Clam Chowder is the ultimate comfort food with tender clams, creamy potatoes and of course salty, smoky bacon!

Wonderfully creamy New England Clam Chowder is way easier than you think to make at home and about to become a new family favorite!

This easy clam chowder recipe has rich flavor for the perfect bowl of comfort!

New England clam chowder in a ladle with a pot


While I love the summer months of sandals and jacket-free bike rides, I love the winter because SOUP!

Soup season is my favorite because soups are my favorite.  I love how you don’t have to create any extra sides but instead get to curl up with your meal-in-one bowl of warm slurpilicious comfort just like this creamy clam chowder recipe.

If someone is intimidated by cooking, I always tell them to start with soup recipes like Slow Cooker Corn Chowder, Slow Cooker Potato SoupCheesy Taco Soup and now this New England Clam Chowder!

What is Clam Chowder?

This cravilicious white creamy clam chowder is bursting with delectable clams, tender potatoes, and salty bacon.

Seeing as San Diego is on the opposite side of the United States from New England and fresh clams can be hard to come by or very expensive, I’ve chosen to make this clam chowder recipe with minced canned clams – and I couldn’t taste a difference!

In fact, many reputable restaurants use canned clams with the addition of clam juice. You will be shocked how restaurant-quality delicious this version tastes and canned clams make it that much easier!

New England Clam Chowder in a ladle

How to Make Clam Chowder

A few notes about this recipe to make it the best ever homemade New England Clam Chowder.

First, use thick, center cut bacon instead of traditional sliced bacon.

Sliced bacon wilts as its simmered whereas thick bacon holds up to the heat so you are left with a wonderful meaty texture that complements the clams.

Next, be sure to use russet potatoes.

Their soft, creamy, melt-in-your-mouth texture is ideal for chowders.  They taste the most “potato-y” as opposed to waxy as you want them practically falling apart in your mouth.

New England clam chowder in a bowl with a spoon

Finally, everyone has their own opinion as to how thick a chowder should be.

For this clam chowder recipe, we use a roux to thicken the chowder then stir in 1 cup heavy cream at the end of cooking.

If you would like a thicker chowder, simmer the soup longer, or for a thinner chowder, stir in additional chicken broth.

To finish the chowder, we pile it with some of the reserved crispy bacon, fresh parsley (optional) and oyster crackers.

Now dig into your better-than-any-restaurant New England Clam Chowder!

New England Clam Chowder in a ladle
4.96 from 370 votes↑ Click stars to rate now!
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New England Clam Chowder

Wonderfully creamy New England Clam Chowder is way easier than you think to make at home and about to become a new family favorite!
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 6 servings
Author Jen
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  • 3 6.5 oz. cans chopped/minced clams in clam juice
  • 8 ounces clam juice
  • 6 thick center-cut bacon strips chopped
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 stalks celery finely chopped
  • 1 large onion chopped
  • 1 ¼ pounds russet potatoes peeled and diced into ¼-½” cubes, approx. 3 ½ cups
  • 3-5 garlic cloves minced
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes optional
  • cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 2 teaspoons chicken bouillon
  • 2 bay leaves
  • ½ teaspoon each dried parsley dried oregano, salt
  • ¼ teaspoon each dried thyme pepper
  • 1 cup heavy cream

Garnishes (Optional)

  • Oyster crackers
  • Fresh parsley


  • Drain clam juice from cans into a measuring cup. Add enough bottled clam juice to equal 2 ½ cups. Set aside.
  • In a Dutch oven, cook bacon over medium heat until fat is rendered and slightly brown. Remove half of the bacon with a slotted spoon to a paper towel lined plate. To the remaining bacon and drippings, melt in 1 tablespoon butter over medium heat.
  • Increase heat to medium high and add celery and onion. Saute for 5-7 minutes or until onions are soft. Add potatoes, garlic, red pepper flakes (if using) and sauté 30 seconds. Sprinkle in flour and cook an additional 1 minute. Stir in chicken broth, reserved 2 ½ cups clam juice, chicken bouillon, bay leaves and all seasonings. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer. Simmer, uncovered, for 15-20 minutes or until potatoes are very tender.
  • Stir in heavy cream and bring to a simmer to heat through. Discard bay leaves. Remove from heat and stir in clams. Taste and add salt/pepper to taste. (You may or may not need additional salt depending on how salty your clams and bacon are.) For a thinner or less chunky soup stir in additional heavy cream/milk or chicken broth.
  • Top individual servings with reserved bacon and oyster crackers and fresh parsley if desired.
4.96 from 370 votes

Nutrition Information

Calories: 380 | Carbohydrates: 26g | Protein: 11g | Fat: 26g | Saturated Fat: 13g | Cholesterol: 78mg | Sodium: 452mg | Potassium: 646mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 825IU | Vitamin C: 15.2mg | Calcium: 78mg | Iron: 4mg

Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.

Course Soup
Cuisine American

What are the Different Types of Clam Chowder?

The most common type of clam chowder is New England Clam Chowder! This type of clam chowder is also known as “Boston” clam chowder and features a rich creamy base with potatoes and onions (and no tomatoes).

Manhattan Clam Chowder is quite different as it generally has a clear tomato broth.

Long Island Clam chowder combines the two above to create a delicious creamy tomato base where Rhode Island Clam chowder is simply a clear broth.

Of all varieties, I have to admit, this award winning New England Clam Chowder is definitely at the top of my list!

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New England Clam Chowder in a bowl and pot with writing
New England Clam Chowder with ladle and writing


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About the author

Holly Nilsson is the creator of Spend With Pennies, where she creates easy, comforting recipes made for real life. With a passion for nostalgic flavors and simplified techniques, Holly helps busy home cooks create delicious meals that always work. She is also the author of “Everyday Comfort,” which promises to inspire even more hearty, home-cooked meals.
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  1. this recipe was awesome, I made it exactly as instructed except for the oregano, next time I think I will use 4 cans of clams and 2 bottles of clam juice instead of the juice from the can only because the canned clams I get are packed with water. But the recipe was still fantastic and the red pepper flake was just right…5 stars

  2. This clam chowder recipe is amazing! We moved to Ohio from Cape Cod Massachusetts three years ago. That being said, it’s hard to find fresh seafood here and New England Clam Chowder was one of the things we missed the most. Thank you Holly!
    I pre ordered your cookbook can’t wait to get it!5 stars

  3. Firstly, and I think MOST importantly, I made this exactly as written to the best of my knowledge. I loved almost everything about this – creamy texture, potato flavor, salt level, etc. The only thing that I just didn’t care for was the herbs. I don’t know if it was the oregano or the thyme or the combination but it just stopped me from absolutely loving it. I would make this again but I would so some serious research on the herb mix.

    That being said we ate the entire batch.4 stars

  4. I stumbled across this recipe a few months ago and was skeptical after having tried NE Clam Chowder in the past and having it come up subpar.

    This recipe is LEGIT. It’s amazing – I’ve made it several times now and it’s awesome!5 stars

  5. I will have to say I am a devoted follower of your recipes. When I want to make something new, I look first to see if you have published a recipe. You have yet to let me down. This was no exception. I’ve made clam chowder before, but this was absolutely the best! The only thing that I would do differently is to put more clams just because we like clams. Thank you!5 stars

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words and for following along Vicki, you made my day! I’m so glad you loved this recipe as much as we do.

  6. This is the BEST Clam Chowder recipe! I changed absolutely nothing. My husband is from Mass so he is a true gourmand of clam chowder and he loved it.

  7. Made this tonight and hubs and I both loved it! Only change I made was to omit the oregano. Used my alligator chopper to cut all the potatoes nice and even. The soup looked and tasted just wonderful. Will be sharing tomorrow with a friend who is recuperating from surgery. Thank you so much for this great recipe!5 stars

  8. I plan to make this as an appetizer for Christmas dinner for 10 guests but will have cup size portions. Is the recipe as written enough in your opinion? I have no doubt the recipe is going to be fantastic based on the ingredients, detailed instructions and all the rave reviews. :-)5 stars

    1. As written this should make approximately 7 to 8 cups. You can click the print button to increase the servings. Enjoy!

  9. This clam chowder is the best. I’ve made it several times now and it always comes out sooo good . Thank you. I’m from Maine so I know good chowder.5 stars

  10. Great recipe.

    I ditched the juice the clams came in for separate bottles of clam juice. It’s a much cleaner taste but adds a little cost.5 stars

  11. Just made this. Are looking for a hearty clam chowder? If so, look no more. This is easily restaurant quality OR BETTER.
    Things I did;
    Really cooked the onion/celery down to just carmalized
    I used 4 cans of clams; 3 chopped 1 minced
    I drained most of the bacon fat and took ALL the bacon out of the pot and added the bacon when I put in the clams. That way, it does not over cook.
    This really is a winner and I certainly will be making this multiple times this winter5 stars