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Smoked Trout Chowder

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Smoked trout chowder: because who doesn’t want to feel fancy while devouring comfort food? This isn’t your everyday soup—it’s got leeks, fennel, and a splash of wine to keep things interesting.

This recipe is as sophisticated as it gets while still letting you enjoy the joy of crispy bacon bits and a creamy broth. Plus, with all those veggies, you can convince yourself it’s healthy.

A pot of smoky trout fish chowder.

Trout Chowder Recipe

You can use smoked steelhead or rainbow trout for this recipe. Both offer a delicate, smoky flavor. I like both but I personally prefer river caught trout.

Lake trout tends to have a mushier texture, while river-caught trout are firmer due to constantly battling the current, giving them a natural ‘workout.’ However, the chunky texture of this recipe works well with any type of trout.

Here is Why This Recipe Works

Smoky Goodness: The smoked trout isn’t just for show—it brings a rich, mouth-watering flavor that makes you wonder why you ever settled for plain old chowder.

Comfort Food with a Twist: Creamy, hearty, and packed with veggies, this chowder hits the spot while still feeling a bit fancy.

Perfect for Any Season: Whether it’s a chilly winter night or a cool summer evening, this chowder is versatile enough to enjoy year-round.

Bacon Bliss: Because let’s face it, everything is better with crispy bacon bits. It’s the ultimate topping for showing off.

Ingredients used for smoked trout chowder.

The Ingredients

  • Meat: Bacon, smoked trout
  • Produce: Leeks, fennel bulb, garlic cloves, carrots, celery, potatoes, fresh thyme leaves, fresh dill
  • Pantry: Chicken broth, Olive oil, Old Bay seasoning, salt, freshly ground black pepper
  • Dairy: heavy cream
  • Other: white wine


  • Bacon: Substitute with turkey bacon or diced ham.
  • Leeks: Use chopped onions.
  • Fennel bulb: Substitute with celery or a combination of celery and a pinch of fennel seeds.

Four photos showing how to make smoked trout chowder.


Spicy Smoky Chowder: Add a diced jalapeño and a pinch of red pepper flakes when you sauté the vegetables. You can also finish the swith a drizzle of hot sauce for an extra spicy punch.

Creamy Coconut Trout Stew: Replace the heavy cream with coconut milk. This will give the recipe a subtle coconut flavor that pairs well with the smoky trout. Garnish with fresh cilantro.

A collage of four pictures showing how to make trout chowder.

Tips for Success

  • Pureeing a portion of the soup gives it a creamy texture without needing as much cream.
  • Make sure to remove all the bones and skin from the fish before adding it to the pot.
  • Taste the stew before serving and adjust the seasoning as needed. The smoked trout and bacon can be quite salty, so you might not need to add much additional salt.

A spoon in a bowl of trout chowder.


Refrigerator: Transfer the leftovers to an airtight container and store it in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Freeze for Later: You can freeze the chowder for up to 3 months. The texture of the potatoes will change slightly but it will still be good.

Reheat Gently: Reheat on the stove over low to medium heat. If it’s too thick, add a splash of chicken broth or water.

Can I use fresh trout instead of smoked trout?

Yes, but you may need to add a bit of salt. And if you want that smoky flavor, add a drop of liquid smoke or smoky paprika.

A bowl of chowder with smoked trout.

If you like this recipe, try our smoked trout dip or our whole rainbow trout recipe.

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A spoon in a bowl of smoked trout chowder.

Smoked Trout Chowder

This rich smoked trout and vegetable chowder breaks from the norm. It’s thick, creamy, and centered around hearty smoked fish, bringing a refreshing twist to dinner. Topped off with crispy bacon, a dash of dill, and a drizzle of olive oil for that extra layer of richness. Serve it piping hot with a side of crusty bread and watch it effortlessly impress, no standard fare here.
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Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 279kcal
Author: Pat Nyswonger


  • 4 strips bacon diced
  • 2 leeks white and light green only, sliced
  • 1 medium fennel bulb diced
  • 2 garlic cloves minced or grated
  • 1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
  • 1 cup diced carrots
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 8 ounces baby Yukon Gold potatoes halved
  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1-¼ pound smoked trout skin and bones removed
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Fresh dill for garnish


  • In a 4-quart Dutch oven or large saucepan set over medium heat, add the diced bacon and cook for 4-5 minutes until golden and crispy. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and drain on a paper towel, reserve until needed. Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of the bacon drippings.
  • Add the leek and fennel to the pot and cook until softened, stirring occasionally, about 5 minus. Add the garlic and the Old Bay seasoning and cook until the garlic is fragrant.
  • Add the carrots, celery, potatoes and the thyme. Sauté until the vegetables become slightly tender, stirring occasionally.
  • Pour in the broth and white wine, bring the pot to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover the pot and simmer for 20 minutes.
  • Remove 1-½ cups of the soup and puree in a blender until smooth, then return the puree to the soup pot.
  • Break the smoked trout into bite-size pieces and add to the pot. Cover the pot and simmer for 5-6 minutes. Gently stir the cream into the chowder, taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.
  • Ladle the chowder into soup bowls, garnish each serving with the reserved bacon, fresh dill and a drizzle of olive oil. Serve with warm, crusty bread.


Serving: 1serving | Calories: 279kcal | Carbohydrates: 15g | Protein: 19g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 0.01g | Cholesterol: 102mg | Sodium: 610mg | Potassium: 768mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 3537IU | Vitamin C: 16mg | Calcium: 85mg | Iron: 2mg

Pat Nyswonger

Pat is a wife, mom of four adult children, and grandmother to seventeen beautiful children. She is a self-taught home cook and loves creating delicious meals for her family and friends. Her kitchen is the hub of activity in her home, and she loves to entertain.

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Recipe Rating


Friday 5th of July 2024

That looks incredibly flavourful and delicious, Pat.

Dahn Boquist

Monday 8th of July 2024

Thanks Angie

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