Mouth-watering Southern seafood chowder – Recipe

As soon as the air starts to get crisp, and the leaves begin to fall, I start to crave something hearty and warm. And nothing warms my soul more than a steaming bowl of creamy Southern seafood or fish chowder on a chilly autumn day.

This recipe takes me back to my childhood when I would watch my grandmother prepare the most delicious seafood chowder in her kitchen. The scent of bay leaves, thyme, garlic cloves, and potato wedges simmering away in a pot filled our home with warmth and comfort.

As a chef specialized in southern-style cuisine, I’ve taken this classic New England seafood chowder recipe and given it my own twist. Whether you’re making it for dinner parties, family gatherings, or just to indulge in some comforting seafood soup, you won’t regret following this recipe.

So sit back, grab your ladle and let me show you how to create the best creamy seafood chowder that will leave your tastebuds singing!

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Creamy Southern Seafood or Fish Chowder
Creamy Southern Seafood or Fish Chowder

Listen up, folks! Let me tell you why this Creamy Southern Seafood or Fish Chowder Recipe is the best thing to happen to your kitchen in a long time. This recipe is packed with mouth-watering ingredients that come together to create a rich, creamy and delicious soup chowder like no other.

First off, this creamy seafood chowder includes salmon fillet, shrimp, and crab meat. These mixed seafood are cooked perfectly to give you juicy and tender shrimp, plus pink fish that simply melts in your mouth. All of these seafood ingredients are all infused with the flavors of the ocean and the bay leaves, dried thyme, garlic cloves that truly take this dish to another level.

But it’s not just seafood that makes this recipe so exceptional. It also includes slices of crispy bacon, butter for richness and white wine for depth of flavor. The recipe best entails incorporating heavy cream and soymilk for a perfectly balanced creaminess. Trust me; the richness of these ingredients is going to make your taste buds dance with joy.

And there’s more! The recipe’s homemade cornstarch slurry thickens everything up to perfection. The combination of all these diverse tastes and textures comes together beautifully in this Southern-style creamy seafood chowder. Mark my words; It’s love at first bite!

Simply put, this seafood chowder recipe easily rivals New England-style clam chowder, making it perfect for anyone who loves fish chowder recipes or creamy shrimp soup recipes with a twist. You’ll adore every single spoonful of this fantastic dish!

Ingredient List

 A comforting bowl of Southern seafood chowder to warm you up.
A comforting bowl of Southern seafood chowder to warm you up.

Here’s everything you’ll need to make this creamy Southern seafood or fish chowder recipe:

Seafood and Fish

  • 1 pound salmon fillet, skin removed and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 pound mixed seafood, such as scallops or crab meat

Veggies and Herbs

  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 celery ribs, chopped
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and cubed
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves

Dairy and Liquids

  • 4 cups soymilk or milk
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • Monterey Jack cheese, shredded (optional)

Starches and Flours

  • 2 pounds potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 1/4 cup wheat flour or white flour

Fats and Seasonings

  • 6 slices bacon, chopped
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • salt and pepper to taste

Broth and Juice

  • 8 cups clam juice or fish broth

This recipe includes a variety of ingredients that will give the chowder its delicious flavor! Don’t be afraid to mix it up by adding more veggies or spices.

The Recipe How-To

 Fresh and succulent seafood swimming in a bowl of creamy goodness.
Fresh and succulent seafood swimming in a bowl of creamy goodness.

Now that we have gathered all of the necessary ingredients for this Creamy Southern Seafood or Fish Chowder, it is time to start cookin’! Make sure you are using a large soup pot as this recipe makes a hearty serving.

Step 1: Cook Bacon and Vegetables

Begin by heating up 3-4 slices of bacon in the large soup pot over medium-high heat. Cook until crispy, then remove bacon from the pot and set aside. Leave the bacon grease in the pot (yum!). Next, add in chopped 2 garlic cloves, 2 celery ribs, and 2 medium chopped onions. Stir together for about 5 minutes or until vegetables become tender.

Step 2: Add in Flour and Liquids

Once the vegetables are ready, add 1/4 cup of wheat flour and stir together consistently for about 3-4 minutes until the mixture becomes thickened. Then, slowly pour in 5 cups of milk, 2 cups of soymilk, and 1/2 cup of white wine into the soup pot while continuously stirring.

Step 3: Add Seafood and Potatoes

Stir in one 12 oz package of frozen corn, 1 small bag of diced carrots and 3 cubed potatoes. Bring mixture to a boil, stirring occasionally.

Add seafood to the pot. Use whatever seafood you like best! I recommend using one pound of raw and peeled shrimp, one pound of salmon fillet (with skin removed), and/or any mixed seafood such as crab meat or scallops that tickles your fancy! Stir well.

Step 4: Simmer Away!

Next, add in 2 bay leaves, 1 tablespoon of dried thyme, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Reduce heat to low and let simmer for 20-30 minutes, until seafood is cooked through.

Step 5: Finish it off!

In the last few minutes of cooking, stir in 1 cup of heavy whipping cream and 1 cup of Monterey jack cheese. Keep stirring until the cheese melts (you do not want any lumpy cheese in your chowder!)

And voila! Your Creamy Southern Seafood or Fish Chowder is ready to serve.

Pro tip: If you prefer a thicker consistency for your chowder, use a cornstarch slurry by mixing 2 tablespoons of cornstarch with 3 tablespoons of water in a small bowl. Slowly pour the mixture into your soup pot while stirring constantly.

Now, grab yourself a warm Sour Dough Bread Bowl and dive in to this delicious dish!

Substitutions and Variations

 Dive into a bowl of creamy Southern fish chowder.
Dive into a bowl of creamy Southern fish chowder.

You can truly make this seafood chowder recipe your own, adapting the ingredients to fit your preferences and dietary needs. Here are some ideas to get you started:

-For a lighter version, substitute heavy whipping cream with soymilk or milk for an equally creamy yet lower calorie option.

-For a vegetarian or vegan version, omit the seafood and instead use cubed potatoes and vegetables such as broccoli, peas or cauliflower.

-Substitute salmon fillet with cod, haddock or scallops for a different twist on the traditional seafood chowder. Add crab meat or lobster for an even more luxurious deliciousness.

-Omit the bacon and ham hocks for a non-pork variation.

-Add some white wine to enhance flavor and depth of the soup.

-Instead of cornstarch slurry to thicken the chowder, make a roux by cooking equal parts of wheat flour and butter to create a smooth paste-like consistency.

-For added crunch, sprinkle some shredded Monterey Jack cheese on top of each bowl of soup.

Remember that as long will you maintain the heart and soul of this seaside dish, you’ll end up with a bowlful of deliciousness every time!

Serving and Pairing

 A chowder that'll transport you straight to the South with every spoonful.
A chowder that’ll transport you straight to the South with every spoonful.

Picture this – a frosty winter evening, the sound of soft jazz in the background and a steaming bowl of creamy Southern seafood chowder in your hands, satisfying both your hunger and senses. This dish is perfect for a cozy dinner by the fireplace, but it also makes an impressive meal when entertaining guests.

To further enhance the dining experience, pair this flavorful chowder with a crisp white wine such as Pinot Grigio or Chardonnay. The lightness of the wine balances out the creaminess of the dish and cleanses your palate after each delicious bite. If you prefer red wine, go for Beaujolais or Pinot Noir.

But if you’re not into wine, try serving this chowder with freshly baked biscuits or crusty bread to soak up all that goodness. I recommend serving it in warm bowls garnished with chopped green onions or chopped parsley for added flavor and color.

This hearty seafood chowder is perfect as a standalone meal or as an appetizer, served along with green salad or roasted vegetables. It’s equally great for lunch or dinner, making it a versatile dish that can be enjoyed any time of the day.

One thing to keep in mind while serving this dish is that seafood chowders tend to thicken as they sit, so you may want to loosen it up by adding some extra broth or milk before serving.

So next time you’re looking for an impressive meal to serve, consider this creamy Southern seafood chowder recipe – it’s sure to impress!

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

 A seafood chowder that'll leave you feeling rich and indulgent.
A seafood chowder that’ll leave you feeling rich and indulgent.

Now, let’s dive in and talk about how to make-ahead, store, and reheat this creamy southern seafood or fish chowder recipe.

First, let’s discuss making ahead. This chowder is perfect for making ahead. You can prepare the entire recipe up until the point where you add the seafood. So, follow all the steps that lead to adding the seafood but stop right before that step. Once you’ve got your soup base prepared, remove it from the heat and allow it to cool completely. Once cool, transfer the mixture into an airtight container or a large plastic bag and store it in the refrigerator for up to two days. When you’re ready to serve, return the soup base to your pot and heat over medium heat until it starts bubbling. Once it’s bubbling again, add in your seafood according to the recipe instructions.

Storing leftover seafood chowder is best done by placing it in an airtight container and refrigerating it for up to three days. When reheating, transfer the soup into a saucepan over low heat until warm throughout, stirring occasionally.

If you’ve got any leftovers that won’t be consumed within three days, you can freeze them instead. Allow the soup to cool completely before ladling portions into individual freezer-safe bags or containers. Remember to leave at least an inch of headspace as liquids tend to expand when frozen. Frozen seafood chowder will keep well for up to 2 months in a standard home freezer.

When reheating leftover frozen chowder, thaw the soup either overnight in your fridge or by placing it in a bowl of lukewarm water until thawed completely. Alternatively, if you’re in a rush, you can gently heat up frozen chowder over low heat on your stovetop while stirring occasionally.

And now we’ve looked at everything you need for make-ahead preparation success – storing and reheating strategies.

Tips for Perfect Results

 A taste of the South with every bite of this seafood chowder.
A taste of the South with every bite of this seafood chowder.

It’s easy to get carried away with a recipe, especially when it comes to making a creamy seafood chowder. But before you dive right in, take a moment to read through these tips for perfect results. Trust me, following these suggestions will make all the difference in creating an unforgettable and mouth-watering dish.

1. Use the freshest seafood you can find

Fresh seafood is key to making any seafood dish stand out. So when choosing your seafood ingredients for this chowder recipe, opt for the freshest you can get your hands on. This will make sure the flavour in your chowder is at its best and not overpowered by a fishy smell.

2. Don’t overcook the seafood

One common mistake people make when preparing this type of soup/chowder recipe is overcooking the seafood. With tender salmon, succulent shrimp, and delicately flavored crab meat, you want to poach them until they are just pinked and cooked through. Overcooking the seafood results in dry and rubbery textures, taking away from the overall enjoyment of the recipe.

3. Balance seasoning throughout cooking

Seasoning is important when it comes to chowders and soups. Add salt and other seasonings throughout the cooking process, always tasting as you go to ensure that you don’t overdo it with any particular spice or ingredient such as salt or thyme which enhances the taste of fish perfectly.

4. Let it rest

After simmering and putting all of your ingredients together, allow your creamy seafood chowder time to rest off of heat before serving. Doing so lets everything meld together perfectly and allows for better absorption of seasonings into your ingredients.

5. Have fun with it

Seafood and chowders are very customizable and there’s no right or wrong variation here! Be creative; add new variations like bacon bits over every serving or garnishing with a sprinkle of freshly chopped chives! My best advice: Have fun with the preparation and creation process. Don’t be afraid to add something new to the menu every time to make it a unique experience.


Before we dive into the FAQ section, let’s quickly recap our delicious recipe for creamy Southern seafood or fish chowder. This recipe is a flavor bomb that combines perfectly cooked salmon fillet, shrimp, scallops, crab meat, corn, carrots, potatoes, and celery in a creamy broth made with heavy cream and bay leaves. This chowder is seasoned with dried thyme, garlic cloves, and pepper to give it a Southern-style twist. So now that you know what makes this seafood chowder recipe the best out there let’s clear up any doubts you may have about this culinary masterpiece.

What thickens seafood chowder?

When preparing your seafood chowder, you have a couple of options to thicken the consistency. One way is to create a slurry concocted of cornstarch and water, which you will then blend into the bubbling chowder. An alternative method is to prepare a roux.

What is the main difference between a cream soup and a chowder?

When it comes to comparing chowder and soup, they have some differences. Unlike soup, a chowder is known for being thicker and more indulgent. It usually has big pieces of meat, seafood, and vegetables like potatoes, akin to a stew.

What are the three types of chowder?

When it comes to clam chowder, there are several variations, but the most common ones are New England, Manhattan, and Rhode Island. The New England one is known for its creamy texture due to the addition of milk or cream, while the Manhattan style incorporates tomatoes. On the other hand, the Rhode Island chowder is clear and does not contain either of those ingredients.

What is the best way to thicken fish chowder?

Are you wondering how to make your Seafood Chowder thicker? Well, look no further! The secret is to create a roux by mixing flour with melted butter. This mixture will thicken your chowder while it’s cooking, so there’s no need to worry about thickening it later. However, if you still find that your chowder is too thin, you can quickly thicken it with a cornstarch slurry.

Bottom Line

Now that you have all the detailed instructions, tips, and recommendations for making this mouth-watering Creamy Southern Seafood or Fish Chowder Recipe, I encourage you to give it a try. This recipe is not only easy to follow but also customizable according to your taste preferences.

As a chef specialized in southern-style cuisine, I can guarantee that this recipe will make your taste buds dance with joy. The combination of seafood, vegetables, and creamy chowder will give you the ultimate comfort food experience.

So why not take a chance and serve this delicious chowder to your family and friends on a cold winter evening? I promise it will be a crowd-pleaser.

In conclusion, by using fresh ingredients, following the recipe step-by-step, and adding your creative tweaks to it, you’ll have a delightful dish that everyone will enjoy. Don’t forget to share your thoughts and pictures of your Creamy Southern Seafood or Fish Chowder on social media using the hashtag #SouthernChowder. Happy Cooking!

Creamy Southern Seafood or Fish Chowder

Creamy Southern Seafood or Fish Chowder Recipe

After searching through a bunch of recipes here and elsewhere I couldn't find quite what I was looking for. So instead I decided to whip up my own variation. This will be a work in progress, but as I'm pregnant and dying for a good creamy, but not too unhealthy fish chowder this will do the trick. I'm moderately lactose intolerant, but I'll be sure to include substitutions for lighter, low dairy, or dairy heavy versions. Cheese and cream actually don't have that much lactose in them, so you can use them without much concern about that.. of course you do get the delicious but unhealthy extra calories that come with.
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Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 45 mins
Calories 395.6 kcal


  • 2 large onions, diced fine
  • 1 ham hocks or 3 slices bacon
  • 1/2 cup wheat flour or 1/2 cup white flour
  • 4 cups diced potatoes, diced small (I used white new potatoes, but peeled Russets or red potatoes will work)
  • 1/2 cup butter (olive oil will work, though heat slowly with flour)
  • 2 small carrots, diced small
  • 8 ounces frozen corn
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 celery ribs, diced small
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3/4 lb tilapia fillet, cubed bite sized
  • 1/2 lb shrimp, pealed and deveined
  • 1/2 lb salmon fillet, skin and bones removed (use any combination of seafood you like, so that it adds up to about 2 lbs, clams and scallops would)
  • 2 cups soymilk or 2 cups milk
  • 1 cup vegetable stock (fish or chicken stock can be substituted)
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream (optional)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 cup shredded monterey jack cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning


  • Cook ham hock, bacon or salt pork until some fat is rendered, and then remove meat. Salt pork is more traditionally New England, but I just wanted a little smokey pork fat in my dish so I went with the ham hock.
  • Pour off as much fat as you like and add butter or olive oil.
  • In large pot add stock, milk, ham hock, bay leaves, pepper, thyme, Old Bay, salt and diced potatoes and bring to a simmer. If using bacon or salt pork, you can wait to add until the end.
  • Sprinkle flour over butter and mix until light yellow (blonde) in color and flour is lightly cooked.
  • Add onions, carrots and celery to roux and cook down for about 15 minutes until onions have lost a lot of their water and carrots are soft. The mixture should be quite thick, and will need to be stirred frequently at medium high heat.
  • Add garlic to onion mixture and cook for a few more minutes.
  • Once potatoes are starting to soften, but are not yet done, add onion and carrot mixture and stir.
  • Bring mixture to a boil then reduce heat to medium to simmer. At this point of the mixture looks too thick you can add some more vegetable stock. I like to taste at this point to adjust salt etc. as well.
  • Mix in corn and cook until corn is warmed.
  • Add seafood mixture to pot and mix in lightly.
  • Add cream and cheese and mix in until just smooth.
  • At this point turn the pot to low or medium low, and as soon as the seafood is cooked it's ready to eat.
  • This is definitely better the next day or after it's sat for a while, so you can leave it on a very low heat for a few hours or stick it in the fridge and reheat on the stove slowly the next day.
  • You can remove the ham hock, or pull some of the meat off of it and add it inches.
  • Serving it up with some crusty bread was perfect!

Add Your Own Notes


Serving: 299gCalories: 395.6kcalCarbohydrates: 33.6gProtein: 28.8gFat: 17.4gSaturated Fat: 9.4gCholesterol: 128.1mgSodium: 721.7mgFiber: 5.3gSugar: 3.4g
Keyword < 4 Hours, Chowders, Corn, Vegetable
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