New England Clam Chowder

5 from 4 votes

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Loaded with tender chunks of potatoes, celery and onions all swimming in a beautifully flavored cream-based broth loaded with chopped clams and crispy bacon on top, this New England Clam Chowder hits the spot.

bowl of New England Clam Chowder

New England Clam Chowder

So now that I’m up in the Portland area, it’s a bit colder, a bit wetter and soup like my New England Clam Chowder always seems to not only warm me up, but fill me up.

Creamy comfort food in 30 minutes? Yes please!

Did you know there are 3 types of clam chowder?

New England Clam Chowder is the white cream version, where Manhattan Clam Chowder is the red, tomato based broth one. Then there is Boston Clam Chowder, which is the same as New England version, but the broth is thicker.

overhead shot of New England Clam Chowder

Kitchen tips for New England Clam Chowder

  1. Keep those wonderful, tender clams out of the soup until the last minutes to heat through. So many times I read recipes where they are added too early and get overcooked. I mean, like bits of rubber. No bueno. We want tender clams in each spoonful!
  2. This recipe is for the New England version, but if you want to make the Boston version, simply bump the flour from 1/4 cup to a 1/3 and omit the added bottle of clam juice. Just use the 4 cans of chopped clams and their juices. This makes for a thicker version.
  3. I like to use small new white potatoes, not Russet or red potatoes in this soup.
  4. Go for the thick cut bacon and slowly render to crisp. These are great for the topping as opposed to the thinner version.
  5. I use heavy cream, to lighten it up, substitute with half and half.

New England Clam Chowder in black bowl

Other Great Soup Ideas

  • Zuppa Toscana
    Seared Italian sausage meat, bacon, onion and garlic caramelize then simmer in a chicken broth loaded with fresh kale and potatoes that gets finished off with heavy cream. If you need a tasty, one pot, comfort food soup, this Zuppa Toscana is for you.
  • Mom’s Navy White Beans
    A comfort food classic from my mom’s recipe book, these Navy White Beans are tender, simply seasoned and can be flavored to suit any dish. She used to add sliced franks to stretch the meal and it always reminds me of her.
  • Bean Beef and Barley Soup
    This Mixed Bean Beef and Barley Soup is a great one for the stovetop, but made quicker in the Instant Pot. My trusted kitchen appliance never fails and for this comfort food classic soup of beef and barley, I like to add mixed beans to bulk it up.

With only 10 ingredients, this is a beautifully seasoned soup, loaded with good things and it’s super easy to pull together on any busy week night.

So grab that loaf of crusty french bread, make a side salad if you want a bigger meal, and get ready to spoon into a bowl of tasty comfort food. Enjoy!

spoonful of New England Clam Chowder

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overhead photo of a bowl of New England Clam chowder

My New England Clam Chowder

5 from 4 votes
New England Clam Chowder, made in 30 minutes, is a bowl of comfort loaded with tender clams, potatoes, celery and onions in a beautiful, cream-based broth.
Servings: 6
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 25 minutes
Total: 30 minutes

Ingredients 

  • 6 slices bacon thick cut
  • 1 medium yellow onion chopped (about 1 cup total)
  • 2 ribs of celery chopped (about 1 cup total)
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 4 6.5 oz cans chopped clams undrained
  • 8 oz bottle clam juice
  • 2 cups heavy cream or Half and Half
  • 4 cups new white potatoes cubed small
  • 1/2 tsp salt and black pepper each
  • 1 tsp dried thyme leaves

Instructions 

  • Drain clam juice from each can into a measuring cup and keep clams separate in a small bowl.
  • Cut bacon slices into sliced 1/2" pieces. Add to a large stock pot over medium low heat. Slowly render and cook until crisp. Remove bacon with slotted spoon and set aside.
  • Add the onions and celery to the bacon fat, turn heat up to medium high and cook for 5 minutes. Add the garlic and flour and cook for another 2 minutes, stirring frequently.
  • Add both the drained and bottle of clam juice, heavy cream, potatoes, kosher salt, pepper and thyme. Stir to mix thoroughly and bring to a boil. Lower heat to simmer and cook for 15 minutes uncovered, stirring occasionally, scraping bottom of pan.
  • Use a potato masher and carefully mash to desired thickness. I like to leave chunks of potatoes. Add the reserved clams, stir through and cook another minute or two until warmed through.
  • Serve topped with bacon crumbles and crusty bread.

Notes

Kitchen tips for New England Clam Chowder

  1. Keep those wonderful, tender clams out of the soup until the last minutes to heat through. So many times I read recipes where they are added too early and get overcooked. I mean, like bits of rubber. No bueno. We want tender clams in each spoonful!
  2. This recipe is for the New England version, but if you want to make the Boston version, simply bump the flour from 1/4 cup to a 1/3 and omit the added bottle of clam juice. Just use the 4 cans of chopped clams and their juices. This makes for a thicker version.
  3. I like to use small new white potatoes, not Russet or red potatoes in this soup.
  4. Go for the thick cut bacon and slowly render to crisp. These are great for the topping as opposed to the thinner version.
  5. I use heavy cream, to lighten it up, substitute with half and half.

Nutrition

Calories: 317kcal | Carbohydrates: 29g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Cholesterol: 47mg | Sodium: 383mg | Potassium: 712mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 424IU | Vitamin C: 18mg | Calcium: 136mg | Iron: 4mg

The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

Course: Soup
Cuisine: American, Western
Have You Made This Recipe? Let Me Know on InstagramTag @keviniscooking or tag me #keviniscooking!

Kevin

Whether in the kitchen or on the grill, you’ll find me cooking American favorites with a love for BBQ, Mexican and Tex Mex. I’m passionate about making tasty food because life’s too short to be bland!

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18 Comments

  1. Hi looking at the recipe. It sounds interesting. Do u use baby new potatoes and if so they r do small do u Perl them?

  2. If in New England, no bacon is added. Bacon is added in other parts of the country so you don’t taste the clams.
    this is a good bacon chowder recipe.

  3. 5 stars
    Hi: this is great. I did not ache clams on hand, but did have some clm juice and smoked salmon. so made smoked salmon chowder. This recipe accepted the substitutions readily. I, too am in the PNW and we do have lots of seafood here. Am not as much of a cam fan as salmon. but I willl try this with clams sometime. for now I am very happy with the salmon. Your base is great–and some rosemary bread, mmmm.

  4. Did you know there is a fourth style of clam chowder? ‘Hatteras’ style is popular along the Carolina coast and features a clear broth.

  5. 5 stars
    OMGoodness!
    New England Chowder better by far than Manhattan.
    Can’t imagine who would want to ruin good chowder with tomatoes and thin broth.
    Have you heard of Justapinch.com?
    It’s a recipe saving and sharing site.
    Add this button to your page and readers can quickly save recipes they love.
    *Recipe Box Plugin™

    1. Thanks so much Ruth, so glad you’re a New England Clam Chowder fan, too!
      As for Just a Pinch, no I do not see those types of things on my site as they take hard work from bloggers and have the result son their sites (that also have advertising) and make money off others’ work. While that may be a nice thing for a reader, it’s not for someone like me who shops for, recipe tests, photographs, writes and does all the marketing to get you to come to my site and see my recipe. Feel free to Pin the recipe and you’ll always have it and a link back to me. 🙂

  6. Hey Kevin! Sounds like life in the Northwest is good and this chowde is a surefire belly warmer! I’ve got most of the ingredients on hand, just need to pick up a couple more cans of clams. I’ve got a loaf of rosemary olive oil bread that would be a great dipper for this!