Slow Cooker Fish Chowder

fish chowder
Fish chowder with saltine crackers. Diana Rattray
  • 6 hrs 15 mins
  • Prep: 15 mins,
  • Cook: 6 hrs
  • Yield: 6 Servings
Ratings (45)

This slow cooker fish chowder is made with frozen, thawed fish fillets. Make this chowder with haddock, cod, catfish, pollock, or a similar firm white fish.

Serve the chowder with oyster crackers or crusty rolls. Add a tossed salad for a satisfying family lunch or dinner.

Feel free to change it up with some corn for a fish and corn chowder, or add some celery. You could also add shrimp or another seafood near the end of the cooking time for a seafood chowder.

What You'll Need

  • 2 pounds frozen fish filets (catfish, haddock, etc.), thawed*
  • 1/4 pound bacon or streaky salt pork, diced
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 4 medium red-skinned potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, or to taste
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 1 can (12 ounces) evaporated milk

How to Make It

  1. Cut the thawed fish fillets into bite-sized pieces and place in the slow cooker. 
  2. Dice the bacon or salt pork into small pieces.
  3. In a large skillet over medium heat, fry the bacon or salt pork with the chopped onion until the meat is cooked and onion is golden. Drain and discard excess fat. Transfer the bacon and onion mixture to the slow cooker with the fish pieces. Add the cubed potatoes, water, salt, and pepper. Cover and cook on low for 5 to 6 hours, or until the potatoes are tender.
  1. Add the can of evaporated milk and cook for another 30 minutes to 1 hour, or until hot.

*Thaw frozen fish fillets in the refrigerator overnight. To thaw quickly, put fillets in a zip-close plastic food storage bag. Push as much of the air out of the bag as possible and then seal the bag. Place the bag with the fish in a large bowl. Cover the fish with cold water and keep the fish submerged with something heavy. A big jar of spaghetti sauce, salsa, or jam will work well. Change the water frequently to keep it at or a little below 40 F. The fish should be thawed in about 30 to 45 minutes. 

Tips and Variations

  • Instead of water, add clam broth or chicken stock (preferably unsalted) to the slow cooker.
  • Add about 1/2 cup of sliced celery to the skillet with the onions.
  • Saute about 1/2 cup of diced carrot along with the onion.
  • Add 1 to 1 1/2 cups of corn kernels to the chowder.
  • Add 4 tablespoons of butter to the chowder along with the evaporated milk.
  • Add a small can of minced clams to the pot along with the fish.
  • Add 1 pound of medium peeled and deveined shrimp with the evaporated milk and continue cooking until the shrimp is opaque.

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