Scrumptious Salmon Chowder

It’s getting chilly here in Northern CA.  Before you say anything, I know, cold in Chico is nothing compared to cold in Denver, CO for example (I had a layover in that beautiful city over the weekend and yes at 0 degrees, I realize what cold  really feels like), but still, it’s a damp 32 degrees this morning and for me, that’s cold!!  

To make my long “I’m cold sob story” short; last night I wanted soup to warm us up and I searched around my fridge and pantry for what would work and came up with a delicious salmon chowder using some amazing wild caught salmon filets from our local supplier, Alldrin & Sons Salmon. 

I’m sure you can sub any kind of protein or other seafood but I highly recommend salmon if you have some good filets on hand!

Scrumptious Salmon Chowder

1 lb bacon, diced

1 lb of salmon fillets (skin and bones removed)

1 ½ cups leeks, sliced

2 cups carrots, diced into small pieces

3 cups chicken stock

1 13.5 oz can full fat coconut milk

1 tablespoon fresh or dried dill

black pepper to taste

hot sauce to taste (I used tapatio)

In a large soup pot, cook the diced bacon until browned and crispy.  Add the leeks and continue to saute until the leeks are tender.  Add the carrots and cook for another 3-4 minutes.  Add the chicken stock, coconut milk, dill, and black pepper and bring to a simmer.  Add the salmon filets to the soup, make sure they are covered with the soup, and let simmer until the filets are easy to break apart.  Stir well, breaking apart the salmon and cook until all the pieces of salmon are tender.  Serves 4-5.  Double this recipe for leftovers or if you have a larger crowd to feed.






Sarah Fragoso

Sarah Fragoso is an international best selling author of 6 books, co-owner of the Chico, CA based gym JS Strength and Conditioning, and founder of the Everyday Paleo franchise. Sarah is the co-host of the popular Sarah and Dr. Brooke Show podcast and she also conducts workshops and retreats on the subjects of nutrition, lifestyle and fitness.

Her message is from the heart and she carries a genuine desire to help other families looking for guidance. These attributes have contributed to her successes and provide the drive to keep the discoveries coming.

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  1. Sounds delicious! And Denver isn’t usually this cold. 🙂

  2. Dawn Herms says:

    If you used lobster and left out the bacon would it taste more like lobster bisque?

    1. Sarah says:

      Probably! I haven’t tried it like that but I bet it would be great!

  3. angela says:

    Sarah! Salmon chowder sounds so incredibly yummy and your recipe is so simple! I can’t wait to try it! Q: How did you remove the bones from the salmon filet? Only way I know is the tweezer method: palpate down the meat and feel for the bones and pluck them out with tweezers. If you have a simpler way, I’d love to read about it! Thanks! 🙂

    1. angela says:

      Oh, thought i’d tell you, I’m eating your rockin’ moroccan chicken for lunch while i’m posting this. This meal is a fave in our household! Thanks again.

    2. Sarah says:

      Wish there was an easier way! Here’s a video for other folks to see how to do it.

      1. If you use canned salmon, it would make it a lot easier. Or perhaps a container of crab in the “ready right now” section of the grocery store?

    3. Janell Garwood says:

      If you have a trader joes near you…they sell wild salmon fillets that are deboned and skinless

  4. Would canned wild caught salmon work? I do have that in the cabinet for your awesome salmon cakes. But I could totally re-purpose those….this recipe sounds delicious!

    1. I think the canned salmon would work fine! The texture will be a bit different of course but still tasty!

      1. There are different qualities of canned salmon. Try a specialty store. Canned can be as delicate as fresh!

        1. Lisa Cavallini says:

          Where do you buy your canned salmon?

          1. Usually from either Trader Joes or my local health food store.

  5. That looks absolutely scrumptious and delicious for a cold day!!!

  6. This soup/chowder was amazing! Great flavor, had 2 bowls and gonna have some at lunch : )

  7. That looks really good. Does the coconut milk give it a strange flavor? We just made some medicinal chicken and turkey broth (with reishi, chaga and goji for the additional herbal medicines) so this looks like a great thing to make with our broth.

    Thanks for sharing! 🙂

    1. Nope, the coconut milk gives it a yummy richness, especially with the bacon and homemade chicken stock!

      1. Lisa Cavallini says:

        I’m making this tomorrow for my family. We buy fresh salmon from a local fish market and we eat it raw. When we clean it, I save the scraps (skin, fat, bones) and make my own fish broth. This sounds amazing to use my fish broth. Thanks again for sharing something yummy and different. Oh, I’ll probably use trader joes coconut cream in the can, instead of coconut milk. It’ll be like a bisque.

        1. That all sounds amazing!!! How did it turn out?

  8. Any reason you’re using chicken stock instead of fish stock?

    1. Because I just made a bunch of stock with chicken feet from pastured chickens from the farmers market and it tastes DELICIOUS!! : )

  9. This is great!! I have leeks on hand from my CSA and I wasn’t sure what to do with them. Plus, I have all the ingredients at home already!

  10. Jessica says:


    1. Jessica says:

      don’t judge me on that! I was typing away and something weird happend!
      As I was saying…I love all of your recipes! I make one everynight from your book and when we try an new one, my husband always says, “this is great” and I say, “It’s another winner by Sarah! She’s done it again.” You have seriously changed our lives. I’ve been 100% Paleo since I stumbled upon your book at my public library 5 months ago, have gotten my hub on board (for the most part) and my 17 mo old is THRIVING!! So, we are going to try this, can’t wait! I’m sure it will be better than “m-m, good”….it’ll be, “m-m-paleo!”

    2. Thank you!!

  11. Hey Sarah–do you think this would work well if I were to brown the bacon in a pan and then dump everything into a crock pot on low for a few hours, maybe cutting the chicken stock down by a cup or two? (really I’d be doubling or tripling the recipe and proportionally cutting down on the stock)


    1. Sarah says:

      YES – this would be perfect in the crock pot! : )

  12. Stephanie says:

    Yum, Sarah. Just made this for lunch and it is amazing! Perfect for a chilly day in the Pacific Northwest.

  13. Sounds fantastic, and I have salmon and bacon in the freezer..woohoo.


  14. This is exactly what I was in the mood for Friday night. I made it not thinking anyone else in the family would want some (my husband hates soup), but besides for my 4 year old (you know how they can be) everyone loved this!!

    I had to adjust to make a kosher version, so instead of the bacon I added lots of smoked paprika, used fish stock, and didn’t have carrots and leeks, so used sweet potatoes and onions instead. Added some freshly grated ginger as well.

    This is definitely going into my go-to meals list. I usually have most of these ingredients at home. I like Ben’s idea of making it in a slow cooker. Thanks for posting this!

    1. So glad you all enjoyed it Lisa!!

      1. And yes, I know how those 4 year olds can be for sure!! ; )

  15. I’ve been wondering for a long while what sort of substitute one may use instead of coconut milk or flour for things…my husband is allergic, and unless I want to only cook for myself all the time…it just doesn’t work for our household. I often will use regular dairy milk and butter in place of coconut milk/oil.

    I do wonder if it changes the consistency. I use almond flour in baked goods in place of coconut flour (save when he won’t be eating what I have baked). It seems to be a good substitute but I definitely need more almond flour than I would use in a coconut flour recipe.

    Thanks for your reply. This looks delish!

    1. I would use heavy cream from grass fed cows in place of coconut milk for this recipe and a good sub for coconut oil would be grass fed butter or clarified butter or ghee and also lard and tallow are great subs as well!

      1. Thank you, Sarah. I appreciate your thoughts.

  16. Christy says:

    Just made this for lunch. And as for the Salmon, I had some chimichurri salmon from Trader Joe’s that is already skinned and de-boned, so I just threw that in and it tastes awesome. You can buy the salmon in the freezer section at Trader Joe’s.

  17. Yummm!! I made this yesterday and it definitley satisfied my “comfort food” craving. Thanks so much. Love the recipes you post.

  18. Christine says:

    This dish is exactly what it is promised to be … with a capital SCRUMP to the tious! And it’s even better the next day for lunch! Need an idea of what to pack in the kids’ lunches? How about a thermos full of this?! YES!

  19. Christine says:

    as a side note …. I should have skimmed the bacon grease out though so I could make homemade baconnaise.

    1. Jess M. says:

      What is this baconnaise that you speak of & how is it made? Sounds devine!

  20. Thank you for all your amazing recipes. They have made the transition to a Paleo diet not only pain-free, but delicious!

  21. I made this last night for company — doubled the salmon, kept the bacon the same. It was awesome! I’m already excited for lunch leftovers at 8am. 🙂

  22. Katrina says:

    Sarah, I think this is the best new recipe I’ve tried this year. This was SOOO good! I’ve been low carbing it for a while but I’ve been playing with the idea of switching over to paleo, and with recipes like this it will be very easy to finally give up dairy. Thank you!!!

    1. So glad you liked the chowder! One of my new favorites too. : )

  23. Janell Garwood says:

    Do you drain the bacon grease before adding the chicken stock?

    1. I didn’t!

  24. Omigosh.

    So I made this the other night and have one thing to say: I didn’t go back for seconds. I was seriously full with just one bowl – which never happens! Thank you. It is yummie.

    I made a few additions. I added salt, tumeric powder for color and lime juice for bigger flavor profile. Yum!

  25. Just made this last week and it was awesome! Whole family ate it up and I have leftovers for work today. Thanks again Sarah!

  26. Best soup ever! Even my preschool son loved it and asked for seconds!!!

  27. I made this for dinner tonight and it was DELICIOUS. It’s quick enough to come home from work and make for dinner. And it makes 3 meals worth of leftovers. Awesome recipe!!

    1. So glad you enjoyed the chowder Megan!

  28. Jess M. says:

    Just made this tonight for the fam & it was delish!! My 17 month-old-daughter even asked for more after drinking up her 1st bowl 😀 Thanks for posting!

  29. Michelle M says:

    Can’t wait to try this!

    Ps I went to Chico State and now live in Colorado Springs so I can appreciate both climates! Fun to have come across your blog!

  30. Soup was great. The wife and I loved it. I did however cut down on the amount of bacon, only using a 12 oz pack instead of 1 lb and it was still very good. No need to add any salt because it gets plenty from the bacon. Hopefully you gobble it all up the first time without leftovers because the salmon tends to fall apart after storing and reheating. I would definitely make this again.

  31. Shannon says:

    So I made the chowder for dinner and I feel like I’ve done something wrong…I added my salmon in and within a few minutes, it wasn’t pink any longer, it was a sort of beige color. Is this normal for salmon chowder? Every picture I’ve seen of it, the salmon is pink, maybe thats a photographic effect…I hope?


    1. Sarah says:

      Hmm, I’m not sure – that’s kind of strange! Did it taste ok? I didn’t do anything funny to the pictures. : )

  32. I am allergic to both coconut & dairy! Has anyone tried using almond milk or soy milk in something like this?? I hate to ruin the salmon if it doesn’t work!

  33. paul says:

    As a commercial fisherman, I wanted to thank those of you who made a special point to emphasize wild salmon in this chowder recipe. It is definitely a superior product and produced with infinitely more ecological sensitivity than salmon produced by the fish farms. For those of you who have trouble with bones, I personally find it easier to cut the salmon in roughly one inch by one inch chunks before cooking it in the broth, thus deboning it first. It just takes a little practice in terms of figuring out where those bones are but it saves you the trouble of pulling bones out of a finished soup. A good rule of thumb is that the tail area has no bones, the belly bones are obvious and easy to cut out, so the tricky part is cutting out the small bones from the thickest part of the fillet. It helps to do the boneless and belly first in chunks and then save the thick part to wrestle with a few times until you get it down.

    I am trying to use coconut milk more and more, but for those who must use dairy I strongly recommend an organic whipping cream versus regular milk for texture – it will create a thicker, but not too thick chowder because it cooks differently. Even half and half is not an adequate substitute. And the organic cream, like the wild salmon, is such a superior product that it’s worth the extra money.

  34. Sean says:

    This soup is amazing! I’ve made it. I’ve eaten it. I’m making it again tonight by popular demand. One suggestion: use nitrate free apple wood smoked bacon from Trader Joes. It takes the whole recipe up a notch.

  35. Carla says:

    Absolutely delicious! Didn’t have leeks so used green onions. This one is going in the file for sure.

  36. Anne-Marie says:

    How long does this take to simmer? I’m assuming that the salmon is raw when you put it in the soup? Sorry for the stupid question, cooking isn’t my thing and I’m having to change that.

  37. Anthony says:

    I wonder how tho would work with canned or fresh clams?

  38. Just tried this recipe with our Wild Alaskan Smoke Coho Salmon. AMAZING! We are posting a link on our FB page! Thank you for the great recipe! Check us out!!

    1. Sarah says:

      Great! Will Do!

  39. Michaela Rivas says:

    This could probably b easily made into a curry soup or something huh?

  40. Sandy says:

    I eat clean so I stay away from bacon. Has anyone substituted with pancetta? Or can you reccommend another substitute.

  41. Matt says:

    Made this for dinner…amazing. I made a couple of tweaks:

    -Drained a majority of the bacon fat off prior to adding the leeks, left just enough to sautee the leeks. Plenty of fat in the the coconut milk so wasn’t worried. That and the fact that there is SO much fat in 1lb of bacon.
    -Used 1.5 lbs of salmon. Just made it extra salmony.
    -Hot sauce! Always hot sauce!

    This is going to be a new staple in my kitchen routine, it is so good.

  42. olivia says:

    I used what I had: 1/2 pound smoked beef bacon (did not drain the fat) and a 14 oz CAN of wild Alaskan salmon. It turned out very salty due to the salt in the bacon, chicken broth and bacon. I am planning on adding some pureed cauliflower to help with the saltiness. I have never used a leek. WOW! I could have eaten a plate of bacon and sautéed leeks….so yummy! this chowder is so rich and wonderful! One of the best things I have ever tasted!

  43. I’ve made this 4 times in 3 weeks since discovering it. I make a point to eat seafood 3x a week, and this recipe allows me to use canned wild salmon, which really helps the budget. It’s fantastic, I’ve made it with leeks, onions swapped for leeks, and with bacon and andouille swapped for bacon. Its just a killer palo chowder base and I love you for it! Kale towards the end of the cook is a nice addition too!

    1. So glad you are enjoying the chowder!!! Thank you Sean!

  44. The fish isn’t cooked before putting it in the pot, right?

    1. Nope, you put it in raw!

  45. Courtnie says:

    This was so easy and delicious! I used what I had on hand (cod and even broccoli) but all the same spices. I thought it was be flavorless but it was amazing! Thank you!

    1. You are so very welcome, so glad you enjoyed it!

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