Fish Chowder + Old Bay Sourdough Croutons

An easy fish chowder chocked full of tender fish, potatoes, bacon and topped with the old bay bomb-diggity croutons! This soup is utterly delicious!

It’s chowdah Wednesday!

Fish Chowder via #recipe

As I sit here, glass of Malbec in one hand, typing this post with the other. You’d never guess that I could barely contain my excitement over this chowder. I kept counting down the days until I could share this soup… with you.

Fish Chowder #seafood #recipe

The broth. The flaky fish. The gigantic-toasty-old-bay-sourdough-croutons. It’s so ridiculously easy and tastes as if you ordered it off a menu at a seaside restaurant. In Maine… or something.

Fish Chowder Barramundi

I made this chowder last week when we got piled on by snow. It was pretty much the perfect day. School was cancelled, I turned my favorite station on Pandora and made chowder.

Instead of my usual firm white fish, I substituted my newest love, barramundi. I found mine at Trader Joes, but Whole Foods and other retailers carry it too. 

Fish Chowder ingredients

I’ve shared my love for this healthy, firm, omega-3 loaded fish here and here and my next stop {certainly not really my last} is to add it to soup. Barramundi worked beautifully in this recipe. It’s firm enough that it doesn’t fall apart when you stir and the flavor is mild so you are able to enjoy all the many flavors that are going on in this here fish chowder.

Fish Chowder sourdough

First… we must make zee croutons <—-zeee wine izzz talking. I had a 3/4 of a loaf of sourdough bread left over from our grilled cheese dinner.

Fish Chowder crouton collage

Use a bread knife and cut the loaf into inch slices, then into inch strips and then into cubes. Drizzle with a good mount of olive oil. You want the cubes coated, not soggy… coated enough so when you sprinkle a tablespoon of old bay seasoning, it sticks. Toss the bread cubes with your hands, spread them out into one even layer and bake in a 400 degree oven for 10 minutes, rotating the pan half-way through.

Fish Chowder toasty

Try not to snack on these while you make the chowder… I dare you. Impossible.

Fish Chowder dice up 1 pound potatoes

Peel and dice up {about 3/4 to 1 inch pieces} about 9 medium {1 pound} of red skin potatoes.

Fish Chowder onions

And two medium yellow onions.

Fish Chowder bacon collage

Add the diced bacon to your Dutch oven and heat over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally until the bacon is cooked through and crispy. Remove the bacon to a paper towel lined plate and scoot off to the side. Drain off all but 2 tablespoons of bacon fat.

Fish Chowder onions in

Throw in the diced onions…

Fish Chowder onions 2

… And cook until soft, translucent and the edges are slightly golden.

Fish Chowder cream

Meanwhile heat 1-1/4 cup of heavy cream until warm. Not to a boil, but hot to touch.

Fish Chowder wine

Add in a half cup of Sauvignon Blanc or your favorite dry white wine.

Fish Chowder wine reduced

Cook until the wine has reduced down to half.

Fish Chowder add potatoes

Throw in the diced potatoes…

Fish Chowder fish sauce

Two cups of clam juice…

SIDE NOTE: My girls cringed and cried out EWWWWW clammmm juuuuuice every time they walked by and saw it on the counter. Wimps.

Fish Chowder herbs and spices

…then 1 bay leaf, 1-1/2 tablespoons of fresh thyme leaves, 1 teaspoon kosher salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper.

Fish Chowder old bay

…and 1-1/4 {heaping} teaspoon of old bay seasoning, more or less to taste. I love my old bay.

Fish Chowder cover

Stir, cover and bring to a boil. Reduce to low and simmer for 10-14 minutes.

Fish Chowder test

… or until the potatoes are just about tender. The potatoes will cook while the fish is in the pot so you don’t want them falling apart.

Fish Chowder nestle

Carefully nestle the fish into the broth-y goodness. Note: I found it easier to partially thaw the fish, cut it into chunks and use a sharp knife to remove the skin. It will finish thawing as the soup base is being made.

Fish Chowder pour cream

Pour the heated cream over top.

Fish Chowder cook fish

Gently stir and cook the fish for 10 to 12 minutes on medium-low.

Fish Chowder remove bay

When the fish is finished cooking, don’t forget to remove the bay leaf. You probably don’t want to bite that.

Fish Chowder flakes

You’ll know the fish is done because it’s tender and flaky.

Fish Chowder bacon in

Lastly, add in the bacon…

Fish Chowder parsley

A quarter cup of chopped fresh parsley…

Fish Chowder taste, more s and p

Taste and season with more kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.

Fish Chowder l

Serve the fish chowder in a bowl and top with those croutons. If you have any left.

Fish Chowder #seafood #recipe

Okay, so besides the fish, bacon, potatoes and the light creamy broth. My favorite part is submerging the croutons down into the depths of my soup bowl, you will actually see it drowning and the air bubbles escape… the bread get’s sogged up with soup and then you get to eat it, OMG you guys the old bay, the soup… GAH! I’m hooked.

Fish Chowder I #seafood

BTW the fish chowder reheats beautifully in a sauce pan over low heat {no boil}. I wouldn’t microwave it… stick to the skillet, man.

It’s Wednesday… make chowdah!


Enjoy! And if you give this Fish Chowder recipe a try, let me know! Snap a photo and tag me on twitter or instagram!

Fish Chowder via #recipe

My cookbook Simply Scratch : 120 Wholesome Homemade Recipes Made Easy is now available! CLICK HERE for details and THANK YOU in advance! 


Fish Chowder with Old Bay Sourdough Croutons

An easy chowder chocked full of fish, potatoes, bacon and topped with the old bay bomb-diggity croutons!

Yield: 6 servings

Prep Time: 25 minutes

Cook Time: 35 minutes (give or take)

Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes



4 cups (doesn't have to be exact) cubed sourdough bread

2-4 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon Old Bay seasoning


4 strips of thick-cut applewood smoked bacon, diced into cubes

1 large yellow onion, diced

1 pound redskin potatoes, peeled and chopped into 3/4 to 1 inch pieces

1/2 cup sauvignon blanc white whine

2 cups clam juice

1-1/2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves

1 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more to taste

1/4 teaspoon (heaping) freshly ground black pepper

1 large or 2 small bay leaves

1-1/4 (heaping) teaspoon Old Bay seasoning

1 to 1-1/2 pounds barramundi fillets, cut into 1 to 2 inch pieces {skin removed}

1-1/4 cup heavy cream

1/4 cup chopped fresh flat leaf parsley


FOR THE CROUTONS: Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Toss the sourdough bread crumbs with olive oil and a tablespoon of old bay seasoning.

Scatter the bread cubes in an even layer on a rimmed sheet pan and bake for 10 minutes. Rotate the pan halfway through.

Remove and set off to the side while you make the chowder.


Throw the cubed bacon into a Dutch oven and turn the heat to medium. Cook the bacon until cooked through and crispy. Use a slotted spoon and transfer the bacon to a paper towel lined plate. Set off to the side and drain off all but two tablespoons of bacon fat.

To the two tablespoons of bacon fat add in the chopped onion. Cook until the onion is soft, translucent and lightly golden around the edges.

Pour in the 1/2 cup of dry white wine, reduce by half... about 5-8 minutes.

Add in the peeled, diced potatoes and pour in the two 8 ounce jars of clam juice. Strip off 1-1/2 tablespoons of fresh thyme leaves. Measure and add in the salt and black pepper and the teaspoon and a quarter of old bay.

Cover and bring to a boil. Once at a boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 10-14 minutes until the potatoes are just about tender.

Remove the lid and nestle the fish into the broth. Top with heated cream, reduce the temperature to low and let the hot soup slowly cook the fish. About 10 minutes. Meanwhile in a small skillet, heat the heavy cream until hot to touch, but not boiling.

Add in the bacon and a loose quarter cup of chopped fresh parsley.

Gently stir, taste and season with more salt and black pepper if needed.

Serve with old bay croutons and a soup spoon, enjoy!

This post was sponsored via the NoshOn.It Publisher Partner Program by a leading barramundi producer and, as always, all opinions expressed are my own.

[this post contains affiliate links.]

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24 Responses to “Fish Chowder + Old Bay Sourdough Croutons”

  1. #
    Aggie — March 19, 2014 at 7:36 am

    This looks amazing!! I love barramundi, I need to get my hands on some. Those croutons…yum!

  2. #
    Tracy | Peanut Butter and Onion — March 19, 2014 at 9:15 am

    I love seafood chowder…. I always love your step by step photos, super helpful

  3. #
    Liz@Virtually Homemade — March 19, 2014 at 9:54 am

    I love Barramundi! – they sell them whole at my Whole Foods. Those croutons are amazing.

    • Laurie McNamara replied: — March 19th, 2014 @ 2:05 pm

      Thanks Liz! Isn’t barramundi is the best? 🙂

  4. #
    Kelli H (Made in Sonoma) — March 19, 2014 at 1:07 pm

    Ugh, this sounds so good and it looks so fresh! Totally wishing this was my lunch — with a glass of wine, too!

    • Laurie McNamara replied: — March 19th, 2014 @ 2:03 pm

      Thanks Kelli! A glass of wine is a must 😉

  5. #
    Jennie @themessybakerblog — March 19, 2014 at 3:46 pm

    No wonder you were so excited to share this soup; it looks wonderful. I need to get my hands on some barramundi. Yum!

  6. #
    Georgia @ The Comfort of Cooking — March 19, 2014 at 5:41 pm

    Mmm, I love a good chowdah! This looks sensational, Laurie… I want a big bowlful (and that glass of Malbec… ohhh, you have no idea)!

  7. #
    Denise — March 19, 2014 at 7:51 pm

    OMG – this sounds like the perfect week night meal. Book marking now ..

  8. #
    Megan {Country Cleaver} — March 19, 2014 at 11:26 pm

    I need to jump on this barramundi bandwagon STAT!! Gorgeous, Laur!

  9. #
    Lauren — March 20, 2014 at 12:36 am

    LOVE chowder, especially on a cold day! Looks delish!

  10. #
    Rebecca {foodie with family} — March 20, 2014 at 11:15 am

    I just made fish chowder yesterday. Yours looks marvelous! I’ll have to try it next because I’m hooked on chowder, too!

  11. #
    Laura @ Laura's Culinary Adventures — March 20, 2014 at 12:00 pm

    I can think of no better way to wait out the end of winter than with a warm bowl of fish chowder!

  12. #
    Christine @ Cooking with Cakes — March 20, 2014 at 12:54 pm

    I’m always swaping out barramundi for mahi mahi, but otherwise I am SO making this!!!

  13. #
    Lindsey | Cafe Johnsonia — March 30, 2014 at 7:57 pm

    The croutons are brilliant! I’m such a fan of chowder. It’s my very favorite soup. Genius way to use barramundi!

  14. #
    Holly — April 14, 2014 at 6:54 pm

    I made this last night and it was so delicious. Got hooked on your website from your post on lighter enchilladas – another household fav. Just wanted to say thanks for posting great approachable recipes!

    • Laurie McNamara replied: — April 15th, 2014 @ 8:43 pm

      You are so kind! I’m thrilled you’ve tried the chowder and those enchi’s are a family fave. ❤️

  15. #
    Estee — July 4, 2014 at 11:37 am

    I’m going to try this. Can I put salmon instead of barramundi ? Thanks for all your great recipes.

  16. #
    Jen @ One More Cookie Blog — October 29, 2014 at 7:57 pm

    I’m just going back through your posts and I had to let you know that I made this chowder back in the spring and it was fabulous! It was difficult to find Barramundi in northern Ontario but I now live in Calgary where it’s more readily available so I plan on making this recipe many many times this winter!!

  17. #
    E — August 30, 2016 at 9:58 pm

    When in doubt, just add some bacon:)) I bet everyone forgot all about the clam juice once they saw them bacon bits;)

    I recently had a delicious seafood chowder with main ingredients halibut, scallops, shrimp, clams, imitation crab, fresh vegetables and cream…Trying to replicate that at home! I’ll try and get inspired from this recipe!

    • Laurie McNamara replied: — September 2nd, 2016 @ 11:55 am

      That’s pretty much my life motto! Let me know how your chowder turns out E!

  18. #
    Abigail Stricker — December 8, 2017 at 6:09 pm

    The cat, hahahaha!! Of course there’s a cat in a fish recipe photo, just cracked me up. The soup looks amazing cannot wait to try.

    • Laurie McNamara replied: — December 11th, 2017 @ 8:19 am

      She’s always trying to sneak in my photos

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