Ultimate Fish Chowder Recipe

Here in Minnesota, the lakes are starting to thaw and anglers are getting open water fever, especially for spring crappie. Targeting crappie is the perfect outdoor activity to scratch the fishing itch and fill the fryer for the family.

This steamy pot of chowder is a play on the classic clam version. Heavy cream, lemon juice, and cornstarch give this creamy fish stew an undeniable silkiness. It’s the perfect chowder any time of the year. If you’re sitting next to a campfire, char a nice chunk of bread and slather it with some salted butter. The leftover chowder sauce will thank you.

Serving size


Time to make

1 hour


1 lb. of crappie fillets, cut into 1-inch chunks

½ pound bacon

2 cups heavy cream

1 cup clam juice or fish stock

2 cups game stock, such as pheasant

1 cup white wine

3 cups golden potato, peeled and diced

2 cups yellow onion, diced

1 cup celery, diced

1 cup fresh Italian parsley, roughly chopped

2 tbsp. lemon juice

2 tbsp. garlic, minced

2 tbsp. fresh dill, roughly chopped (or 2 tsp. dried dill)

1 tbsp. fresh thyme, minced (or 1 tsp. dried thyme)

2 tbsp. unsalted butter

2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

2 bay leaves

1 tbsp. corn starch

1 ½ tsp. kosher salt

1 tsp. black pepper

Oyster crackers (optional)

Also works with

Any flaky white fish or shellfish

Special equipment

Dutch oven or stock pot


  1. Preheat the oven to 375ºF. On a baking tray lined with foil or parchment paper, cook the bacon until crispy, about 20 minutes. Set aside to garnish the chowder later.
  2. In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat the oil and butter on medium-high. Add the onion, celery, garlic, thyme, and bay leaves. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Sauté for 3 minutes or until the onion is translucent and starting to brown on the edges.
  3. Add the white wine and reduce until half the liquid remains, about 5 minutes.
  4. Now add the potato, clam juice, and stock. Taste for seasoning. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer to cook the potatoes through, about 15 minutes.
  5. When a fork can be pushed through the potatoes, add the heavy cream. Check for seasoning. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for another 5 minutes.
  6. Mix the cornstarch with a touch of the broth. Then, mix the cornstarch slurry into the chowder.
  7. Add the fish and chopped dill. Simmer the fish for 3-5 minutes or until tender and just cooked through, depending on the thickness of the fillets. Be gentle when stirring so the fish doesn’t break up. Finish the chowder by mixing in the lemon juice and parsley. Garnish with the bacon and oyster crackers. Serve piping hot and enjoy.