it is generally best. You can add the cream when you’re reheating the soup from frozen.

      This helps prevent texture changes that can occur when dairy products are frozen and thawed.

      What Can We Do With Leftovers?

      • Pasta Sauce: Mix the chowder with some freshly cooked pasta. The fish and creamy sauce will work well as a rich pasta sauce. Add some freshly chopped herbs and a squeeze of lemon juice to brighten the flavors.
      • Seafood Pot Pie: Use the chowder as the base for a seafood pot pie. Simply place it in a baking dish, cover it with a rolled-out pie crust or puff pastry, and bake until golden brown.
      • Chowder Baked Potatoes: If your leftover chowder is on the thicker side, use it as a stuffing for baked potatoes. Top it with some cheese and bake until the cheese is bubbly and golden.
      • Seafood Risotto: Stir the chowder into a simple risotto towards the end of the cooking time. The creamy broth will make the risotto even more flavorful.

      Special Tools/Equipment Needed

      • Large Pot Or Dutch Oven: This is where you’ll cook your chowder. A large, heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven will distribute heat evenly and prevent the chowder from scorching.
      • Sharp Knife And Cutting Board: These are needed for chopping the onions, potatoes, and fish.
      • Measuring Cups And Spoons: Accuracy is important in cooking, and these tools will help you measure your ingredients.
      • Wooden Spoon Or Spatula: Useful for stirring your chowder and ensuring it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pot.
      • Ladle: For serving the chowder.
      • Bowls And Spoons For Serving: Chowder is traditionally served in deep bowls, but you can use whatever you have on hand.

      Frequently Asked Questions 

      What Type Of Fish Is Best For New England Fish Chowder?

      Traditional New England Fish Chowder often uses cod, but you can also use other firm white fish such as haddock, pollock, or halibut. Some people even like to use a mix of different fish for added flavor.

      Can I Use Frozen Fish In This Recipe?

      Yes, you can use frozen fish. Just be sure to thaw it thoroughly before using. This prevents excess water from being released into the chowder as it cooks.

      Can I Use Vegetable Broth Instead Of Clam Broth?

      Yes, you can use vegetable broth, but it will change the flavor profile of the chowder. Clam broth adds a distinct briny, oceanic flavor that’s characteristic of New England Fish Chowder. 

      Can I Make This Chowder Dairy-Free?

      Yes, you can substitute the heavy cream with coconut milk or a non-dairy creamer. Keep in mind this will alter the taste slightly. 

      Why Is My Chowder Watery?

      If your chowder is too watery, it may be that the potatoes released too much moisture. Next time, you could try sautéing the potatoes briefly before adding the liquid. Alternatively, you could mix a tablespoon of cornstarch with cold water and add it to the chowder to help thicken it.

      New England Fish Chowder Recipe The Untold Story From Ocean To Bowl

      New England Fish Chowder Recipe The Untold Story From Ocean To Bowl

      5 from 3 votes
      Recipe by Hanna Barnes Course: Chowder Recipe


      Prep time


      Cooking time





      To prepare New England Fish Chowder, start by sautéing onions and celery. Add diced potatoes, then cover with fish stock, cooking until tender. Add fresh white fish, simmering until cooked through. Finally, stir in heavy cream for a rich finish. Season to taste, serve hot, and garnish with fresh herbs.


      • Bacon, diced

      • Large onion, diced

      • Yukon Gold or red-skinned potatoes, diced

      • Butter

      • All-purpose unbleached flour

      • Clam broth

      • Heavy cream

      • Cod or other white fish, cut into large chunks

      • Kosher salt

      • Fresh black pepper

      Step-By-Step Directions

      • Prepare The Soup Base
        Heat a large pot over medium heat, then add the diced bacon. Cook until the bacon is crispy and the fat has rendered out. Remove the cooked bacon with a slotted spoon, set it aside for later, and leave the bacon grease in the pot.
      • Add the butter to the pot, let it melt, then add the diced onion. Sauté until the onion is translucent and beginning to brown, about 5-7 minutes.
      • Sprinkle the flour over the onions, stirring well to incorporate it into the butter and onion mixture. Cook for a couple of minutes to remove the raw flour taste.
      • Gradually pour in the clam broth, stirring constantly to avoid lumps. Bring the mixture to a simmer.
      • Add the diced potatoes to the pot, cover, and simmer for about 15-20 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.
      • Prepare The Cream Topping
        While the soup base is cooking, gently heat the heavy cream in a small saucepan over low heat. You want it warmed, but not boiling.
      • Finish The Soup
        Once the potatoes are tender, add the chunks of fish to the soup base. Simmer for another 10 minutes or until the fish is cooked through and easily flakes with a fork.
      • Stir in the warmed heavy cream, cooked bacon, salt, and pepper. Heat the chowder for a few more minutes until it is hot throughout.
      • To Serve
        Taste the chowder and adjust the seasoning if needed.
      • Ladle the hot chowder into serving bowls. You can garnish with a sprinkle of fresh parsley or chives if you like.
      • Serve with crusty bread on the side to soak up all the delicious, creamy broth. Enjoy this warming, comforting New England Fish Chowder!


      • Quality Ingredients: As with any dish, the quality of your ingredients will significantly impact the final result. Use the freshest fish you can find. Try sourcing locally caught fish for the best flavor.
      • Don’t Overcook the Fish: Fish can easily become tough and overcooked. It only needs a few minutes to cook through in the hot soup, so add it last to keep it tender and flaky.
      • Adjust the Creaminess: If you prefer a lighter soup, you can cut back on the heavy cream or replace some of it with milk. Add more heavy cream or cream cheese if you want it even creamier.
      • Play with Herbs and Spices: The recipe calls for salt and pepper, but add other herbs and spices to suit your taste. Thyme, bay leaf, or a dash of cayenne pepper can all add interesting notes to the chowder.
      • Potato Choice: Waxy potatoes like Yukon Gold or red potatoes hold their shape better in the soup and give a nice texture. However, if you prefer a thicker soup, starchy potatoes like Russets can help thicken it as they break down.
      • Cooking Time: Don’t rush the cooking process. Letting the chowder simmer will help all the flavors meld together.
      Hanna Barnes

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