Our Most Comforting Seafood Chowder, Soup, and Stew Recipes
A hot bowl of chowder is a comforting sight, especially on a frigid winter's day. Start with a classic like creamy New England clam chowder, then explore our other recipes for seafood soups and cozy stews—this collection has something to please everyone's taste.
Digging into a bowl of fish chowder or soup is a terrific way to warm up on a cold day, but it's somewhat unexpected amid the sea (pun intended) of beefy stews and chilis typically associated with the winter months. Luckily for the uninitiated, there are so many delicious recipes that'll help you get to know this category of warming dishes. Lest you think the options for seafood-based chowders and soups are exclusively of the Manhattan or New England variety, it's important to know that there's actually an incredible array of recipes worth trying, from those classic American clam chowders (plus a Rhode Island take) to international offerings from the Caribbean, France, India, Italy, Scotland, and elsewhere. We've collected our most comforting seafood recipes here, including brothy soups, chunky chowders, and cozy stews.
Some of the most popular and well-loved white fish are here: cod, halibut, red snapper, sea bass, and more, and you'll find that they're largely interchangeable based on what you prefer and what's available at your market. And salmon fans will love a Scottish-style mixed chowder that includes smoked salmon (though you can also swap in other smoked fish such as trout or haddock). Whichever fish you use, you'll likely be eating soon; fish cooks quickly so many of these recipes are ready in under an hour, some much less than that. Shellfish lovers will find plenty of options here, too, including a seafood gumbo packed with shrimp and some fantastic clam chowders including the New England and Manhattan versions that are pictured here.
All of these recipes get incredible flavor from add-ons, whether bacon (its smoky richness is key in many chowders), ginger, coconut milk, or wine and herbs. Whichever you choose, you're in for a treat. All you need to accompany these wonderful stews are some garlic bread, toasts, or a handful of oyster crackers (a cozy fisherman sweater wouldn't hurt, either).
Mixed Seafood Chowder
This Scottish-style chowder is made with smoked salmon, but you can try other hot-smoked fish, like trout or haddock.
Mid-Atlantic Seafood Stew
A creative fish and shrimp dish that's part tradition (it echoes a San Francisco cioppino and includes Old Bay seasoning) and part modern innovation (instead of scallops, it features sliced oyster mushrooms seared in butter until they're golden brown).
Caribbean Fish-and-Pumpkin Stew
Quick and cozy, this stew gets deep flavor from bold, rich ingredients such as chile peppers, coconut milk, and winter squash. A few generous handfuls of baby spinach and pieces of cod round out the nutritious meal.
Senior food editor Lauryn Tyrell tweaked her grandmother's recipe to make a gumbo for the ages! Sautéed okra is the perfect foil for the rich flavors in this Louisiana shrimp-and-crab stew.
Slow-Cooker Indian-Style Fish Curry
This smart recipe has you build a thick and flavorful broth (which includes coconut, chiles, coriander, onion, turmeric, ginger, garlic, tamarind, cumin, fenugreek, and curry powder) in the slow cooker. Then, 20 minutes before you're ready to eat, you add pieces of fish and cook until they are flaky and tender.
New England Clam Chowder
A little bit of bacon goes a long way in this classic recipe—it adds a porky richness to the chowder, and the vegetables are sautéed in the rendered fat.
Fish Stew with Herbed Toasts
This vibrant tomato-based stew relies on clam juice instead of fish stock for its deeply flavored broth. Buttery shallot- and thyme-studded toasts are the perfect accompaniment.
Corn adds just the right amount of sweetness to this creamy salmon chowder, and fresh basil gives it a lightly floral and herby taste. Serve with oyster crackers, or larger Vermont common crackers for welcome crunch.
Lobster and Corn Chowder
Succulent lobster and sweet corn are the stars of this delicate chowder. Boil the lobsters in advance and add the meat to the soup just before serving.
Want to celebrate the Feast of the Seven Fishes with just one amazing dish? We've got you covered with this knockout stew starring clams, mussels, red snapper, monkfish, squid, scallops, and shrimp.
Shrimp, Cod, and Fennel Soup with Tomatoes
Store-bought fish stock is the key to getting this light, flavorful soup on the table in just 40 minutes. It's simmered with cod, shrimp, tomatoes, white wine, and plenty of aromatics.
Italian Seafood Stew
Take a page out of an Italian fisherman's playbook and whip up this simple 25-minute stew with the catch of the day. Choose the freshest white fish and clams you can find to make the flavors really sing.
Use your favorite firm, white-fleshed fish to make this versatile chowder. We usually go for cod, bass, or red snapper, depending on what's available at the market.
Bouillabaisse with Lobster
Traditional French bouillabaisse calls for fish native to the Mediterranean, but many fish in American markets are suitable. Choose firm white-fleshed fish, such as striped bass, tilefish, or monkfish. The addition of lobster makes this version extra luxurious.
Make this chowder when corn is in season. The kernels and the cobs add lots of sweet flavor. Once the potatoes are cooked, add the shrimp to the soup and simmer until just done. Be careful not to overcook!
Rhode Island Clam Chowder
While not as well-known as its New England and Manhattan counterparts, this clam chowder is just as delicious. In fact, its clear broth might be the best showcase for super fresh clams.
Light, satisfying, and ready in just 25 minutes! Start with homemade or store-bought chicken broth, then add shrimp and striped bass or red snapper.
Manhattan Clam Chowder
This cosmopolitan take on that other classic teams fresh clams with a Marsala-spiked tomato broth. Pancetta lends richness while Yukon Gold potatoes make the chowder substantial enough for a lunch main course.