Oyster Chowder

I love making soups and stews because once you know the technique, it gives you the liberty to build your own flavors!
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  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 1 hr 10 min
  • Active: 45 min
  • Yield: 6 to 8 servings
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2 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 ribs celery, cut in small dice

2 medium leeks, white and green parts, cut in small dice

1/2 cup dry white wine

2 russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch dice, reserved in cold water 

1/2 cup bottled clam juice or water

40 fresh oysters, shucked and liquor reserved, or 1 pint store-bought oysters in liquor 

1 3/4 cups half-and-half, at room temperature

1/2 teaspoon seafood seasoning, such as Old Bay

Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper 

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley, for garnish

Oyster crackers, for serving


  1. Heat a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the butter, followed by the celery and leeks. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables have softened but are not browning, 3 to 5 minutes.
  2. Add the wine to the vegetables and let reduce by half. Add the potatoes and stir to combine. Add the clam juice, 1 cup water and the reserved oyster liquor. The potatoes will soak up some of the saltiness of the oysters and their liquor, giving them great flavor. Bring to a simmer, cover and continue cooking until the potatoes are tender, 6 to 7 minutes. 
  3. Remove 1 1/2 cups of the soup, blend until smooth in a blender or food processor and return to the pot. Stir in the half-and-half and seafood seasoning. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer before adding the oysters. Cook just until the oysters begin to curl, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and garnish with parsley. Serve with oyster crackers.

Cook’s Note

When blending hot liquids, make sure there is a vent on top for the steam to escape. Place a towel over the hole and start the blender slowly to avoid an explosion.