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Clam Chowder Recipe

This New England Clam Chowder recipe has a creamy broth that’s loaded with delicious clams, savory bacon, simple seasonings, and perfectly cooked potatoes. You’ll think this came from a restaurant!

Be sure to pair this with my crusty, airy, No Knead Bread for dipping!

A soup pot filled with Clam Chowder with bacon and parsley on top.

Clam Chowder

I am a New England native, so it is my honor and privilege to present this incredible, restaurant-worthy clam chowder to you. If you’re new to this recipe, don’t worry. The process is simple. (I promise!)

I’ve outlined how to use fresh OR canned clams in this recipe, and I swear- the canned clam version is great. Using canned clams is not only super easy, but it allows you to put a plentiful amount of clams in the chowder without spending a ton of money.

It’s really easy to control the consistency of this chowder too, I know some people like their chowder to be super thick, and others, not so much. The longer this soup simmers, the thicker and more concentrated it will be. 

New England Clam Chowder vs. Manhattan Clam Chowder

  • New England Clam Chowder is white and creamy, (as shown in this post). Manhattan Clam Chowder has a tomato base with no cream.

How to Make It

See recipe card below this post for ingredient quantities and full instructions.

Cook bacon and set aside, reserve bacon drippings. Chop bacon once cooled.

Bacon in a soup pot before and after baking.

Add bacon drippings, butter, onions, and celery to the pot and soften for 5-6 minutes. Add the garlic, hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and seasonings. Cook for 1 minute. Add the flour and cook for 2 minutes. Add the chicken broth and half and half in small splashes, stirring continuously. 

Onions and celery in a soup pot with cream being added.

Add the chicken bouillon, clam juice, and bay leaf. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer. Simmer and reduce for 20 minutes. Add the potatoes and simmer until the potatoes are fork tender, 20-25 minutes.

Adding potatoes to a soup pot filled with clam chowder.

Add the clams and heat through for 5 minutes. Remove the bay leaf. Garnish with parsley, chopped bacon, and freshly cracked pepper. Serve!

Adding clams and bacon to a soup pot of clam chowder.

Using Fresh Clams

  • 1 heaping cup of chopped fresh clams can be used in this recipe along with 1.5 cups of clam juice. (1.5 cups = the 8 oz. jar + reserved juices from the can.)
  • Make sure the clams are cleaned and steamed prior to chopping. 

Pro Tips

  • Clams: I use Bar Harbor Chopped Clams and Clam Juice for this recipe.
  • Potatoes: I use Yukon Gold potatoes for this recipe because I love their creamy consistency, but red potatoes are always a great candidate for soups and chowders because they hold up the best. Russet potatoes may also be used, but they’re also the starchiest, which makes them more prone to falling apart.
  • Bacon: Salt Pork can be used instead of bacon if preferred!
  • The longer this soup simmers, the thicker it gets, so you can control the consistency with that in mind. I always let it simmer, reduce, and concentrate for at least 20 minutes before I add the potatoes. Once you add the potatoes, you don’t have as much flexibility with cooking time, as you don’t want to overcook them.
  • The Hot Sauce is a flavor enhancer that you can’t taste outright and it won’t make the soup spicey. I use Frank’s Hot Sauce.
  • The Worcestershire Sauce adds umami and also can’t be tasted in this soup. Soy sauce can be used as a substitute if needed.
  • Be sure to pair this with my crusty, airy, No Knead Bread for dipping!

Storage

  • Store in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3-5 days. The flour in this soup helps it maintain it’s original consistency a little bit better when reheated.
  • While you can freeze this soup, it likely won’t restore back to it’s exact consistency as dairy-based soups don’t reheat as well. (But that doesn’t stop me from freezing it.)
  • It’s best to let it thaw completely in the fridge before reheating it in the microwave or on the stovetop.
  • Make sure you don’t overcook the potatoes if you plan on freezing it, as you don’t want them to be crumbly when reheated.

A white bowl filled with New England Clam Chowder with bacon and oyster crackers on top.

Tools For This Recipe

(Amazon affiliate links)- Check out all of my kitchen essentials here.

  • 4.5 Quart Dutch Oven– This is the one I use that’s pictured in this recipe.
  • Food Storage Containers– These are what I use to store leftovers!
  • Better Than Bouillon– This is what I always use for broth in my recipes. It takes very little space and makes it easy to measure out customized amounts of broth.
  • Silicone Spatula– To “clean” the pot throughout cooking, which incorporates flavor into the broth. It’s nice and gentle on the surface of your cookware. 
  • Measuring Spoons– I have these magnetic ones which stay nice and organized in my utensil drawer.
  • Pinch Bowls– For measuring seasonings, etc. ahead of time.
  • Soup Ladle
  • 16 oz. storage containers I use these to store/freeze my soups. They have 8 oz. sizes as well. They’re stackable, leak proof, and dishwasher/microwave safe.

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A soup pot filled with creamy New England Clam Chowder with bacon and parsley on top.

Clam Chowder Recipe

4.99 from 192 ratings
This New England Clam Chowder recipe has a creamy broth that's loaded with delicious clams, savory bacon, simple seasonings, and perfectly cooked potatoes

Ingredients

  • 6 strips thick-cut bacon, can sub salt pork
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 2 ribs celery, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce, or ½ tsp tabasco sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 3 cups Half and Half
  • 8 oz. clam juice
  • 1 chicken bouillon cube
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 ¼ lbs. potatoes, see notes
  • 3 (6.5 oz. cans) chopped clams, juices reserved
  • Fresh parsley & Freshly cracked pepper, for serving

Seasonings

  • ½ teaspoon EACH: dried oregano, dried parsley
  • ¼ teaspoon EACH: dried thyme, salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon EACH: smoked paprika, pepper

Instructions

Prep Work

  • Cook the bacon in a 4.5-quart soup pot slowly over low heat. (I cut my bacon in half, it’s easier to fit it in the pan and have it cook evenly.) While the bacon cooks, measure out remaining ingredients. Once the bacon is cooked, set aside on a paper towel lined plate. Chop once cooled and reserve 2 tablespoons of bacon drippings.
  • Wipe any dark spots from the pot but leave as much bacon remnants as you can, as that will add flavor to the soup.

Make the Soup

  • Add reserved bacon drippings and butter to the pot over medium heat and use a silicone spatula to “clean” the bottom and sides of the pot. Add the diced onions and celery. Toss to coat and soften for 5-6 minutes. Add the garlic, hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and seasonings. Cook for 1 minute.
  • Add the flour and cook for 2 minutes stirring continuously, until the raw flour smell is gone.
  • Add the chicken broth in small splashes, stirring continuously, and wiping the pan “clean” again as you do so. Add the half and half in the same manner.
  • Stir in the chicken bouillon and add the bay leaf. Add the juice from the canned clams to the soup, but don’t add the clams yet. Stir in the additional ( 8 oz.) clam juice.
  • Bring the soup to a gentle boil, then reduce to a simmer, so that its just gently bubbling. Simmer for 20 minutes, partially covered. Stir occasionally as it cooks.
  • Peel and dice the potatoes and add them to the soup. Bring back to a very gentle bubble and let the potatoes cook through for 20-25 minutes, until fork tender. Reduce heat to low.
  • Stir in the clams and let them heat through, about 5 minutes. Remove bay leaf.
  • Ladle soup into serving bowls and garnish with roughly chopped parsley, freshly cracked pepper, and chopped bacon.

Notes

Pro Tips
  • Clams: I use Bar Harbor Chopped Clams and Clam Juice for this recipe.
  • Using Fresh Clams: 1 heaping cup of chopped fresh clams can be used in this recipe along with 1.5 cups of clam juice. (1.5 cups = the 8 oz. jar + reserved juices from the can.) Make sure the clams are cleaned and steamed prior to chopping. 
  • Potatoes: I use Yukon Gold potatoes for this recipe because I love their creamy consistency, but red potatoes are always a great candidate for soups and chowders because they hold up the best. Russet potatoes may also be used, but they're also the starchiest, which makes them more prone to falling apart.
  • Bacon: Salt Pork can be used instead of bacon if preferred!
  • The longer this soup simmers, the thicker it gets, so you can control the consistency with that in mind. I always let it simmer, reduce, and concentrate for at least 20 minutes before I add the potatoes. Once you add the potatoes, you don't have as much flexibility with cooking time, as you don't want to overcook them
  • The Hot Sauce is a flavor enhancer that you can't taste outright and it won't make the soup spicey. I use Frank's Hot Sauce.
  • The Worcestershire Sauce adds umami and also can't be tasted in this soup. Soy sauce can be used as a substitute if needed.
  • Be sure to pair this with my crusty, airy, No Knead Bread for dipping!

Storage
  • Store in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3-5 days. 

The nutritional information provided is an estimate and is per cup. There are approximately 9 cups in this recipe.

Nutrition

Calories: 281kcal, Carbohydrates: 23g, Protein: 7g, Fat: 18g, Saturated Fat: 9g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g, Monounsaturated Fat: 6g, Trans Fat: 0.1g, Cholesterol: 46mg, Sodium: 498mg, Potassium: 461mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 5g, Vitamin A: 460IU, Vitamin C: 16mg, Calcium: 107mg, Iron: 1mg
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433 comments on “Clam Chowder Recipe”

  1. Excellent, well explained and fantastic results 

  2. Absolutely delicious!

  3. Delicious! Thanks for taking the time to share! I failed to buy some ingredients still was tasty but I will buy all ingredients next time to get that real New England flavor!

  4. Made this exactly as shown….so delicious. Definitely a keeper recipe.

  5. Wow, I will never be able to eat canned clam chowder again! This recipe is amazing! Normally, I don’t want to eat chowder more than once a year or so but I could eat this a dozen times per year. 

  6. I think I like a more brothy clam chowder.  I would not put heavier cream in this soup.  I would make it with more broth.  Maybe 2 cups of half and half and more broth.  I don’t like it too thick and gloppy.  Mine turned out great but I would tweak it a bit.  I had an empty pot so it was liked by our church group.

    • I’m glad that your church group liked it! This is made like a traditional New England Clam Chowder, I’m not sure if you’ve had that before but cream is a mandatory ingredient for it! ❤️

  7. This was delicious. I made no changes/alterations and  loved every bite. I might add more clam juice next time as I like that flavor strong – but you don’t need to. Thanks for the recipe! Will make again and again. 

  8. Did I miss it. I have read it 4 times. When do you add the dairy?

    • Hi Pattie! It’s on step 3 under “Make the Soup” -“Add the chicken broth in small splashes, stirring continuously, and wiping the pan “clean” again as you do so. Add the half and half in the same manner.”

  9. I made this today and it was excellent!
    If I wanted to prepare this the day before and reheat in a slow cooker, would you do anything different? I’m thinking of doing steps 1-4 the day before and simmer/add potatoes and clams to finish in slow cooker. Thanks!

  10. Delicious! I used heavy cream and water instead of half and half, and carrots instead of onions (sensitive to onion lately), but SO tasty!! Will save this for the future.

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