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Seafood chowder in bread bowl recipes

A creamy bowl of seafood chowder in a toasty bread bowl is the perfect year-round meal. The abundance of fresh seafood available in the summer makes chowder the ideal addition to a cookout or clambake, but it’s also a nice, hot comfort food for colder months!


Seafood Chowder 101

New England vs. Manhattan

New England chowders are made with a thick, creamy base while Manhattan chowders have a tangy tomato base. Manhattan-type chowders are especially delicious when made with fresh picked tomatoes, but there is nothing quite as filling as a rich, creamy bowl of New England-type chowder.

Types of seafood

Chowders are ultra versatile, and can be made with any type of seafood. Clams are an obvious choice, but oysters, lobster, salmon, trout, crab, and other types of fish work deliciously well. Combine a few types of fish and shellfish and make a tasty mixed seafood chowder, or stick to one kind of seafood – your favorite, of course.

Fresh or frozen

When it comes to flavorful chowders, fresh fish is best. However, if fresh fish is not available, opt for frozen, which is typically flash frozen right after it is caught and will taste fresh when thawed. Canned seafood is adequate when you are in a pinch, but fresh or frozen will deliver superior results.

The perfect bread bowl

Though sourdough is the most popular choice, any round loaf of bread can be used for the bread bowl. Just be sure the bread is fresh. It should have a nice crust on the outside and a soft crumb on the inside. Hollow the bread out, brush with olive oil, and bake before you fill it to keep the chowder from leaking out. You can also cube the inside portion of bread and serve the cubes and the bread lid (the top part you cut off before hollowing out the bread) for dipping in the chowder so they don’t go to waste.


Always serve seafood chowder with oyster crackers to add a nice little crunch (you can also toast bread cubes for a crunchy accompaniment). Some people also like to add hot sauce to their chowders.

Classic New England Clam Chowder in a Bread Bowl

Makes 6 servings


  • 1/4 pound bacon, diced
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 1 large leek, diced
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 quart hot water
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 pound potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 1 quart whole milk
  • 2 dozen clams cleaned, shucked, chopped, juices reserved
  • Bread bowls (recipe below)


  1. Crisp bacon in a large pot until fat has been rendered. Remove bacon if desired. Add onions, celery and leeks and saute until tender. Mix in flour and coat all vegetables. Add water and season with salt and pepper. Cook for 30 minutes, gently simmering.
  2. When mixture is simmering, add potatoes and cook another 20 minutes or until potatoes are soft. Stir in milk and clams and cook until fully heated. Ladle chowder into bread bowls.

Mixed Seafood Chowder in a Bread Bowl

Makes 4 servings


  • 1/4 pound bacon, diced
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 pound potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 1 quart water
  • 3 ounces bay or sea scallops, quartered
  • 3 ounces fresh or frozen lobster, chopped
  • 3 ounces uncooked medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 3 ounces cod, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 3 ounces haddock, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 3/4 teaspoon fresh parsley, minced
  • 1-1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 cup evaporated milk
  • Bread bowls (recipe below) 


  1. Crisp bacon in a large pot until fat has been rendered. Remove bacon if desired. Sauté onions in bacon fat until tender. Add potatoes and water to pot and cook for 10 minutes at boiling.
  2. Add all seafood to pot and cook for 10 minutes or until seafood is cooked through. Add butter and season to taste with salt and pepper. Pour in both milks and cook chowder until fully heated through. Ladle chowder into bread bowls.

How to make bread bowls

Makes 6 bowls


  • 6 round bread loaves
  • Olive oil


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Cut tops off of bread rounds and hollow out the centers. Brush olive oil all around the inside of the bread.
  3. Place bread rounds, cut side up on a baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden. Let cool then fill with chowder.

More soup recipes for bread bowls

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Shrimp and Cheese Chowder
Recipes for soup in a bread bowl

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