Oyster Chowder with Canned Oysters

Oyster Chowder with Canned Oysters

This Oyster Chowder recipe uses canned oysters, and makes a hearty soup course quickly and easily without all the usual shucking around.

Canned Oysters are a pale shadow of the freshly shucked real article, but that doesn’t mean you should ignore them completely. I always like to have a can or two in my pantry for those times when fresh oysters are not available, or for when you just want to put something together quickly, without all the usual shucking around. This super quick chowder recipe makes a nice hearty dish for one, if served with crusty bread and maybe a small salad, and a lovely little starter soup for two.

Making a ‘No-Shuck’ Oyster Chowder

The Canned Oysters
The Canned Oysters

You first need to drain the oysters and save the can liquor for adding body to the chowder. You should rinse the oysters, and also pass the liquor through a fine filter, in order to get rid of any sand, which might give your chowder a gritty texture.

Parboiling the Potatoes
Parboiling the Potatoes

The potatoes need to be parboiled (along with the celery) until they are almost, but not quite, tender. To do this, put them in a small pot, covered with water, and keep the heat to medium. There should be about a cup or so of water in the pot and you can add more, if needed, to keep the potatoes covered. When the potatoes are cooked sufficiently, drain the veggies and reserve the water.

Sautéing the Onion and making a Roux
Sautéing the Onion and making a Roux

Next, Onion is sautéed in butter and then flour is added to make Roux. This should only be cooked long enough to remove the raw flour taste and at sufficiently low heat to avoid darkening the roux at all.

Making the Chowder Base
Making the Chowder Base

To make the Chowder base, the reserved can liquor and vegetable cooking water is added to the roux along with white wine, and the blend is stirred over gentle heat for a few minutes until thickened.

Finishing the Oyster Chowder
Finishing the Oyster Chowder

The vegetables are added back to the pan along with cream and simmered very for about fifteen minutes or so to blend all the flavors and finish cooking the potatoes. It is very important to maintain a very gentle simmer at this phase of the cooking and avoid allowing the cream to boil. Finally, the oyster are added and cooked for just a minute or two to get warmed through.

Your Recipe Card:

Oyster Chowder with Canned Oysters

This Oyster Chowder recipe uses canned oysters, and makes a terrific rich and hearty soup course quickly and easily without all the usual shucking around.
Course: Soup, Starter
Cuisine: General
Keyword: Canned Oysters, Cream, Onion, Potato
Author: John Thompson


  • 1 small can of water-packed Oysters;
  • 1 small Potato peeled and diced;
  • ¼ cup chopped Celery;
  • ¼ cup finely chopped Onion;
  • ¼ tsp. Celery Seed;
  • 2 tbsp. Butter;
  • 2 tbsp. Flour;
  • ¼ cup White Wine;
  • ½ cup light Cream;
  • Salt and Pepper to taste.


  • Drain the oysters and reserve the liquid, straining it through a filter paper and rinsing the oysters to remove any sand.
  • Put the potato, celery and celery seed into a small pan and cover with water. Simmer gently over a moderate flame until the potato is almost tender, then drain the veggies and save the simmering liquid.
  • Heat the butter in a saucepan over medium heat and then saute the onion until soft.
  • Add the flour to make a roux, and stir just until the flour loses its raw taste without taking on any color.
  • Add the reserved oyster liquid and simmering fluid (there should be about one to one-and-a-half cups in all) and pour in the wine. Stir gently until thickened.
  • Add the veggies along with the cream and let simmer gently without boiling for a good fifteen minutes or. Finally add the oysters and cook until they are heated through
  • Serve garnished with a dusting of paprika and some chopped chives, if you like.

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