Creamy Seafood Chowder and a Dairy Free Alternative

Creamy Seafood Chowder with a Dairy Free optionThis Creamy Seafood Chowder is so decadent it can be served as a holiday meal.  This recipe has quite a few ingredients, but it’s fairly easy to prepare and some of the ingredients I consider optional(noted below).  Don’t skip making the fish stock from scratch, it really makes the dish.  I have added a dairy free version below the original recipe, now that I am eating plant based as much as possible.

Originally, this recipe comes from “The Martha Stewart Cookbook” under fish chowder but as usual I have conveniently changed some of the ingredients based on what I have in my pantry.

Stock Ingredients

3 lbs. fish frames from flouder or fluke  (I have used shrimp shells in place of the fish frames to make the stock and it was very tasty)

2 cups dry white wine

3 bay leaves

3 stems fresh leaf parsley

Sprig of fresh thyme

1 teaspoon course salt

8 cups cold water

-Add all stock ingredients to pot and boil for 25 minutes or so, then strain through a cheesecloth.


1/4 lb. salt pork (Bacon, prosciutto or ham will work if you can’t find the salt pork.  I’ve even left this completely out and it was still very good.)  If you are not using any pork, add some butter toCreamy Seafood chowder with a dairy free alternative the pot to saute the onion.

1 large onion – diced

2 bay leaves

4 cups diced potatoes (feel free to play with the amount of potatoes..I used to be strick low carb girl and always made it with no potatoes)

4 lbs of seafood – I prefer shrimp (if regular size cut in half or thirds), baby scallops, cod or tillapia fillets.  The fish will break apart in the cooking process.

2 cups heavy cream – (Or however much you need to make it the consistency you like, if the soup is too thin, try some corn startch to thicken)

1/4 teaspoon cayenne

Salt & Pepper to taste

Note – if you do not have any cream but only milk, you could soften cream cheese and add to the milk to get a decadent creaminess, too.

Start by blanching the side pork for 10 minutes, drain and chop, add back to the pot and add onions – saute until translucent.  If you are not using pork, add 1/2 a stick of butter to the pot and suate the onion.  Add fish stock and bay leaves, bring to a simmer, then add the potatoes – cook until barely done.  Add the seafood (all de-shelled/de-veined and no bones or skin) to the pot and cook for 5 to 10 minutes.  Heat the cream and add to the soup.  Season with cayenne, salt & pepper.  I like to cook to the desire thickness at this stage, using flour or cornstarch, but you can also serve immediately after the cream is combined with the rest of the soup.

Dairy Free Version

Leave out the pork, use olive oil to saute the onions.  Follow the rest of the recipe until you add the cream,  add coconut or almond milk instead (2-3 cups).  Cook another 10 to 20 minutes then add cashew butter, which will give you a similar consistency as real cream.  Do not over cook the soup after you add the cashew butter – it willl break the consistency of the soup.  To make cashew butter, soak 1 cup of cashews in 1 cup water for about 30 mins.  Drain half the liquid and puree in food processor with one clove garlic and a teaspoon salt.



recipe image
Recipe Name
Creamy or Creamless Seafood Chowder
Published On
Preparation Time
Cook Time
Total Time