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The best Salmon Chowder recipe using fresh salmon and fennel bulb, that can be made in about 30 minutes on the stovetop. Low carb, Keto and dairy-free adaptable! #salmonchowder #chowder

Simple Salmon Chowder

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 61 reviews
  • Author: Sylvia Fountaine
  • Prep Time: 10
  • Cook Time: 25
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 6 1x
  • Category: fish, stew, soup
  • Method: stove-top
  • Cuisine: Northwest


A simple Salmon Chowder recipe using fresh salmon and fennel bulb, that can be made in about 30 minutes on the stovetop. Low carb, Keto and dairy-free adaptable!


Units Scale
  • 23 tablespoons olive oil (or butter)
  • 1 onion, diced (or sub 2 leeks, sliced or 2 fat shallots)
  • 1 small fennel bulb, 1 1/2 cups diced
  • 1 cup celery, sliced
  • 24 garlic cloves, rough chopped
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon thyme (dry, or 2 teaspoons fresh)
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/3 cup vermouth, cooking sherry or white wine (or leave it out, see notes)
  • 3 cups fish or chicken stock- if using chicken broth see notes, on how to enhance
  • 3/4 lb baby potatoes, thinly sliced (1/4 inch thick)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 lb salmon, skinless. (or ok to sub other fish like cod or shrimp), cut into 1 -2 inch pieces ( the more uniform, the better)
  • 2 cups whole milk (or half & half or a combo, or dairy-free milk like coconut milk, or 1/2- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • Garnish: fresh dill, lemon wedges, fennel frods, or tarragon.


  1. Heat oil over medium heat, and saute onion, fennel and celery until fragrant, 5-6 minutes. Add garlic, fennel seeds, thyme and saute two more minutes, stirring. Add the smoked paprika.
  2. Add vermouth, and cook it off, about 1-2 minutes. Add stock, salt, and bay, and bring to a simmer over high heat. Add potatoes and stir. Bring to a simmer, cover and simmer over med-low heat until tender, about 8-10 minutes (check at 7 mins, be careful to not overcook).  While this is cooking prep the salmon.
  3. Cut salmon into 2-inch pieces, removing any of the brown fat ( see notes) and bones. Sprinkle lightly with salt.
  4. Once the potatoes are just fork-tender, add the milk and bring to a low simmer (do not boil) and add the salmon, gently poaching it in the soup for just about  2 minutes. Turn heat off.  Fish will continue to cook. If you continue to simmer the soup any longer it may cause a slight curdling. ( Don’t worry, it’s still edible, but not as pretty.)  Flake the fish apart, into bite-sized pieces, with a fork.
  5. Taste, adjust seasonings to your liking and serve immediately.
  6. Garnish with fresh dill and lemon wedges, or fennel frods, or fresh tarragon.


If using chicken stock, add 1 teaspoon fish sauce for depth. You can also sub some clam juice for the stock.

If skipping the vermouth or sherry cooking wine, which FYI does give this a lovely elevated nuanced flavor, add a couple of drops of AC vinegar at the end along with a pinch of sugar. Advanced cooks- you could experiment with Pernod (subbing it for the vermouth, starting with 2-3 tablespoons, making sure to cook this off) which will give it a beautiful anise flavor.

If you notice grey/brown fat located between the skin and salmon flesh, feel free to remove it -which ultimately will look better in the stew. If using wild salmon, it is ok to eat (healthy, actually)  just not quite as “pretty”.

Keto option, sub potatoes with cauliflower. Use 1 cup of heavy whipping cream.

Dairy-Free option: add 1 cup of coconut milk, more to taste.

Want More Smokiness? Try subbing part of the fresh salmon with hot smoked salmon (don’t use lox) or feel free to add crumbled, browned bacon (3 slices should do it!)

Salmon Chowder will keep 3 days in the fridge.


  • Serving Size: 1 ½ cup - using whole milk & olive oil
  • Calories: 285
  • Sugar: 8.1 g
  • Sodium: 700 mg
  • Fat: 12.1 g
  • Saturated Fat: 3.1 g
  • Carbohydrates: 20.7 g
  • Fiber: 3.5 g
  • Protein: 24.1 g
  • Cholesterol: 47.9 mg