Salmon Chowder is so easy to make and tastes like something you’d have at a high quality seafood restaurant. It’s the best way to use up leftover salmon and will have everyone you serve it to begging for the recipe!
I can’t believe it’s already been three whole years since moving from Toronto to the West Coast! That’s so crazy to think about and every time I do, I just can’t believe it. There are so many things I fell in love with on this side of Canada. Like the beauty and surrounding mountains. The peace and quiet. The place we’ve made our special home. Oh, and the seafood chowders. Seriously. They’re on almost every single menu and I can honestly say that in the entire three years I’ve been here, I haven’t had a bad one yet.
They’re thick and creamy, luscious and delicious, loaded with some type of seafood (or all types depending on what you find!) and usually have a ton of veggies thrown into the mix. Chowders, IMHO, make an all around great lunch, dinner, appetizer or snack any time of year. And as you’ve probably already guessed it, this deliciously creamy Salmon Chowder is no different and is SO dang good, even fish haters will think so!
If you’re like I used to be and have yet to discover the deliciousness of chowders (I see you, Toronto friends) then let this recipe for Salmon Chowder be your sign to make your own. I know we kinda got the short end of the stick as you don’t normally (if ever at all) see ’em on any restaurant menus in Toronto but all you really need is to find a good piece of salmon and you can make this restaurant quality Salmon Chowder yourself from scratch at home.
The best part about this Salmon Chowder recipe is that it’s amazing with leftover salmon. But, friends, I’m really not gonna lie to you here. When I make salmon I purposely make more than enough just to have leftovers to make this chowder. It’s seriously THAT good. So, whether you’ve got some leftover salmon that you don’t quite know what to do with or want to whip up a fresh piece then this recipe for Salmon Chowder is most definitely for you. And coming from the gal who has tasted a-many in her 3 years of living on the West Coast, this creamy and easy to make Salmon Chowder will definitely set the bar as high as it needs to be.
WHAT YOU’LL NEED TO MAKE SALMON CHOWDER
Are you one of those people who can tell this Salmon Chowder is going to be a WINNER just by looking at the ingredients? Because I am! Let’s discuss ’em in a little bit more detail down below:
- Cooked Salmon: If you’ve got some leftover salmon that you don’t quite know what to do with then this recipe for Salmon Chowder is most definitely for you. It makes it easy peasy, filling and delicious. If you don’t already have cooked salmon on hand then try this recipe using my Pan Seared Salmon (without the lemon caper butter sauce). You can also use fresh or leftover baked, grilled or poached salmon. The type of salmon I used for this recipe was sockeye but you can use whatever type you have on hand – just be sure to remove the skin and bones, if needed.
- Potatoes: Makes this soup chunky and filling. I used yellow flesh potatoes as I like their thin skin meaning you don’t have to peel them. However, you can use any variety of potatoes you have on hand. But I would recommend peeling the ones with thicker skins (i.e. russet potatoes).
- Celery: Adds texture and flavour to the chowder.
- Onions: Almost every good soup starts with a little bit of onions and garlic, am I right? White onions work best in this recipe.
- Garlic: You know you can never go wrong with a little bit of garlic in just about any dish! Fresh minced garlic works best in this recipe. But if all you have on hand is garlic powder use 1/2 a tsp instead of the 1 fresh clove.
- Frozen Veg: Adds colour, nutrition and flavour to this Salmon Chowder recipe. I like using the mixed frozen veg with corn, peas, carrots and beans. However, you can choose just one or a couple of those ingredients instead of all four, if you prefer. You can also used canned veggies, if that’s all you have on hand.
- Green Onions: Adds flavour and a pop of colour to the final dish.
- Bacon: Adds the perfect salty, crunchy bite to this recipe for Salmon Chowder. You can use thick cut bacon, smoked bacon or even pancetta instead, if you prefer. Try my oven broiling method for cooking bacon.
- Cheese: I used cheddar cheese. However, you can use a different kind of cheese, if you prefer. Mozzarella, swiss or marble all make great options.
- Milk: Makes this Salmon Chowder creamy and delicious. You can use heavy cream or half and half instead, if you prefer.
- Flour: Makes the chowder extra thick and delicious. White all purpose flour works best in this recipe.
- Butter: Adds flavour and helps sauté the veggies until they’re nice and soft. You can use oil or bacon fat instead, if you prefer.
- Dill: Adds a bit of tang and freshness to this Salmon Chowder recipe. Salmon and dill are like a match made in Heaven if ya know what I mean! You can use either fresh or dried dill in this recipe. If using fresh, use 1 tbsp. If using dried, use 1 tsp. If you don’t have any dill on hand, try using fresh chopped parsley instead.
- Tarragon: Adds a light, fresh, almost citrusy flavour to the chowder. You can use fresh or dried tarragon in this recipe. If using fresh, use 1 tbsp. If using dried, use 1 tsp.
- Salt: Makes the rest of the ingredients pop and brings the entire dish together.
HOW TO MAKE SALMON CHOWDER WITH LEFTOVER SALMON (KEY TIPS)
You can find full instructions for how to make this restaurant style Salmon Chowder in the recipe card down below, but here are a few quick tips to keep in mind for this recipe:
- Boil the potatoes until tender and then add them to the chowder. They would never fully cook through (or would take forever to do so) if you just add them in raw chunks.
- Make sure there are no bones or skin on your salmon before mixing it into the chowder. This is pretty easy to accomplish since you’re going to have to break the salmon down into small pieces with a fork or your fingers (I like using my fingers for this reason).
- Once you add the milk or cream to the chowder, be sure to keep a close eye on it as it can easily scorch and burn if it’s too hot (which will ruin your entire chowder!). Keep it on medium to low heat and continue stirring regularly.
- Use cheese that you grate yourself instead of the pre-shredded stuff you can find in bags at the grocery store. Those tend to have anti-caking agents which prevent the cheese from melting properly.
- This Salmon Chowder will thicken as it sits (especially in the fridge). You might have to add an extra splash of milk or cream while reheating to get it back to your desired consistency.
- Leftover salmon works great in this recipe. As a matter of fact, when I’m making my pan seared salmon recipe, I purposely make extra just so I can have enough to make this recipe!
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Generally speaking, Chowders are made up of so many delicious things! Normally you can do ’em in either a creamy based broth (like this one) or, the less popular version, a tomato based broth. They’re packed full of veggies such as potatoes, corn, peas, celery and onions and usually have some type of protein like seafood or chicken.
Yes, you can freeze Salmon Chowder Soup for up to 3 months. Simply allow it to cool completely and then transfer it to freezer safe containers. Allow it to thaw in the fridge overnight before reheating and eating. Please note that you may have to add some additional milk or cream while reheating to get it back to its original consistency.
The best way to thicken seafood chowder (or any chowder for that matter) is to simply add some type of flour to the mix as I do in this recipe. If you still don’t find the chowder thick enough, you can always make a cornstarch slurry by mixing equal parts of cornstarch and water then stirring it into the chowder. Alternatively, you can take it a step further and make a roux by mixing flour with a cooking fat such as butter or bacon grease which eliminates the need to thicken the chowder after the fact.
This Salmon Chowder will last 3-4 days in the fridge if stored in a sealed airtight container. Please note that the chowder will thicken up as it sits. Therefore, you may have to add an additional splash of milk or cream while reheating in order to get it back to the desired consistency.
Salmon Chowder is a great meal all on it’s own served up with some fresh dinner rolls or homemade garlic bread. If you’re looking for some good side dishes to serve up along with it, a light salad such as this Kale Caesar Salad or Spinach Strawberry Salad make great options. Pasta salad or veggies are also good contenders with some of my favourites being Tuna Pasta Salad, Air Fryer Brussels Sprouts, Simple Roasted Broccoli or Vegan Buffalo Cauliflower.
- 1 pound fully cooked Wild Salmon, deboned and flaked*
- 5 slices fully cooked Bacon, chopped, plus more for garnish
- 4 cups Milk, Heavy Cream or Half and Half
- 3 cups (~2 large) Yellow Flesh Potatoes, cut into bite sized chunks
- 2 cups Frozen Mixed Veggies (such as peas, corn, carrots and beans)
- 1 cup Cheddar Cheese, grated, plus more for garnish
- 3/4 cups (~2 Ribs) Celery, diced
- 1 White Onion, diced
- 2 tbsp Butter
- 2 tbsp Flour
- 1 Clove Garlic, minced
- 1 tsp Dried Dill*
- 1 tsp Dried Tarragon*
- 1/2 tsp Salt
- 1/4 tsp Pepper
- Boil the potatoes in salted water until fork tender, drain and set aside.
- In a large soup pot, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the celery and onions and cook until soft, stirring frequently, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and stir until fragrant, an additional 30 seconds to a minute. Add the flour, salt and pepper and cook until the flour dissolves and coats the veggies.
- Slowly whisk in the milk, stirring constantly. Bring it to a boil then immediately reduce the heat and cook until thickened, about 10 minutes. Be sure to keep stirring throughout so the milk doesn't scorch or burn.
- Add the potatoes, salmon, bacon, veggies, dill and tarragon. Cook for an additional few minutes until everything is heated through.
- Stir in the grated cheese and cook until melted.
- Garnish with chopped green onions, more cooked bacon and extra grated cheese, if desired.
Leftover Salmon of any kind is perfect for this recipe. However, if you don't have any on hand, try using my Pan Searing method for cooking the salmon.
If using fresh Dill and Tarragon instead of dried, use 1 tbsp instead of the 1 tsp.
The chowder will thicken up as it sits (especially in the fridge). Therefore, you may have to add an additional splash of milk or cream while reheating in order to get it back to the desired consistency.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 475Total Fat: 28gSaturated Fat: 12gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 14gCholesterol: 105mgSodium: 657mgCarbohydrates: 22gFiber: 3gSugar: 11gProtein: 32g
Nutrition is only an estimate and calculated using Nutritionix.
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