This Creamy Shrimp Soup is one of the seafood soups to make. Shrimp, potatoes, onions, carrots, celery and fresh herbs are cooked in a creamy and cheesy broth.
On busy nights, this Creamy Shrimp Chowder is one of the recipes that you can quickly prepare and have a satisfying dinner ready in no time. One of my friends shared this recipe with me many years ago, and she said that this was her secret to having a meal ready just 30 minutes after walking in the house.
It’s so satisfying, with the creamy and cheesy broth, the starchy potatoes and juicy shrimp. The onions, celery and carrots give it a nice flavor and the fresh herbs are the best finishing touch. You can also add some corn to the chowder for additional flavor and texture.
Most chowders are made with a roux, that is prepared with a butter and flour mix that thickens the soup. This version uses a spreadable cheese product that melts right into the broth, creating a creamy texture. A few years ago, I started adding cubes of brie cheese. The brie softens but it doesn’t melt completely, so there are delicious tiny morsels of brie cheese interspersed in the chowder. It is such a treat!
- Usually I use broth as the base for soup, but in this case, I use water and it works perfectly. The cheese makes it creamy and all the veggies provide enough flavor.
- spreadable cheese
- There are different brands of cheese that are available. I have used President’s spreadable cheese wedges as well as the Laughing Cow spreadable cheese wedges.
- brie cheese
- My friend who shared the recipe with me used only this spreadable cheese products in the soup. A few years ago I started using brie cheese in addition to it and I love the combination.
- salt, pepper
- dry bay leaves + dry herbs and spices
- frozen shrimp – use frozen raw shrimp. I usually use small or medium shrimp for the chowder.
- fresh herbs: parsley, dill, green onions
What Kind of Shrimp Should You Use and How To Prepare It:
Raw shrimp is always best. Peel and devein the shrimp before adding it to the soup. This is really easy to do. Many times, shrimp is already sold deveined, but if it’s not, all you have to do is make a shallow cut along the middle of the back of the shrimp to expose the black “vein”, and lift it out. A paring knife of kitchen scissors work well for this.
Frozen shrimp is the best option, unless you’re buying fresh raw shrimp at a market where they sell it right after catching it. Frozen shrimp is usually frozen immediately when it’s caught, so it is really fresh. Plus, it’s really convenient to have frozen shrimp on hand for a really easy and quick dinner. Frozen shrimp thaws really fast.
For this soup, any size shrimp will work. Most of the time I use a medium size shrimp, because it stays plump and juicy and is just 1-2 bites. I’ve also use smaller shrimp, which are cute and dainty and perfect in this recipe too.
How to Make Shrimp Chowder
I love how quickly this chowder is made. While the water is coming to a boil, I prep the rest of the ingredients and it comes together so quickly.
- Bring the water to a boil.
- Meanwhile, prep the rest of the ingredients.
- Open all the cheese wedges. Cut the rind off of the brie cheese and cut the cheese into small cubes.
- Prep the vegetables. Chop the onion, grate the carrot, slice or finely dice the celery, chop the potatoes into cubes.
- Add the cheese wedges to the water first. Use a whisk to mix in the cheese until it’s evenly incorporated. The spreadable cheese will melt and will become create a creamy consistency to the broth.
- Now, add the cubes of brie into the broth. Season with salt, pepper, dry bay leaves and dry herbs and spices.
- Add the onion, carrot, celery and potatoes to the chowder. Season with salt and ground black pepper to taste. Cook the soup at a simmer, until the potatoes are cooked through, about 15 minutes.
- Lastly, add the peeled and deveined shrimp to the soup and cook until the shrimp is cooked through and pink, about 5 minutes.
- Garnish with fresh herbs and serve.
Helpful Tips and Frequently Asked Questions
I know it’s unconventional, but it’s delicious. You don’t have to make a roux with butter and flour, since the cheese creates that creamy, thickened texture and adds the cheesy aspect to it.
You can either use 2 packages of the spreadable cheese wedges or 1 package of the wedges and one package of brie cheese, like I do. The flavor of the brie is wonderful with the shrimp.
For the best results, use raw shrimp. It will be juicier and more flavorful.
You can use the cooked shrimp. Add it in at the last minute, just to warm it through.
I don’t recommend freezing this chowder. The potatoes will fall apart and have an unpleasant texture after freezing and the cheese may cause the chowder to separate.
Instead of shrimp, you can use salmon, chicken or even meatballs. I really like making really tiny chicken meatballs for this soup. They go really well with this recipe. Add them at the end of cooking, just as you would the shrimp and cook until cooked through. I use the recipe for the meatballs from the Russian Chicken Meatball Soup.
What to serve with Shrimp Chowder
- Cheddar Biscuits
- Crusty No Knead Bread
- A simple salad with Lemon Vinaigrette
- Deluxe Bacon Lettuce Tomato and Avocado Salad
Creamy Shrimp Chowder
This Creamy Shrimp Chowder is one of the easiest seafood chowders to make. The creamy and cheesy broth has potatoes, aromatic vegetables and fresh herbs.
- Prep Time: 15 mins
- Cook Time: 25 mins
- Total Time: 40 minutes
- Yield: 6 1x
- Category: Soups
- 8 cups water (or you can use vegetable broth)
- 1 packages (6-8 oz each) spreadable cheese wedges, Laughing Cow or President’s cheese
- 1 package of brie cheese wheel (8 oz)
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 1 carrot, peeled and shredded
- 1–2 stalks of celery, thinly sliced or finely diced
- 3 medium potatoes, peeled and chopped
- 1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 1–2 dry bay leaves
- salt, ground black pepper, to taste
- 1/2 – 1 Tablespoon dry herbs and spices, such as, Trader Joe’s Onion salt, Old Bay seasoning, garlic powder, onion powder, dry parsley, chives, shallots, etc.
- fresh herbs, minced (parsley, chives, dill, etc)
- Bring the water to a boil in a medium pot.
- Meanwhile, peel the spreadable cheese wedges. Cut the rind off the brie cheese and chop it into small cubes. (discard the rind)
- Prep the vegetables. Chop the onion, grate the carrot, slice/finely dice the celery and cut the potatoes into small cubes.
- Add the cheese wedges to the boiling water and use a whisk to mix, until all the cheese is dissolved. Add the cubes of brie cheese. The brie cheese won’t melt completely but will soften.
- Add onion, carrots, celery, potatoes and bay leaves to the chowder. Season to taste with salt and pepper and any combination of dry herbs and spices that you like. Cook, simmering on medium low heat for about 15 minutes, until the potatoes are tender.
- While the potatoes are cooking, prepare the shrimp. Peel and devein, if needed.
- Add the shrimp to the soup. Cook for about 5 minutes, just until shrimp is pink. Be careful not to overcook the shrimp. As soon as it turns pink take off the heat.
- Discard the bay leaf, garnish with fresh herbs.
Keywords: shrimp chowder, shrimp soup, creamy shrimp chowder
This is an updated version of the Creamy Shrimp Chowder recipe that was published originally on June 13, 2012.