12 Hearty Chowder Recipes That Go Way Beyond New England Clam Chowder

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Cheapism / DALL-E 3

Chowda for Days

When winter wraps its chilly arms around us, there's nothing quite like a steaming, hearty bowl of chowder to chase away the cold. Versatile and easy to whip up, chowder is ideal for those who aren't huge fans of cooking. Plus, it's perfect for using up pantry ingredients. 

Whether you prefer seafood, chicken, or vegetarian, there's a chowder for everyone. Here are a dozen cheap and delicious chowder recipes to try at home.

Chicken and Corn Chowder
Candice Bell/istockphoto

1. Chicken and Corn Chowder

Great for busy weeknights when you're craving something quick and comforting, this chowder comes together in minutes and does not skimp on flavor (or protein). Start by searing your chicken until browned, then set aside. In the same pot, saute onions and celery, then add in your potatoes, corn, and chicken stock. Once the veggies are tender, add the chicken back in and cook on low heat until the flavors meld together.

Recipe: Salt and Lavender

Corn soup in white bowl on black background

2. Vegetarian Potato Chowder

This meat-free chowder is a great way to use up leftover vegetables in a satisfying and flavorful way. To recreate it at home, start by sauteing onions and garlic, then add in diced potatoes, veggie stock, and heavy cream, and simmer until the spuds are softened. To make the broth even creamier, you can blend part of the soup using a hand blender (a regular blender will also work) before tossing in all your other veggies. 

Related: Happy Veggie Kitchen

Cauliflower Soup

3. Shrimp 'n' Bacon Chowder

This Cajun-inspired chowder is reminiscent of shrimp and grits and features all the smoky and bold flavors of Southern cuisine. Start by searing your bacon until crispy, then set aside. In the bacon fat, cook your shrimp until they turn pink, then add in onions, potatoes, and chicken stock. Cook on low to medium heat until the broth thickens and the flavors meld. Top with some crispy bacon and freshly chopped chives. 

Recipe: Delish

Related: 10 Easy Congee Recipes To Try This Winter

Creamy Italian Sausage and Potato Soup

4. Spicy Sausage Corn Chowder

Perfect for those who enjoy a little heat, this zesty chowder is sure to be a crowd pleaser and calls for only a few ingredients. Brown your choice of spicy sausage with onions, then add in potatoes, corn, and chicken broth. After simmering, add a dash of heavy cream (or milk) and a pinch of cayenne if you prefer it spicier. Garnish with a sprinkle of green onions and freshly cracked black pepper for some razzle dazzle. 

Recipe: All Recipes

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Fish soup in a yellow and white bowl

5. Sweet Potato and Corn Chowder

Featuring a delightful combination of sweet and savory, this chowder is ideal for those who enjoy a hint of sweetness in their meals. Start by browning bacon and cubed sweet potatoes in unsalted butter, then add in your onions, corn, and seasonings, and simmer in a veggie or chicken stock until thickened. Add more heavy cream if you prefer it creamier, then garnish with the crispy bacon and fresh chives. 

Recipe: Food Network

Corn Chowder

6. Corn Chowder With Bacon and Sea Scallops

For those who enjoy the delicate, buttery flavor of scallops, this one is a must-try. Start by browning the bacon until crispy, then in the same pan, saute your onions and celery. Puree part of the corn with milk and add the rest to the same pan along with the remaining milk and potatoes. Lightly sear your scallops in the bacon fat (no more than two minutes on each side to prevent them from turning tough an rubbery), then add them to the mixture and stir to combine before serving. 

Recipe: Food and Wine

Homemade Healthy Broccoli Cheddar Soup

7. Broccoli-Cheese Chowder

This spruced up version of Panera's famous broccoli cheddar soup calls for the addition of potatoes in a creamy, cheesy broth. It's also a healthy choice, with a single serving providing over half the daily recommended intake of vitamin C. Start by sauteing broccoli and onions before adding the potatoes and vegetable or chicken broth. Add a generous amount of shredded cheddar cheese and stir until combined. 

Recipe: Eating Well

Related: 10 Cheap and Delicious Recipes Using Cream of Potato Soup

Creamy Chicken and Wild Mushroom Soup

8. Vegan Mushroom Chowder

Mushroom lovers will revel in this rich, earthy chowder that is chock-full of umami flavors. Saute your favorite mushrooms (the recipe recommends baby bella mushrooms) with garlic, celery, and onions, then deglaze the pan with Worcestershire sauce before adding in your broth and seasoning herbs. Finish it off with cream for a velvety texture and garnish with black pepper and fresh thyme or parsley. 

Recipe: Vegan Richa

Creamy Baked Potato Soup with Cheddar Cheese, Green Onions and Crispy Bacon

9. Ham and Potato Chowder

If you're stressing over the leftover ham that's sitting in the fridge, give this recipe a whirl. Featuring savory bites of ham and potatoes, this chowder is enhanced with the holy trinity of cooking: carrots, celery, and onions in a hearty and creamy broth. It's sure to be a hit with the little ones, too. Top with green onions and more cheddar cheese for a satisfying lunch or dinner that is both filling and comforting. 

Recipe: Wyse Guide

Romanian Sour Chicken Soup Ciorba Radauteana with vegetables and sour cream closeup on the plate. Horizontal top view

10. Roasted Garlic Cheddar Cauliflower Chowder

Ideal for those who prefer a smokier flavor profile, this fancy chowder will trick everyone into thinking you're a professional chef. Start by roasting garlic and cauliflower in a pan until golden brown (you can also do this in the oven). Combine with chicken or veggie stock and bring to a gentle simmer before adding in the heavy cream. Serve with a drizzle of olive oil, chives, and freshly cracked black pepper. 

Recipe: Ambitious Kitchen

Pumpkin soup
Studio Images/istockphoto

11. Pumpkin and Bacon Chowder

A seasonal favorite that is perfect to enjoy on a crisp night, this silky chowder combines the sweetness of pumpkin with the salty, smoky goodness of bacon. You can also replace the pumpkin for butternut squash or yams. Sear the onions and bacon until crispy, set aside, then add the pumpkin along with the chicken stock. Add in heavy cream and top with the crispy bacon and pumpkin seeds for a festive touch.

Recipe: BBC Good Food

New England Style Clam Chowder

12. Classic New England Clam Chowder

Even though we're big fans of the other chowders on this list, sometimes you just want something classic. The quintessential chowder that all seafood lovers swear by, this dish features an aromatic blend of tender clams, potatoes, and smoky bacon to create a creamy, flavorful broth. It's also easier to make than you might expect. Start by sauteing onions and bacon, then add in your clams, potatoes, and clam or veggie stock. Simmer until the potatoes are tender, and finish it with a dash of heavy cream and fresh herbs.

Recipe: Coley Cooks