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MKE Fish Chowder

Eat Wisconsin Fish / MKE Fish Chowder

Add a Milwaukee swagger to New England-style chowder.

We made MKE Fish Chowder for our friends at the Urban Ecology Center. Watch the show.


3 slices bacon (MKE recommendation: Patrick Cudahy thick sliced sweet apple-wood bacon)
2 stalks celery, diced
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves garlic
1/4 c olive oil
3 T flour
1 c milk
1 c half-and-half (equal parts milk and cream)
2 c chicken or vegetable stock
3 potatoes (about 3 cups, diced)
12 oz MKE beer (MKE recommendation: Miller High Life)
1 1/2 lb fish cut into 1-inch chunks (MKE recommendations: something you caught, lake whitefish from Lake Michigan, rainbow trout from a nearby trout farm, tilapia from a nearby aquaponic facility)
1/2 lb smoked fish broken into chunks (MKE recommendations: lake whitefish from Lake Michigan, rainbow trout from a nearby trout farm)
to taste: salt, black pepper, other spices or herbs
1 c grated cheddar cheese (MKE recommendation: Clock Shadow Creamery)

dashes of paprika, chives, basil
oyster crackers

Optional vegetables
1 carrot, diced
1 c corn (or one cob of corn)
1/2 c mushrooms
others as desired


  1. Crisp bacon in a skillet. Remove and pour off 1/2 the fat.
  2. Sauté celery, onion and garlic in remaining bacon fat (also consider adding optional vegetables).
  3. Make a roux out of the olive oil and flour by heating the oil in a pot and mixing in flour.
  4. While stirring, add cold milk and half-and-half to the roux and slowly bring to a simmer.
  5. Add the potatoes, stock, fish and seasonings and continue simmering.
  6. Slowly add the beer to the pot.
  7. Simmer for 20 minutes or until the potatoes are soft, stirring occasionally. Cheese lovers might also add 1/4 c of cheese to the pot during this time.
  8. Ladle into bowls and top with cheese, paprika, chives, basil and oyster crackers.