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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 on the side

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.

a large pot of salmon chowder with bacon, corn and potatoes

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.
raw salmon, potatoes, corn, chicken stock, bacon, onion 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!
bacon cooked in a dutch oven
cooked bacon with diced onions and jalapeños in a dutch oven
chicken broth with potatoes and vegetables in a stock pot for salmon chowder
heavy cream added to broth with potatoes and bacon n a large pot

Tools You’ll Need:

raw salmon added to a creamy base in a large pot for salmon chowder
pot of salmon chowder with bacon, onions and potatoes

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:

a large pot of salmon chowder with bacon, onions and potatoes
salmon chowder with crusty bread in a bowl

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!

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Salmon Chowder

  • Serves: 6
  • Prep Time:  15 min
  • Cook Time:  45 min
  • Calories: 503


  • 4 tablespoons (½ stick) unsalted butter
  • 8 ounces bacon, cut into ½-inch pieces
  • 1 bunch green onions, white and green parts, finely chopped
  • 3 celery ribs, minced
  • 1 small yellow onion, minced
  • 1 jalapeño, thinly sliced, plus more for garnish
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 quart seafood or chicken stock
  • 2 large russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1½-inch pieces
  • 1½ teaspoons fine sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper, plus more for serving
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 2 cups frozen corn
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1½ pounds salmon, preferably wild, skin discarded and cut into 1½-inch pieces


1. In a large, heavy stockpot, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the bacon and cook, stirring often, until the bacon begins to crisp, about 8 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove the bacon from the pan and set aside.

2. Reserve ¼ cup green onions. Add the remaining green onions, the celery, onion, jalapeño, and garlic and cook over medium heat, stirring often, until the onion is softened, about 5 minutes. Add the stock, potatoes, crisped bacon, 1 teaspoon of the salt, and the pepper. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes.

3. In a small bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and 2 tablespoons water to form a slurry. Stir the slurry into the broth and bring to a boil over high heat. Cook until slightly thickened, about 2 minutes. Reduce the heat to a gentle simmer and stir in the corn and cream, then return the chowder to a simmer. Add the salmon and season it with the remaining ½ teaspoon salt. Cover and simmer until the salmon is cooked through, about 10 minutes. Taste and adjust the salt as needed.

4. To serve, ladle the chowder into bowls. Top with the reserved green onions and additional black pepper. Add more jalapeños for extra heat.

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.


    Can I freeze the leftover of this soup?

    Sure! Just thaw before reheating. Reheat over low heat stirring often. Enjoy!

  • Rose

    Can I freeze this soup?


  • Jeella

    Can I use canned salmon?

    Sure! Hope you enjoy Jeella!

  • Shawna

    I’m no a salmon eater but want to take this over to my in-laws. Does this reheat well? Should I cook the salmon and have them add it to the soup when they reheat?

    You can make it fully and they can slowly reheat on the stove top.

  • Jody

    can i boil the carcuss to make the broth and pick the meat off the bones.

    Yes but we don't have a recipe or instructions for that.

  • Louise

    This is, hands down, the best chowder I've ever made and possibly my favorite soup EVER. It's definitely in my top three. I'd give this TEN stars if I could.

    10 STARS?!?! THANK YOU! We are so happy you loved it Louise!

  • Lori

    Amazing flavor! Added some large shrimp as well as 1/4 cup herb and garlic cream cheese as a thickener instead of the cornstarch. Will definitely make again.

    Thanks Lori, so happy you loved it!

  • Susa

    This recipe is wonderful. Made it last night and have left overs. Can I freeze them?

    Thanks Susa, glad you loved it! Yes! Just reheat slowly, stirring often so the cream doesn't separate.

  • Jeff

    So good! I am not a white potato person so I used sweet potatoes and realized after I started that I was out of celery. I added a can of cream of celery and reduced the cream by a half cup and it was still outstanding! Great recipe and a fantastic way to stretch a salmon filet!

    Thanks Jeff, glad you loved it!

  • Jeff

    I realized after I started I didn't have celery. Substituted a can of cream of celery soup and reduced the cream by a half cup. Outstanding! Great recipe and it really stretches the salmon for a family!

    Thanks Jeff, glad you loved it and glad your swap worked well!