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Classic Lobster Chowder

Classic Lobster Chowder
42 votes, 3.14 avg. rating (63% score)
by in Jan 2013

Total Time: 55 minutes

Hands On Time: 25 minutes

Yield: 8 to 10 servings

Dick Bridges' recipe was his mother's. Since he's experienced in making lobster chowder for crowds, he cautions that even if you're cooking for a big group, you should always make it in small batches, a gallon at a time, and let it cool properly. The flavor intensifies nicely if it sits overnight, so if you can, make it a day ahead of time; then reheat before serving the next day.

Read more about about the man who perfected this recipe for lobster chowder.
Classic Lobster Chowder
Photo/Art by Jonathan Levitt


  • 6 cups water (see "Note")
  • 1 large onion, finely diced
  • 3 large red potatoes, unpeeled and cubed, or 3 large white potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt, plus more to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil (optional)
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) salted butter (see "Note")
  • 1 pound par-cooked lobster meat (claw and tail) from 4 or 5 1-1/2-pound lobsters, cut into chunks
  • 3 tablespoons whole-kernel corn
  • 1 can evaporated milk


Put the water, onion, potatoes, salt, pepper, and basil (if using) into a 4- to 5-quart pot over high heat. Bring to a full boil; then reduce heat to a simmer and cook until the potatoes are almost tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a skillet over medium-high heat; then add all the lobster meat. Cook, stirring with a wooden spoon, just until the meat is fully cooked and the butter is bright orange. Remove from heat. Add the corn to the pot; then add the lobster. Let the soup sit on low heat 10 to 15 minutes; then add the milk. Bring to a gentle simmer and serve.

Additional Notes:

For a thicker lobster chowder, use 5 cups of water instead of 6. Dick Bridges' chowder gets a lot of flavor from the generous portion of butter he uses. You can cut the amount to 6 tablespoons if you prefer, but we like to think that the full 8 tablespoons isn't so bad when divided among multiple servings.
Updated Saturday, August 1st, 2015

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3 Responses to Classic Lobster Chowder

  1. Lynn Perrault July 13, 2013 at 8:50 am #

    Made this for a family get together. Served it with the milk on the side for those who wanted a clear broth. it was a sensational chowder. Thanks Dick and Yankee Magazine!

  2. Louise Trapp September 11, 2014 at 10:03 am #

    I would replace the canned condensed milk with light cream.

  3. Will Roberts August 5, 2015 at 2:10 pm #

    How does this “lobster chowder” differ from classic “lobster stew”? Is the difference purely in the name or is there some specific difference in ingredients or method? This looks a lot like the “lobster stew” which I grew up with in Maine: absolutely delicious and a recipe well worth keeping. Thanks!

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