Shrimp and Cheese Chowder

March 28, 2023

closeup of shrimp and cheese chowder

Chowder comes in a can. At least that’s what I believed in youth. Then my parents gave me a German cookbook. I made Westerlander Fischsuppe  with mussels, fish, noodles and tomato. After that, no more canned chowder in the home. That meal was surprisingly easy to make and very hearty.

Perhaps my parents were tired of getting hot meals on the table. I was, after all, the last of four. Lucky for me, my experiments netted positive comments and cooking was my favorite outlet. More cookbooks followed at holidays and birthdays. These books still grace my shelves.

ingredients for shrimp and cheese chowder

save celery leaves for garnish, or use in salads for an unexpected herbal bite

Although I almost always associate chowder with seafood, vegetables and even fruits are fair game. This lovely creamy soup only looks complicated. The entire dish comes together quickly because shrimp takes minutes if not seconds to become tender. For planning ahead, everything may be made up to the addition of shrimp. It’s important to note that both cheese and cornstarch will make this thick. You may have to add a little broth, milk or water as you reheat before adding shrimp.

bowl of shrimp and cheddar chowder

Chowder is the perfect one bowl meal, enjoyed with a big spoon. Crusty bread and a leafy salad on the side complete the picture.

Shrimp and Cheese Chowder

recipe by Michele Humlan, The Good Eats Company

makes four servings


1 cup finely diced sweet onion
1 cup finely diced celery
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
kosher salt
finely ground white pepper
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
2 cups best quality stock : vegetable, seafood or chicken
12 ounces russet potato, peeled and diced
10 ounces sweet potato, peeled and diced
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 cups milk
8 ounces shredded Italian blend cheese (or cheddar)
1 pound medium raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
optional garnishes : celery leaves, fresh thyme


  1. Melt butter over medium heat in heavy two quart saucepan, add onion and celery with pinches of salt and pepper, and cook, stirring frequently, until just tender, about 8-10 minutes.
  2. Adjust heat as needed to avoid browning.
  3. Add chopped thyme and stir 30 seconds until fragrant.
  4. Bring to boil after adding stock and both types potato.
  5. Simmer gently just until potatoes are tender, about 10-15 minutes.
  6. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.
  7. Make cornstarch slurry with the milk and add to the pot, simmering about one minute for cornstarch to fully cook.
  8. Pour in the cheese, stirring over low heat just until melted.
  9. (At this point, soup can be made ahead and cooled until you are ready for shrimp).
  10. (If made ahead, you will need to add more milk or stock or water as mixture will be thick).
  11. Add shrimp and maintain very low heat, stirring occasionally, until shrimp are pink and curled, just cooked through. This will take seconds or a few minutes.
  12.  Serve immediately.
  13. Garnish if desired with celery leaves and thyme.


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