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

REPIN THIS EASY CHOWDER RECIPE HERE!

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 261 votes↑ Click stars to rate now!
Or to leave a comment, click here!

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

Ingredients  

  • 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

Instructions 

  • 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 261 votes↑ Click stars to rate now!
Or to leave a comment, click here!

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 in a bowl and pot with writing
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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Comments

  1. I have made this about 20 times. It’s one of my favorite recipes ever and I can never eat chowder in a restaurant again, it makes me crave this one. And I live in New England!4 stars

  2. I like my chowder pretty thick so i increased the potatoes to 2 lbs and after they cooked I puried a cup and a half in a blender… Be careful doing this if you do to much too fast the blender could explode with hot chowder all over the ceiling I also added an extra can of clams4 stars

  3. Happened to luck out with some fairly large diced fresh clams, not canned. Proceeded with your recipe for a CHOWDER Fest at our yacht club. There were maybe 15 versions, and you had a chance to vote on your favorite. Mine was gone! I’m pretty sure you provided a “winner” recipe for me! Thanks!

  4. made a double batch used a half a teaspoon black pepper per batch, left out the other spices and the salt ,did not add any butter sauteed my veggies in the Bacon fat , made a cornstarch roux with cold water to thicken up instead of flour. This recipe turned out very tasty I am glad because I will be eating it mostly all week next week. I will try the same recipe and substitute in some chicken and broccoli instead of the clams or maybe just sharp cheddar cheese for cheesy potato soup. I absolutely love your recipes and I use them for a guide for a lot help my meals!5 stars

  5. Best ever! We love clam chowder and are picky about it. This recipe has spoiled us for all other clam chowders. I cut up all the veggies ahead of time and then prepared it. It was a breeze and oh so worth it! Very creamy and rich tasting with just the right blend of spices. This recipe is a keeper!

  6. This recipe is the best! Every time I make it it comes out great!!super easy to make. perfect recipe… if you wanna add or minus for your own spin that is awesome too5 stars

  7. I’ve been using this recipe for a few months now. I’m living in Phoenix, but originally from Washington state, and a HUGE fan of good clam chowder, in particular Ivar’s in Seattle. Cannot find anything close either in a restaurant or retail store in this landlocked desert. I tried this recipe and absolutely fell in love. I mean I talked about this for days after trying it!
    THANK YOU for this amazing recipe! An added plus, just read your bio and it tickled me to see you’re from one of our favorite vacation spots, Carlsbad! You’re blessed to live in such a beautiful place. I’ll be checking out all your recipes starting today! ;)5 stars

    1. Other readers have used fresh clams with great results, Will! Hopefully, it will turn out delicious for you as well. I have not tried to freeze this soup however in my experience, soups with dairy don’t tend to freeze well.

  8. What a fantastic soup! So much flavour. The only change I made was to use fresh clams. We live in New Brunswick, Canada on the ocean so we can go did our own clams!5 stars

  9. So good! Didn’t have heavy cream so I made my own with milk and butter. Can’t stop eating it! Thank you for a fabulous recipe ☺️5 stars

  10. Delicious! Easy to make, came together so quick. Nice and thick, following recipe. Next time, I’ll use no sodium chicken broth and omit the salt called for in the recipe as it was too salty. Otherwise, great flavor!5 stars

  11. Great recipe. I left out the cream and it was sooooooo good.. Lactose is not agreeable to me and not needed in this recipe if you are like me.5 stars

  12. I really liked this recipe. Be careful with the bouillon and I’d add one cube and wait until the end. Mine ended up just slightly salty but still delish. I did not need 3 cans of clams.3 stars

    1. Thanks, Janelle! You can also choose lower sodium bacon as well to cut down on the salt in the recipe, and be sure to use a low sodium chicken broth as well.

      1. Your recipe calls for 8oz of clam juice but in your directions it states to add 2 1/2 cups of reserved clam juice. So is it 8oz or 2 1/2 cups??

      2. It’s 2 ½ cups. The additional juice comes from the canned clams (this is measured in step 1).