From-Scratch Salmon Chowder

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This recipe is a favorite from The Autoimmune Paleo Cookbook – a tender, from-scratch version of salmon chowder. If you are wondering about sourcing the salmon carcass, be sure to ask at your local fish counter to see if they have any available for purchase. Many times you can purchase a whole fish, have them fillet and debone it for you, and take the carcass home too in order to prepare the nourishing and flavorful broth for this soup.

Photo credit: Kyle Johnson

From-Scratch Salmon Chowder
Cook time
Total time
  • 1 salmon carcass–bones, head, and tail
  • 1 litre water
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 tablespoons solid cooking fat
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 parsnips, chopped
  • 3 carrots, chopped
  • 2 ribs celery, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 1½ teaspoons sea salt
  • 1½ pound salmon fillet, skin and bones removed, cut into 1½-inch chunks
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • ½ lemon, juiced (about 1 tablespoon)
  • 3 green onions, thinly sliced
  1. To make the broth, place the salmon carcass, water, and bay leaf in a stockpot, bring to a boil, cover, and turn down to a bare simmer. It is essential to cook this at the lowest simmer possible. Remove and discard the carcass and bay leaf. Strain the broth into a large bowl and set it aside.
  2. Heat the cooking fat in a heavy-bottomed pot on medium heat. When the fat has melted and the pan is hot, add the onion and cook for 5 minutes, stirring. Add the garlic, and cook for another couple of minutes, until fragrant. Add the parsnips, carrots, and celery; cook another 5 minutes, stirring, until the vegetables are lightly browned.
  3. Add the reserved fish broth, vinegar, thyme, and salt to the pot and bring to a boil. Cover and turn down to a bare simmer, and cook for 30 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. Place 2 cups of the soup in a blender, leaving the carrots behind, if possible as not to turn the soup orange. Blend until smooth, then add the purée back to the soup.
  4. Add the salmon chunks and coconut milk to the soup and cook for a few minutes, just until the soup is piping hot (do not let the soup boil). Add the lemon juice and serve garnished with green onions.
Tastes best served fresh, but if you must, reheat gently over low heat.


About Mickey Trescott

Mickey Trescott is a co-founder here at Autoimmune Wellness and a co-teacher of AIP Certified Coach. After recovering from her own struggle with both Celiac and Hashimoto’s disease, adrenal fatigue, and multiple vitamin deficiencies, Mickey started to write about her experience to share with others and help them realize they are not alone in their struggles. She has a Master's degree in Human Nutrition and Functional Nutrition, and is the author of three best-selling books--The Autoimmune Paleo Cookbook, The Autoimmune Wellness Handbook, and The Nutrient-Dense Kitchen. You can watch her AIP cooking demos by following her on Instagram.


  • Christie says

    It doesn’t say how long to make the broth. An hour?

  • Lisa says

    Hi! How long should the broth in step 1 be simmered?

  • Tami says

    This sounds delicious! How long do you simmer the carcass for?

  • Jody says

    I do not have a salmon carcass – Ok if I use chicken broth instead?

    • Mickey Trescott says

      Hi Jody – yes that will work fine!

  • Bren says

    In place of salmon carcass, can I use jarred clam juice, shrimp broth or would it be better to use the chicken broth?

    • Mickey Trescott says

      Hi Bren! You can use a combo of chicken broth and fish sauce or clam juice! A little of something “fishy” goes a long way in adding that flavor, so start slow and work up to taste.

  • Lourdes says

    Thank you so much for this recipe, it looks great!

  • Ken Baird says

    Hi. I’m brand new to AIP, only 1-day into the elimination cycle, so bear with me. This recipe looks great, but the Fish Sauce at Traders Joe (and the one I happened to have in my pantry) both say they have sugar. Should I avoid fish sauce at this stage, or is the sugar in Fish Sauce acceptable?


    • Mickey Trescott says

      Hi Ken! This recipe doesn’t call for fish sauce. We do consider Red Boat fish sauce to be acceptable on AIP. Hope it helps!

  • Marie Kipper says

    What if you can’t have coconut except the oil?

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  • Monica says


    I got the fish carcass from the fishmonger and it still had a bit of flesh on it. I cooked it (about an hour) and it does not taste very fishy at all. Was this because it was a fresh fish and not a fish that I had cooked and saved the bones like you would do if you made chicken stock? I think I’ll have to add some fish or clam juice to make it taste like fish broth . . . . .

    Any help would be appreciated.


    • Mickey Trescott says

      Hi Monica! I do know that if the fish was very fresh, it may not be very “fishy” tasting, also, what was the type and size? It could have been that your quantity of bones was just too small to flavor the water proportionally.

      • Monica says


        I think you are right, because it was fresh fish so the broth was not very fishy. But, the chowder turned out AMAZING anyhow, so I would not change a thing when I make it again. My friends were blown away. I find your recipes delightful and I really appreciate how you explain things.

        Thank you!

  • Mary says

    Could you please tell me how many people this would serve. I am thinking the normal serving size of two ladles full.

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