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This fish chowder recipe is comforting and full of delicate flavors. Chunks of white fish, red potatoes, and sweet corn are simmered in a creamy broth until tender. It's a lightened-up version of the classic that's quick and easy to make, and uses just one pot!
Curl up with a bowl of this comforting fish chowder! It's a simple and nourishing one-pot meal that's perfect for chilly days. The tender chunks of fish are the star of the show and will melt in your mouth.
We make this healthier version using less cream so it has a lighter taste and feel, but doesn't skimp on flavor. It's a filling meal on its own but we recommend serving it with a generous amount of crusty bread to soak up the delicious broth.
It's an easy recipe and since it's made in one pot, clean-up is a breeze. Only 30 minutes stand between you and this warm and comforting dish — let’s make chowder!
What you'll need to make fish chowder
Here's everything you'll need to make this healthier fish chowder recipe:
- Butter – we use butter for sautéing because we love the richness and flavor.
- Onion, garlic, celery, and carrots – this traditional combination of aromatics and vegetables makes up the flavor base of the chowder.
- Seasonings – dried thyme, salt, and pepper.
- Flour – an all-purpose flour works as a thickener for the broth.
- Clam juice – instead of using a lot of milk or cream, we use clam juice as the liquid base of the broth which gives it lots of delicious seafood flavor.
- Chicken stock – you could also use vegetable stock if you prefer.
- Red potatoes – no need to peel, we keep the skins on for a rustic chowder. You could also use other potatoes like yukon gold potatoes if that's what you have on hand.
- White fish – any firm white fish fillets like cod, haddock, or halibut works well and will hold its shape when cooked.
- Corn – from a can or frozen. If you're making this recipe while corn is in season, you could also cut it fresh off the cob!
- Heavy cream – a modest amount of heavy cream adds its signature creaminess to the chowder.
- Parsley – used as a garnish for serving. Minced chives would also taste great.
How to make the best fish chowder
It's easy to make this recipe for fish chowder using just one pot! Let's break down the steps:
- Start by melting the butter in a large heavy pot or dutch oven. Cook the onion until it is soft, followed by the garlic, celery, carrots, thyme, salt, and pepper. Sauté for a couple more minutes.
- Mix the flour into the veggies and cook for a minute to remove the raw flour flavor.
- Add the clam juice and chicken stock followed by the potatoes and bring everything to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until the potatoes are almost cooked.
- Cut the fish into bite-sized pieces.
- Then add the fish to the pot and let the soup simmer for a few minutes more.
- Lastly, add the corn and cream to the pot and let them warm through. Taste and season with more salt and pepper, if you'd like. Stir in the parsley before serving. That's it!
Full recipe instructions are in the recipe card below.
What's the best type of fish to use?
We recommend using any firm white fish like cod, haddock, salmon, or halibut. They will keep their shape when cooked.
Can I use seafood instead of fish?
Yes! Both scallops and shrimp taste great in place of the fish.
Can you freeze fish chowder?
No, this chowder shouldn't go in the freezer because potatoes turn grainy when they're frozen.
How long does it keep in the refrigerator?
This chowder will stay fresh in a sealed container in the fridge for 3-4 days.
What to serve with fish chowder
This fish chowder is a meal on its own but we make sure to serve it with a side of crusty bread to soak up all the delicious broth. If you're serving it as part of a meal or to a crowd, here are some recipe ideas that would pair well:
Favorite soup recipes
- Broccoli Cheese Soup
- Cozy Celery Soup
- Solyanka Soup
- Italian Sausage Soup
- Coconut Thai Chicken Zoodle Soup
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 large onion (finely minced)
- 3 cloves garlic (finely minced)
- 2 stalks celery (diced)
- 2 medium carrots (sliced)
- 1 teaspoon EACH: thyme, salt, and pepper
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- 2 8-ounce bottles clam juice
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 3 cups diced red potatoes
- 1 lb white fish
- 1 cup corn (frozen or canned (drained))
- ½ cup heavy cream
- ¼ cup minced parsley
- Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until it softens, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic, celery, carrots, thyme, salt, and pepper and saute for 2 minutes.1 tablespoon butter, 1 large onion, 3 cloves garlic, 2 stalks celery, 2 medium carrots, 1 teaspoon EACH: thyme, salt, and pepper
- Mix the flour into the veggies and let it cook for 1 minute.¼ cup all-purpose flour
- Stir the clam juice and chicken stock into the pot then add the potatoes and bring the pot to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 8-10 minutes, until the potatoes are almost cooked.2 8-ounce bottles clam juice, 2 cups chicken stock, 3 cups diced red potatoes
- Cut the fish into bite-sized pieces and then stir them into the pot. Let the soup simmer for 5 minutes more.1 lb white fish
- Add the corn and cream to the pot and let the soup reheat. Taste and add more salt and pepper, if you'd like. Stir in the parsley.1 cup corn, ¼ cup minced parsley, ½ cup heavy cream
We have thoroughly tested this recipe for accuracy. However, individual results may vary. See our full recipe disclosure here.