If you are a fan of seafood, you are going to love this delicious and creamy New England Clam Chowder. Bursting with seafood flavor, this recipe is perfect for dinner, lunch, or any time you need a warm, hearty meal.
When the weather began to get brisk, my mom always used to whip up her favorite clam chowder recipe. Although we loved it as a dinner option, it was also our go-to soup when we were feeling under the weather. Of course, we were all fans of seafood, especially deliciously sweet clams.
Clam Chowder is an American cuisine that uses chopped clams. In addition to clams, this recipe includes bacon, potatoes, onions, and carrots for a hearty, nutritious meal the whole family will love.
You can make this delicious soup for dinner, lunch, family get-togethers, or as a healthy soup option when you aren’t feeling quite up to par.
What’s the Difference Between England and Manhattan Clam Chowder?
Clam chowder is a delicious soup made with clams, potatoes, and bacon. Although England and Manhattan clam chowder both have a clean, briny and slightly sweet flavor, they are totally different.
New Englanders really take pride in their famous chowder. It’s a thick cream or broth-based soup which includes potatoes and onions sauteed in pork fat. Manhattan clam chowder, on the other hand, has a tomato base and no cream.
Why You’ll Love this Clam Chowder Recipe
I am a huge fan of clams, so I personally love this recipe because I love seafood. But, there are more reasons to love it, and here are just a few of them:
- It’s not tomatoey. Traditional clam chowder is made in a tomato base, but this New England clam chowder is a white cream and broth based recipe. It’s super creamy and comforting!
- Healthy and delicious. Made with clams, potatoes, and veggies, this recipe is both healthy and delicious. It uses a good amount of cream, but you can always lighten it up by using less cream or substituting with half and half.
- Simple ingredients. Other than the clams, you shouldn’t have any problems finding all the ingredients you need even in the smallest grocery store.
Clam Chowder Ingredients
This recipe is made with hearty and healthy ingredients. Before you delve in, make sure you have everything you need:
Complete list of ingredients and amounts can be found in the recipe card below.
- Clams. As its name suggests, the main ingredient is clams. We use cans of chopped clams, but you can use fresh ones if you have them.
- Bacon. You need 4 slices of bacon. Bacon gives your chowder a salty and delicious flavor pairing beautifully with the sweetness of the clams.
- Potatoes. Broth and clams won’t fill you up by themselves. Potatoes add to the flavor and texture, but also make this meal super hearty.
- Vegetables. With carrots, onion, and celery, you are adding a little flavor and a lot of nutritional value.
- Milk and Cream. Instead of a tomatoey base, milk and cream give you a deliciously creamy texture to your soup.
- Flour. You won’t taste the flour. It’s used as a thickening agent for your soup.
- Seasonings. As with any hearty soup, you need a little seasoning. For this recipe, you will use onion, garlic, thyme, salt, pepper, parsley, and a bay leaf.
How to Make Clam Chowder
This clam chowder recipe is super easy to make. Follow the steps below.
- Saute the Bacon: First, you will want to heat a dutch oven over medium heat, and saute the bacon until it is brown and crispy. Place bacon on a paper towel lined plate.
- Save Bacon Grease: Be sure to save 1 tablespoon of bacon grease from the dutch oven to use later. Put it in a cup or a bowl and set aside.
- Saute Veggies: In the remaining bacon grease, saute the celery, carrot, and onion for about 3 minutes. Then, add the garlic and cook for an additional 30 seconds.
- Soak up the Grease with Flour: Next, sprinkle the vegetables with flour and saute for another minute. The flour will help soak up the remaining grease as well as thicken your soup later on.
- Simmer Broth and Seasonings: Add your chicken or vegetable broth, clam juice, bay leaf, thyme, salt, and pepper to the vegetables. Cook for 1-2 minutes whisking constantly until the broth thickens. Bring it to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer.
- Add Potatoes and Cook: Finally, add in your potatoes and stir in the milk. Cover the dutch oven with a lid and cook the potatoes for 15 minutes or until the potatoes are fork tender.
- Remove the Bay Leaf: Remove the bay leaf from the soup. You won’t want to eat it. It just adds flavor while cooking.
- Add Cream and Clams: After you remove the bay leaf, add in your clams and cream. Continue to simmer the soup for an additional 2 minutes.
- Adjust to Your Liking: Take a little taste. If it isn’t quite how you like your chowder, you can adjust the seasoning to your liking or adjust the consistency with milk or cornstarch slurry.
- Serve and Enjoy: Garnish with fresh parsley leaves and extra crispy bacon, then serve immediately with toasted bread and oyster crackers.
Tips and Ticks
I love this recipe just the way it is, but you can make it just as delicious even if you don’t have all the right ingredients. Here are some tips and tricks to substituting successfully.
- Substitute milk and heavy cream. You can substitute the milk and heavy cream with half and half.
- You can substitute broth. Instead of using chicken or vegetable broth, you can use clam juice or shrimp stock/broth.
- Substitute bacon. If you don’t want to use bacon, you can substitute it with salt pork, pancetta, or diced cubed ham.
- Thicken the soup. If you feel the soup is too thin, you can add 1-2 tablespoons of cornstarch mixed with the chowder broth and cooked for 1-2 minutes.
- Thin the soup. If the soup seems too thick, you can thin it by adding a little more milk.
Other Soup Recipes to Try
Fall and winter seasons are the perfect time to get creative with soup. Here are some of my other favorite soup recipes:
Can I Serve it in a Bread Bowl?
Bread is one of my favorite side options to go with this delicious New England clam chowder soup. In fact, it is traditionally served with bread, or in a bread bowl. With that being said, you can absolutely serve this soup in a bread bowl. Follow this Homemade Bread Bowls recipe to make your own!
What Do I Serve Clam Chowder With?
I serve my clam chowder with toasted bread, soda crackers or oysters. But, you can serve this delicious soup with a variety of sides including:
Bursting with seafood flavor in a white, creamy broth, this recipe is sure to be a hit with the whole family. If you liked this recipe as much as I do, pin it to Pinterest for others to enjoy. Remember, sharing is caring.
- 4 slices bacon diced
- 2 ribs celery diced
- 2 carrots peeled and sliced into rings
- 1 small onion diced
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 cups low sodium chicken/vegetable broth or stock
- 2 6.5-ounce cans chopped clams juices reserved
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 ½ teaspoons salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 lb 4 medium potatoes (yukon gold or russet) peeled and diced into ¼ -inch pieces
- 2 cups milk
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley leaves chopped
- Oyster crackers for serving
- Heat a Dutch oven over medium heat, and sauté the bacon until browned and crisp (about 8 minutes). Transfer to a paper towel lined plate reserving 1 tablespoon of bacon fat, and set aside.
- To the bacon grease add the celery, carrot, and onion, and cook while stirring occasionally for 3 minutes.
- Add the garlic, and cook for 30 seconds.
- Sprinkle the vegetables with flour, and sauté for another minute.
- Add the chicken or vegetable stock/broth, clam juice, bay leaf, thyme, salt, and pepper. Cook for 1-2 minutes while whisking constantly until it thickens. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to bring to a simmer.
- Add the potatoes, and then stir in the milk.
- Cover with the lid and cook for about 15 minutes or until the potatoes are fork-tender.
- Remove the bay leaf.
- Stir in the cream and the clams, and cook for 2 more minutes (simmer, do not boil).
- Adjust seasonings to your preference, and adjust the consistency if needed (add more milk if the chowder is too thick, or thicken with a corn starch slurry if it’s too thin. Add 1-2 tablespoons of corn starch mixed with the chowder broth and cook for 1-2 minutes to let it thicken).
- Garnish with fresh parsley leaves, and serve immediately with toasted bread and oyster crackers.
- Serving: This recipe serves 6-8 people.
- This recipe uses whole milk and heavy cream, but you can substitute with half and half if that’s what you have.
- Clam juice can be substituted with chicken or vegetable broth.
- Shrimp stock/broth can be used in place of chicken/vegetable stock/broth.
- Salt pork, pancetta, or diced cubed ham can be used instead of bacon if desired.
- Serve with toasted bread, soda crackers, or oyster crackers.
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition data is gathered primarily from the USDA Food Composition Database, whenever available, or otherwise other online calculators.
© Little Sunny Kitchen