Frequently Asked Questions

Ivar's Soup and Chowder Allergen List

  • Wild Catch Clam Chowder: Clams, Butter, Wheat
  • Tomato Bisque: Milk, Wheat
  • Loaded Mushroom Soup: Milk, Wheat
  • Chicken Coconut Curry Soup: Coconut, Wheat and Shrimp
  • Puget Sound White Concentrate: Clams, Wheat, Soybeans, Milk
  • Alder Smoked Salmon Chowder Concentrate: Fish (Salmon), Tree Nuts (Coconut), Wheat, Soy and Milk
  • Premium Crab & Corn Bisque Concentrate: Crab, Milk, Wheat
  • Wild Alaskan Smoked Salmon Chowder Concentrate: Wheat, Milk, Soy, Fish
  • Chicken Noodle Soup: What, Eggs, Soy
  • Turkey Noodle Concentrate (with or without meat): Wheat, Eggs, Soy
  • Chili with Bean Soup: Wheat, Soy
  • Chicken Tortilla Concentrate: Soy

Proper Cooling of Soups & Chowders

There are two methods for properly cooling chowder. For both methods, a thermometer must be used!

METHOD I - Shallow Pan

Put hot soup into shallow pans. Make sure the soup is not more than 2 inches thick or deep. Put the pans in the refrigerator on the top shelf where nothing can drip into them. Let air move around the pans - do not stack or cover the pan. Cover the pans after the soup is 41F or colder.

METHOD II - Time and Temperature Monitored

Soup must cool from 140F to 70F in 2 hours then soup must finish cooling to 41F within a total of 6 hours.

  • 1. Close the drain in the sink and put the pot of hot soup in the sink.
  • 2. Fill the sink with ice up to the level of the soup in the pot. Add cold water to the ice.
  • 3. Stir the soup often. Make sure it cools down to 70F within 2 hours.
  • 4. Add more ice as the ice melts.
  • 5. Finish cooling the soup to 41F within 6 hours.
  • 6. Once the soup is 41F, cover it and put in the refrigerator.

Cold soup must be reheated to at least 165 degrees within two hours!

Only reheat soup or chowder once!

Please follow all local regulations for food safety.

How to Keep Chowder From Breaking

The Science Behind Chowder

What do we mean by "Chowder Breaking"? This is where the chowder gets thin or looks like it has separated. There are two thickeners in our chowder. A roux and a starch. They both work in a similar manner binding molecules. Roux binds water and fat molecules. Starch binds all molecules whether they be water and fat or water and water. Breakage occurs when the molecules in the chowder either do not bind during the cooking process or when they separate while holding.

There are 5 main causes for chowder to break. They are as follows:

  1. Improper cooking technique
  2. Chowder held at too low a temperature
  3. Improper cooling and/or subsequent reheating
  4. Dirty equipment
  5. Too much water

1. Improper cooking technique


  1. Add 1-quart of water to a cooking pot.
  2. Add contents of 1 pouch of chowder concentrate and mix thoroughly.
  3. Heat to a slow boil and allow it to simmer for 20 minutes.
  4. Reduce heat to 165 degrees for serving.

Heat and Serve:

  1. Heat chowder to a minimum of 185° F.
  2. Hold and serve at 165° F.
  3. READY TO HEAT, DO NOT ADD WATER. May be heated via steamer, boil in bag.

You may have been cooking Ivar's chowder for years and know exactly how to cook the chowder. It may be that you have been cooking the chowder improperly all these years.

You must whip the chowder mix with water. Do not add the dry powder to a kettle that already has the concentrate in it, for it will clump. In the restaurants where the kettles are much larger it may be easier to whip the chowder mix in buckets. Make sure to use the proper amount of water and creamer. 6 cups of water and one bag of creamer for each bag of concentrate.

Bring it to a slow boil for 20 minutes to ensure the chowder is cooked thoroughly. It must reach a minimum of 205 degrees for the thickeners to bind the chowder completely (this is a molecular reaction). The chowder may begin to thicken before it reaches 205 degrees, but that is simply because there are hot spots in the mixture, for example the sides of a steam kettle or the bottom of a pot. If the chowder does not reach 205 degrees it will not bind completely.

During the initial manufacture of the concentrate at our plant, the concentrate is brought up to a minimum of 212 degrees.

A double-boiler or a soup well will not bring the concentrate to a boil. The water in the well or double-boiler may be boiling, but the soup will warm very slowly. All equipment varies, but in our independent tests of various equipment the maximum temperature reached in a double boiler is approximately 190 degrees. It will not sufficiently heat the chowder and must not be used for the initial cook. They are designed for holding soups and sauces at a serving temperature only.

You cannot bypass this boiling stage by heating to just 165 degrees. Even if you heat to 165 degrees for a long period of time it will not thicken sufficiently and the bonds will be easily broken. As stated above this is a molecular reaction and it does not occur until it reaches 205 degrees. What will happen if not brought up to at least 205 degrees is that the concentrate will not bind the newly added 6 cups of water to the concentrate causing the chowder to break.

2. Chowder held at too low a temperature

All of you have a Health Card/Food Handler's Permit. What is the proper holding temperature for chowder? 140 degrees or higher.

If the chowder is held at below 140 degrees the growth of bacteria accelerates.

What does bacteria have to do with my chowder breaking? If you have cooked the chowder properly according to the instructions above this is most likely the main culprit.

Bacteria are found everywhere. They are in the air we breathe, the water we drink, the food we eat. The main reason for temperature control during the hold stage is to prevent the growth of these bacteria. When bacteria grow they release gasses and chemicals that break the bonds the thickeners have made between the molecules causing the chowder to break. They also deactivate the starch.

3. Improper cooling and subsequent reheating

The guidelines set forth by the Health Department for cooling are as follows:

  • The mixture must be cooled from 140 to 70 degrees in 2 hours.
  • Food must be finished cooling to 41 degrees within a total of 6 hours.

The guidelines set forth by the Health Department for heating are as follows:

  • Food that has been properly cooled must be reheated to 165 degrees in less than 2 hours.

If the chowder was cooked properly and held at a temperature at or above 140 degrees, then improper cooling and reheating will cause the chowder to break due to the formation of bacteria.

Have you ever added water to a hot chowder to get the proper consistency only to find that 10 minutes later it has broken?

If the chowder is too thick and you need to add water to get the right consistency it must reach 205 degrees before you add boiling water to the chowder. Remember that the thickener/binder will only bind water and fat molecules at 205 degrees or above. If new water is introduced to the chowder below 205 degrees it will start a chain reaction breaking the molecular bonds.

Each time the chowder goes through the cooling and reheating cycle diminishes quality and increases the risk of foodborne pathogens and bacterial growth. You should not reheat product more than once. Any left over product should be discarded.

4. Dirty equipment

Dirty equipment? What does that have to do with breaking chowder?

In section 2 we outlined the correlation between bacteria and breaking chowder. If your equipment is dirty or there is a small piece of food matter left from a previous cook there are guaranteed to be bacteria in that food matter.

Although most all foodborne bacteria are very easily killed at 165 degrees there are certain bacteria that if exposed to the danger zone (41-140 degrees) for more than the recommended time may form spores. Once the spore is formed it is nearly impossible to kill. Certain bacterial spores like Clostridium botulinum, Clostridium perfringens and Bacillus cereus can only be killed at a temperature of 250 degrees. This will most definitely ruin the quality of the chowder.

5. Too much water

This one is a no-brainer. More than 6 cups of water per bag of concentrate is too much for the amount of roux and starch in the concentrate.

The chowder mix is not a thickener. It has no thickening properties beyond absorbing a small amount of water molecules. To test this, take a bag of Ivar's chowder mix and mix it with 6 cups of water and cook. It will not thicken unless all the water is cooked out.


Please use this information as a training guide for yourself as well as your crew. It will reduce waste saving time and money. The sources listed below are a vast encyclopedia of knowledge in Food Technology and Food Safety.


'Essentials of Food Safety & Sanitation' by David McSwane H.S.D., Nancy Rue PhD. & Richard Linton PhD.

Department of Health and Human Services

Public Health Services-King County Department of Health & Snohomish County

Department of Health

Food and Drug Administration

'Environmental Conditions for Pathogenic Bacterial Growth' by the Food Science and Technology Department - University of California (UC Davis)

Cooker Kettle Rebate Program

Approximate Cost of Cooker Kettle: $130.00
Rebate: 1 case of product
Average soup case price: $40.00
Average yield per case: 3 gallons
Average portion size: 8 oz.
1 case x Average yield on 8 oz portions: 48 servings
48 servings x average sell price of $3.00
Equates to $144.00 in retail sales
Cost of Soup Pot: $130.00
Retail Sales from free case: $144.00
Equals a profit of: $14.00

These numbers are averages and may vary based on products purchased by customers and average sell price by the customer/distributer.

To redeem your free case of Ivar's soup, please submit your invoice from your kettle purchase to Ivar's or your local Ivar's broker for release of the product.

Ivar's Trade Show & Convention Schedule 2013

Date Show Name City, State Convention Center
September 10, 2012 Pacific Seafood Oregon
September 17, 2012 Pacific Seafood Seattle, WA
October 2012 Smith's Salt Lake City, UT
October 2-3, 2012 FSA Food Show Seattle, WA WA State Conv. Ctr.
October 10th, 2012 H.E.B. Galveston, TX
October 23rd, 2012 FSA Portland Portland, OR Convention Ctr.
March 7, 2013 URM Spokane, WA Spokane Convention Center
March 10-12, 2013 Boston Seafood Show Boston, MA
March 13, 2013 Sysco Seattle Seattle, WA Qwest Convention Center
April 18, 2013 Sysco Montana Billings, MT Expo Center
April 25, 2013 FSA Anchorage Anchorage, AK Egan Center
April 26, 2013 Sysco Spokane Spokane, WA
April 21-22nd, 2013 NW Food Service Show Seattle, WA WA St. Conv. Ctr.
May 9, 2013 FSA Spokane Spokane, WA
May 16, 2013 Sysco Portland Wilsonville, OR Sysco Warehouse
June 5, 2013 Tony’s Annual Show Sacramento, CA