Lobster Chowder with Corn and Bacon

This recipe for lobster chowder is the perfect way to usher in fall. It's rich, flavorful and loaded with big chunks of lobster meat and sweet summer corn.

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A bowl of lobster corn chowder with a spoon in it.

Chowder is a humble soup. It's essentially peasant food for fishermen, made with inexpensive cuts of fish or shellfish (you know, like clams) and whatever odds and ends are laying around: celery, onion and potatoes, and most certainly cream. Always cream. Like in my New England style Clam Chowder and Fish Chowder.

This recipe however, is anything but peasant food. This is fancy chowder, the kind you serve on holidays or to people you want to impress, just like my famous lobster bisque.

It's a special meal (for special occasions or just cozy comfort food) because it's made with one of my favorite ingredients of all time: lobster.

Love lobster? Don't miss these crispy lobster corn fritters or the best recipe ever for Maine lobster rolls!

Why This Recipe Works

  • Great to make ahead and tastes even better the next day!
  • Sweet corn and bacon highlight the beautiful lobster taste. 

Ingredient Notes

Cooked lobster - Use cooked fresh lobsters with their shells. Use the claws, knuckles, body and/or lobster tail meat along with the shells for the broth. Ask your fishmonger if they can steam the live lobsters for you to save time. Always ask them to steam for one minute less than recommended to avoid overcooking the meat, as it will cook in the chowder.

Corn on the cob - You'll use the kernels in the chowder, and the corn cobs to flavor the broth. If fresh corn on the cob isn't in season, you can use frozen corn kernels but the broth won't have quite as much flavor.

Potatoes - I prefer Yukon Gold potatoes, but other waxy potatoes such as yellow or red skin will also work. 

Cream sherry - Cream sherry provides a sweet flavor that compliments the sweetness of the corn and lobster, but you can use dry sherry. 

Milk - Use whole milk in this recipe. The fat will help pull out the flavor from the lobster shells when making the broth and helps provide a nice creamy broth.  

Dry white wine - Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio, un-oaked Chardonnay, Soave, Picpoul, and Grenache Blanc are a few types of dry white wines that can be used.

Heavy cream - Use heavy cream or heavy whipping cream. Don't substitute something with a lower fat content or non-dairy alternative. The cream gives the chowder its rich creaminess.

*Find the full ingredient list in the recipe card below!

Helpful Equipment

Large stock pot  or Dutch oven - A big heavy pot will hold everything while making the stock. 

Slotted spoon or spider - To strain the lobster shells. 

Claw crackers - To break apart the lobsters, but you can use a hammer, meat mallet, the back of a butter knife and/or sharp kitchen shears. 

A pale green bowl of lobster chowder with a piece lobster claw meat.

Step by step instructions

  1. Remove the meat from the lobsters, cut into chunks, then refrigerate until ready to use. Add the shells and any juices that collect to a large stock pot.
  2. Remove the corn kernels from the cob, then refrigerate until ready to use. Add the cobs to the stock pot with the lobster shells, along with the quartered onion, celery stalks, cream sherry, white wine, 3 cups whole milk and 2 cups water. Bring up to a simmer, then turn down to the lowest heat setting and cook for 45 minutes. Make sure the liquid stays at a very low, gentle simmer. Turn off the heat and let the stock sit while you prepare the rest of the soup. If desired, you can strain the stock at this point and refrigerate up to one day ahead. 
  3. Add the bacon to another large pot or dutch oven over medium-low heat and stir until crisp, about 8 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon to drain on paper towels, then reserve for serving. 
  4. Add butter to the pot along with the rendered bacon fat, then add the onion and celery. Stir until translucent, about 6 minutes. Add the potatoes, reserved corn kernels, salt and pepper, then stir for 1-2 minutes more.
  5. Strain the stock if you haven't already and add it to the pot (you can strain it right over top if you like). Bring it up to a simmer and let cook until the potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes.
  6. When the potatoes can be easily pierced with a fork, stir in the heavy cream and cream sherry, then simmer for 5 more minutes. Add the reserved lobster meat and chives, then stir to combine. 
  7. Ladle the chowder into bowls, then garnish with crispy bacon and more chives. Serve with crusty bread on the side.

Tips for Success

  • I recommend cracking and shelling the lobster outside to avoid mess. 
  • Don't boil the stock or it can curdle the milk. 
A steaming hot bowl of lobster chowder with corn.

Serving Suggestions

Serve a nice crisp salad with a simple Homemade Vinaigrette or a bright, crisp Sicilian Fennel Orange Salad.

A simple roasted vegetable like Zucchini all Scapece or Crispy Roasted Brussels Sprouts makes the perfect side.

Don't forget dessert! Try a Chocolate Hazelnut Panna Cotta or this Sicilian Cannoli Recipe for a perfect ending to an incredible meal.

FAQ

How to store and reheat lobster chowder?

Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. it tastes even better the next day! You can reheat on the stove on low or medium-low heat for a few minutes to warm back up.

What is the difference between a chowder and a bisque?

Chowder and bisques are both creamy and generally seafood based, but chowder recipes are chunky while a bisque is smooth.  

A bowl of New England lobster chowder with bacon and chives on top.

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A pale green bowl of lobster chowder with a piece lobster claw meat.
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Lobster Corn Chowder

This recipe for lobster chowder is the perfect way to usher in fall. It's rich, flavorful and loaded with big chunks of lobster meat.
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings: 7 servings
Calories: 623kcal

Ingredients

For the stock:

  • 3 (1 ¼ to 1 ½ pound) cooked lobsters
  • 3 ears corn*
  • 1 yellow onion quartered
  • 2 stalks celery cut into big chunks
  • ¼ cup cream sherry
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 2 cups water
  • ¾ cup dry white wine

For the soup:

  • ¼ pound bacon large-diced
  • 4 tablespoon butter
  • 3 cups diced Yukon gold potatoes unpeeled (about 3 medium)
  • 1 ½ cups diced yellow onions 2 onions
  • 2 cups diced celery 3 to 4 stalks
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup cream sherry
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives plus more for garnish
  • crusty bread for serving

Instructions

  1. Remove the meat from the lobsters, cut into chunks, then refrigerate until ready to use. Add the shells and any juices that collect to a large stock pot.
  2. Remove the corn kernels from the cob, then refrigerate until ready to use. Add the cobs to the stock pot with the lobster shells, along with the quartered onion, celery stalks, cream sherry, white wine, 3 cups whole milk and 2 cups water. Bring up to a simmer, then turn down to the lowest heat setting and cook for 45 minutes. Don’t let it boil - make sure the liquid stays at a very low simmer. Turn off the heat and let the stock sit while you prepare the rest of the soup. If desired, you can strain the stock at this point and refrigerate up to one day ahead. 
  3. Add the bacon to another large pot or dutch oven over medium-low heat and stir until crisp, about 8 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon to drain on paper towels, then reserve for serving. 
  4. Add butter to the pot along with the rendered bacon fat, then add the onion and celery. Stir until translucent, about 6 minutes. Add the potatoes, reserved corn kernels, salt and pepper, then stir for 1-2 minutes more.
  5. Strain the stock if you haven't already and add it to the pot (you can strain it right over top if you like). Bring it up to a simmer and let cook until the potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes.
  6. When the potatoes can be easily pierced with a fork, stir in the heavy cream and cream sherry, then simmer for 5 more minutes. Add the reserved lobster meat and chives, then stir to combine. 
  7. Ladle the chowder into bowls, then garnish with reserved bacon and more chives. Serve with crusty bread on the side.
  8. Leftovers will keep refrigerated for up to 5 days, and it tastes even better the next day. 

Notes

  • *This chowder is best made with fresh corn on the cob to flavor the stock, but if you can't find it, leave it out of the stock and substitute 2 cups of frozen corn kernels in the chowder. 
  • If you can crack and shell the lobster outside, I highly recommend doing so, as it gets pretty messy. 
  • If you don't want to shuck the lobsters yourself, your grocery store may steam and shuck fresh lobsters if you ask. 
  • Don't boil the stock. Boiling can curdle the milk. 

Nutrition

Calories: 623kcal | Carbohydrates: 37g | Protein: 20g | Fat: 42g | Saturated Fat: 24g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 12g | Trans Fat: 0.3g | Cholesterol: 186mg | Sodium: 1485mg | Potassium: 1035mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 13g | Vitamin A: 1727IU | Vitamin C: 25mg | Calcium: 264mg | Iron: 2mg

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6 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I used bugs instead of lobster and also added prawns . Great recipe which create a great dish.. highly recommended thanks

  2. 5 stars
    That claw meat on top makes my heart go pitter patter. Not sure if I'd eat it immediately or savor it as my last bite. Saving this recipe for Gloucester days.