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Dairy-Free New England Fish Chowder Recipe

I love the taste of creamy New England fish chowder, but that dairy base does not love me back. So, when I was faced with a few pounds of rapidly thawing fish fillets of various sorts after our recent freezer thaw, I created my own dairy-free version of that creamy chowder that may even surpass the classic.

Creamy and delicious, this dairy-free New England Fish Chowder was a big hit.
Creamy and delicious, this dairy-free New England Fish Chowder was a big hit.

I made something like 10 quarts of this soup to freeze for the winter, so I’m just going to tell you what I did and what I used but you’ll have to figure out your own amounts.

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Non-Dairy New England Fish Chowder


  • Garlic
  • Onions
  • Fresh green chiles (I used Anaheim and Jalepeño)
  • Potatoes, scrubbed and diced
  • Corn kernels (frozen are fine)
  • Kale or chard, washed and chopped
  • Fillets of fish


First, I minced a bunch of garlic and onions and sautéed them in coconut oil in a large stock pot. Ok, I actually blended them up in my Mini Bullet blender because if my son can spot a shred of onion chances are he will reject the entire bowl. He’s ok if he doesn’t see it, so I blend them. In your own soup, you can, of course, do whatever you’d like.

I seeded and deveined a fresh Anaheim green chile and a fresh jalepeño pepper, then chopped them up and added them to the sauté.

After just a few minutes, I poured pure coconut milk and water into the pot. I’m trying to avoid canned coconut milk these days because the cans are lined with BPA, so I used an ingenious product that is organic dried and condensed coconut milk. It comes in a small brick. Chisel some off and add water and voilá! Instant coconut milk. I’ve also used this dried coconut milk in place of dried dairy milk in an instant hot cocoa mix.

When I had a good bit of coconut milk/water in the pot, I added a dozen diced potatoes (with the skin on), the kernels from six ears of fresh organic corn, a bunch of kale, washed and chopped roughly, and about 6 lbs. of fish fillets. I think we had orange roughy, tilapia, and halibut, but it didn’t matter. Any fish would have been just fine.

The chowder simmered until the potatoes were tender and the fish flaked apart. After seasoning with sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper, the soup was ready to serve!


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