Seafood Boil Leftovers Make a Great (Easy) Chowder

June 7, 2020

Seafood Boil Leftovers Make a Great (Easy) Chowder


We love a good seafood boil! I documented the Glover Gardens seafood boil approach last winter in the post below. Have you tried it yet?

The Grill-Meister and I prepared a smaller seafood boil recently while at Gumbo Cove in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, just for the two of us since we’re in COVID-19 quarantine. Apparently, my ability to scale down portions when we don’t have a crowd is seriously lacking. You can see how it happened, though – shrimp, crab, sausage, mushrooms, potatoes…it all adds up to a too-big pile of spicy seafood heaven.

Seafood boil for two? More like for six… !

But leftovers are NOT a problem with a seafood boil, my friends. Did you see my Seafood Boil Omelet recipe earlier this year?

No omelet was made this time, though, because The Grill-Meister had a request for our spicy seafood leftover goodness: What about a chowder? He had that excited puppy-dog look when he asked, and I couldn’t refuse. Also, I love requests.

Folks, it turns out that seafood boil leftovers were born to become chowder! It is their destiny. Chowder is chock-full of seafood boil ingredients; it’s like a sous chef did most of the prep work for this yummy, creamy, chunky soup when you’ve got seafood boil leftovers to start with.

That was my lovely discovery – it’s very easy and quick to make chowder out of last night’s seafood boil. Here’s how it went.

Leftover Seafood Boil Chowder

This is a not-recipe recipe, because I didn’t do exact amounts or document as I went… think of it as a set of suggested guidelines.

I started with this pile of leftovers from the seafood boil, which included: sausage (we use jalapeno sausage), potatoes, mushrooms, shrimp, crab (at least this time; sometimes we don’t have crab), corn on the cob and onions.

I peeled the shrimp, set aside four, and chopped the rest into 1/2 inch pieces.

I cracked and picked the meat from the crabs.

I cut the sausage and potatoes into bite-sized pieces, and diced up the onions. It seemed like the balance was a little out of whack because there were a LOT of potatoes, so I set some of them aside. I didn’t want it to be a potato chowder with a seafood boil garnish.

I scraped the corn from the cob, sliced the mushrooms in half, then set all of the seafood boil leftovers to the side.

Because there was only one small piece of corn in the leftover bowl, I cut the kernels from two more fresh cobs of corn.

I diced up some of the Cajun trinity—onions, bell pepper and celery—and started sauteing them on medium heat in a couple tablespoons of butter, then added minced garlic, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon until the vegetables were soft. Amount-wise, it was a couple of small stalks of celery, about a half cup of diced yellow onion and the equivalent of one bell pepper. (I used parts of three different ones for the color—red, green and orange.)

I added about a tablespoon of Cajun seasoning, using Old Bay this time, although I would have preferred my own Zippy Cajun spice mix (I was out) and a little more butter, then threw in the fresh corn kernels, sauteing for a few more minutes to soften them.

Then I added all of the chopped up seafood boil leftovers and about 4 cups of chicken stock, and brought the mixture up to a gentle simmer to ensure that everything got hot. Next, I added about 4 cups of half ‘n’ half and kept it simmering until the mixture thickened, stirring often. While the simmering was happening, I sliced some green onions for garnishing.

The final step is to taste and add more Cajun seasoning, salt, pepper, or cayenne. I added about a teaspon more Cajun seasoning, and a quarter to a half teaspoon of cayenne, because we like it hot.

To serve, position the reserved shrimp (which should be at room temp) atop the chowder and garnish with the green onions. My pic below was taken in a rush and doesn’t have a napkin or spoon yet, but I promise you we eat like civilized people. The Grill-Meister is always anxious for the photo opp to stop and the eating to start, so my food pics aren’t always the best. That’s ok, this isn’t a commercial blog and y’all seem to be fine with my casual style. ☺️

Seafood boil chowder with shrimp, garlic bread and white wine

Voila: super-easy chowder that’s ready to eat in about a half hour. And wowza, is it good! The Grill-Meister: I’m gonna be asking to do seafood boils now just so we can have leftovers that beome chowder!

We had some chowder left, and it was a great starter the next night. That time, I finished setting the table before snapping the pic!

Starter of seafood boil chowder with a bright orange crab claw garnish, accompanied by a glass of white wine
Doesn’t that chowder look great? A crab claw was a perfect garnish.


This is a very forgiving approach to a chowder – you really can’t go wrong. Just use what you’ve got, add spices ’til it’s right, and use about the same amounts of chicken stock and half ‘n’ half.

About the chicken stock… you could use seafood stock, if you have it, but that can get a little more seafood-y than desired. At least, that’s what The Grill-Meister’s tastebuds say. Vegetable stock would work, too.

Speaking of vegetable stock, you could move away from the seafood boil leftovers altogether and make a vegetarian chowder quite easily with corn, mushrooms, cooked potatoes and some grilled vegetables, or whatever else you have in your refrigerator. Even tofu!

Happy eating…and stay safe.

© 2020, Glover Gardens

5 thoughts on “Seafood Boil Leftovers Make a Great (Easy) Chowder”

  • Your recipe is spot on. My family has been enjoying the same leftover recipe for years. Just a thought for the stock. I peal all of the seafood and put the shells in a stock pot cover with water and season, boil it and use it instead of chicken stock.

    • Mike, thank you so much for the affirmation! This recipe gets a lot of clicks, but not comments, so it’s really nice to hear that you feel it’s on target. Great tip about the seafood stock and I’m glad you left that comment here for all the readers to benefit from. Merry Christmas yesterday!

  • I just finished canning the leftover boil broth. That broth will be the basis of my chowder…guessing I’ll have to cut it with water. Shrimp, mussels, potatoes and corn cut off the cob into the pool. My other thought was to make a thicker sauce and serve it all over rice.

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