New England Clam Chowder

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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!

Ladle of creamy clam chowder with crackers and parsley


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!

Close up of a ladle of clam chowder over a pot of soup

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 compliments 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.

A bowl of clam chowder with oyster crackers and parsley

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!

Wonderfully creamy New England Clam Chowder is way easier than you think to make at home and about to become a new family favorite!
4.93 from 14 votes
Review Recipe


Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 6 servings
Author Jen
Course Soup
Cuisine American
Wonderfully creamy New England Clam Chowder is way easier than you think to make at home and about to become a new family favorite!


  • 3 6.5 oz. cans chopped/minced clams in clam juice
  • 1 8 oz. bottle clam juice
  • 6 thick center-cut bacon strips chopped
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 stalks celery finely chopped
  • 1 large onion chopped
  • 1 1/4 pounds 3 1/2 cups Russet potatoes, peeled and diced into 1/4-1/2” cubes
  • 3-5 garlic cloves minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes optional
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 2 teaspoons chicken bouillon
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 tsp EACH dried parsley dried oregano, salt
  • 1/4 tsp EACH dried thyme pepper
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • Oyster crackers
  • Fresh parsley

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  1. Drain clam juice from cans into a measuring cup. Add enough bottled clam juice to equal 2 1/2 cups. Set aside.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Top individual servings with reserved bacon and oyster crackers and fresh parsley if desired.
Nutrition Information
Calories: 380, Fat: 26g, Saturated Fat: 13g, Cholesterol: 78mg, Sodium: 452mg, Potassium: 646mg, Carbohydrates: 26g, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 2g, Protein: 11g, Vitamin A: 16.5%, Vitamin C: 18.4%, Calcium: 7.8%, Iron: 22%

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

Keyword creamy, easy, homemade, new england clam chowder

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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Award winning New England Clam Chowder! It’s loaded with tender clams, creamy potatoes and salty, smoky bacon in a rich flavor bursting broth! #spendwithpennies #clamchowder #soup #easyrecipe #creamsoup
Award winning New England Clam Chowder! It’s loaded with tender clams, creamy potatoes and salty, smoky bacon in a rich flavor bursting broth! #spendwithpennies #clamchowder #soup #easyrecipe #creamsoup

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About the author


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Jen is a is a cystic fibrosis survivor, lung and kidney transplant recipient, lover of LIFE and FOOD! She lives in Carlsbad, California (north San Diego) with her husband, Patrick and her fur baby, Kiwi (French Bulldog) where she loves to paddle board, go on walks, and most of, all create new recipes. She loves sharing tried and true daringly delicious recipes at Carlsbad Cravings AKA extraordinary flavors out of everyday ingredients.

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  1. Amazing recipe, I used a blend of fresh middle necks I steamed and chopped plus 2 cans. You could tell a slight difference in texture, the fresh clams were less chewy. But overall still fabulous and really simple to make and extra clammy with the extra fresh clams.

  2. I love clam chauder, but never made it myself. I found a tray of de-shelled clam at local oriental store for less than $3, so I decided to make one myself. I found your recipie and it so good. I never knew such a thing, clam juice existed. Nice to know the word is full of wonder.

  3. Best clam chowder I have had and I’m from New England! I made a few minor changes, but stuck to your recipe and it has so much more flavor than most recipes that I’ve tried. One question – why do we only add the clams after it’s finished cooking?
    Thank you for posting.

    I left these out:
    extra clam juice

    Other changes:
    I used only about 1 clove of garlic
    Used a can of evaporated milk instead of the cream
    Added a little dried chives

    1. I am so glad you enjoyed this chowder Wendy!
      The reason the clams are added after cooking, is that you basically just want to heat the clams, not actually cook them. This keeps the clams from taking on that rubbery texture they tend to develop after too much cooking. I hope this helps!

  4. I just made my first ever “white” chowder. I usually make red. This is super tasting. The only thing I would do different is I would add 3/4 c cream and wait. It loosened up a bit and it looked so thick before. Recipe says you can add more if it’s too thick….but I would add less…. so very good!!!!

  5. Hi. I made this recipe. I have never used a recipe before for clam chowder. I always made my own. Honestly, this recipe was pretty good. Personally, I like a more clamy taste. Thanks for giving us a recipe to try.

  6. I’ve been making clam chowder for 20 years and this is by far the best! I used a smokey bacon (Nuske’s) and the flavors were outstanding. My husband and I consumed it all in two days!

  7. I’ve never made clam chowder (not a huge fan of clams) but my friend loves it so decided to give it a try. This is really good!! This may be one of the few recipes I haven’t tweaked quite a bit – great as is. I’m going to make it again for my Mom’s birthday

  8. It was my first try at NE Clam Chowder and it came out great. The prep time for me was much longer which I’ll attribute my not being a potato peeling expert as well as other prep work but I know it will go faster each time. I bought my minced clams in Costco (two 60oz cans) and they were perfect in the recipe. Also, I couldn’t get the thick bacon but the regular worked out fine. Thanks very much for this recipe. I got many compliments and requests for the recipe.

  9. Thank You. My first attempt at homemade chowder and it was a success. Couldn’t have done it without this recipe. I opted to use the crockpot, so a little tweaking of times was necessary but excellent results. I would love to get recommendations for minced clams available online. I used Bumble Bee, not bad, but wouldn’t mind having some options.

    1. I am so glad you loved it Danny! I am not sure about minced clams online, but I am sure someone else might have some suggestions for you!

  10. I had a recipe that was “handed down” which I tweaked over the years, but there was always “something” missing. After a lot of searching and comparing recipes, this one had all the elements that I thought we would enjoy. I was not wrong. I followed the recipe without making any changes and it was AMAZING. This will be replacing my old recipe for Clam Chowder – no tweaking necessary!

  11. I made this last night for supper and it was delicious-my husband loves clam chowder(New England style) and said this was the best of the best!

  12. The creaminess factor looks over the top! I there is something I adore about oyster crackers, they are just perfect with all soups!