March 26 2023

How to Make a Heartwarming “Miso” Fish Chowder

by Lauren Collins

During the cold weather months, soups, stews and chowders become a staple in our house.  From a hearty fishermen's stew to a comforting chowder, soups rule the kitchen during the winter! 

This Miso Fish Chowder is one that I've wanted to share with you, because not only does it taste incredible, but it's also easy to make and requires very little ingredients.  

I adapted this recipe from the New York Times and gave it my own special touch and flair that I think makes it even more flavorful and even easier to make.

Continue reading below to learn how to make this heartwarming stew.


For this chowder you can use either fresh or frozen fish, but in my opinion, chowders and stews are two of the best ways to use up frozen filets. Frozen striped bass, black sea bass, tautog, cod or haddock will all work wonderfully.  I generally use about 1 to 2 pounds fish for this chowder.

For this specific chowder we decided to use up some of the frozen bass we had on hand from this past summer's epic striper bite off Manomet. 

You'll also need 1/4 cup of white miso paste, which you can find in just about any grocery store.  White miso paste is generally found in the produce area, alongside the egg roll wrappers and tofu.  

The miso paste gives the chowder a really rich flavor, with a touch of saltiness that pairs perfectly with the fish.  Just be sure to choose white miso and not red.  

If you can't find miso paste, then you could also use soy sauce, although do be aware that the color of the chowder might get darker.  The same goes with using red miso - it will just throw off the color slightly.

As for other additions to the Miso Fish Chowder, you'll need 2 leeks, 1 15oz can of full fat coconut milk (or heavy cream if you prefer), 4-5 scallions, 1 lb yellow baby potatoes that have been quartered, 3-4 sprigs of fresh thyme or dried thyme, 2 cups broth and two bottles of clam juice.  

You can also add in crumbled bacon or sausage. I've made this stew with and without the meat and both were equally as delicious. 

This recipe provided Ryan and I with two nights worth of dinners, with a hearty serving for both nights.

How to Make the Chowder

To make the chowder, start by melting 2 tablespoons of butter and 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a heavy bottomed soup pot that has a lid.  From there, add your thinly sliced leeks and some salt and pepper.

Stir occasionally until the leeks soften. Once the leeks have softened, you'll then stir in your 1/4 cup of miso paste. Break the miso up with a wooden spoon until the miso has melted in.

Stir in the potatoes, thyme, 2 bottles of clam juice, 1 can of coconut milk, and 32oz of vegetable or chicken broth.  If you have seafood stock, even better! Bring to a low boil, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes have softened.  

Once they've softened, add in chunks of the fish and thinly sliced scallions. Push the fish chunks into the broth. Bring it all to a low boil and cover, cooking for 15-20 minutes or until the fish is cooked through.

Season with salt and pepper and either serve it right away or let it cool and stay in the fridge for a meal later that day.  As with any soup, making it in the morning ahead of time, or letting it sit overnight, allows the ingredients to permeate the stew - which makes it so much better.  

You'll get a more flavorful broth the longer it sits, and you don't have to worry about the fish overcooking. If you want a little extra boost, then a pinch of red pepper flakes will do the trick.

You can view a detailed version of the recipe below or click here to print a hard copy.

In conclusion, I often think about how our diet often reflects the changing of the seasons. Warm stews, soups and chowders help to offset the crisp chill of a wintry day on Cape Cod and throughout New England.

As always I wish you the best and hope you will give Miso Fish Chowder a try. Please let me know how it works out for you. 

Happy cooking! 🍽

About the author 

Lauren Collins

Through the eyes of a fishermans' wife, I'm excited to share my cooking and photography with you here on MFCC. You can learn more about cooking, and get more recipes by visiting my website Creatively Delish.

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