A bowl of hearty seafood chowder with grilled lemon and toasted bread.
Seafood, Soups

Nova Scotia Seafood Chowder

This Nova Scotia Seafood Chowder is the recipe is the recipe I’m most proud of.

Being from Nova Scotia, loving and making Seafood Chowder is basically a birthright. If anyone asked me to create a recipe based on where I’m from and who I am, this would be it! This my personal take on good ol Nova Scotia Seafood Chowder. 

Hint: white wine and fresh fennel play a fairly large role!

This Seafood Chowder is not your everyday meal. It’s uber rich, creamy and luxurious. This is a treat yourself recipe, not a calorie counting recipe. Even though I live in California, a bowl of this always brings me home to Nova Scotia.

A flat lay of two bowl of Nova Scotia Seafood Chowder with a vibrant blue backdrop. A plate of grilled lemons and another of toasted bread are featured in the shot.
If there’s one dish that represents who I am and where I came from, this is it!

Every Christmas Eve my parents would whip up a massive pot of Seafood Chowder and host an all-day/night drop-in. Our neighbors, family, and friends would stop by for a bowl of creamy Seafood Chowder, a few laughs, and a cocktail (or 3). This dish brings back so many great memories from my childhood! Fast forward many years later, and now I’m making my chowder for the holidays (and my birthday!) every year like clockwork.

A spoonful of Seafood Chowder showcasing scallops, bacon, shrimp, and grilled lemon.
Fennel and dry white wine are my not-so-secret weapons in this recipe.
A bowl of hearty seafood chowder with grilled lemon and toasted bread.

Nova Scotia Seafood Chowder

Sacha Hirschfeld
An ode to a childhood Christmas Eve tradition! This rich and indulgent chowder is loaded with plump seafood and intended for special, celebratory occasions.
Prep Time 13 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 58 minutes
Course Soups
Cuisine Canadian, Nova-Scotian
Servings 8
Calories 748 kcal


  • 1 large Dutch oven or soup pot
  • 1 wooden spoon
  • 1 soup ladle
  • measuring spoons
  • measuring cups
  • paring knife


  • ½ lb bacon cut into 1″ pieces
  • 3 cups leeks trimmed, halved, and sliced
  • 1 cup shallots halved and sliced
  • 1 head of fennel fronds reserved, finely diced
  • ¾ cup celery finely diced
  • cup carrots finely diced
  • 4 garlic cloves chopped
  • ½ lb potato diced
  • 1 cup dry white wine I use sauvignon blanc
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 5 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 500 ml clam juice 2 bottles
  • 850 ml fish stock 2 cans
  • 750 ml half + half
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tbsp salted butter
  • 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • kosher salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 1 lb scallops side muscle removed
  • 1 lb shrimp shells removed and deveined
  • ¾ lb white fish I used Halibut
  • 184 g chopped clams 1 small tin


  • Rub the butter into the flour. Pour the half + half and heavy cream into a medium saucepan over medium heat. Once cream is warm, whisk in butter/flour mix. Turn heat down to low.
  • Add bacon to a large heavy-bottomed pot over med-high heat. Sauté until it's brown and crispy, stirring occasionally. Remove using a slotted spoon and set aside on a paper towel lined plate or bowl.
  • Add shallot, leek, celery, carrot, fennel, and garlic to the bacon fat; cook until soft and translucent. Add a little black pepper.
  • Increase the heat to high, add the wine and reduce.
  • Add the fish stock and clam juice; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
  • Add the potatoes, bacon, thyme, and bay leaf; cook for another 5 minutes.
  • Add in all seafood and then stir in the warm cream. Simmer for another 10 minutes or until potatoes and seafood are cooked through.
  • Season to taste. Serve with a sprinkling of fennel fronds and a drizzle of your best extra-virgin olive oil (I used a chili oil).
Keyword Chowder, East Coast, Hearty, Holidays, Make Ahead Recipe, Nova-Scotia, Seafood

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