Hearty Fish Chowder – Low Carb and Gluten-Free


Low Carb Fish ChowderRepeat after me:  Chowdah.  No, no, you have to really play up that Boston accent.  Chowdaaaah.  Yes that’s better.  You mustn’t say “Chowderrr”, that’s too boring.  And it won’t taste as good.  I don’t care where you are from…California, Canada, even France.  You have to fake it til you make it.  Really play it up, roll it out, enjoy it.  It will make the experience that much more delicious.  Now pick up your spoon and dig in to this delicious low carb fish chowder.

I don’t have even a trace of a Boston accent, despite living here for almost 10 years, but I almost never fail to say chowder with a rolled out, elongated end vowel and no “r” in sight.  Without fail, it makes me giggle.  And I do love me some good chowdah.  Hearty, full of cream, lightly flavoured with fish or clams, it fills you up with goodness and warms you to your toes.  But around here, typical chowders are often so thick, your spoon can stand straight up.  It’s like concrete.  And all that thickness comes from flour, which let’s face it, really isn’t good for you.  It only makes it seem heartier, when really it’s filling you up with empty carbs.  Add to that the potatoes that are standard in Boston Clam Chowder and you’ve got yourself a carb-filled soup with little nutrition to recommend it.

Low Carb Clam Chowder Recipe

In our first year of marriage, for our first Christmas spent together, my husband and I started a tradition of having clam chowder on Christmas Eve.  We wanted something warming, something comforting, but not so filling so that we couldn’t enjoy all the feasting on Christmas Day.  I’ve made this same clam chowder recipe so much I could do it with my eyes closed, and I always skipped the flour in favour of a thinner broth.  So I suppose my version was always gluten-free.  In the past few years, I’ve figured out a great sub for the potatoes to make it a truly low carb chowder.  Radish may seem like a strange substitute for potatoes, but not if it’s daikon radish.  Say what?  Yep, that was my first reaction too; what was this huge, white radish I’d never heard of?

Low carb Chowder Recipe

The fabulous part is that not only is it a really mild, white radish that resembles potatoes when chopped, but that my local grocery store chain actually carries this heretofore unheard-of ingredient.  When I purchase it, I almost always get a blank look from the check-out clerk, as they stumble to find the price look-up code and are clearly wondering what the heck this is.  I usually try to help them out, and say “daikon radish”, to which I get another blank stare.  I might be the only person in the history of my town to actually purchase daikon radish, let alone use it regularly.  I wave my freak flag proudly!

This really is a wonderful chowder and you wouldn’t be able to tell the daikon from potatoes for a second unless I told you that’s what they were.  And I’ve made it now with both fish and clams, and it’s great with both.  So as winter approaches, feel free to get cozy and whip up a pot of this delicious low carb chowder.  You won’t miss the potatoes or the flower for even a second.

Low Carb Fish Chowder Recipe

Hearty Fish Chowder

Yield: 6 servings


  • 4 slices bacon, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 cups chopped daikon radish
  • 2 1/2 cups chicken stock
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 lb fresh white fish like cod, pollock or tilapia, chopped
  • OR 2 can chopped clams
  • 1 tbsp butter


  1. In a large saucepan over medium heat, cook bacon until crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on a paper-towel lined plate.
  2. Add onion and daikon radish to bacon grease and cook until onions are tender, about 10 minutes.
  3. Add chicken stock and simmer 10 minutes. Season with thyme, salt and pepper.
  4. Add cream and fish and continue to simmer until fish is cooked through, about 4 minutes.
  5. Float butter on top.
  6. Serve immediately.


Serves 6. Each serving has 4.7 g of carbs and 1.3 g of fiber. Total NET CARBS = 3.4 g.


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    • Carolyn says

      Yeah, I bet it’s hard to find without bacon! Smoked paprika sounds delicious, though. Maybe next time I will do both!

  1. Eric says

    I just recently heard of using daikon radish in place of potato in soups, and you are right, you can find it at most supermarkets, but the checkout people will really look at you strangely. But, then, they are always confused when I buy beets, too (I kid you not). So I, too, will fly my freak flag proudly, and I can’t wait to try this chowdah – one of my favorite soups.

    Have a great Thanksgiving.

  2. Jennifer Malmberg says

    I know this will be wonderful. My kid doesn’t eat meat or chicken. Can you predict how much flavor will be lost by omitting the bacon and bacon grease? Or should I just make this on a night where she is not home? Your recipes are so dependable! Thank you!

  3. says

    Hanging my head low and admitting even though I am adventuresome in the kitchen, I have never used or eaten daikon radish. I NEED to. In my low-carb journey I am so over cauliflower being used in place of potatoes – don’t get me wrong, I like cauliflower but texture-wise it is just all wrong. Lately I have been all-about turnips (working on a turnip post for my blog) and I make a great cream of roasted turnip soup. So as soon as I clear out the bushel of turnips (slight exaggeration), I will hunt down daikon – will probably have to go to a bigger town’s grocery, lol.

    Thanks for sharing such inspiring recipes :)


  4. says

    I love daikon radish (though I never used it cooked like this) and would buy it all the time when I lived in CT. Here in rural South Carolina I would get the same crazy stares as you described, if I could even FIND a daikon radish which is highly unlikely!!!!! But I will be on the hunt because this, my freak flag waving friend, is genius!!!! Being from New England, CHOWDAAAAAH is a must! Can’t wait to try this version!!!

  5. Tonya says

    Does the daikon get soft or stay crunchy. I have tried making chowder with jicama but I couldn’t get is to soften. Turnips get soft but are too “cabbagey.”

  6. says

    I’ve never been much of a fish eater but I really need to start eating more. This recipe looks like a really good one to start with. Thanks for sharing it.

  7. Rae says

    You are a genius, and since I start most of my days with you, I have to admit, I consider you my newest best friend. Your recipes are ALL simply amazing. I use them all of the time. Keep it coming!

  8. says

    Thank you for reminding me about Daikon. I used to cook it up a long time ago, but not recently. On your inspiration, I bought a chunk of it and considered making the chowdah(!), but the stars didn’t align and I didn’t have the right ingredients on hand. So I made daikon fritters instead. And they were great! Since I’m not a food blogger (and not very methodical to boot), I just threw it together without measuring. Basically, I grated the daikon and then wrung out the liquid somewhat (with a dish towel), chopped up some onions, mixed it all with a couple of eggs, almond flour, salt and pepper. And I fried them in butter. Yum! what a great low-carb breakfast.

  9. Kim says

    This looks fantastic! I lived in Japan for 7 years and ate daikon almost daily. I will definitely be making this for my family. Thanks for sharing.

  10. Debizzz says

    Made this today….for a base recipe….but then decided to spin it around a bit different. Added 2 cups fish/seafood stock to the recipe (on top of the chicken stock) ..and used clams, scallops, shrimp, haddock to total 1 1/2 pounds fish. Added onion powder , garlic powder, old bay & Cajun seasoning. Added celery and fresh minced garlic…. Was THE BEST Cajun seafood chowder ever!

  11. Catherine H. says

    Made this, minus the bacon, and with clams instead of fish. Yum! Great meatless Friday night dinner, and it goes beautifully with the bread.

  12. Denise says

    Yum! This was good soup (having just finished my last bowl).
    I used a bag of frozen seafood medley instead of fish.
    Using daikon rather than potatoes was an inspired choice. I wouldn’t have known the difference had someone else made the soup.
    For people who are having trouble finding daikon, my grocery store labelled it as ‘lo bok’.

  13. Katie E says

    I made this last week and my family couldn’t get enough of it…until it ran out..then there were sad faces. I would have never thought to put Daikon radish in as a substitute for potatoes! I love your blog and all your recipes. It makes being low carb/gluten free so much easier! Thank you!

  14. Maria says

    Haven’t made this chowdah – yet. When I FIND more daikon radishes, I will. I found them at Wegmans and bought 2 after the produce clerk didn’t know what I was talking about. I showed him what they looked like and where they were. Well, Sunday I decided to try it. Very hesitantly, I tasted it raw. Just the tiniest bit of a hint of radish. Then I cut ‘french fry’ sticks, and also used a mandolin to slice potato chip thin slices. In a little bit of oil, I ‘browned’ the fries (they don’t get golden like potato’s). When finished with those, I fried the chips. I swear, by all the french fries I’ve eaten in my entire life, with my eyes closed (and even with them open, I couldn’t tell it was not a french fry! The only thing is that it was a ‘wilted’ but very tasty fry :) The chips got really crunchy, but to get crunchy, they had to get really, really toasted. But they tasted like potato chips!

    So, I can’t wait to make my chowdah!!!!!!!!!!!! Woo! Thanks for the daikon find. I just wish I could find it when I need it instead of by chance. :(

    • Carolyn says

      If you can’t find daikon, rutabaga is a good sub too. It has a bit more carbs, though. About 12 g net carbs per 1 cup cubed rutabaga.

  15. Naomi says

    Has anyone ever tried making “potato soup”? It’s my kids favorite winter soup. I’ve read that celery root, daikon radish, or jicama are all good subs for the potato. But none are mentioned in “potato soup”. This chowdahhh is closest I’ve found. I’ve been low carb for about 6mo, lost 33lbs!! But I’m missing some of my fav recipes… Thanks for any input & feel free to email me noni.la@gmail.com Psssst, I bought jicama…mite give it a brave try.

  16. Weds says

    Just made a version of this tonight, and it was great!
    I made it a little different out of dose ration and lack of ingredients. I just got my teeth whitened, so I am only supposed to eat white colored foods… My original plan was a curried cauliflower purée soup, however, curry spices were out. I looked at your recipe and used it as inspiration! I boiled chopped cauliflower, white onion, and chicken stock, while I sautéed onion and daikon. I blended the boiled veggies and then added them to the sauté along with some salt and coconut milk. I simmered until the daikon was soft, and we served it with grilled cod over it. Thanks for the frame work! I can’t wait to try the original recipe!


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