Find a 15% off promo code at the end of this post, as well as a fabulous GIVEAWAY!

Scallops have been a prized treat to me ever since I was a little girl. While most kids were dunking chicken fingers into ketchup from the kids menu at seafood restaurants, I was gingerly dipping breaded scallops into creamy and dreamy tartar sauce like a boss. A sophisticated messy-pontytailed boss.

And a cozy bowl of clam chowder? Don’t even get me started…

When it came to creating a recipe using Orca Bay’s sweet, luscious, and robust sea scallops, a Smokey Seared Scallop Chowder celebrating two childhood faves just made sense.


Smokey Seared Scallop Chowder | Killing Thyme

I’ll be the first to admit that nothing beats a perfectly butter-seared scallop in it’s purest form, so I mean *NO* disrespect to these gorgeous scallops. But I like to play around and be adventurous at times, and I can promise you that this chowder is a *delicious* adventure with zero regrets.

Plus, you can still totally sear a few of those juicy gems and plop them onto your bowl for what is THE tastiest garnish ever. Smokey Seared Scallop Chowder | Killing Thyme

 Pescetarian? Swap the bacon for homemade smokey croutons!

A lot of chowders are built on seared fat — especially bacon fat. I won’t deny the extra oomph it gives to the flavor profile, but it’s a no-go for pescetarians. If you aren’t pescetarian, feel free to adapt this recipe to incorporate bacon! I’m sure it would be delish. Otherwise, if you’re really into the idea of having something smokey and a little crispy topping your chow-dah, you can make little smokey crispy croutons. All you need is a slice of regular ol’ bread, butter, smoked paprika, and an oven. BOOM. Magic.


Orca Bay Scallops are all-natural with no added water.

These beautifully plump sea scallops offer up that sweet flavor and velvety texture we covet due to the fact that they’re completely au naturale; they’re free of chemicals, additives, and they aren’t plumped up with extra water like the wet-packed scallops which you definitely want to avoid.

Wet-packed scallops are awful for a few reasons. They’re given a bath in sodium tripolyphosphate in order to add water weight which bulks them up to create a bigger scallop — but most of it is water.

Because of this…

  1. When you purchase these scallops, you’re paying for mostly water since scallops are sold by weight. (/Facepalm)
  2. These scallops don’t sear well at all. (/Fistshake)
  3. These scallops are robbed of their naturally sweet flavor and will taste a little soapy. (/Tableflip)

Scallops are a thing of beauty, so if you’re going to treat yourself, treat yourself right.

Smokey Seared Scallop Chowder | Killing Thyme

Help Fight Cancer With Sea A Cure

Sea A Cure was launched to help raise money for research and to implement a financial safety net for those in need of support while fighting the battle against the Big C. It’s also bringing awareness to the health benefits of clean quality seafood.

Sea A Cure is truly a shared cause and we appreciate you taking the time to check it out and consider donating or spreading the info <3

Also, we’re giving stuff away!

In an effort to bring awareness to Sea A Cure, I’m hosting the giveaway of ALL giveaways! A #SeaACure package with goodies from some of Sea A Cure’s partners:

TO ENTER: Comment below and tell me about the best scallop dish you’ve ever had!

RULES: You must be at least 18 years old AND a resident of the continental United States. You must be willing to provide a shipping address. (No PO Boxes.)

One winner will be chosen on Friday, October 13th

Not sure if Orca Bay Seafoods, Inc. is available near you? Find out here, or shop their online store and save 15% by entering the code KillingThyme2017 at checkout!
Making this recipe? Snap a pic and tag me on Instagram: @Killing__Thyme /#killingthyme. For more delish eats, follow me on INSTAGRAM + PINTEREST.

Smokey Seared Scallop Chowder

This pescetarian-style chowder brings plump seared sea scallops to your bowl with a hint of smokiness from smoked paprika and crispy smokey croutons.
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Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Servings: 6
Author: Killing Thyme


  • 1 lb Orca Bay's sea scallops
  • 2 TBSP + 1 TBSP butter
  • 2 TBSP olive oil
  • 1 rib of celery, sliced 1/4-inch thick
  • 1 leek, thinly sliced (white and light green part only)
  • 2 TBSP all-purpose flour
  • 2 8 oz bottles of clam juice
  • 1 TBSP fresh lemon juice
  • 2 large Yukon gold potatoes, cubed
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 large bay leaf
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • kosher salt and cracked black pepper, to taste

Smokey Croutons

  • 2 slices bread, toasted
  • 2 TBSP butter (or butter your bread however you want)
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika


  • Heat 2 TBSP of butter and oil in a large saute pan over high heat.
  • Pat the scallops dry with a paper towel and lightly salt them.
  • Once the butter is melted and simmering, almost foamy, carefully add the scallops to the pan; make sure none of them are touching one other.
  • Sear the scallops for 2 minutes on each side, or until a golden crust starts to form and the scallop easily releases itself from the pan. If the scallop doesn't release when you try to budge it, let it cook about 30 seconds longer before trying again. Don't force it, or you'll tear it. The scallops should have a 1/4-inch golden crust on each side while still being translucent in the center.
  • Reserving the butter and bits from the pan, remove the scallops from the pan and set aside. Transfer the butter and bits from the pan to a large stockpot. Add that extra TBSP of butter if needed.
  • Add the celery and onion to the stock pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened but not browned — about 5 minutes. Sprinkle with flour and cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 minutes to get rid of the raw flavor.
  • Add the clam juice and lemon juice, and whisk until smooth.
  • Add the potatoes, wine, bay leaf, thyme sprigs, and a few cracks of black pepper; simmer until the wine has evaporated and the potatoes start to soften, about 10 minutes.
  • While you wait for the potatoes to cook, cut the scallops into quarters leaving a few whole for garnish if desired.
  • When the potatoes are tender, add the cream and the cubed scallops. Add salt and black pepper to taste; Let the chowder come to a simmer, and immediately remove it from the heat. You don't want to bring it to a full boil. 
  • Fish out the thyme and the bay leaf, and discard them.
  • Let the chowder sit for a while to let the flavors settle. Reheat (*see notes) it to a low simmer before serving, then garnish with chopped parsley, smokey croutons, and a full seared scallop. (I add microgreens and chives because I love them on any and all soups!)

Smokey Croutons

  • Set the oven to broil. Butter your bread slices on both sides and sprinkle each side with desired amount of smoked paprika. Place the sheet pan on the top rack of the oven, closest to the broiler. Keep a close eye on the toast as it will brown fast — about 2 minutes. Flip it halfway through for another 1-2 minutes. Remove, cut into small cubes, and garnish soup.


If the chowder is thinner than you'd like and you want to thicken it up, simply mix 1/4 cup cold water with 2 TBSP corn starch in a cup or small bowl. Whisk until starch is completely dissolved. Bring the chowder to a simmer (not a boil) and slowly add the mixture to the soup while stirring. Stir until the chowder thickens.
Smokey Seared Scallop Chowder | Killing Thyme