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Luscious Lobster Chowder: An Iconic New England Recipe

Chowders

This creamy lobster chowder recipe is one the best seafood chowder recipes you’ll ever come across. It consists of tender chunks of juicy lobster, sweet corn, hearty chunks of onion and potato, bacon, lobster broth, white wine, fennel, and herbs and cream.

I mean, COME ON, how could that not be amazing?!

It rivals perhaps only lobster bisque as perhaps the most divine lobstery thing you’ll ever taste. For a few brief seconds, you might even consider moving to Maine to become a lobsterman (or lobsterwoman).

At the very least, all your worries will temporarily fade away and you will experience immense contentment and joy.

4 Reasons To Make Lobster Chowder

1. Because lobster

First, we’re talking about lobster. Enough said, right? It’s only like the most delicious thing on the planet. Seriously, who doesn’t love lobster? I don’t know anyone.

2. Because lobster broth

Second, we’ll be making lobster broth (also called lobster stock) which is really the key ingredient, even more so than the lobster meat. This luscious liquid concoction is what makes any lobster soup such as lobster bisque (and the lesser-known Maine lobster stew) taste so good.

When you make a good lobster broth, it’s hard to go back to typical substitutes like chicken stock, bottled clam juice, or store-bought seafood stock. And in case you’re wondering, no there are no store-bought lobster stocks, unfortunately.

3. Because you’ll impress friends and family

Third, it’s a great recipe for special occasions.

Look, you’re probably not going to make this recipe on some random weeknight. Lobsters are pricey buggers and also, making a real lobster chowder from scratch is a little more involved than making clam chowder or other seafood chowder recipes. So save this recipe for those occasions when you really want to go all out and impress your guests.

4. Because of the other goodies too

Fourth, we’re gonna add lots of other goodies to enhance the flavor, like fennel, thyme, and some white wine. But it’s the sweet corn that deserves special mention.

It’s perhaps the most common addition to lobster chowder recipes. In particular, fresh in-season sweet corn is always the best choice, if possible. So you could certainly call this recipe a lobster corn chowder if you want.

And I do call this recipe Lobster Corn Chowder in my cookbook, New England Soups from the Sea.

seafood cookbook imagery

Available Now!

From Rhode Island to Maine—Get 80 locally inspired recipes that honor the traditions of America’s northeast.

If you’re looking for more chowder recipes, it includes 17 other chowder recipes as well as recipes for bisques, stews, medleys, broths, and boils. Now, whether you call this recipe lobster chowder or lobster corn chowder, it doesn’t really matter. Semantics aside here’s how to put it all together…

Buy Good Quality Lobsters

Typically, this isn’t a problem. The overwhelming majority of lobsters in the United States come from Maine, which when harvested, are always high quality.

The Maine lobster fishery has become one of the great seafood sustainability success stories of the past 50 years.

Maine lobstermen, scientists, and government agencies have worked together to protect breeding females and ensure a thriving and abundant population.

There is also the Florida spiny lobster, also known as the Caribbean lobster, but they’re not as tasty as Maine lobsters which are sweeter and juicier.

Florida spiny lobsters also lack claws. Notice the big claws in the above picture of a Maine lobster. Claw meat is more tender than the meat in lobster tails. It’s another key part of any lobster chowder recipe.

It’s what happens after lobsters are harvested, along the supply chain, where quality can change. When you purchase live lobsters, make sure their holding tanks are clean and not overcrowded. Also, make sure they’re fresh and have not been in the tanks very long. Good fishmongers will take pride in freshness and cleanliness!

Another option is to purchase frozen lobster meat. However, it’s really expensive and you won’t be able to make lobster broth. But if you do have some previously made lobster broth in your freezer, then purchasing lobster meat is at least an option.

This is why I also say to SAVE LOBSTER SHELLS! If you ever order lobster in a restaurant, ask the server to package up the shells and bring them home. Sometimes your fishmonger might have extra shells for free.

More Lobster Recipes to Try

More Chowder Recipes to Try

Ingredients You’ll Need for Lobster Chowder

For exact ingredient amounts, see the full recipe card at the bottom.

  • lobster broth
  • 2 Maine lobsters
  • unsalted butter
  • 1 onion
  • 1 fennel bulb
  • fresh thyme
  • dry white wine
  • potatoes
  • fresh corn or frozen corn
  • heavy cream
  • salt, to taste

How to Make Lobster Broth

The best lobster chowder recipes are made with homemade lobster broth or lobster stock. Although lobster broth and stock often refer to the same thing, there are some minor differences.

lobster broth
lobster broth

I explain those differences and include two different recipes in my cookbook but essentially lobster broth is simmered for a shorter time than lobster stock.

Lobster stock often roasts the lobster shells first and has a richer lobster flavor. The latter is a better choice where a strong lobster flavor predominates, such as lobster bisque, Maine lobster stew, or any type of lobster soup recipe without a lot of other competing flavors.

In the case of this lobster corn chowder recipe, there are many other flavors in the chowder (cream, corn, thyme, fennel, etc.), so lobster broth is a slightly better choice. To make it, follow the instructions in my lobster broth post.

Making the lobster broth is half the battle. Actually, it’s probably 75% of the battle. Because once the broth is finished, the rest of the recipe comes together fairly quickly.

How to Make Lobster Chowder

Step 1. Heat the bacon

In a medium stockpot heat the bacon over low heat until a few tablespoons of fat render out. Stir frequently until browned but be careful not to burn. Remove the bacon but leave the fat in the pot. Set the bacon aside.

You can easily make homemade bacon bits from the reserved bacon. Before serving the lobster chowder, add the reserved bacon to an oven-proof baking dish and bake at 350 degrees until crispy. Voila! That’s all there is to it.

Step 2. Add the veggies and herbs

fennel

Raise the heat to medium heat. Add the onions, fennel, and thyme. Add the butter, for additional cooking fat, if needed. Saute for about 5 minutes more, until the onions and fennel soften.

For the fennel, we just want the white part, the bulb. Slice off the green stalks. You can save the stalks for your lobster stock or freeze them for future lobster stock. Also, slice off the fronds, the green feathery parts that extend off the stalks. They make nice garnishes!

Step 3. Add the wine

Raise the heat, and simmer for a few minutes or until it’s slightly reduced. Make sure you choose a dry white wine like Sauvignon Blanc or Chardonnay.

Step 4. Add the lobster broth

Bring everything back to a boil.

Step 5. Cook the potatoes

Add the potatoes, cover the pot, and simmer for about 10 to 12 minutes until the potatoes are cooked through.

Medium-starch potatoes such as Yukon gold or white potatoes are good choices. Make sure to avoid high-starch potatoes like russets, which easily fall apart during cooking.

Step 6. Add the corn

Remove the cover, add the corn, and simmer. If you’re using fresh, whole corn, simply slice the kernels off of the stalk. Fresh corn kernels will take 5 to 7 minutes. Frozen corn will take 2 to 3 minutes.

Step 7. Add the lobster meat and heavy cream

Start with 1 cup of heavy cream, stir, and taste. Add up to 1 more cup of heavy cream to desired taste. Add salt, to taste.

You might be wondering if it’s OK to use whole milk instead of heavy cream. I would not recommend whole milk. The fat content of whole milk is too think for chowder, especially modern-day conventional brands. 

Step 8. Season, to taste

Ladle into individual bowls and season to taste with optional seasonings such as freshly ground black pepper, fresh chives, and fresh parsley.

Step 9. Don’t move to Maine

Resist the urge to abandon your family to become a Maine lobsterman.

Lobster Corn Chowder Full Recipe

Lobster Corn Chowder Recipe

Tender chunks of juicy lobster, hearty chunks of corn, onion, potato and bacon in a lobster broth with herbs and cream make for a divine tasting lobster chowder.
Print Recipe Pin Recipe
CourseMain Course, Soup
CuisineAmerican
Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time40 minutes
Total Time1 hour
Servings6 servings
Calories333kcal
AuthorCraig Fear
Cost$35

Ingredients

  • 2 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 lb lobsters from Maine
  • 4 cups lobster broth
  • 4 ounces bacon about 4 strips, diced
  • 2 TBSPs butter unsalted, if needed
  • 1 large yellow onion diced
  • 1 bulb fennel diced
  • 4 to 5 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1.5 quarts lobster broth
  • 1/2 cup white wine dry
  • 1 pound potatoes roughly chopped into bite-sized cubes
  • 3 ears corn fresh whole corn, kernels removed, or one 10-ounce bag frozen corn
  • 1 to 2 cups heavy cream
  • Sea salt to taste

Seasonings, optional

  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Chives chopped
  • Fennel fronds chopped
  • Parsley chopped

Instructions

  • Make the lobster following the instructions in my lobster broth post. Reserve the cooked lobster meat from the claws and tail. You'll get about 2 to 3 cups of meat total.
  • Heat the bacon in a medium stockpot over medium heat until a few TBSPs of fat render out. Stir frequently until browned but be careful not to burn. Remove the bacon but leave the fat in the pot. To make homemade bacon bits, before serving the chowder, add the reserved bacon to an oven-proof baking dish and bake at 350 degrees until crispy. 
  • Add the onions, fennel, and thyme. Saute about 5 minutes more, until the onions and fennel soften. Add the butter, for additional cooking fat, if needed.
  • Add the wine, raise the heat, and simmer for a few minutes or until it's slightly reduced.
  • Add the lobster broth and bring to a boil.
  • Add the potatoes, cover the pot, and simmer for about 10 to 12 minutes until the potatoes are cooked through.
  • Remove the cover, add the corn and simmer. Fresh corn kernels will take 5 to 7 minutes. Frozen corn will take 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Add the lobster meat and 1 cup of heavy cream, stir, and taste. Add up to 1 more cup of heavy cream to desired taste. Add salt, to taste.
  • Ladle into individual bowls and season to taste with optional seasonings.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 333kcal | Carbohydrates: 20g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 26g | Saturated Fat: 14g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 8g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 68mg | Sodium: 195mg | Potassium: 606mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 794IU | Vitamin C: 23mg | Calcium: 66mg | Iron: 1mg

lobster corn chowder pin

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Luscious Lobster Chowder: An Iconic New England Recipe
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About the Author

Craig Fear is the creator of Fearless Eating and the author of three books, The 30-Day Heartburn Solution, Fearless Broths and Soups and The Thai Soup Secret. After years helping clients with digestive issues, Craig decided to pursue writing full-time. He intends to write many more books on broths and soups from around the world! Click here to learn more about Craig.

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