Instant Pot Pacific-Style Smoked Salmon Chowder

Nothing makes chowders and stews faster–or better–than the Instant Pot (get yours here: Pressure cooking is not only faster, but builds complex flavor and delicious texture. I was so excited when I perfected this Pacific-style smoked salmon chowder. You’re going to love it!

Ready to master the Instant Pot? Check out our Instant Pot Master Class. [learn more]

Building the proper chowder base is the secret to this delicious one-pot dish that’s ready in only 25 minutes. It all starts with the aromatics–onion, celery and garlic–and just the right mix of lightly sauteed herbs. Next comes the simmering stock and chunks of tender potatoes for body. Can’t easily find fish or seafood stock? Use chicken or vegetable stock instead and the results will still be out-of-this world!

Once the chowder base has been cooked to perfection, the creamy elements are added, and finally, the delicate seafood itself. For best results, use a brightly colored, thick smoked salmon and be sure to remove any skin. Shrimp should be cut into bite-sized pieces, rinsed and drained well.

Pro Tip: To peel or not to peel? In this recipe, the choice is yours. Although many people choose to peel their potatoes before cooking, leaving the skin on can be a healthier choice. The potato skin not only adds fiber and nutrients, but it also helps the flesh of the potato retain its nutrients.

Pressure cooking is not only faster, but builds complex flavor and delicious texture.


  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1/4 tsp fennel seeds, lightly crushed
  • 2 1/2 cups fish or seafood stock, warmed
  • 1 lb gold potatoes, cut into 3/4″ dice
  • 15 oz can diced tomatoes, drained
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 tbsp capers
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 oz cream cheese, softened and cut into pieces
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tbsp Old Bay seasoning
  • 4 oz shrimp (chopped or use salad shrimp)
  • 8 oz thick-cut smoked salmon, cut into bite-sized pieces


  1. Add butter to the Instant Pot. Using the display panel select the SAUTE function.
  2. When butter melts, add onion and celery to the pot and saute until soft, 4-5 minutes. Add garlic, basil and fennel and cook for 1-2 minutes more.
  3. Add stock to the pot and deglaze by using a wooden spoon to scrape the brown bits from the bottom of the pot.
  4. Add potatoes, tomatoes, tomato paste, capers and bay leaves and stir to combine.
  5. Add cream cheese to the top in an even layer – do not stir.
  6. Turn the pot off by selecting CANCEL, then secure the lid, making sure the vent is closed.
  7. Using the display panel select the MANUAL function*. Use the +/- keys and program the Instant Pot for 4 minutes.
  8. When the time is up, let the pressure naturally release for 4 minutes, then quick-release the remaining pressure.
  9. Stir for 1-2 minutes until cream cheese is fully incorporated, then add cream and Old Bay and stir to combine.
  10. Gently fold in shrimp and smoked salmon and heat through, returning to SAUTE mode as needed.
  11. Serve hot with cracked pepper, oyster crackers or crusty bread.

*The MANUAL and PRESSURE COOK buttons are interchangeable.