Creamy Fish Chowder Recipe: Perfect Comfort Food

Do you ever crave a hearty and comforting bowl of chowder, but are deterred by the use of heavy cream and lactose-containing ingredients? Fear not, my friends! I have just the recipe for you. This fish chowder is not only delicious, but also completely dairy-free.

As a nutritionist and food blogger, I am passionate about creating healthy and sustainable meals that everyone can enjoy. Whether you’re lactose intolerant or looking for lighter recipe alternatives, this fish chowder ticks all the boxes.

Using high-quality ingredients such as fresh cod and coconut milk, this chowder is bursting with flavor without sacrificing on nutrition. Plus, it’s gluten-free and perfect for those following a low-carb or Whole30 lifestyle.

So, fire up your stove and grab your soup bowls – it’s time to dive into this creamy and satisfying dairy-free fish chowder.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Fish Chowder - Dairy Free
Fish Chowder – Dairy Free

Listen up seafood lovers, have you been searching for the ultimate comfort food that caters to your dietary needs? Look no further because this dairy-free fish chowder recipe is sure to satisfy your cravings and leave you wanting more.

Not only is it dairy-free, but it’s also gluten-free and full of nutritious ingredients like cod, potatoes, and onions. The mix of savory bacon with the tender flaky fish will melt in your mouth and leave you dreaming of the next bowl.

This indulgent seafood chowder is perfect for anyone who desires a warm bowl of heaven after a long day. Plus, it’s packed with high-quality protein that will keep you fueled throughout the day. Whether you’re looking for a quick weeknight dinner or something to serve on special occasions, this dish will satisfy all of your seafood cravings.

So why wait? Try out this delicious recipe and get ready to be transported straight into seafood heaven.

Ingredient List

 Dive into a bowl of creamy dairy-free Fish Chowder!
Dive into a bowl of creamy dairy-free Fish Chowder!

In order to create this hearty and delicious Dairy-Free Fish Chowder, it is important to gather all the necessary ingredients beforehand. Here is a list of everything you will need:

Chowder Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs of wild-caught cod (or your preferred fish)
  • 1 tbsp of olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped and divided
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 4 cups of water or fish stock
  • 1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 6 slices of bacon, chopped
  • 5 potatoes, peeled and sliced
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Dairy-Free Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp of margarine or olive oil (divided)
  • 1 cup of canned coconut milk
  • 1 cup of clam juice (check for gluten)
  • Do not use heavy cream or any dairy milk products

These chowder ingredients are essential in making a protein-rich soup that’s filling, dairy-free and gluten-free. The addition of coconut milk gives it a creamy texture while enhancing the flavor with subtle sweetness. Clam juice is also a key ingredient giving the dish its distinct seafood taste. Don’t forget; do not add any heavy cream or lactose-containing products as we are keeping this recipe dairy-free!

The Recipe How-To

 Say goodbye to dairy and hello to this delicious and healthy Fish Chowder!
Say goodbye to dairy and hello to this delicious and healthy Fish Chowder!

Now that we have all of our ingredients ready, it’s time to bring them all together and create a delicious dairy-free Fish Chowder. Let’s get cookin’!

Cooking Directions

  1. In a stockpot, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Add 1 chopped onion and 4 chopped stalks of celery; cook for 5 minutes, or until softened.

  2. Add 4 slices of chopped bacon to the pot and cook until crispy.

  3. Add the diced 1 medium onion, 4 peeled and diced potatoes, and 2 cloves of minced garlic. Cook for 5 minutes while stirring occasionally.

  4. Pour enough water into the pot to just barely cover the vegetables (about 4 cups). Bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat and cook until the potatoes are tender, about 15-20 minutes.

  5. While waiting for the potatoes to cook fully, you can start cooking the fish. In a separate pan, heat up some olive oil or margarine (for those who don’t want to use oil) at medium-high heat.

  6. Place in your desired fish – we recommend using a mild white fish such as cod (most recipes also call for around 2 lb of fish). Cook thoroughly on both sides to reach its golden perfection.

  7. Using a fork or spatula, break up the cooked fish into small bite-sized pieces and add it into your stockpot.

  8. Pour in a can (about 1 cup) of coconut milk, clam juice or almond milk (if preferred) into the pot while stirring continuously.

  9. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

  10. Allow everything to remain at a simmer until heated through (about 5-8 minutes).

  11. Serve piping hot with gluten-free crackers or crispy bread.


  • You can also use salmon or any other best fish in the style chowders you want, but cod is our go-to choice for this recipe.
  • For a low-carb option, substitute potatoes with carrots or celery.
  • The use of heavy cream is often traditional in chowders, but the coconut milk or clam juice creates a rich and delicious flavor in this dairy-free version.
  • Leftovers can be stored for up to 3-4 days in an airtight container in the fridge. Reheat on stove or in the microwave.

Substitutions and Variations

 Warm your soul with a bowl of our dairy-free Fish Chowder!
Warm your soul with a bowl of our dairy-free Fish Chowder!

Hey there foodies, are you ready to put your spin on this dairy-free fish chowder recipe? Luckily, the ingredients in this recipe are versatile enough to allow for some substitutions and variations. Here are some ideas for tweaking the recipe to fit your dietary needs and taste preferences:

– Swap out the margarine for olive oil or coconut oil to make this recipe even healthier.

– For a vegetarian version, omit the bacon and use vegetable stock instead of fish stock. You can also substitute the cod with extra firm tofu or a variety of mushrooms.

– If you’re not fond of cod or it’s not available at your local store, you can use any sustainable white fish such as haddock, pollock or halibut. For a more decadent flavor, you can opt for wild-caught salmon. Alternatively, shrimp or scallops would also work well here.

– If you’re looking for a keto-friendly option, skip the potatoes and use cauliflower rice instead. You can also use almond milk instead of coconut milk.

– Feel free to toss in other veggies like carrots, celery, or corn to bulk up the chowder and make it more flavorful.

– If you don’t have fresh herbs on hand, use dried herbs instead. However, be aware that dried herbs are more concentrated than fresh ones so use them sparingly.

– For those who prefer a spicier kick in their seafood dishes, try adding some cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes to the broth.

There you have it – with these simple tweaks and changes in ingredients, you can transform this dairy-free fish chowder into a new creation. Let your creativity run wild and enjoy the delicious flavors of your own unique fish chowder recipe!

Serving and Pairing

 Bask in the richness of this dairy-free Fish Chowder!
Bask in the richness of this dairy-free Fish Chowder!

When it comes to serving and pairing this dairy-free fish chowder recipe, you have a lot of options to choose from!

Firstly, serve the hot chowder in individual bowls, topped with crispy bacon bits and freshly chopped parsley or chives. You can also sprinkle some black pepper for an extra punch of flavor.

To make it more filling, try serving it with some crusty bread or crackers. A fresh salad on the side will add some much-needed crunch and balance out the richness of the chowder.

For pairing options, white wine is always an excellent choice, especially a Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc – they’re both light-bodied and have a touch of acidity that pairs well with seafood chowders. If you prefer beer, go for a pale ale or lager, which can help cut through the creaminess of the soup.

If you’re looking for non-alcoholic options, try sparkling water with a squeeze of lemon or lime to complement the flavors of the chowder. Unsweetened iced tea or lemonade can also work as refreshing drink pairings for this seafood delight!

The beauty of this fish chowder is that it’s so versatile that it can be served as a hearty main dish, side dish, or even appetizer. It’s comfort food at its finest!

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

 Get cozy with a bowl of our creamy and dairy-free Fish Chowder!
Get cozy with a bowl of our creamy and dairy-free Fish Chowder!

I know that cooking a delightful dish like my Fish Chowder can take time, and sometimes you may not have the luxury of cooking it on the same day you want to serve it. That’s where this section comes in handy. I’ll give you tips on how to make this dish ahead of time, how to store it properly, and the best way to reheat it without compromising its texture and taste.

If you’re planning to make this Fish Chowder ahead of time, cook according to instructions and let it cool down completely before storing. You can store it in an airtight container for up to three days in the fridge or up to three months in the freezer. When reheating from frozen, place the container in a pot of warm water, or let it thaw overnight in the refrigerator before gently heating on low heat on the stovetop.

For those looking for a quicker solution, you could also opt for my Instant Pot Fish Chowder recipe modifications, which will save you plenty of time when compared to traditional stove cooking. Moreover, investing in good-quality food containers with locking lids is key when ensuring proper storage and easy reheating.

When reheating your chowder, either on the stove or in the microwave, add some extra water or broth to loosen up clumps and maintain texture. Reheat slowly on low heat so that all ingredients are fully warmed through – no one wants lukewarm chunky soup!

By following these tips and tricks, you can ensure that my Fish Chowder recipe tastes as good as new every single time it’s reheated – whether that’s straightforward at-home reheating or serving up leftovers from yesterday’s feast.

Tips for Perfect Results

 A dairy-free twist on a classic – try our Fish Chowder today!
A dairy-free twist on a classic – try our Fish Chowder today!

Now that you have all the ingredients for the perfect fish chowder, let’s talk about some tips and tricks to make sure your dish comes out perfectly every time.

First and foremost, when it comes to chowder, low and slow is the way to go. It’s important to simmer the ingredients for an extended period of time to allow the flavors to meld together.

When cooking the onions, carrots, celery, and garlic in oil or margarine, be sure not to let them burn. Burning your vegetables can add a bitter taste that no amount of seasoning can fix.

For a creamier chowder, blending some of the potatoes with coconut milk can create a rich and velvety texture without using heavy cream or dairy products. Additionally, using almond milk instead of dairy milk can provide a similar creaminess without compromising the lactose-free status of the dish.

When adding seafood into your chowder, always remember that less is more. Overcooking seafood can make it tough and chewy, so adding it towards the end of cooking time is key. Wild-caught cod or salmon are great options for this recipe.

Lastly, don’t be afraid to experiment with different spices and herbs. Thyme and parsley are common herbs used in chowders while smoked paprika and cumin can add depth and smoky flavor. Just be sure not to overdo it with too many different flavors that could clash.

By following these tips, you’ll be on your way to making a deliciously creamy and flavorful fish chowder every time!


Now that you know how to cook this creamy fish chowder, you may have some lingering questions about the recipe. In this FAQ section, I address some of the most common concerns about making dairy-free seafood chowder. Read on to learn more about ingredient substitutions, storage options, and other helpful tips to make your fish chowder experience even more enjoyable.

What can I use instead of heavy cream in seafood chowder?

Are you out of heavy cream for your recipe? Don’t worry! There are several substitutions you can use instead. One simple substitution is combining milk and butter. This combination is a great substitute for heavy cream and works for most recipes. Another substitution is combining soy milk and olive oil. You can also use a combination of milk and cornstarch, or half-and-half and butter. For non-dairy options try silken tofu and soy milk, Greek yogurt and milk, or evaporated milk. Cottage cheese and milk is another great substitute for heavy cream. Experiment with different options to figure out which one works best for your recipe.

Does chowder have to have milk?

Chowders are a popular seafood soup in North America, with different regional varieties. The classic Maine or New England-style chowders are creamy and made with milk or cream, and can feature clams, fish, or lobster. In contrast, Manhattan chowders include neither milk nor cream, but rather use a tomato-based broth and include vegetables such as celery and carrots.

What can you use to thicken fish chowder?

To achieve a smooth and velvety chowder, the ideal option is to utilize heavy cream. However, if the use of heavy cream is not suitable, light cream can serve as a suitable alternative. It is important to note that when using light cream, the addition of 1 tablespoon of cornstarch is necessary before incorporating it into the soup. This is because the cornstarch will aid in thickening the soup.

Does chowder have to have cream?

Chowder is a savory soup that typically includes ingredients like potatoes, sweet corn, smoked haddock, clams and prawns. While some variations contain cream, others are thickened using a roux and milk instead.

Bottom Line

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In conclusion, this dairy-free fish chowder recipe is the perfect addition to your weekly meal plan. Not only is it a healthier alternative to traditional chowders that use heavy cream and dairy products, but it is also delicious and easy to make.

With its flavorful combination of cod, bacon, potatoes, onions, and garlic, this chowder will satisfy even the pickiest eaters at your table. Plus, with the added option of using coconut milk or almond milk instead of heavy cream, it can accommodate a range of dietary needs and preferences.

So why not give this recipe a try? Whether you’re looking for gluten-free or whole30 instant pot fish chowder low carb options, or simply want a non-dairy seafood soup that is both healthy and hearty, this recipe has you covered.

Trust me, once you see how easy and delicious this dairy-free fish chowder is, you’ll never go back to using heavy cream in your chowders again. Not only will your taste buds thank you, but your body will too!

Fish Chowder - Dairy Free

Fish Chowder - Dairy Free Recipe

And easy, dairy free fish chowder.
No ratings yet
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Seafood
Calories 260 kcal


  • 1/2 lb fillet haddock or 1/2 lb cod
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 medium potato, peeled and sliced
  • 2 slices bacon
  • 1 small onion, peeled and sliced
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons margarine


  • Simmer fish in water until it flakes easily, about 5 minutes.
  • Remove fish with slotted spoon and set aside.
  • Add sliced potato to fish water, cover and simmer until cooked, about 8 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, cook the bacon the bacon in a small fry pan when done remove bacon and cook onions in bacon fat until lightly browns.
  • Remove pan from heat and crumble the bacon over the onions.
  • When potatoes are tender, add the fish, onion and bacon.
  • Season to taste with the salt and pepper, add margarine.
  • Let stand for 15 minutes before serving.

Add Your Own Notes


Serving: 503gCalories: 260kcalCarbohydrates: 22gProtein: 26.1gFat: 7.2gSaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 80.2mgSodium: 410.6mgFiber: 2.9gSugar: 2.3g
Keyword < 60 Mins, Chowders, Dairy Free, Egg-free, Free Of..., Healthy, Lactose-free, Low Cholesterol
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