March 16, 2023

Classic Salmon Chowder


  • 32 ounces chicken stock, unsalted
  • 16 ounces whole milk
  • 1 lb red-skinned potatoes, diced
  • 1 stalk celery, diced
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 3 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 8 oz cooked sockeye salmon
  • 8 oz smoked salmon* optional: 8 oz smoked salmon can be replaced with an additional 8 oz cooked salmon
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 Tbsp olive oil 


What is chowder?

We’re so glad you asked! A chowder is a thicker, cream-based soup, usually involving an array of vegetables that do well when cooked and softened. Corn, potatoes, onion, celery, and carrots are the most common vegetables to add to a chowder. Some people enjoy a simple corn chowder or potato chowder, while others will also add in seafood items like clams and salmon in order to upgrade the protein content and flavor of the soup.

Here at Pride of Bristol Bay, we prefer to use equal amounts of cooked and smoked wild Alaskan sockeye salmon for the perfect creamy and salty smoked salmon chowder recipe. While we currently only deliver frozen sockeye salmon fillets shipped directly to your door as early as next week, a single one of our sockeye salmon fillets cooked regularly keeps your grocery list more concise and your chowder salmon simple.

What kind of salmon is best for chowder?

With five different species of salmon to choose from, it can be confusing to know which type of salmon is best for your cooking. Between rich, boldly colored salmon like King and Sockeye, the more delicately textured salmon like Pink, and those that fall between in color and firmness like Sockeye, Coho and Keta, deciding the best option for each meal can feel like an impossible task.

Luckily, here at Pride of Bristol Bay, we like to keep it simple with this rule of thumb: if we want a rich (but not fishy!) salmon flavor, sockeye salmon is hands down your best option.

Mixing this quality with its firm texture, sockeye is great at retaining just the right amount of good flavor and buttery feel once cooked. Because you will be heating salmon in an already flavor-rich cream base for chowder, it’s important to utilize a salmon that won’t blend into the background and get lost in the rest of the ingredients. For this reason (and many others), we are die-hard sockeye salmon fans - and have over 90 recipes focused entirely on sockeye salmon available on our website!

And if you’re curious which type of salmon has the most omega-3s, wild Alaskan sockeye salmon is your answer! Rich with these fatty acids that promote heart, brain and immune health, wild sockeye salmon provides the highest amount of Omega-3 fatty acids of any fish — 2.7 grams per 100-gram portion.

How to Make Salmon Chowder - the Fisherman Way!

Here at Pride of Bristol Bay headquarters, our in-house Chef Nicole makes what has been complimented as “the best smoked-salmon chowder recipe in Northeastern Pennsylvania”. It is always the number one requested soup for locals and is a recipe Captain Steve brings along with him to Alaska each season.

Unlike other recipes for salmon chowder out there, our recipe specifically uses the wild-caught salmon that has inspired and nourished us for over twenty years. With a completely natural life cycle and ocean diet, our wild Alaskan salmon products have no additives or chemicals that farmed salmon often consume through their feed. The difference in taste alone between wild-caught and farmed salmon is enough to make you never shop for grocery-store salmon again!

To make this wild salmon chowder, Chef Nicole first tackles her prep work; boiling the potatoes, flaking the salmon (or cooking and then flaking if you choose to use salmon fillets), and dicing the onion and celery.

Next, the celery, onions, oil, butter, flour, chicken broth, milk, and seasonings are combined at certain intervals in a stock pot until your chowder base is complete. 

Her final step is to then add the salmon and potatoes into the stock pot until a temperature of 165 degrees has been reached. And that’s all there is to making our classic salmon chowder recipe!

Using this balance of fresh sockeye salmon flavor, chunky vegetable texture, and the right cooking process we’ve outlined, you’ll be feeling just like a sea captain enjoying a bowl of chowder at the port in no time!


1) Cut potatoes to a small dice and boil until al dente. 

2) Flake cooked salmon and smoked salmon (if using) into a separate bowl.

3) In a 9 qt stock pot add the olive oil and bring to heat.

4) Dice onion and celery, add to the olive oil, and cook until translucent, about 3-5 minutes.

5) Add the butter and melt completely, then slowly add the flour stirring continuously to make the roux.

6) Add the chicken stock and temper to 145F until evenly combined, then add the whole milk and salt and pepper to taste.

7) Add the salmon, smoked salmon, and cooked potatoes and bring the temperature to 165F stirring continuously.

8) Spoon into individual bowls and enjoy! 


Chef Nicole in front of water and trees

Author Profile 

Nicole is a Recipe Developer and Food Photographer from Allentown, Pennsylvania with an Associate degree from The Culinary Institute of America. Her first memories are of planting seeds with her father and grandfather in their elaborate gardens and sharing their abundant harvests with friends and neighbors. The spark of both pride and joy she felt when sharing this food with others and seeing the happiness it brought them was what inspired her to pursue the culinary arts from a young age. Nicole has spent time exploring the Hudson Valley and Philadelphia food scenes, but her current home in the rolling hills of Central PA is where she most enjoys combining her two passions; exploring the outdoors, and good food.