New England Fish Chowder – Bowl of Delicious

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This Fish Chowder is my Dad’s recipe, and the actual deal creamy New England model, made merely with cod (or one other whitefish), potatoes, and onions, and a base of clam juice, milk, and cream. The key to good fish chowder is poaching the fish gently so it completely flakes aside. This recipe enhances the flavour by scalding the milk with onion, to infuse the onion taste all through, with an exquisite mix of herbs and spices. You’re going to like this straightforward fish soup recipe!

Overhead photo of a bowl of fish chowder with a spoon in it.

My dad came over final week, and fortunate for me, he made his well-known fish chowder! I used to be capable of snap some pictures and work with him to doc his secrets and techniques, which I’m sharing with you on this publish.

This New England Fish Chowder is the REAL DEAL. Creamy, wealthy, and fairly easy. At its base are simply fish, potatoes, and onions. But this fish chowder is made additional scrumptious with a couple of secrets and techniques:

The addition of alternative herbs and spices (bay leaves, thyme, nutmeg, and chives)Using onion-infused scalded milk (means simpler to make than it sounds, I promise)A easy approach of gently poaching the fish so the flakes keep intact and meaty, meltingly tender, and never overcooked.

I can’t wait to share this household recipe with you, and hope you get pleasure from it as a lot as I do, and as a lot as I’ve since childhood!

Man standing at stovetop stirring chowder in a Dutch Oven.
Here’s my dad arduous at work making chowdah!

Ingredients in Fish Chowder (and Substitutions)

Cod – or one other whitefish comparable to tilapia, haddock, snapper, monkfish, and many others. See FAQs beneath for extra on this.Potatoes – any will do. I used pink. Onions – yellow is finest. White can even work.Clam juice – you possibly can omit this and simply add additional water or milk (and salt) as a substitute.Whole milk – this will likely be scalded – you should utilize half the quantity of evaporated milk instead.Heavy Cream – half and half will work in a pinch however heavy cream is bestSpices: Thyme, bay leaves, floor nutmeg, and contemporary chives – any of these might be omitted if you happen to like, however the taste mixture is absolutely superb!Butter and olive oilSalt and pepper

Chopping a yellow onion and dicing potatoes.
Tip: chop onions and potatoes into considerably giant items, so they provide the soup some physique.

How to make New England Fish Chowder

First, sauté the onion in butter and olive oil. Be cautious to not brown them – simply sweat them over medium or medium-low warmth. Add water, bay leaves, thyme, salt, and pepper to the pot, and produce to a boil. Gently place the fish within the boiling water.Process collage showing starting to make fish chowder in a Dutch Oven.Poach the fish till it’s simply flaked aside – regulate it, as it will occur shortly! Use a slotted spoon to switch fish to a rimmed baking sheet or plate with lip. As quickly because it’s cool to the contact, flake it aside along with your fingers (however don’t over-flake it!). Set apart.Process collage showing removing poached cod from soup and flaking it apart.Add the clam juice and potatoes to the pot and produce again to a boil. Cover and simmer on low till potatoes are tender. While the potatoes prepare dinner, scald the milk with an onion that’s been quartered. Bring the milk to a boil in a small pot, then instantly flip the warmth all the way down to low and simmer uncovered for about 5 minutes. Keep an eye fixed on it, as boiling milk tends to overflow (as my dad stated, “no texting while scalding!” lol!). Strain the milk into the pot as soon as the potatoes are achieved cooking.Process collage showing adding clam juice, potatoes, and scalded milk to fish chowder.Now for the ending touches. Add chives and floor nutmeg to the pot (I prefer to grate nutmeg complete on a microplane zester). Add the flaked fish again into the pot and stir very gently in order to not break aside the fish an excessive amount of. Bring it again as much as a boil, and switch off the warmth. Finally, stir within the heavy cream.Process collage showing adding flaked poached cod and heavy cream to fish chowder.To serve, ladle into bowls and garnish with a bit of extra nutmeg, chives, black pepper, and some very small pats of chilly butter, which can soften on the floor for a beautiful, wealthy, tasty sheen on high.

Please scroll to the underside of the publish for the complete recipe together with ingredient quantities and detailed directions.


What type of fish can you utilize for New England fish chowder?

You can use whitefish comparable to cod, haddock, tilapia, sea bass, barramundi, monkfish, or snapper. Salmon additionally works for this recipe. Stay away from fish that may be very lean (like tuna or swordfish) because it received’t flake properly, and really delicate fish (like sole and flounder) as it should collapse within the soup and virtually disintegrate. However, if in case you have some delicate fish it’s essential to dissipate, go forward and throw it in – even when it doesn’t maintain its form, it should add taste and texture!

Can I add different seafood to the chowder?

Sure! Shrimp, lobster, or different shellfish might be added. If it’s cooked already, add it on the finish with the poached, flaked fish. If it’s raw, add it with the fish to start with and take away it once you take away the fish.

Can I freeze fish chowder?

Unfortunately, it is a soup that’s finest eaten inside a couple of days and never frozen. Freezing will have an effect on the feel of the fish and it received’t be pretty much as good. It will final for two-3 days in an hermetic container within the fridge.

Can I thicken the soup with something?

If you want, you possibly can stir in a cornstarch slurry earlier than including the flaked poached fish again into the soup and thicken to your liking. Keep in thoughts, it should skinny barely once you add the heavy cream, so thicken it greater than you usually would.

How do I reheat the leftovers?

The leftovers are nice, however watch out to not convey to a rolling boil, because the heavy cream will separate. Heat it till it’s scorching, however not boiling.

Time saving suggestions

Leave the potatoes unpeeled to avoid wasting time. My dad insisted they be peeled (*insert compulsory daughter eye roll right here*), however you possibly can go away them unpeeled (I actually despise peeling potatoes, so I’ll simply give them scrub with a brush subsequent time I make it!).You also can lower the fish into cubes about 1.5 inches massive and add the cubes to poach on the finish, after the potatoes are achieved however earlier than including the heavy cream. This received’t end in as many meaty giant flakes, however will work if you happen to’re in a rush and don’t really feel like eradicating the fish to flake it! I do that in my Instant Pot Mediterranean Fish Stew recipe and it really works nice.You can skip scalding the milk and simply use half the quantity of evaporated milk, if you happen to choose.If you need the fish to chill quicker so you possibly can flake it aside sooner, simply stick the tray it’s on within the freezer for a pair of minutes. Alternatively, you possibly can pop the rimmed baking sheet or plate within the freezer for 10-quarter-hour earlier than putting the fish on it – the chilly floor will cool it quicker. This can even end in barely extra tender fish, as it should cease it from overcooking from any residual warmth.

A ladle taking a scoop of fish chowder out of a blue Dutch oven.,

What to serve with fish chowder

I like to recommend a loaf of crusty bread to serve with the chowder. This no knead Dutch oven bread is my favourite! Dinner rolls are additionally a fantastic possibility.

A fish spatula makes straightforward work of eradicating the poached fish with out eradicating the liquid. A slotted spoon can even work. I really like utilizing a Dutch Oven for this as a result of it should keep scorching, coated, for a half hour or so after you make it, so there’s no rush to get to the dinner desk. 1 / 4 sheet pan is ideal for flaking aside the poached fish with none liquid escaping. Here are the merchandise I used:

Other basic New England recipes

Square photo of an overhead shot of New England fish chowder.

Creamy New England Fish Chowder

This Fish Chowder recipe is a New England basic, made with a creamy texture and easy elements, full of cod (or one other whitefish), potatoes, and onions. They key to good fish chowder is the approach of poaching the fish so it flakes aside completely.



Course: Soup

Cuisine: American, New England

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Servings: 8 servings

Calories: 249kcal

Author: Elizabeth Lindemann


1 tablespoon butter1 tablespoon olive oil3 giant yellow onions 2 chopped (for roughly 2 cups), one quartered and the layers flaked aside2-3 cups water2 bay leaves1 pinch dried thyme leaves or 1/4 teaspoon contemporary1 teaspoon kosher salt extra if wanted1/4 teaspoon black pepper extra if wanted1.5 – 2 lbs. cod or different fish (see notes)8 oz. clam juice2 lbs. potatoes scrubbed clear or peeled in order for you, diced into 1/2-inch to 1-inch items1 cup complete milksmall pinch floor nutmeg1/2 tablespoon minced chives1 cup heavy creamextra chives, contemporary floor black pepper, additional butter, and nutmeg for garnish (non-compulsory)


In a big heavy pot comparable to a dutch oven, soften the butter (1 tablespoon) with the olive oil (1 tablespoon) over medium warmth. Add the two chopped onions, stir to coat within the oil and butter, and sauté till translucent and softened, however not browned, stirring often, about 5 minutes. (If the onions are browning, flip warmth all the way down to medium-low and add a bit of water, or cowl to maintain the steam in.)

Add 2 cups of water to the pot, in addition to the pinch of thyme, two bay leaves, kosher salt (1 teaspoon) and black pepper (1/4 teaspoon). Bring to a boil.

Add the cod (2 kilos) to the pot. Place the items so they’re flat and in a single layer (or in case your filets are very skinny, stacking them is okay). The water ought to come as much as the highest of the items, however not submerge them. If the water appears too low, you possibly can add 1/2 cup to 1 cup extra. Bring it as much as a simmer, cowl, and prepare dinner on low for 4-5 minutes till the fish flakes aside.

Using a fish spatula or slotted spoon, take away the fish to a big plate or rimmed baking sheet (I used 1 / 4 sheet pan). Place the plate within the fridge or freezer, if in case you have room, for a pair of minutes so it cools quicker and would not proceed to prepare dinner. When the fish is cool sufficient to deal with, gently flake it aside along with your fingers. You need the flakes to stay intact – do not over-flake it!

Add the clam juice (8 oz.) to the pot, in addition to the cubed potatoes. Bring to a boil, cowl, and simmer on low for about quarter-hour, or till potatoes are cooked (pierce one with the tines of a fork to test if it is smooth sufficient).

While the potatoes are cooking, scald the milk. Place the milk (1 cup) and the quartered onion layers right into a small saucepan. Bring it to a boil, then flip the warmth to low and simmer uncovered for five-7 minutes. Watch it fastidiously, as boiling milk will bubble up and may boil over!

When the potatoes are completed cooking, pressure the scalded milk via a mesh sieve into the pot. Add the flaked fish, in addition to the chives (1/2 tablespoon) and the small pinch of nutmeg (we used contemporary nutmeg; only a couple of grates on a microplane zester will do it).

Bring the chowder again to a simmer. Turn off the warmth. Stir within the heavy cream (1 cup), being cautious to stir very gently in order to not break aside the fish an excessive amount of. Season with salt and pepper to style, if needed.

Serve. If you want, garnish every bowl with a small pat of butter, some extra nutmeg and chives, and contemporary grated black pepper.


Cod is the perfect to make use of for fish chowder. But if you happen to can’t discover it, or it’s too costly, listed below are some alternate options.

Good fish to make use of – different whitefish, comparable to snapper, tilapia, monkfish, barramundi or different sea bass, or salmon.
Bad fish to make use of – lean fish comparable to tuna and swordfish (as a result of they don’t flake aside properly), and delicate like flounder and sole as a result of they flake an excessive amount of and collapse (nevertheless, they do add taste so if in case you have some it’s essential to dissipate, throw it in!).

Time saving suggestions: to avoid wasting time, you possibly can skip peeling the potatoes, dice the fish and add on the finish as a substitute of poaching and eradicating to flake, and/or use half the quantity of evaporated milk as a substitute of scalded complete milk.
To cool the fish quicker to flake, place the plate or rimmed baking sheet of fish within the freezer for a pair of minutes, then flake aside along with your fingers, or freeze the tray itself for 10-quarter-hour earlier than putting fish on it.
You can add different seafood like lobster, crab, shrimp, and many others., to make a seafood chowder. If it’s raw, add it once you poach the fish. If it’s already cooked, add it once you add the flaked, cooked fish again into the pot.
If you reheat this chowder, be certain to not convey it to a boil after you’ve added the heavy cream, as it could curdle/separate.
You can omit the clam juice if you happen to like. Just add 1 cup extra water or milk, and a bit of extra salt to style.
If you want a thicker texture, you possibly can add a cornstarch slurry to the soup simply earlier than including the fish again into the pot. Mix 1/4 cup of milk with 2 tablespoons cornstarch till clean, then pour into the pot and stir, heating till thickened (use roughly cornstarch in keeping with desire). Then, add the fish and heavy cream (the cream can even skinny it out a bit so be certain it’s a bit thicker than your desire beforehand).


Serving: 1.5cups | Calories: 249kcal | Carbohydrates: 9g | Protein: 17g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 84mg | Sodium: 481mg | Potassium: 502mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 619IU | Vitamin C: 6mg | Calcium: 83mg | Iron: 1mg

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