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
4.95 from 306 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


  • 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.
4.95 from 306 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

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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 with ladle and writing


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About the author

Holly is a wine and cheese lover, recipe creator, shopping enthusiast and self appointed foodie. Her greatest passion is creating in the kitchen and making deliciously comforting recipes for the everyday home cook!
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Recipe Rating


  1. Living in CT, I believe I’m a bit of an expert critic. I made this as written, except I was about a half cup short of clam broth. I used fresh chopped clams in their juices, from the fish dept.
    it was wonderful!

  2. Love this recipe! So yummy and has great depth of flavor. I’m making it today and putting it in a crock pot for my husbands work potluck tomorrow. Do you think it will reheat just fine tomorrow in the crockpot? I’m going to try your other soups now because this chowdah is bangin!!5 stars

    1. It should be okay reheated in the crockpot. I would reheat it on low if possible to help keep the cream from separating and possibly add a little extra broth or cream if it becomes too thick.

  3. Don’t let the darker color fool you when you make this SUPER Yummy chowda! The bacon and the bacon grease make the color darker, but the flavor meter is off the chart!! We are going to use this recipe time and time again. SO glad I found this! YUM!! Thank you!5 stars

  4. Disappointing. To me, New England Clam Chowder is white. This came out kind of beige. I added all the seasonings but it still tasted like flavored chicken broth. I wouldn’t recommend it.3 stars

  5. This recipe was delicious!!! I added more clams, used 4 cups of clams juice, light cream and one chicken bouilon cube that was the perfect amount of liquid5 stars

  6. Top notch taste of new England, with a couple simple mods. I recommend doubling the amount of bacon and clams, the latter of which gives you extra clam juice and negates the need for chicken broth, which is not “chowdery.” Omit any herb not called thyme but do add some ground white pepper.5 stars

  7. This is a delicious recipe. My husband said it was the best clam chowder he has ever had. The only thing I added was a few sprigs of tarragon along with the bay leaves. Comfort food at its best. Thank you for the recipe Jen. I will definitely make this again.5 stars

  8. I’ve made this chowder several times and it’s wonderful. Sometimes I add more potatoes to “extend” the recipe a little bit. I also add chopped mushrooms if I have extra on hand.5 stars

  9. sounds like a Perfect recipe .. I’m wondering and I see it all the time. I look at the nutrition part of a recipe and it says what it is per serving but never tells you what the serving size is. What is the serving size ?

  10. Made this Chowder tonight and it was GREAT! Alot of prep involved (chopping potatoes, onions, garlic, etc) so I had my fingers crossed it was all worth it and boy was it ever. This recipe is a keeper, I know I’ll be making it again and again. Thank you!!5 stars

  11. Absolutely delicious!!!! Will make many more times! Highly recommend. If you are making for a family I suggest doubling the recipe5 stars

  12. I made this and it was easy and delicious! I really liked it even more the second day even more as spices infused longer in it. Would not change a thing. Thank you!

  13. This is a good flavored soup but it is NOT a new england clam chowder. To many herbs involved in this recipe. Doesn’t even come close to the taste of NECC. Very disappointed in it as my first time attempting NECC and this is the recipe I selected and it was a fail. NECC should not have oregano in it and if you add thyme it is a very little amount and maybe fresh parsley for serving purposes. No chicken broth for certain because it takes away from the clams…2 stars