I am so pleased and thankful for this recipe. I tried it for the first time around the holidays for a birthday party my family was very suspicious of how it might taste. I must confess it was a success! It was talked about at the party all night long. I did make changes to the recipe by adding like deveined shrimp that were about a little bit larger than salad shrimp and crab meat along with the c o d. This dish taste it and looked a lot like seafood Newburg to me. I just want to say thank you so much for introducing this recipe to my family and I.
Very good chowder recipe! Back home in Maine we would gobble this up with a side of plain donuts for dipping instead of bread or crackers. Enjoy!
Made this as written last night and it was wonderful! The husband loved it, too. I just had to add a bit more salt to my individual bowl, but that’s normal. Awesome recipe!
I love to cook and came across this recipe. Followed it exactly except added 1 large diced white potato and a few clams scallops and shrimp. Fantastic. Thanks so muchAnyone trying this believe me it’s simple and delicious. Don’t overcook the fish, add it at the end 3-4 minutes is all the cod scallops and shrimp need. Shellfish a few minutes earlier. Let them open up. Fresh sourdough and gobs of butter. Thanks for a fantastic recipe.
I’m so glad you like it Dennis!
Love this recipe, am allergic to shellfish i use chicken broth instead of clam juice , I also add a can of corn to add some sweetness
This recipe is amazing! Try it, you won’t be disappointed!
Awww, what a great walk down memory lane! We lived in Boston for over a decade before moving to the Midwest a while back. We loved the no-name and for our lobster from James hook. We happen to have some fish in the fridge now, so this will be dinner tonight.
I love fish and seafood so I like this recipe. Never made chowder before but it seems to me it is similar to the French classic Bouillabaisse.
To make bouillabaisse I use fish stock or water, here you use cream. I love this version too. Thank you.
So funny this showed up on your newsletter today. Just reprinted the recipe to make tomorrow! Love this.
I’d love to try this, but I don’t do clams. Any idea for a substitute? Would store-bought fish stock be a tragedy? :)
Hi Adam! If you happen to have good fish stock that will work. I haven’t found canned fish stock to be so great but I’ve made good homemade stock.
Hi Elise! Got a recipe for homemade fish stock?
Not yet! But you know the drill — fish heads, bones, onions, celery. Key is to use non-oily white fish, and don’t cook nearly as long as you would for making say chicken stock. Hank has a good recipe here: http://honest-food.net/fish-stock-recipe/
I hope to make it one day, pinned it.
Tried this recipe a few years ago and have been in love with it ever since. I made it to the tee first, then experimented, always turns out very good. This year my husband and I moved from a land locked state to wonderful Florida and have been catching tons of flounder for this recipe. I also like to use bacon and also fresh garlic chives it’s fantastic. Thanks again for this wonderful recipe it’s a keeper.
Hi Olivia, love the idea of using bacon and garlic chives!
I followed the recipe but mine didn’t get thick, the flavor was incredible!
Really good. We used 2% milk, tilapia and a mish-mash of spices to substitute for old bay. We added chopped bacon in with the onions. Topped with oyster crackers and fresh cracked pepper.
I’m looking forward to making this for a large group (about 25 people).
Two questions for you: If I quadruple the recipe, do the proportions remain the same? (Not always the case when multiplying an original recipe.) And would this be good made a day ahead and reheated?
Hi Nelson, I’ve doubled the recipe without an issue, so I don’t see why you couldn’t quadruple it. It is best made and eaten the same day. The soup makes fine leftovers, but if serving for company, I would make a fresh batch.
Just for the record. Red or tomatoes based chowder is from NY.. Manhattan to be precise. Rhode Island. . Is CLEAR. it is neither red nor white. Clear. Rhode Island prepend the taste only the clams, the fish etc and the broth is clear . Rich. And flavorful. .and called Chowdah-! .that being said, I loved your New England style (white) Fish chowder. Will make this for sure. I may even try Carols additional ingredients the second time. Thank you!
This is such a simple but amazing recipe. This was the second time I made it, the first I used chicken stock as I didn’t have clam juice on hand, and it was amazing. This time I used the clam juice and it is even more amazing. I follow it to the tee, except just for color I add carrots and celery with the onion.
I’ve made this recipe a few times, but can never make a recipe as-is, preferring to experiment along the way. :) Sometimes I use bacon fat or even a couple strips of bacon for the fat, but the olive oil and butter are great too. I’ve used the white wine, but it’s not something I usually buy, so sub chicken broth since I always have homemade stock in the fridge. I like to use one sweet potato along with the white, 2 cans of clams instead of straight clam juice (pureed, since I don’t like chunks of clams!), and enough broth to equal the 2c or cover the potatoes. Our favorite fish to add is salmon, but we’ve also used cod and flounder. We don’t usually have milk products unless they’re cultured, so I’ve added a jar of cultured cream or cream of coconut from the top of a can of coconut milk, both of which are excellent (and I don’t bother with the step of heating it separately). I also like to add frozen corn. If we want thicker chowder, I use some flour. Made this recipe for lunch today and it’s always a hit with the family! Leftovers are even better, since the flavors meld. Thanks for the inspiration.
Your recipe is quite elegant, but I’m afraid it may be the chowder prepared and consumed by the high brows on the hill. Fish “chowda” was the creation of the fisherman’s wives who used basic ingredients – certainly not wine or clam juice. Ingredients are simple. Fish, onion, potato, milk, salt and pepper. Combined properly those ingredients make a rich, tasty New England Fish Chowder.
Yes! This! Absolutely no wine! And no spices aside from salt and pepper. No roux, either. In fact, using flour is considered somewhat of a cheat. And I strongly disagree that salt pork is optional. That smokey flavor is one of the most important aspects of all chowders. It’s fine to use bacon if you can’t find salt pork. The most old-time traditional chowders also do not include cream, just milk, and are meant to be quite thin with lots of briney, fishy flavor. I loathe those thick chowders that so many restaurants boast of. By the way, I’m a life-long Bostonian who has also lived in Maine.
I am allergic to shellfish. What can I substitute for the clam juice for the fish chowder recipe?
Hi Brad, fish stock is your next best bet. Canned fish stock you can find in the market, but itf you can make it from scratch that would be even better.
Hi I’m from a small town in ireland. I have a question also. I don’t have any fish bones or fish heads. I can’t get fish stock or clam juice in our town. Is there anything else I can use to make the stock? I do however have Asian fish sauce. Can I use a few drops of this with water and or vegetable or chicken stock instead?
Hi Mary, I would definitely not use the fish sauce. Instead of adding clam juice, just add 1 cup of water and another pound of fish to the chowder.
I enjoyed making this dish. As a subsitute for the clam juice I used 2 cups boiling water and a fish stock cube. I cut back the salt to taste. As I was short on fish (Only had a pound on hand) I also added shrimp. This really hit the spot on a cold day! I think anout a cup or so of fluid can be omitted if one wants less soup and more substance. Thanks for a flavourful recipe! The seasoning really made the dish.
Best fish chowder I’ve ever made or eaten – great recipe. I doubled the recipe and my kids ate most of it within the day. I put in a few extras – some cooked bacon (not too much), chopped celery, and a small amount of cream cheese I had in the fridge (I was feeling very “experiment-y” ) and it really came out well. A few drops of tabasco before serving and some warm French bread and I was in chowder heaven.
Hi Elise,I found your recipe (among hundreds) searching for New England fish chowder. I have been tripling the recipe for my family and friends and every time there’s just about a bowl left. Its a huge hit at our house. I have been using fresh rock fish (striped bass) that we caught in the Chesapeake bay back in November… Its amazing. I also add clams and shrimp for a real treat. That along with fresh baked bread doesn’t get any better. Thanks for a great recipe!
What a great recipe! I made it this week, and it was great. I coulnt find clam juice here in Australia, so just prepared some home-made vegetable stock. It probably lacked some depth of flavour due to this but was still delicious!
I’ve have some fresh/frozen halibut how would that do. Does the parsley have to be fresh I always have some left that goes to waste.
Halibut, fresh or frozen, would be great in this chowder. I prefer fresh parsley, but if dried is what you have, use that. You might want to check out a post I did a while back called, What’s the deal with parsley?. ~Elise
Mmm-mmm, this is very good. Since I’m usually starving when I get home from work, I made this the night before which worked out fine. I did use half & half and couldn’t resist frying up some bacon to sprinkle over the top of our bowls of chowder and using the drippings for sauteing the onions.
Made this about 5 wks ago and it was just super! Have made it 3 times since varying the recipe with different kinds of fish and other ingredients,never follow the recipe exactly and always have a great meal.Got a pot on the stove now to serve for Christmas dinner.You just can’t go wrong with this one.
Thank you for posting such an easy recipe to follow.
I made a version of this recipe you can view here: http://saturdayswithmaggy.blogspot.com/2011/08/fish-chowder.html
It turned out yummy! Thank you!
Looks terrific! ~Elise
My son caught several Blue Fish yesterday on Cape Cod. We substituted it in this recipe for the cod and it was terrific.
My daughter went deep sea fishing at Avila this morning and came back with a limit of rock fish of various types. We went online to try to find something to do with them and found this recipe. It was OUTSTANDING (and I’m not much of a cook). We had two ears of fresh Fresno State University corn (the best in the world). It was a perfect addition. I highly recommend this recipe and look forward to trying it again–since she’s going fishing again in the morning!
I just made this stew and it is wonderful. I will keep this one and I will make it again. I only had one pound of fish so I added two stalks of celery, diced, to give it some body. I cooked the onion and celery in the olive oil and butter, then added flower and made a roux for thickening because I used half & half. Otherwise, I followed the recipe and it came out great!
Just wanted to tell you that I made your recipe last night for Fish Chowder, with a couple of minor changes and it was delicious!!! Our extra fridge in the basement quit working and I had to quickly cook the meat and fish that was thawing out. I had a pound of wild salmon and a pound of orange ruffy fish, so I thought what can I make with both of those? I decided on your recipe on Simply Recipes after looking through several others because I thought it might work well with the types of fish I had. Besides the fish, the differences were that I used light cream instead of heavy, and a white cooking wine with lemon flavor and made twice the recipe. I thought it was “gourmet restaurant” good!Thank you.Susan
Elise, This is a wonderful, easy dish! I don’t eat potatoes and I was able to replace them with chickpeas. Yummy, just right for a winter night!
Elise, this looks wonderful-just right for the weather we’ve been having this year! I like my Fish Chowder simple, I use 1/4 lb. of salt pork, saute until crisp, take out the salt pork and reserve. I use the fat to cook the onions until soft. Add 3 cups diced potatoes and just enough boiling water to cover (you could use clam broth but you don’t really need it). The more liquid you use the thinner the chowder will be. I cook the potatoes maybe 10 minutes and add my fish fillets – 2 lbs total of haddock, cusk and/or cod. Cook until fish flakes. Add a can of evaporated milk. You can add heavy cream if you like to make it the consistency you like. I add finely chopped parsley and 2 tablespoons of butter and cracked pepper. Heat to a simmer. That’s it! New England Fish Chowder – oh, I sprinkle some of the sauteed pork over each serving – maybe a tablespoonful.
I made some fish stock using salmon….do you think that would work in this recipe?
Actually I don’t think so. Salmon is very distinctive tasting. You could probably make a good salmon chowder with it though! ~Elise
Hi Jen. Looks like you’ve waited a long time for a response! I’m allergic to milk too and use unflavored soy creamer in place of light cream all the time in many recipes. Soy creamer is a bit thicker than regular unflavored soy milk, but I bet you could uses soy milk too. For extra thickening, see the comments above about adding flour.
Hi, I’m wondering if you have any ideas on how to make a creamy clam chowder without cream. I have a dairy allergy and I’m trying to figure out a substitute for this (because it’s an allergy I’ve grown into and so I know what I’m missing!). I’m wondering if something like making a roux, using potatoes? would soy/rice milk work somehow? any ideas are appreciated!
Jen, since nobody as yet had any suggestions:Soy milk should be fine as long as you can get your hand on 17%or at least 14% to get the richer taste , but watch that boiling point as it does like to curdle. And you could add an extra potato, chopped really small so it cooks until it falls apart and thickens up the liquid. The other option is to use coconut milk, that would actually work really well with this recipe.
Thank you for providing me with knowledge of soups like this, which are rare here in Italy. I already knew and appreciated the Norwegian “Bergensk Fiskesuppe”. Starting from both, I have tried a lighter, greener soup (milk instead of cream, fish bouillon cube, potato, carrot, celery). The result is not too bad: http://nellarete.blogspot.com/2010/03/vellutata-mare-e-orto.html (in Italian).
Looks great, so glad you liked it! ~Elise
WOW! This is a fantastic recipe! I have never made chowder before and I can’t believe how well it turned out. I added some jumbo raw shrimp cut in half and some Japanese scallops with the fish (the scallops lightly sauteed in garlic and butter first) and a dash of Worcestershire Sauce, plus a can of minced clams and the juice. I used half and half instead of the heavy cream, and thickened it with a little cornflour mixed with water. It tasted SO authentic and was very flavourful without being too heavy or greasy. My husband thinks I’m a genius, but I can’t take the credit – I think the wine and herbs made this perfect. Thanks for a wonderful recipe Elise – I will definitely make this many times again in the future!!!Caroline.
Thanks for this recipe. I just made it from fresh Cod and it’s delicious. I’m a Californian living in Norway (in Scandinavia, not Maine)and I don’t miss California as much as I miss the 4 years spent in Boston with its good chowders. The fishing boats here reminded me of New England and this recipe inspired me to try it. My first time and it was perfect. Thank you and next time, I’ll try it with clams.
This chowder really got me inspired. I made it this weekend and it was delicious! I usually make clam chowder but this fish chowder looked so good I had to try it. It is being filed under my favorites to make again!
I came from downeast Maine and when I was a child my relatives used to make a fish stew that they seemed to cook for hours on the wood stove. It included potatoes and they used the dried pieces of cod fish that were sold in barrels in the local general store. They also had hard boiled eggs in it. I never ate it, but the grownups seemed to love it. I wonder if anyone ever heard of it made like that.
Hi Jane, that sounds like a Portuguese fish stew called bacalhoada. We have a recipe for it here on the site. It’s delicious. ~Elise
I’m in New England/Massachusetts/Cape Ann area/in Ipswich (to narrow it down). Every week we get about 6 pounds of fish off the docks in Gloucester for our CSF (community supported fishery) and we do get lots of cod and pollock this time of year. I’ve been using up a lot of it as the weather gets chilly in chowders, stews and soups. My neighbor also digs clams, and always is dumping an extra few pounds on my doorstep, so I tend to mix the white fish and clams, clam liquor and fish stock, all in together. In typical New England fashion, I try not to waste a bit, and use whatever I have on hand.
This recipe is great- one thing chowder is NOT supposed to be is thick and pasty! This is perfectly rich yet thin in consistency. Incredibly simple, too. I only get salt pork in November when my pig goes to market, and don’t have any on hand now (we dont eat meat from the grocery store) and it’s hard to find a chowder recipe that does not require pork fat. One tip- if you add clams, don’t let the chowder sit in an aluminum pot! KABLAMO! Thanks, Elise- there’s nothing like good yankee cooking at this time of year. I would love to see a nice spicy Portuguese fish chowder recipe here sometime, too!
Hi Amanda, thanks for your comment! I spent some time in the Cape Ann area this summer (photos), so lovely there. And the fish is amazingly fresh. I do have a bacalhoada Portuguese fish stew on the site, as well as a more spicy Brazilian fish stew which we’ve made with salmon, though it is more typically done with a white fish, so you could easily substitute. ~Elise
I made this recipe last week and my husband and I were sooo impressed! we had it for left overs too! I followed the recipe to a t and it came out perfect! Thanks Elise!
Hello Elise, just tried out your chowder recipe and it was really, really good! By far the best and the easiest chowder recipe. Thanks for sharing!
So glad you liked it. ~Elise
So, my husband didn’t like this much. He felt there were too many potatoes (I probably added more than was required, but I like them). He wanted to see how it would taste if it was run through a food processor with all those potatoes and fish. So we tried it and… it was quite good! Again, adding salt and lemon. It was thick and yummy. I actually like it either way.
Elise, thank you for the inspiration. I made a variation of this soup last night with swai fish. The thyme, bay leaf and old bay seasoning gave this a wonderful flavor. Love your recipes.
Hi Elise… I am such a fan (so are my friends and family by extension!). If I made this soup ahead (say in the morning) could I reheat it late afternoon without ruining the cream? Thanks so much.
The soup reheats great, just watch it so it doesn’t boil. ~Elise
I made this, and it seemed a bit bland at first, but when I added a little salt and lemon, I could really enjoy it and savor the fish flavor. Mmmm…. It seemed a bit watery, though. I wonder why it’s so thick in restaurants? Do they add starch or something?
Often they add flour to thicken it. ~Elise
This recipe looks wonderful and I want to try it. I am not very experienced with cooking fish and I have a question about your note. You say to get fish with pin bones removed…is this something you ask the fishmonger to do or do you remove them yourself? If I get frozen fish will the pin bones be removed?
Hi Wendy, great question. Often when you are buying fresh fillets, there will be a row of fish bones that need to be pulled out. The best way to do this is with some pliers that you keep on hand just for this purpose. In my experience the fish monger typically does not do this for you. As for frozen, it depends on the fish. Fillets often have pin bones in them. Steaks usually do not. ~Elise
Thank you so much for this recipe! I made it a couple of nights ago…and it was scrumptious! I cut the amount of cod in half and subbed the rest with baby shrimp. SO GOOD! Thank you! :)
Believe it or not, I live in New England and this is my first seafood (or claim) chowder I’ve ever made. Absolutely delicious and so easy! This will diffidently go on my monthly rotation! Thx! Peter
Thanks for this great recipe!Never thought I’d make clam chowder myself, but it turned out great!
I like your style, Elise. I had been a head chef in a few Boston area seafood restaurants.I’ve made chowder according to many different recipes including a few of my own. I had decided to give your’s a shot.
The Yukon gold potatoes are my favorite to use The use of olive oil and butter gives a different feel to it, but the heavy cream instead of using flour with h/h, light cream or milk made up for the fat content. I am a fan of going with no flour as well. The difference is a lighter more velvety feel.
I definitely recommend a simmer with heavy cream and not a boil. It is not a bad idea to simmer the cream to about a 70% reduction before adding it. Never boil as not only can it break but it will get a burnt taste very easily.
Good recipe. Thanks for sharing.
I’ve got a few pounds of striped bass in the freezer. Do we think that will work? I looooove fish chowers, and this sounds great!
Yes, I think that striped bass would work fine. ~Elise
Wow, looks phenomenal, especially with the weather getting chilly. Question though: You specifically mentioned white fish, but is there a particular reason why salmon, for instance, wouldn’t work? Being in the SeaTac area, that beautiful, pink food-of-the-gods is relatively easy to find (and it supports the local economy too!).
Salmon has a distinctive, and quite strong, flavor. You could make a stew with it (I recommend the Brazilian style salmon stew on this site). I wouldn’t recommend using it for this New England style fish chowder, the taste would be too different. ~Elise
I have a couple quick questions on this recipe. It looks delicious and I would love some good ol chowder. Would it be possible to substitute fish stock and milk for the heavy cream. We are limited in Algeria on certain items..ty
Hi Lynda, you might want to make a roux with some butter and flour (after cooking the potatoes) and then slowly add the milk to that, mixing well to make it smooth, and then add that to the soup. Heavy cream will thicken a soup naturally. Milk will not. So one alternative is to thicken it with flour. ~Elise
The Tilapia was great. And so was the recipe!! Perfect on this cooler October day! Thanks for the inspiration, as always.
SO, I checked the freezer, all I have is tilapia. Will that work?
Sure. Should work fine. ~Elise
I love this recipe because: (a) it doesn’t call for bacon or salt pork, which are traditional for adding a bit of a smoky flavor base; and (b) it doesn’t call for tomatoes, which might be a peculiarly Rhode Island addition to chowdah — but I am not from Rhode Island, so for me, chowdah is always white. Although chowder is a year-round dish, it’s especially welcome as the Fall weather settles in here.
Boy, is this the right recipe for today in Maine! It’s raining and the leaves are falling – time for something warm and cozy. Your recipe is a little more upscale than my method, but I love the sound of the wine in there.
Many years ago my boyfriend’s grandmother taught me her chowdah secrets in Portsmouth, NH, and I’ve carried them from here to San Francisco to Gloucester, MA (Wingaersheek Beach, right across from Annisquam, Elise) and now back to Maine, where I still make it regularly!
Just rules of thumb, but I cut up either pepper bacon or salt pork and brown it, then cook the onions in that rendered fat. Cook the diced potatoes in another pot until they’re really done (nothing ruins chowdah worse than crunchy potatoes!) in no more water than the minimum necessary to cover them. Then cook the fish – your choice – in that same starchy water – it thickens the soup nicely when you combine everything. The final secret is canned milk – evaporated milk, even low-fat evaporated milk, thickens very well without any flour needed.
Okay, I’m heading for the fish market right about now…
Sigh. Annisquam. This summer I paddled over to Wingaersheek Beach. Managed to dodge the green heads. Thanks for sharing your variation of chowder, yum! ~Elise
I have a question….how many would this serve and do think it would make good left overs? I am never sure if reheating fish is a good idea….what do you think? thanks, again, for the recipe!
It serves about 6, and I think makes for excellent leftovers. Just don’t let it boil upon reheating. ~Elise
Up here in The County (Northeastern Maine) we like it unthickened, use a little water to cook everything with (no fish stock), butter (although Mom often used salt pork), and always use haddock for the fish. Fish chowder made with haddock was what my daughter missed most while living in Texas.
The best soup in the world…
This looks very good. We (I’m a native Rhode Islander) like a little non-sweet smoked ham with just a bit of fat on it at the base, along with some butter or oil, for the ping of smoke flavor under the cream. Makes the fragrance of the black pepper sing.
“Whenever I find myself growing grim about the mouth; whenever it is a damp, drizzly November in my soul; whenever I find myself involuntarily pausing before coffin warehouses, and bringing up the rear of every funeral I meet . . . ” then I know along with Ishmael it’s time to get down to the harbor and seek out a chowder shack.
Looks wonderful Elise. It really is chowda’ weather isn’t it. I invented a new clam chowder (Yachats Blush Chowder) this summer while on the Oregon Coast by adding some hot salsa to a creamy chowder base. Hey – we live in Aridzona and we use salsa in the strangest things.
That would work. We add tabasco to most of our soups. Definitely brightens things up. ~Elise
Hello Elise,Thank you for this recipe, it looks beautiful.Just one question: because it is impossible to get clam juice in my corner of the Mediterranean, with what can I substitute it? Is it anything like oyster sauce?Thanks againAvi
I would substitute fish stock, or make your own shellfish stock. ~Elise
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