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Stew vs Soup vs Chowder: The Delicious Differences, Explained

In the United States, 82% of meals get cooked at home, by everyday people.

With people eating in more now than ever, some age-old questions need to be answered. This is where we come to the stew vs soup vs chowder debate. Most of us spend our entire lives hearing various dishes called by these names, but we don’t know what the difference is.

Those days are over because we’re going to explain the difference between the three so that no home cook confuses them again.


Soup is something that most people enjoy. It can be made with almost any ingredient and the body of the soup is always water or broth. From national delicacies like Pho to home-cooked chicken and noodles, soup is often a comfort food and easy to make.

So if you’re ever asked what is soup, you can now answer. It is a meal with ingredients cooked in broth or water and served together. That covers one of the options in our stew vs soup vs chowder discussion, let’s go to the next.


A lot of people believe that stews are just thicker soups, which is not the case. A stew is specifically a cooking operation to slow cook and make tender cuts of meat. Most often you’ll find beef being what is slow-cooked because stewing can make even the toughest beef tender and delicious.

What is stew, you ask? Well, stew is a meat dish that often has vegetables or other ingredients in it. There are vegetarian stews, in which tough and fibrous vegetables cook for a long time to break them down. In the end, stewing is about making food more tender.

There are a lot of different types of stew. From classic stews like vegetable beef to cultural icons. You can find recipes for them at


A chowder begins its life as a soup. If you’re wondering what makes a chowder different, it is two specific things. The first, chowders come with broth that has been thickened by using cream and flour.

Second, chowder is a seafood-orientated dish. That means you can expect to have clams, fish, or other seafood in your chowder. So if you’re ever asked what is chowder, you know it has most to do with the broth and the ingredients.

Stew vs Soup vs Chowder

When we break it down, the age-old question of stew vs soup vs chowder becomes more clear. These are three types of dishes that get their names based on how they cooked. It determines how thick the broth will be, how tender the meat is, and how the meat being used is prepared and cooked.

Enjoy it All

Differences aside, when you consider stew vs soup vs chowder, it all comes down to what you want at the moment. All three methods produce amazing, delicious food that people all over the world enjoy on a daily basis. Don’t let anything stop you from enjoying some stew, soup, or chowder today.

If this article was informative, please take a moment and check out our website for more ideas.

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