Smoked Salmon Chowder Recipe - Skillful Cook
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Smoked Salmon Chowder

16 reviews / 4.8 average

You guys.

Smoked salmon chowder. With smoked salmon, like the fish. The pink one. But it's smoky and rustic and making me feel all moutainy and wild.


Mmk well, for starters, I am right here and now a vacationer in Seattle after 15-something hours driving up the coast in a cute little Prius, and I am love-love-loving it. We just arrived tonight and we, uh, haven't been anywhere besides the hotel, but I can just sense that I love everything already - is that allowed? Also, we have breakfast reservations all set to go for bright and early tomorrow morning because I can't not think about these things, you guys. I am currently staring down a box of Portland's finest Voodoo Doughnuts on my little hotel desk here that I'm sure would make a fine Oreo-and-peanut-butter-encrusted leftovers breakfast, but it somehow feels like a waste not to eat out as much as possible in this food paradise of a city.

Which reminds me, thank you x100 for your restaurant recs on Facebook. I am studying them like some sort of foodie travel manual and they are what led me to tomorrow morning's breakfast which I'm already drooling over. Going to bed excitedly thinking about when I get to wake up and eat breakfast is the number one cliché of my life right now.

Secondly (we were answering the question WHO AM I RIGHT NOW in reference to Smoked Salmon Chowder, in case you lost track back there in all the wordssss), I am a devoted customer to a sweet little restaurant called Cafe Latte in Saint Paul. Can I get a shout out from anyone who shares my adoration on this one? The turtle cake? The chicken chili? Most recently I am an eater of Cafe Latte's smoked salmon stew-like-chowdery-delicious-creamy-soup-in-a-bowl. Wow, friends. Run yourself over there right now if you live in the Twin Cities. This stuff is heaven-sent.

Onions, celery, and carrots in a pot.

The thing you should know is that I am not the sort of person who would just up and choose a creamy smoked salmon soup over chili or even a white bean and kale Tuscan-y type thing. No. That's just not my life. How-ev-er, the guy serving me my food from behind the counter on the salmon soup day described it to me as something you'd eat just before curling up with a blanket and taking a nap. <— read that again. The man knew my food love language and he gave it to me straight on.

For this recipe, I got my smoked salmon from my neighbor who works part of the year in Alaska and gets lots of fresh seafood when he comes. *best kind of neighbor ever* And the funny thing is that even though I don't usually have smoked salmon in MN other than the times when my neighbors are extra awesome, now here I am sharing this little post with you while I am in Seattle, the place of smoked-salmon-chowdery deliciousness. Coincidence? Or food fate?

Ultimately the guy behind the counter was totally right. This is the kind of comfort food that says Snuggley Naptime.

These big bowls of comforting chowder start with butter, carrots, onions, and celery. Breathe in the smells, feel their warming and therapeutic powers, and transport to a happy place. Then: a splash of white wine. Stock and potatoes. Thyme and cream and milk. Then flaky, smoky salmon that will make the whole thing altogether sing with both subtlety and richness.

Please locate a slice of crusty white bread for yourself right at this very moment. You will need it. Go Go Go.

Smoked Salmon Chowder in two mug bowls.
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Smoked Salmon Chowder in bowls.

Smoked Salmon Chowder


This Smoked Salmon Chowder is like a hug in a bowl. So cozy and comforting with butter, onions, carrots, thyme, white wine, potatoes, and smoked salmon.


  • 3-4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 onion, chopped (about 2 cups)
  • 5 carrots, peeled and diced (about 2 cups)
  • 3 celery stalks, sliced into small pieces (about 2 cups)
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 6-7 new potatoes, washed and diced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 4 cups broth (I used chicken broth but veg would work)
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1 cup cream
  • 12-16 ounces smoked salmon (mine was hot smoked salmon which has a jerky-like texture and is already fully cooked)


  1. Heat the butter in a large pan over medium high heat. Add the onion, carrots, and celery. Saute until fragrant and soft. Add the white wine to deglaze the pan and get all those yummy browned bits up in the mix.
  2. Add the potatoes, thyme, and 2 cups of the broth. Simmer until the potatoes are fork tender. Whisk the flour into the milk and add to the pan (this helps it thicken up a little bit - more flour = more thickening). Add 1 cup of broth and simmer for 5-10 minutes or until the soup starts thickening just slightly.
  3. Add the cream and smoked salmon just before serving. If you let the salmon simmer with the soup for too long, it will get mushy. Taste, adjust, and add the last cup of broth to thin out the consistency of the soup as desired. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Cook Time: 20 mins
  • Category: Dinner
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: smoked salmon chowder, salmon chowder

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  1. Skillful Cook Logo

    Seriously, never in my life would I have thought that anything called smoked salmon chowder could be that photogenic! Looks delicious! Enjoy the rest of your trip (and let us know about that breakfast you couldn’t wait to get to please 🙂 )

  2. Skillful Cook Logo

    Cafe latte is the best. I would never have chosen the chowder over their chicken salsa chili either. However, you have convinced me to try it next time. Enjoy Seattle!

  3. Skillful Cook Logo

    Cafe Latte… it’s like a portal to another realm of happy food deliciousness.

    Enjoy Seattle and revel in the knowledge that your sweet lil’ kitchen is taking shape while you are out gallivanting across the country! 🙂

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      I made it exactly like the recipe and it was excellent. I hate it when people say I loved this recipe it was the best in the world, but I changed and added everything. I did nothing to it and it was perfect.

  4. Skillful Cook Logo

    I can definitely echo your shout-out for Cafe Latte. My sister lives a few blocks away from it, and we often go there when visiting. As for your “breakfast in Seattle” quandary, I stand by my Lowell’s suggestion from yesterday. You won’t regret it.

  5. Skillful Cook Logo

    First, I loved reading this. You are hilarious. Second, that soup just SOUNDS incredible! I obviously need it in my life, yesterday. I just need to find a neighbor who imports smoked salmon….

  6. Skillful Cook Logo

    Well that certainly sounds absolutely banging! Thanks for sharing 🙂

    Happy Blogging!

  7. Skillful Cook Logo

    This looks delicious as well as beautiful….does the quality of smoked salmon have an influence on this soup? I only enjoy THE BEST when having bagel and smoked salmon…for soup may I go to Costco and go for price?

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      I think the salmon needs to be the hot smoked (cooked) variety, not the cold smoked (uncooked) variety that you might put on your bagel. Her photo seems to show hot smoked. However, I defer to Lindsay on this point. Lindsay – could you specify in the recipe which kind should be used?

    2. Skillful Cook Logo

      I would say yes – although that being said, I did get to enjoy mine with some really good smoked salmon which might have been why I loved it. But it seems like if there was ever a time and place for less expensive smoked salmon, it would be in a humble soup like this.

  8. Skillful Cook Logo

    I absolutely love smoked salmon! Hot smoked, cold smoked. Doesn’t matter. Last year, when I was in Anchorage for work, I bought a few cans of hot smoked salmon. They are so convenient and delicious! I’ll have to see if I have any left to make this delicious chowder!

  9. Skillful Cook Logo

    The smoked salmon chowder was delicious!!! Thanks soo much for the recipe!!! I used cold smoked salmon (the one I had available) and it tasted great!! Congrats on your blog, always interesting and entertaining. Love to follow your adventures either travelling or remodelling your kitchen!! Best regards from Spain!

  10. Skillful Cook Logo

    I miss the PNW! I am from Oregon. Been living away.. for a long time. I worked a block away from Voodoo donuts- people would bring them in to work all the time. And I have still never had one! Not a huge donut fan.. but still! It’s an Iconic Portland thing! This salmon is the perfect recipe for your trip! The soup crocks are adorable.

  11. Skillful Cook Logo

    Im huge fan of your recipes, Id like to know where do you get your dishes? You have all your special plates and bowls.
    Everything looks so perfect in your photos.

    Thank you!

  12. Skillful Cook Logo


    Um, what I mean is that I LOVE smoked salmon, and I like chowders, and this will happen. Even though my kitchen will probably smell like fish for days, it’ll be worth it.

  13. Skillful Cook Logo

    I’m also a huge fan of Cafe Latte! Their chicken chili and turtle cake are my absolute faves. But their seasonal cheesecakes are delicious too!

  14. Skillful Cook Logo

    Glad you are enjoying Seattle and will definitely try your smoked salmon soup, but with brown bread. We are presently in Munich enjoying some wonderful food near the Marionplatz. Will try Cafe Latte when we reach Minnetonka and surrounds in November.
    Don’t forget about trying “The General Store” in Minnetonka.

  15. Skillful Cook Logo

    We had this tonight for dinner and it was sooo delicious. I used cold oak smoked salmon, the heat of the chowder cooks the salmon almost instantly so I guess any type of smoked salmon will work well. Am thinking I may thicken the leftovers with some cornflour and maybe mix it with some cooked penne pasta, top with some Gruyere/Parmesan and oven bake. Hmm…that’s tomorrow sorted! Absolutely love your recipes, keep up the good work!