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Easy Fish Chowder: A quick no recipe, recipe

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This quick and easy Fish Chowder is a no-recipe recipe. It’s delicious, extremely adaptable, light, and creamy. Made with cod, a handful of vegetables, and seasoning.

Closeup view of Quick and Easy Fish Chowder in White Bowl

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Perfect for any day, all year long. From summer days to winter days. From the north to the south — it’s a simple, staple fish chowder recipe you will love, every time.

A no-recipe recipe you can memorize and adapt and make your own, every single time.

While I’ve given you some ideas on the recipe card below — here’s how to make it your own.

Quick and Easy Fish Chowder in a white bowl on wood cutting board

How to Make This Easy Fish Chowder Recipe Your Own

I mentioned a no-recipe recipe. Here’s what I mean.

Begin with the bacon — or not—your choice. I like to use 2 to 3 strips plus a tablespoon of butter to make the soup pot extra delicious. The savory bacon flavor goes a long way in this fish chowder. 

Then it’s about vegetables. With the bacon, add a few handfuls of chopped onion. Hit it with some heat and sauté over medium heat until translucent and softened. Sprinkle in a bit of smoked paprika and season with salt and pepper.

Split view of Easy Fish Chowder cooking

Add some chopped carrots to the pot if you’d like. A handful of corn straight off the cob or even frozen adds a sweetness I love. But again, that’s just me.

It wouldn’t be fish chowder in my book without potatoes. I prefer Yukon gold or red potatoes. Or a combination, as I’ve done here. And yes — I don’t peel them. Scrub, yes — peel? Not here.

Let’s talk about liquid. All you need is enough to cover the potatoes barely. Fish stock is best, actually amazing. But even water is just fine. 

Quick and Easy Fish Chowder in a White Dutch Oven

Bring the chowder to a boil; reduce to a simmer and cook until the potatoes and vegetables are fork-tender and the liquid has reduced. Add a bit of milk or cream and heat over low heat until steamy, but not simmering. It will curdle the milk. 

Add the cod or white fish to the pot and cook for about 5 minutes. Or until cooked through. 

Chowder anyone? Be sure to add that crusty bread!

Top view of Chowder on a Gray Background

Chowder Origins

The word chowder is believed to derive from the French “chaudiere.” Translated, it loosely means a pot used to cook soups and stews. 

There are many varieties of chowder, as you well know. Here are some of our favorites.

More Chowder Recipes You May Also Enjoy


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Side view of Chowder
Closeup view of Quick and Easy Fish Chowder in White Bowl

Quick and Easy Fish Chowder

Yield: 6 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes

This quick and easy Fish Chowder is a no-recipe recipe. It's delicious, extremely adaptable, light, and creamy. Made with cod, a handful of vegetables, and seasoning.


  • 3 strips of bacon, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 medium yellow onions, chopped
  • 3 carrots, chopped
  • 3 large Yukon Gold potatoes, chopped
  • 1 cup corn (fresh or frozen)
  • 2 cups fish stock
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 to 2 pounds cod or another firm white fish, pin bones removed, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 1 cup milk, half and half, or heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley


  1. Heat a Dutch Oven over medium-high heat and add the butter. Once melted, add the chopped bacon, onions, and carrots. Sauté until translucent and softened; about 3 to 4 minutes.
  2. Add the potatoes, corn, stock (or water), bay leaf, paprika, salt, and pepper. The liquid should barely cover the potatoes. Add or reduce the liquid as needed.
  3. Bring the chowder to a simmer, then lower the heat to medium and cook, covered, until the potatoes are mostly soft; 10 to 15 minutes. Remove the lid and reduce the heat to medium-low. Stir in the milk or cream and heat through until it has thickened a bit; 2 to 3 minutes.
  4. Be careful not to boil the chowder after the milk or cream has been added. Milk curdles easier than cream and needs to be watched more carefully. Reduce heat as needed. Maintain a steamy temperature, not a simmering temperature.
  5. Add chopped fish to the chowder and cook until the fish cooked through; about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the chopped parsley.
  6. Serve with crusty bread.



I like cod, but any white, firm fish is perfect.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 224Total Fat: 6gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 50mgSodium: 740mgCarbohydrates: 18gFiber: 4gSugar: 4gProtein: 25g

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  1. Just delicious and so straightforward to make. We buy frozen fish on sale, the poaching is perfect for frozen. I added dry thyme, freshly-grated nutmeg and a bay leaf for another layer of flavor.

    1. Hi Suzanne! I’m so glad you enjoyed this soup. I too have frozen fish and think it’s a great recipe for using them!

  2. Made this stew for dinner tonight and it’s just awesome..My husband really liked it..Wouldn’t change a thing..

  3. I like to cook healthy and this recipe was excellent. It was rich creamy full of flavor — while being low in fat and full of nutrition! I didn’t change much from the original recipe. My boyfriend loved this too. Good work.

    1. Hi Roy! I’m so glad you liked it. We love it at our house too, especially in the summer! In fact, it’s on my menu this weekend. Thanks for letting me know how you liked it!

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