Your Guide to Seafood Chowders: What Is It & Types of Chowder - Pine Tree Seafood

Your Guide to Seafood Chowders: What Is It & Types of Chowder

Your Guide to Seafood Chowders: What Is It & Types of Chowder

Ahh, chowder. There’s nothing more hearty or comforting than warming up with a nice bowl of creamy seafood chowder during the cold winter months. (Or any month out of the year…we don’t judge!)

Like any other seafood dish, there are many variations of the classic chowder. Depending on the availability of different seafood and produce, there are a wide variety of ingredients that can be used — such as corn, celery, and even tomatoes.

If you’re new to chowder — or if you’re a longtime connoisseur — you’ll learn about the ins and outs of chowder in this guide.


Chowder is a chunky, often seafood-based stew that is thickened with cream, milk, or even tomatoes. Each region has its own version of seafood chowder, but the main ingredients remain the same:

  • Seafood: main ingredient that can include lobster, clam, fish, etc.
  • Liquid and thickening agent: milk, cream, tomatoes or roux; plus flour, cornstarch, or potatoes
  • Seasoning: whole ingredients like onion and celery, as well as herbs

What seafood is used in chowder?

One of the most popular types of chowder uses clams; clams go perfectly with a creamy, savory chowder. While clam chowder may be one of the most popular types, plenty of other seafood goes well in the stew, including: lobster, shrimp, scallop, and more. Often, the type of seafood used in a chowder depends on your geographic area and what is locally available.

Bisque vs. Chowder

You might be wondering what the difference is between a bisque and a chowder. The difference is simple: while the creamy base is similar in both, bisque is a smooth stew with pureed ingredients, while a chowder maintains the consistency of ingredients with a chunky texture.


1. Basic Chowder

A basic chowder will often combine salt pork, potatoes, onion, your favorite fish or shellfish, stock, and evaporated or whole milk. With such a versatile dish, you really can’t go wrong.

2. New England Chowder

New England-style chowder is a stew, most commonly containing clams or other seafood with a cream base. Bacon or salt pork and vegetables, like potatoes and onions, are also often part of a traditional New England chowder.

3. Manhattan Chowder

Instead of the traditional cream base, Manhattan chowders use a tomato base. That gives them a distinct red sauce color, rather than the creamy white chowders you might be accustomed to.

4. Long Island Chowder

This chowder gives you the best of both New England and Manhattan chowders: it combines both a cream base and tomatoes.

There’s a lot to enjoy when it comes to chowders. Try your local dishes or make your own with locally caught seafood!

Looking for fresh Maine seafood to add to your next chowder? Order today or come into our Scarborough, Maine location to purchase fresh caught Maine fish and lobster.