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 273 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.
4.96 from 273 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. Holy crap this is good. I added a little corn starch at the end, to thicken it up a bit. But it was freaking good. I went to school in New Hampshire so I used to have clam chowder a lot. This is one of the best I think I have ever had5 stars

  2. Yum!! Thank you. Didn’t have fresh parsley, so I served it with a small squeeze of fresh lime. It did the trick.5 stars

  3. I didn’t change a thing! I always believe in making a recipe as listed first time so you truly know how it is, and I won’t be changing anything. After serving I added a ton of pepper, it’s how we grew up, a little parsley, and oyster crackers. Was awesome it’s already written down in my family cookbook! We will be making it a lot this winter.5 stars

  4. I had New England-style clam chowder in a bread bowl at the Pike Place Market in Seattle. I enjoyed it so much I decided to try making it at home. I used this recipe with very slight modifications and it was quite more flavorful than what inspired me to make it. Killer!5 stars

  5. Fantastic recipe! Thanks for sharing it. This will be part of our Christmas Eve dinner tomorrow
    – my family will love this.5 stars

  6. I grew up on the coast of New Hampshire and frequented seafood restaurants along the ME, NH, and MA coastlines. Sorry, this recipe is NOT New England Clam Chowder. Authentic New England clam chowder does not have a chicken stock base.

    I tried this recipie and found that it tasted like so many of the other clam chowder fails that I found across the U.S.2 stars

  7. Wow! Just made this and it is a…..mazing! Followed the recipe and Jen, my husband and I can’t thank you enough for this!!!!! So delicious and creamy and hearty, would serve this to guests 5 stars

  8. This was my first attempt making clam chowder. I did add a little corn starch to thicken it up more. Everyone went back for more and said how good it was. Will definitely make this again.5 stars

  9. This was the best chowder I’ve had ever – I used Applewood smoked bacon instead of center cut because that’s what I had, and I simmered for longer because my potatoes weren’t getting soft so I’m not sure how those changed things but it was delicious. Thank you! I will definitely make this again :)5 stars

  10. I love your recipes and more times than not I’ll pick one of your recipes when I am looking for a certain recipe. Thank you for the inspirations!

  11. How much is a serving of New England clam chowder? 1 cup, 1 1/2 cups. It says 6 servings but does not say how much a “serving” is!!!

  12. This recipe blew me away. I’ve made 20 different recipes for New England clam chowder in my life and they’ve all been mediocre at best. This recipe appeared to be not that different than the others but man was that assumption thrown out the window when we ate it. The only change I made was adding 4 – 6.5 Oz cans of clams. I let it simmer for quite awhile before I added the cream and clams because we like it a little thicker. It’s a perfect recipe. I was kind of lucky because we use a lot of spices and I was out of thyme and parsley so those herbs were brand new. I also bought a new white pepper because the one I had was old as in a few years. This recipe is a keeper.5 stars

  13. Best chowder recipe ever! I made it exactly as called for, next time I will double the recipe! Thanks for sharing it!5 stars

  14. Wow. Amazing. I substituted pancetta for beacon. And used a mushroom broth for the chicken bullion. It was mind blowing.5 stars

  15. This was a wonderfully easy recipe and full of flavor! Red pepper flakes added a perfect amount of heat to it but can be skipped and still be fantastic. Will definitely keep this recipe as a go to.5 stars

  16. Amazing & delicious! Better than any chowder that I had in Boston, Cape Cod, & anywhere else. So easy to make & tasty!5 stars