JFK’s Favorite New England Fish Chowder Recipe

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If you love New England Fish Chowder, it doesn’t get more New England than President Kennedy’s favorite New England Fish Chowder recipe. Easy to make, historic, and utterly delicious!

JFK's Favorite New England Fish Chowder Recipe | 31Daily.com

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President Kennedy’s Favorite Fish Chowder Recipe

The Kennedy family and New England will forever be joined in our minds. And thus, I think he would know a thing or two about New England Fish Chowder.

The following is his favorite recipe for this iconic soup.

The story is noted by the Boston Globe that even before our present-day 24-hour news cycle, the American public was fascinated by the Kennedy family’s daily routine.

They write that a young woman with disabilities wrote to JFK asking what he liked to eat. “Please reply to her,” Kennedy’s staff wrote in a memo to the president, according to the paper. “She will be extremely happy. Do not mention anything in the letter about her handicap please!”

Fortunately for us, Kennedy’s assistant responded and his favorite soup recipe—New England’s signature fish chowder—was archived by the JFK Library, so generations to come can enjoy it all winter long.

Fish Chowder Ingredients

Specific measurements are found in the recipe card at the bottom of this post. This is a summary of the ingredients you’ll need to make the chowder.

  • Haddock
  • Salt pork
  • Onion
  • Potatoes, diced
  • Celery, chopped
  • Bay leaf
  • Salt and pepper
  • Milk
  • Butter


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JFK's Favorite New England Fish Chowder Recipe | 31Daily.com

JFK’s Favorite New England Fish Chowder Recipe

If you love New England Fish Chowder, it doesn’t get more New England than President Kennedy’s favorite New England Fish Chowder recipe. Easy to make, historic, and utterly delicious!
4.8 from 8 votes
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Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 4 to 6 servings


  • 2 pounds haddock
  • 2 ounces salt pork diced
  • 1 large onion sliced
  • 4 large potatoes diced
  • 1 cup celery chopped
  • bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 quart milk
  • 2 tablespoons butter


  • Put the haddock in a soup pot with 2 cups water and simmer for 15 minutes. Drain, reserving the broth. Remove any bones from the fish and set fish aside.
  • Saute the salt pork in the soup pot until crisp. With a slotted spoon, remove the pork and set aside. Saute the onions in the pork fat until golden brown. Add the fish, potatoes, celery, bay leaf, salt, and pepper to taste.
  • Pour in the reserved fish broth plus enough boiling water to make 3 cups liquid. Simmer for 30 minutes. Add the milk and butter and simmer for 5 minutes. Serve the chowder sprinkled with the diced pork.

Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.

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Course: Soup
Cuisine: American
Keyword: clam chowder, clam chowder recipe, fish chowder, John F Kennedy, John F Kennedy’s fish chowder recipe


  1. 5 stars
    Great soup, can use cod or haddock. I don’t put the fish back in until right before you add the cream or milk in, to prevent it from falling apart too much.

    1. I’m so glad you enjoyed the soup! It’s fun to make recipes with historic significance– and that tastes good too! Thank you for sharing your tip!

  2. 5 stars
    I made this recipe as written and it’s very good. I’ll definitely make it again. I’ve never had fish chowder before but I had some cod that I needed to use. So glad I tried it!

    1. Hi Nancy! I’m so glad you liked this historic recipe! It is different than traditional recipes but so good!

    1. Hi Katie! You live in such a beautiful part of the country. I hate to admit this – because Seattle people are quite fond of our chowder – but the best chowder I’ve ever had was in Boston too!!

4.75 from 8 votes (5 ratings without comment)

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