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Southwest Crab Chowder

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Creamy Southwest Crab Chowder with potatoes, lump crab, corn, and a kick of chipotle is the perfect way to warm up on a cold night. This soup is thick, creamy, and chunky all at the same time.

The weather is still insanely cold here in Iowa, and I need warmth! The chipotle pepper will definitely warm you up, and adds the perfect compliment to the sweet crab meat.

Two bowls of Southwest Crab Chowder with chopped tomato, sliced jalapeno and cilantro sitting on a striped napkin.

Valentine’s Day is almost here, so I started thinking up some ideas for an awesome meal. As I was searching and creating, it dawned on me that any of my Cooking with Astrology meals would work for Valentine’s Day.

It was time to kick it in gear and create an extra special meal for our Pisces friends. We are starting with this delicious and hearty Southwest Crab Chowder.

Looking into a bowl of Southwest Crab Chowder sitting on a rustic striped napkin.

I originally shared this recipe March 2014. Updated January 2023.

What you will need

Ingredients need to make Southwest Crab Chowder.
  • I used olive oil, but butter would also work and add even more richness.
  • Yellow onion and garlic are sautéed to create the first layer of flavor.
  • Small yellow potatoes cut into bite-sized pieces are perfect, you don’t even need to peel them.
  • All-purpose flour (or a gluten-free substitute) adds thickness to the chowder.
  • Seafood stock and white wine create the base for this meal and are used to deglaze the pan. We don’t want anything sticking to the bottom.
  • Whole milk or 2% create a thick, rich base for the chowder, but unsweetened almond or coconut milk will also work if dairy-free is needed.
  • Creamed corn is delicious in this chowder, but whole-kernel corn will work too.
  • I used chipotle chili powder to add heat and flavor without burning my mouth off. If you like more heat feel free to chop up a canned chipotle pepper in adobo sauce.
  • Lump crab meat is ideal but sometimes hard to find, or insanely expensive! Canned crab meat will also work. You can also substitute canned clams if you prefer.

When I lived in Iowa my only option for crab was hermetically sealed containers in the refrigerated section. In Arizona I can only find canned crab. If you have access to fresh crab, go for it!

Be sure to check out the detailed printable recipe card below

Looking down on two bowls of Southwest Crab Chowder topped with diced tomatoes, sliced jalapenos, and chopped cilantro.

Recipe Inspiration

So are you curious about the inspiration for this meal? That was actually pretty simple, Mike Rowe was the only single Pisces that I could find. You may know him as the guy from Dirty Jobs. And since he also narrates The Deadliest Catch, seafood needed to be on the menu!

Pisces runs from February 19th through March 20th, just in case you were wondering. The body part ruled is the immune system. I have tried to fit in as many immune boosting foods as I could, while still having some Valentine’s Day fun.

Our main course is Cherry Chipotle Glazed Salmon, followed by Dark Chocolate Fondue for dessert, and a Raspberry Braid for breakfast.

Close-up of sliced jalapenos, diced tomatoes, and cilantro on top of a bowl of crab chowder with potatoes and corn.

How to make Southwest Crab Chowder

Heat oil in a Dutch oven or large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until it begins to soften, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for an additional minute.

Sautéed onions in a large pot.

Stir in the potatoes to throughly coat and cook for one minute.

Sautéed onion, garlic, and chopped potatoes in a large pot.

Sprinkle the flour over the potatoes, stir and cook for one minute.

Flour sprinkled over chopped potatoes in a large pot.

Pour in the wine and seafood stock, stir and cook until it starts to thicken making sure to scrape the bottom to remove any browned on bits.

Chopped potatoes, melted flour, seafood stock and wine in a large pot.

Add the milk, creamed corn, and chipotle and stir to combine. Bring to a simmer stirring frequently.

Chopped potatoes, creamed corn, seafood stock, milk, and chipotle pepper in a large pot.

Cover, reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes, until the potatoes are tender.

Cooked chowder with potatoes, corn, onion, seafood stock, and milk in a large pot.

Stir in the crab and cilantro and cook just until heated through, about 4 to 5 minutes.

Chopped cilantro and crab meat sitting on top of the cooked chowder in a large pot.

Garnish with additional cilantro, chopped tomatoes, sliced jalapeños (if desired) and serve with cornbread, tortilla chips, Air Fryer Crostini, or oyster crackers.

A bowl of Southwest Crab Chowder topped with sliced jalapenos, diced tomato, and chopped cilantro with a black spoon in the upper right corner.

I HATE all of the cold weather and snow that we are having, but this Southwest Crab Chowder puts a smile on my face…..at least for a while! Given the conditions that the crab fisherman must endure to bring me this delicious crab meat, I guess I shouldn’t really complain.

Recipe FAQs

Can you freeze crab chowder?

Creamy, milk-based soups do not freeze well so I do not recommend it. The chowder will separate and become grainy.

Can I use cornstarch instead of flour?

Whisk one tablespoon of cornstarch with two tablespoons of milk until smooth. Add to the chowder with the remaining of the milk.

What do I do with leftover crab and corn chowder?

Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat in a saucepan on the stove over low heat or in the microwave.

What is a chowder?

Chowder a rich soup typically containing fish, clams, or corn with potatoes, and onions. It tends to have a creamy base and chunky texture like a stew.

Tools used to create this recipe

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Enjoy!!

A bowl of Southwest Crab Chowder with chopped tomato, sliced jalapeno and cilantro sitting on a striped napkin.

Southwest Crab Chowder

Creamy Southwest Crab Chowder with potatoes, lump crab, corn, and a kick of chipotle is the perfect way to warm up on a cold night.
5 from 1 vote
Print Rate
Course: Soup
Cuisine: American
Keyword: corn chowder with crab and potatoes
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 6 Servings
Calories: 290kcal
Author: Lisa Johnson

Equipment

  • Dutch oven

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons oil or butter
  • 1 cup chopped, yellow onion
  • 2 cloves fresh garlic minced
  • 1 pound small Gold Youkon potatoes quartered
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • .25 cup white wine substitute stock if you don’t want to use wine
  • 1 cup seafood stock substitute chicken stock or clam juice if needed
  • 1.5 cups whole milk substitute 2% or coconut milk in a box
  • 14.75 ounce can creamed-style corn or whole kernel
  • 0.5 teaspoon chipotle chili powder use more if you like things spicy
  • 12 ounces lump crab meat or three 6-ounce cans
  • .25 cup chopped cilantro plus more for garnish
  • garnish with chopped tomatoes and sliced jalapeños if desired

Instructions

  • Heat oil in a Dutch oven or large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until it begins to soften, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for an additional minute.
  • Stir in the potatoes to throughly coat and cook for one minute. Sprinkle flour over the potatoes, stir and cook for one minute.
  • Pour in the wine and seafood stock, stir and cook until it starts to thicken making sure to scrape the bottom to remove any browned on bits.
  • Add the milk, creamed corn, and chipotle and stir to combine. Bring to a simmer stirring frequently. Cover, reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes, until the potatoes are tender.
  • Stir in the crab and cilantro and cook just until heated through, about 4 to 5 minutes.
  • Garnish with additional cilantro, chopped tomatoes, sliced jalapeños (if desired) and serve with cornbread, tortilla chips, or oyster crackers.

Notes

  • If you like more heat, chop up a canned chipotle pepper in adobo sauce and add with the corn.
  • Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat in a saucepan on the stove or in the microwave.
  • Creamy, milk-based soups do not freeze well so I do not recommend it. The chowder will separate and become grainy.
  • To substitute cornstarch for the flour: whisk one tablespoon of cornstarch with two tablespoons of milk until smooth. Add to the chowder with the rest of the milk.

Nutrition

Calories: 290kcal | Carbohydrates: 36g | Protein: 18g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 30mg | Sodium: 639mg | Potassium: 738mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 359IU | Vitamin C: 24mg | Calcium: 125mg | Iron: 2mg

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6 Comments

  1. Corn chowder sounds perfect for warming up with in this chilly weather we’ve been getting. This one sounds amazing with the addition of crab 🙂

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