baked oats green chile chicken enchiladas chow mein bakery-style butter cookies

copyright jennifer yu © 2004-2023 all rights reserved: no photos or content may be reproduced without prior written consent

lobstah chowdah

Recipe: lobster corn chowder

I’m wearing pants. PANTS! We’ve had cool, rainy weather this week in Colorado. Well, the cool isn’t such a reach for this time of year, but the rainy is. My oven and stove have seen more use in the past few days than they have all summer thanks to the cooldown. One of the recipes I tried recently was a knock-my-socks-off gem of a soup. I love it because it is at the intersection of summer and fall. Summer, because of the ingredients and fall, because it warms you from the inside to fight off the chill outside. I’m talking about lobster corn chowder.

two whole lobsters and two tails

cooked (steamed)

extracting the lobster meat, saving the shells, and catching the juices

Because I reside in a landlocked state far far away from Maine, I bought frozen cold water lobsters. My fish monger only had two, and I needed three, so I supplemented with two petite lobster tails (also cold water). These were not cheap, so this is clearly a soup for special occasions or when lobsters grow on trees. I’m smiling at the thought of lobsters growing on trees. The thing I love about this recipe is how you use every part of the lobster – the meat and the shells and the dribbly juices. Makes me feel a little better about the price. Then the other main component is corn, which is dirt cheap right now and sweet as can be.

cream, wine, lobster meat, lemon, corn, celery, leek, bacon, potatoes, parsley, pepper

cut up the lobster meat

slice the green and white parts of the leeks (keep them separate)

What drew me to this recipe was the corn. I was looking around for corn recipes and this one appealed to me because lobster and corn are both sweet and seemed like a good pair. I’m not crazy for lobster the way some people are. Lobster is great and all, but my heart belongs to crab. Maybe it’s because I grew up on the Chesapeake Bay? In any case, the chowder has a number of steps to it, but they are all straightforward and quick… except for the stock which takes 40 minutes.

adding wine and water to the shells, leeks (green part), and lobster juices

while the stock simmers, strip the kernels from the cobs

dice the bacon

Strain the lobster stock twice if you can. First do a quick strain with a medium-mesh strainer to get all of the big pieces out. Then strain a second time through a fine-mesh sieve to ensure you catch all of the small particles like bits of shell or even sand.

the shells and leeks from the broth

straining through a fine-mesh sieve

I like to prep my ingredients while the stock simmers so that I’m ready to roll once the stock is ready. Another bonus part of this recipe? You only use one stock pot. After you are done straining your lobster stock, just rinse and dry the stock pot you were using and get ready to do some magic.

prepped: corn, lobster, cream, bacon, stock, celery, leeks (whites), lemon juice, parsley, potatoes

adding leeks (whites), celery, and pepper to the fried bacon

stir in the potatoes

and add the broth

Give the potatoes some time to cook until they are tender, about ten minutes. Then you get into a pattern of adding X and simmer for 3 minutes until there is nothing left to add to the soup.

in goes the corn

and some cream for… creaminess

stir in the lemon juice and parsley

The lobster stock really makes this soup. It’s heady with such depth of flavor. It smells like the sea – fresh and salty, but clean. While you will be tempted to gobble it down as soon as it is ready off the stove, I think the flavors are even better after one day of melding together in the refrigerator. So perhaps you’ll want to save some for leftovers. This is a chowder you’ll want to savor as long as you can.

serve with bread

garnish with extra lobster pieces, bacon crumbles, and parsley

now to dig in!

Lobster Corn Chowder
[print recipe]
from The Boston Globe

3 cooked whole lobsters, 1.5 lbs. each, in shells (I used 2 whole lobsters and 2 petite tails)
1 large leek, white and green parts separated, sliced
1 cup white wine
9 cups water
6 oz. thick-cut bacon, small dice
2 stalks celery, small dice
black pepper to taste
5 medium yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice
3 ears corn, kernels only
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 lemon, juice of
2 tbsps fresh parsley, chopped

If your lobsters are not cooked: The Maine Lobster Council has excellent instructions on how to boil or steam your lobsters.

Set a colander over a bowl and break down the lobsters. Remove the meat from the shells and let all of the juices collect in the bowl. Save the shells in the colander. Chop the lobster meat into bite-size pieces, cover, and refrigerate. In a large stock pot, place the shells, the collected juices, the green part of the leek, wine, and water over high heat. Bring the stock to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Simmer for 40 minutes. Strain the broth through a fine mesh sieve to remove all solids including grit or tiny bits of shell. Rinse and wipe the stock pot clean. Render the bacon for 3 minutes over medium heat. Add the white part of the leek, celery, and black pepper. Cook for 3 minutes then add the potatoes and the lobster stock. Simmer for 10 minutes, stirring periodically, until the potatoes are tender. Add the corn and simmer another 3 minutes. Add the lobster and cream, and simmer for 3 more minutes. Stir in the lemon and parsley. Serves 6-8.

more goodness from the use real butter archives

bouillabaisse parsnip chowder lobster vols-au-vent ricotta gnocchi and butter-poached lobster (dc)

37 nibbles at “lobstah chowdah”

  1. Kristin says:

    Like you, I am not a lobster fan, but I love everything else in this recipe! So…do I go for lobster, try to sub shrimp, use clam broth & add scallops at the last minute…so many things to think about. So glad you got to wear pants. We are supposed to do a big cool down tonight, and I am so excited at the thought of 50s in the morning!!

  2. Eva @ Eva Bakes says:

    And now I want some lobster!

  3. Shelly says:

    I’m curious as to who your fish monger is-Whole Foods? I’m always puzzled at where to get quality seafood in CO.

  4. SallyBR says:

    Wow, this IS amazing! For a moment I was afraid you would go Anthony Bourdain’s route, and process the shells of the lobsters in the food processor – I could never ever do that, but he seems to think it takes lobster chowdah to another level…

    Glad you proved him wrong! ;-)

  5. Jasline @ Foodie Baker says:

    This chowder looks so good. I’ve been looking for a good seafood chowder recipe and this looks like the one, thank you so much for sharing!

  6. joanne says:

    So glad to hear there are others who don’t prefer lobster. I prefer almost any other shellfish over lobster, and never really understood the hoopla.

  7. lesley b says:

    Jen, worried about you being in the midst of the flooding! Please let us hear from you as soon as possible. Stay safe.

  8. Jasmine says:

    Hi Jen,

    I really admire your patience in prepping and taking photos step-by-step at the same time. It’s really a labor of love. Your photos are sterling! It’s an impressive portfolio you have. That and your prose and just how refreshing your recipes are, make this one of the most exciting blogs in my daily reading list. I’m really glad for the internet! :)

  9. kathleen says:

    WOW! Making this. Beautiful photos.

  10. Chung-Ah | Damn Delicious says:

    Amazing! This just made it to my dinner menu for tonight!

  11. Paula says:

    Looks fabulous!! Can’t wait to try your recipe. Great photos too!!

  12. Karen says:

    This looks a lot like the seafood chowders I had on the west coast of Irealnd last year. Of course they used fish, shrimp and scallops in place of the lobster but it was totally delisous! I love lobster but might try using less of the lobster and adding something a bit less expensive.

  13. Nami | Just One Cookbook says:

    OMG… looks soooo delicious. I really really need to do this. Soon, and once more at hopefully holiday dinner!

  14. swan says:

    this is so scary but good….will be making this once my husband gets a job!


  15. swan says:

    hey, btw, the knife you show in the leek shot; you must love it! can you tell me what exactly it is and its size?
    thanks again,

  16. Louise says:

    Jenny, just heard about the awful floods in Boulder. Hope you are all safe?

  17. Sandra says:

    This looks fantastic! After cutting the corn off the cobs, you can add the cobs to your stock and it will intensify the corn flavor.

  18. Kristin says:

    Hoping you haven’t been adversely affected by the flooding!

  19. Janet says:

    Just wanted to let you know that I’m thinking of you and everyone in Colorado. Wishing you high and dry with lots of love!


  20. Rocky Mountain Woman says:

    I’ll try this. My little local grocery just started selling frozen lobster…

  21. Fran says:

    Another loyal blog reader who feels like she “knows” you and is worried about you, Jeremy, and Kaweah amidst the rain and flooding. Hope you are ok and not affected by the flooding!

  22. Barb says:

    I’m with all the others and wondering how you are faring with the rain and flooding. I know we all hope you are safe. Looking forward to hearing from you.

  23. GwenO says:

    I have a heavy, sad heart for everyone in your area. Until Sept 2012, we were 15-year part-time residents two miles outside of Estes Park on the Big Thompson River. Such devastation all along the Front Range and west into the foothills and mountains. Hope you, Jeremy and Kaweah are well and safe.

  24. Laurel says:

    That looks beautiful! I’m not a lobster lover either–it’s fine but never worth the exorbitant prices to me. But I can still recognize a delicious chowder when I see it.

    Cause I know you tend to eat organic I’ll note that it’s best to avoid the tomalley–PCBs and the like accumulate there (

  25. Laurel says:

    I forgot to say the most important thing, which is that I too have been worried about Coloradans and watching the news. I hope you and yours are safe and OK.

  26. farmerpam says:

    Wow. I had planned on making the roasted corn and chipotle soup this week, so good! But this recipe will now be stuck in my brain until I try it. Looks like a winner. Hope all is well and dry, thinking good thoughts for all of CO.

  27. Currently Crushing On. | How Sweet It Is says:

    […] lobster corn chowder. THOSE PICTURES. gah. i can taste […]

  28. jeri says:

    My thrifty New England ancestors would throw the corn cobs into the broth too. You can’t believe how much flavor they have.

  29. Week 4: Michigan State | might as well says:

    […] Let’s be real. I just want to wrap myself up in a cocoon and keep warm with this, this, this… oh, and this. […]

  30. jenyu says:

    Kristin – I think there is plenty of flexibility in this recipe that you can sub in whatever you like best!

    Eva – :)

    Shelly – yes, Whole Foods. There is another local business that carries seafood too, but I haven’t tried them out yet.

    SallyBR – never heard of that method, but I’m sure it works well.

    Jasline – you’re welcome!

    joanne – I like it, but I LOVE crab :)

    lesley – yes, we are fine. Thank you so much for your concern xo

    Jasmine – you are so sweet, thank you!

    kathleen – hope you like the chowder.

    Chung-Ah – :)

    Paula – thanks!

    Karen – mmm, I personally love all combinations of seafood. Those chowders sound great!

    Nami – such a treat for those at your holiday table :)

    swan – not scary at all! Or you could sub in something else like shrimp or scallop? The knife is a 7-inch Shun Santoku. I love it.

    Louise – yes, thank you!

    Sandra – good point. I actually save all of my cobs in the freezer for making corn stock later.

    Kristin – no, but thanks for checking in!

    Janet – xoxo

    Rocky Mountain Woman – the lobster I used was frozen too, so you’re good to go!

    Fran – thank you for asking, and we are all fine. xo

    Barb – we are okay! xo

    GwenO – we are well, thank you. Sadly, our friends in other areas were not so fortunate.

    Laurel – I didn’t know that, but thank you for the heads up on lobster tomalley! And yes, we are well. xoxo

    farmerpam – ha ha, I hope you got to try the chowder! Thanks for the good thoughts xo

    jeri – totally believe it! I love corn stock too!

  31. Torie says:

    Looks seriously divine. Would love to be fed that, or for that matter I would LOVE to make that myself. Great post.

  32. Things I like Thursday | Crazy Jamie says:

    […] Lobster corn chowder […]

  33. Oh So Sweet Baker says:

    […] 5. I’ve got my eye on this lobster chowder […]

  34. Corn Chowder Recipe | Leite's Culinaria says:

    […] Lobster Corn Chowder from Use Real Butter […]

  35. Brenda says:


  36. Tahoe Mama says:

    I have a large frozen package of lobster tail meat (from Costco). Do you absolutely need to have the shells for this recipe? I’m trying to figure out what to make with this Costco impulse buy (not my impulsive buy, by the way), and a chowder sounds good.

  37. jenyu says:

    Tahoe Mama – you can probably do without the shells, no biggie.

leave a reply