This rich and creamy keto seafood chowder recipe is a healthy comfort food meal. Make it with clams or with white fish. Either way, it’s an easy low carb dinner recipe that takes less than 40 minutes, start to finish.
I first wrote this keto seafood chowder recipe back in the early days of All Day I Dream About Food, all the way back in 2012. It’s rich and hearty, and can be made as clam chowder or fish chowder. It’s a staple in our house during the cold and rainy weather.
I lived in Boston for over 11 years and I like to think that makes me something of an expert on clam chowder. But maybe that just really makes me an expert on how to pronounce clam chowder with a Boston accent.
Repeat after me: Chowdah. Chowdaaaah. 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. Really play it up, roll it out over your tongue, enjoy it. It will make the clam chowder experience that much more delicious.
Giving clam chowder a keto makeover
I do love me some good chowdah. Hearty, full of cream, lightly flavored with fish or clams, it fills you up with goodness and warms you to your toes. But conventional seafood chowder is often so thick, your spoon can stand straight up in it. I’ve had the chowder from Union Oyster House and it’s more like eating porridge
All of that glorious thickness comes from copious amounts of potatoes and flour, and you can believe it packs a hefty carb punch. So how exactly does one go about reducing the carbs to make a keto friendly chowder?
Replacing the potatoes is easy and you’ve got some choices here. My favorite substitute for keto soups and stews is turnip, as I think it ends up most like potatoes in taste and texture. Daikon radish is also a great alternative. Simply cube these vegetables the same way you would a potato and add it in. Do keep in mind that because they aren’t as starchy, they cook through a little faster so you want only want to add them in for that last 15 to 20 minus of cooking.
To thicken the broth and make it thicker and richer, you can whisk in some glucomannan or xanthan gum toward the end of cooking.
Clams or fish, it’s up to you!
I deliberately called this seafood chowder so that you can decide for yourself whether you want fish chowder or clam chowder. The cooking method and time of addition are the same, either way.
For fish, I recommend a firm white fish like cod or halibut, cut into 1 inch pieces. For clams, you want to add 2 small (6 oz or so) cans of drained clams.
One thing to note is that clams do actually contain carbs. Strange but true! Most molluscs have some carbs in them, even though they seem like they should just be protein and fat. So using clams will add a few carbs to each serving.
How to make keto seafood chowder
This is an easy recipe that takes minimal prep time and cooks up in less than 30 minutes. Here are my best tips for getting it right.
Cook the bacon
Really make sure to get it nice and crisp, so that it doesn’t go soggy when you add it to the chowder. I like to chop my bacon before cooking so that it crisps and browns more evenly.
Add the onion and turnips
Remove the bacon to a plate but leave all the remaining grease in there, as it’s perfect for cooking the onion and turnips. Cook just until the onions are tender.
Add the chicken broth and simmer
Simmer the broth until the turnip is fork tender, about 10 to 15 minutes. Then add some dried thyme and season to taste with salt and pepper.
The fish cooks quickly!
In a seafood chowder such as this, the fish or clams get added only at the very end of cooking, as they cook very quickly. They only need about 4 minutes to cook through.
Add cream and butter
These ingredients go in at the very end as they don’t really need to cook. And cream can curdle if it’s added to a chowder too early.
Thicken the broth
You can eat the chowder just as it is but if you prefer a thicker broth, I recommend glucomannan powder. It’s made from konjac root and thickens really nicely with only ½ to ¾ teaspoon. I also use it in my keto gravy recipe.
Can you make keto chowder ahead?
As with all fish based soups and stews, keto seafood chowder is best when it’s freshly made. However, if you have leftovers, you can heat them gently the next day and they are just as good. Store it in a covered container in the fridge.
I wouldn’t keep it around longer than two or three days and it’s not a recipe that freezes well.
This really is a wonderful chowder and you wouldn’t be able to tell the turnips from potatoes for a second unless I told you that’s what they were.
And I’ve made this recipe with both fish and clams – it’s delicious both ways. With the chilly weather upon us, it’s so comforting to whip up a pot of this delicious low carb chowder. You won’t miss the potatoes or the flour for a second.
More delicious keto fish recipes
- Crispy Air Fryer Fish Sticks
- Fish Saltimbocca with Roasted Tomato Sauce
- Pecan Crusted Salmon
- Easy Keto Tuna Patties
- Keto Lemon Garlic Tilapia
- Oven Baked Coconut Macadamia Fish
Hearty Keto Seafood Chowder
- 4 slices bacon chopped
- ¼ medium onion chopped
- 2 medium turnips cut into ½ inch cubes
- 2 ½ cups chicken broth
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- 1 ½ cups heavy cream
- 1 lb white fish, cut into 1 inch pieces (or 2 cans clams)
- 2 tablespoon butter
- ¾ teaspoon glucomannan optional
- In large saucepan over medium heat, cook the bacon until crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon, and drain on paper-towel lined plate.
- Add the onion and turnips to the bacon grease and cook until the onions are tender, about 5 minutes. Add the chicken stock and simmer until the turnip is tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Season with thyme, salt and pepper.
- Add the fish and continue to simmer until the fish is cooked through, about 4 minutes. Stir in the heavy cream and the butter. For a thicker broth, whisk in the glucomannan at the end of cooking.
- Sprinkle each serving with the cooked bacon.
DJ Kosi says
Could you use xanthan gum instead of the glucomannan?
Yes, just make sure you whisk it in quickly as it clumps more.
Susan Seever says
I have made this and it’s really really good. I’ve also had Union Bay’s chowder which is wonder. But I love their oysters on the half better
This is amazing!
I made it with cod. The only change I made was that I ran out of thyme…used oregano instead (just a sprinkle), and omitted the turnips because my local store was out.
The ONLY problem I have is whether or not to eat it all or save some for the family.
I had all seasoning’s in my pantry, all but the thyme that is. I added some dried parsley and used the clams. I am eating my first bowl right now……so delicious! Thank you!
Debbie Krueger says
I made this for dinner tonight using daikon radish, halibut and shrimp. Absolutely delicious!
Thank you for the recipe!
Patricia Glanville says
Instead of the potatoes can I use celery root
I made this using a mix of cob and lump crab. It was so delicious! I was hoping I’d have a bowl leftover for lunch the next day. No luck! Hubs ate it before the night was over. 😀
This will be on our regular menu!
EDIT: I mean to type Cod. not cob. lol
excellent recipe. turnips – wow! #ketolife since 2017 and turnips were always daunting. so happy with how the turnips are the perfect soup potato replacement and much better than my go to soup sub radish. 3 pieces of bacon – honestly did not even add back at the end because it was not needed, the bacon grease was just perfect for flavouring the soup. I used extra baked chilean sea bass added after the hwc since it was already cooked, it just needed to be warmed through a bit in the soup without breaking up too much.
Excellent fish stew! Recipe is a keeper! Quick question – when I make clam chowder with this recipe, should I drain the clams? Thanks Carolyn!
I wouldn’t… more clam flavor!
This was so good last night for dinner, and even better for leftover lunches today, thank you!
Carol Boden says
This is so perfectly satisfying on a snowy day!