Seafood chowder is one of those types of soup that is comfort food to most people. While it may be a type of soup, chowder is much different than a soup.
Chowder is usually thick and creamy with lots of chunky ingredients in the bowl.
Seafood chowder consists of some type of seafood which is usually a shellfish. The shellfish can be anything such as lump crab meat, shrimp, oysters, or mussels. Sometimes you will see chunks of fish in the chowder as well.
Additionally, the chowder has chunky vegetables like celery, carrot, onion, and garlic.
Every once in a while, there will be potatoes in the mix as well to make it a little more of a substantial meal. The base of the soup is usually a cream-based type.
However, you may see a tomato base or even a sherry wine base in a seafood chowder. Nevertheless, it is a wonderfully hearty soup to eat on a cold winter day.
Since seafood chowder is a meal all in itself, it can be tricky to find a side to pair it with. Also, soups and chowders are kinds of hard-to-find side dishes. However, there are a few classic side dishes that have always worked very well with seafood chowder.
If the soup does not have any potatoes in it, then you could go with any number of potato sides. Some of the bests are French fries, tater tots, and loaded potato skins.
But if you have potatoes in the chowder already then try to go with something lighter or healthier. Other side dishes like fresh garden salads and roasted vegetables will do the trick. If you wanted to go with some of the classic side dishes, any type of bread will work great or even a fresh-baked cornbread.
No matter what, there are plenty of options to choose from for your seafood chowder.
We have compiled a list of some of the best side dishes to try this time around. We guarantee that these side dishes will not disappoint you or your guests.
We made sure to not overcomplicate the list and make everything very easy to make and purchase. So, keep reading to find out what will work best for your seafood chowder!
- 10 Side Dishes To Serve With Seafood Chowder
- Best Wines To Serve With Clam chowder
- Desserts To Serve With Seafood Chowder
- Best Breads To Serve With Seafood Chowder
- Final Words
10 Side Dishes To Serve With Seafood Chowder
1. Freshly Baked Bread
This side dish should go without saying. I mean what better side to go with a soup or chowder than a freshly baked loaf of bread?
The bread not only acts as a vessel but also soaks up all the broth and liquid in the bowl.
They are truly a match made in heaven. You can use any type of bread you like as well.
The harder and crunchier the bread, the more liquid it will be able to soak up. It really just all depends on what you like.
2. Oyster Crackers
This next item is not really a side dish but more of an accompaniment to the seafood chowder.
This should not be a surprise considering they were created for this exact purpose. Oyster crackers have been served with clam chowder and seafood chowder since the beginning of time.
You will also see them with other soups as well like chicken noodle soup. But the real reason they are around is for chowder.
They bring a nice texture element of some crunch to the meal when they are just sprinkled right on top of the chowder.
3. Caesar Salad
You can’t go wrong with a salad. Especially when it comes to a Caesar salad at that. The salad brings a nice texture element to the meal for one thing.
Also, if plays a nice contrast on the two between hot and cold dishes. Since seafood chowder has a creamy base, it plays nicely off the creaminess of the Caesar dressing as well.
Plus, the tangy dressing will complement the thick and luscious broth of the seafood chowder nicely. The lemon from the Caesar dressing really elevates the seafood chowder overall.
4. Grilled Ham And Cheese Sandwich
Another great side dish is a classic sandwich. Soup and sandwiches are the ultimate combos.
So, if you were going to pick a simple grilled sandwich to go with seafood, it most definitely will be ham and cheese.
If you wanted, you could leave the ham out also and just do a classic grilled cheese sandwich as well.
When the ham is added to the sandwich it changes everything though. Ham and shellfish actually work really well together because of the sweetness of the ham that compliments the seafood. This is a great side dish you will never go wrong with!
5. Loaded Potato Skins
As I had mentioned before, if the shellfish chowder does not contain potatoes, then go with a potato side.
There are many different choices to go with but the loaded potato skins are the best. They are super simple to make and easy on the bank as well.
Just cut the skins off the sides of a baked potato and load them up with toppings. Shredded cheddar cheese, bacon lardons, green onion and blast them in the oven for a few minutes.
When they come out, top them with sour cream and you have an amazing side dish. They will work really well with the shellfish chowder along with them on them as well.
6. Fried Cauliflower
Here is a side dish that is a little different and may take a little extra prep work, but is more than worth it in the end.
Fried cauliflower is one of those dishes you make when you want fried vegetables and not French fries. Cauliflower heads are not that expensive and they break down really easily.
Just bread them like you would a chicken strip and fry them until golden brown. They bring a slightly healthier element to the meal and add some much-needed texture as well.
If you are not a fan of cauliflower, then go with a different vegetable like mushrooms, zucchini, or even pickles!
We did mention before that bread is going to work very well with seafood chowder. Cornbread, while it is a baked good, is much different from fresh-baked bread.
They are much sweeter which works with the chowder but doesn’t hold up as well as bread does.
Cornbread tends to be crumbly which will still be an advantage when eating seafood chowder.
It just will change the texture of the meal. It is a great choice to go with and is considered one of the best sides for seafood chowder.
8. Bruschetta Crostini
This side dish is a little bit different in terms of flavor. Seafood chowder is going to be rich and creamy without a lot of bright flavors in the mix.
First off, the crostini are a great addition to the chowder since it is toasted bread. It should just be a given at this point in the article.
However, the tomato bruschetta will bring brighter flavors to the palate and some much-needed acidity.
These flavors will help to cut through the richness of the chowder while still contrasting nicely. This is a bit off the beaten path, but trust me, you won’t regret it.
9. Fresh Garden Salad
We did mention the Caesar salad near the top of the list, but a regular garden-fresh salad will also work nicely.
If you are looking to bring fresh elements to the meal, then this is the best path to choose. You can add any vegetable you want and with any dressing.
I would recommend going with a vinaigrette like red wine or balsamic to try and help contrast the flavors of the seafood chowder.
10. Baked Potato
And last but certainly not even near the least, the humble baked potato. These bad boys are the cornerstone of all side dishes and are offered just about anywhere you go.
They are the tale as old as time when it comes to side dishes because they work well with anything.
They work especially well with seafood chowder when potatoes are absent in the soup.
It all depends on you how you make up the baked potato. Are you a plain jane with just butter or do you like yours loaded with all the fixings? No matter which way you go, it will be awesome!
Best Wines To Serve With Clam chowder
Sometimes, seafood chowder will be made with a little bit of wine. In the case that you use wine to make your seafood chowder, you should just serve the same type of wine in order to complement each other completely.
The only time this is not true is when you use sherry wine to make the chowder.
That is not drinking wine and is mainly used for cooking. But if you were still looking for something to pair the chowder with then you have a couple options.
If you are using shellfish like lobster or crab then go with a chardonnay.
It will work nicely with the overall richness of the main course. If you are using fatty red fish like salmon or tuna in your chowder, then go with a pinot noir.
This is the best choice if you ever decide to take that route. Otherwise, I would stick to light white wines as to not overpower the entrée.
Desserts To Serve With Seafood Chowder
Seafood chowder is going to be rich but that doesn’t mean it will be a heavy dish. So, you don’t really have to go too light with the dessert after this meal. But you should try and stick to fruity types of desserts.
They will help to end the meal on a good note. Tart and fruity desserts always work well with seafood and shellfish.
Try going with a fruit pie made with either blueberries or blackberries.
Or if you wanted something a bit lighter, then try a strawberry shortcake stack or a key lime pie with whipped cream.
These types of desserts will cool off the meal and the acidic and fruity flavors will end everything on a good note.
Best Breads To Serve With Seafood Chowder
You can really choose any type of bread you prefer. Some of the best loaves of bread to choose from are going to be baguette bread or Italian bread.
These are going to work well to soak up the broth of the chowder and act as a vessel for some of the soup at times.
Otherwise, you can go with any kind of bread you like. Sourdough is a good bread to choose in terms of flavor. The sourdough really complements the chowder nicely.
Should Seafood Chowder Be Served As An Entrée Or An Appetizer?
This is a heavy debate because it can be served as either one. It really all depends on what is in the chowder and what the portion size looks like.
One of the biggest thoughts is if the chowder is very hearty with potatoes and protein, then it will likely be an entrée.
But if the broth is lighter and with fewer ingredients, then it will really work well as an appetizer.
Just pay attention to the portion size and the heartiness of the chowder to make an educated guess. Otherwise, they are interchangeable.
Seafood chowder is one of my favorite soups to eat. You just have to be careful not to eat too much because the ingredients that go into the chowder and rich.
So, if you look at it this way, try to keep on the lighter side of things when making a side dish.
Unless you are starving! Then go all out with a large crazy side of potato skins! No matter what, I’m sure it will all turn out great!
Kevin has spent 20 years as an Executive Chef, focused heavily on recipe construction and menu development. Today his focus is on writing, consulting to restaurants, and teaching culinary arts. In his spare time, Kevin loves to cook with his lovely wife and kids.