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white bowl filled with a creamy white soup featuring chunks of salmon. Set on a blue plate with a spoon set in the soup.

Salmon Chowder with Leeks & Parsnips

  • Author: Lauren Grant
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minute
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 89 cups (5 servings) 1x
  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Stove top
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Gluten Free


A light and vibrant salmon chowder made with leeks, parsnips, fresh herbs and a splash of vermouth or wine. Serve on it's own or pair with your favorite dinner roll. 


  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil or unsalted butter
  • 2 leeks, trimmed, halved lengthwise and cut into ½-inch thick slices (white and light green parts only) 
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh garlic
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • Kosher salt
  • ¼ cup vermouth or dry white wine, optional 
  • 4 cups seafood stock
  • ¾1 pound parsnips, cut into ½ inch pieces (about 3 large parsnips) 
  • 4 stalks celery, cut into ¼-inch thick slices (2 cups
  • 1 pound skinless wild-caught salmon fillet, cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch 
  • cracked black pepper
  • ¼ cup half-and-half, optional 
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh chives 
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill 


Halve leek lengthwise and cut into ¼-inch-thick slices; transfer to a large bowl and cover with cold water. Shimmy leek slices around in water; let rest 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon or spider (or hands) strain leeks from water, being careful not to kick up dirt at bottom of bowl. Transfer to a clean kitchen towel and dab/rub to dry. 

Heat oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add leeks, bay leaves, garlic, thyme, red pepper flakes, and ¾ teaspoon salt; cook until leeks start to soften but not brown, about 6 minutes. 

Add vermouth (or wine) and cook until nearly evaporated. Stir in stock, parsnips, and celery; increase heat to high and bring to a boil then reduce heat to medium and simmer, partially covered, until parsnips are fork-tender, 10 minutes. Whisk together milk and cornstarch, add to pot and return soup to a simmer. Season salmon with ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper, add to soup, cover and remove from heat; let sit 3 minutes. 

Stir in dill and chives and season with salt and pepper to taste; serve immediately.


Seafood stock: seafood stock can be found in 32-ounce boxes or 14.5 ounce cans. If all you can find are the 14.5 ounce cans, use two cans + ½ cup water. If you can’t find seafood stock, substitute with 2 cups (two 8-ounce bottles) clam juice + 2 cups water. I don't recommend swapping the seafood stock for chicken stock as it isn't as flavorful.

Dairy-free: use unsweetened and unflavored nut or soy milk, or canned coconut milk instead of the whole dairy milk.

Vermouth / wine: either work great here. If you want to use something even more classic, use a splash of pernod instead. Start with 2 tablespoons.


  • Serving Size: scant 2 cups
  • Calories: 396
  • Sugar: 10g
  • Sodium: 872mg
  • Fat: 20g
  • Saturated Fat: 5g
  • Carbohydrates: 22g
  • Fiber: 4g
  • Protein: 27g
  • Cholesterol: 64mg

Keywords: salmon chowder, salmon soup, chowder, healthy chowder, seafood chowder, fish chowder

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