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Salmon Chowder

Made with fresh salmon, salty bacon and hearty potatoes this creamy and buttery salmon chowder is the ultimate comfort food.


salmon chowder in a bowl with crusty bread

So, What Is Chowder?

The question of what exactly defines a ‘chowder’ is such a hot-button issue for certain people that we’re tempted to plead the fifth. Although it’s a word that usually connotes a seafood stew of some sort, chowder ingredients can vary widely from region to region—a creamless, tomato-y cioppino-esque broth in New York, or a rich, thick, cream-based one in New England. The word ‘chowder’ itself is likely a derivative of a French word “chaudiere”, used by French settlers in the coastal regions of Canada in reference to a certain type of large pot used to boil (among other things) fresh shellfish.

In his famous book, American Cookery, James Beard asserts that, in part because of the common inclusion of new world ingredients like corn and potatoes, “I am sure that clam chowder as it is known today did not originate before the nineteenth century.” With origins as opaque as a bowl of chowder itself, we’ll just say that chowder is (usually) a creamy, potato-y, seafood stew and it’s delicious—on that point, at least, we can all agree.

pot of salmon chowder with bacon, corn and jalapeños

5 Reasons To Love This Easy Fish Chowder Recipe

If you’ve got a hang up about making chowder at home, that’s probably because you think that seafood chowder is hard to make. And you’re right! Most classic clam chowder recipes are, in fact, quite fussy. You have to steam the clams, and then deal with all of those shells—so much work for such tiny mollusks! Salmon chowder, on the other hand, is just as delectably savory as clam chowder, and substantially easier to make. Here are five reasons that this is the best chowder recipe ever:

  1. It’s easy. It just is. No hard-to-find ingredients, not too much chopping or other prep—just a simple salmon corn chowder. We even use frozen corn, which is cooked as the soup simmers, to make prep that much faster.
  2. It’s a meal all by itself. Sure, you can serve it with a big green salad, or a fancy loaf of country bread, but it’s also just as good on its own.
  3. It cooks in just one pot! One pot means easy clean-up. Easy clean-up means domestic bliss.
  4. It’s ready in just about 30 minutes, which means this can be a weeknight chowder recipe. Fall and winter weeknights—dreary with homework and early sunsets—are exactly when we need comforting, steaming hot bowls of chowder the most!
  5. It’s safe for people with shellfish allergies! If you have to avoid clam chowder because of a shellfish allergy—as many people do—but can safely eat fish, this salmon chowder might be just the recipe you’re wishing for.
ingredients for easy salmon chowder
bacon cooked in a dutch oven
bacon with onions and jalapenos in a dutch oven
chicken broth with potatoes and vegetables in a stock pot for salmon chowder
heavy cream added to broth in a dutch oven pot
raw salmon added to a creamy base for salmon chowder

How To Make Salmon Chowder:

Let's just cut right to the chase. This chowder is not 'light' in any way shape or form. From step one, it's a study in comfort and decadence:

  1. Sauté bacon in butter. Cook til it's crispy, and then set it aside (leaving the fat in the pot).
  2. Sauté celery, onions, jalapenos, scallions and garlic in said bacon-and-butter fat until they're soft.
  3. Get simmering! Add your potatoes, salt, pepper and bacon to the softened spicy mirepoix. Pour in the broth and bring the whole glorious mess to a strong simmer.
  4. Make a slurry! Whisk cornstarch into some water to form a slurry. This starchy paste will help to give your salmon chowder a nice thickness and heft. Stir the slurry into the soup and bring the chowder base (because that's what it is now!) to a boil.
  5. Simmer again! Turn the heat down a bit and stir in the frozen corn and heavy cream, then lay the salmon pieces on top of the simmering chowder. Cover and simmer until the salmon is cooked.
  6. Ta da! You made chowder! Now you get to eat it!
pot of salmon chowder with bacon, jalapeno and potatoes

Tools You’ll Need:

salmon chowder with crusty bread in a bowl

6 Hearty Soup Recipes to Warm You Up This Season

We make a lot of soup. Like, A LOT. Here are six easy soup recipes that are on heavy rotation in our homes at the moment:

dutch oven filled with clam chowder topped with bacon, corn and jalapeños

You’re a Salmon and Corn Chowder Whiz Now, Right?

We hope this quick, easy salmon chowder recipe hit the spot! Snap a photo of your creamy salmon corn chowder and maybe even a video of the beautiful people you serve it to. Tag us on Instagram using @themodernproper and #themodernproper so we can toast you from afar! Happy eating!

Salmon Chowder

  • Serves: 6
  • Prep Time:  10 min
  • Cook Time:  40 min
  • Calories: 503


  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 pound bacon, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 3 stalks celery, minced
  • 1 small onion, minced
  • 1 jalapeno, thinly sliced
  • 1 bunch scallions, finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 cups chicken stock (or seafood stock)
  • 2 large russet potatoes, peeled and cut into one inch pieces
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 2 cups frozen corn
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 (1.5 pound) salmon (preferably wild), skin discarded and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • chives for garnish


  1. In a large, heavy stock pot, melt butter over medium heat. Add the bacon and cook, stirring often, until bacon begins to crisp, about 8 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove bacon from the pan and set aside. Drain off all but 2 tablespoons of bacon grease in the pan.
  2. Add celery, onions, jalapeños, scallions and garlic and cook, stirring often, until softened, about 8 minutes. Add the broth, potatoes, 1 teaspoon salt, pepper and cooked bacon. Bring to a simmer and cook until the potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk cornstarch and two tablespoons of water to form a slurry. Stir the cornstarch slurry into the broth and bring to a boil. Let the soup boil for about 2 minutes to thicken slightly.
  4. Turn the heat down to a gentle simmer, and stir in the corn and heavy cream. Place the salmon pieces on top of the simmering soup, season it with ½ teaspoon of salt, and cover the pot with a lid. Simmer for ten minutes, or until the salmon is cooked through.
  5. Top with fresh chives or extra scallions and freshly ground black pepper. Enjoy!

Nutrition Info

  • Per Serving
  • Amount
  • Calories503
  • Protein32 g
  • Carbohydrates26 g
  • Total Fat31 g
  • Dietary Fiber3 g
  • Cholesterol55 mg
  • sodium854 mg
  • Total Sugars8 g

Salmon Chowder

Questions & Reviews

Join the discussion below.

  • Susan Lloyd

    Can I use butter and flour mixed together instead of corn starch to thicken the chowder?

    Ya, you totally can!

  • Anna

    Hi there! How much is a serving size? I have to count calories/carbs to help manage my diabetes! Thank you!

    Unfortunately we don't have a cup yield on this recipe but a serving would be 1/6th of the pot.

  • Amy

    I love this recipe and make it often. But this time around we're not able to finish it. Can I freeze it?

    Yes! Just reheat slowly, stirring often so the cream doesn't separate.

  • Dani

    Hello, would this be ok to reheat if you have leftover’s?


  • Laura

    Hello! Have you tried using frozen salmon (IQF) for this dish? How would that impact cook time? Thank you!

    You should always thaw the salmon before cooking then just follow the recipe as normal. Hope you enjoy Laura!

  • Laura

    I made this soup last night. Wanted something hearty and warm because I wasn't feeling well. It really turned out fantastic. The flavors were great, and it was just as easy to make as you promised. Simple and delicious.

    Thanks Laura, we are so happy you loved it!

  • Adrian (Brentwood Bay, BC, Canada)

    This is an absolutely fantastic recipe, and now a go-to favourite of my family! Followed the above recipe almost to the tee, with the exception of: (1) left out jalapeño (because my 9-year-old isn't used to the heat) but then added in some crushed red pepper flakes into the adults' bowls; (2) added 2 carrots (finely chopped/cubed) at step 2. So glad to have found this chowder.

    Thanks Adrian, we are so happy your family enjoyed it!

  • Amanda

    I made this with gold potatoes, vegetable broth and no bacon. I added extra jalapeño as well. Such an incredible recipe. Definitely making this for company next time.

    Thanks Amanda, so glad you loved it!

  • Zanita

    This is an excellent recipe. I served it at our weekly Soup Night and it was a hit. I chose to bake the salmon separately and add it to the chowder at the last minute. I take issue, however, with the prep time stating 10 minutes. This recipe takes quite a long to prepare. Anyone who can prep this recipe in 10 minutes must have a magic wand.

    Thanks Zanita, we are glad you enjoyed it!

  • Morgan

    This chowder is excellent! I didn’t have jalapeños so I stirred in some chipotle’s in adobo sauce and it added a nice smoky flavor. Think I’ll make it that way next time on purpose!

    Thanks Morgan, happy you loved it!