The Best New England Clam Chowder Recipe

The Best New England Clam Chowder Recipe

The Best New England Clam Chowder Recipe
Nutritional Information (per serving)

View full nutrition label


Nutritional Information
Servings: 6 to 8
Amount per serving
% Daily Value*
Saturated fat 7g33%
52 mg17%
386 mg17%
Fiber 2g8th %
Total sugar 4g
Vitamin C 9 mg43%
Calcium 113 mg9%
Iron 2 mg12%
Potassium 850 mg18%
*The % Daily Value (DV) indicates how much a nutrient in a food portion contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories per day is used for general nutritional advice.

(Nutritional information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Clam chowder is one of the best comfort foods in the world, especially for anyone who grew up in New England. But low-quality clam chowder is common in home kitchens and restaurants.

Some are too fat, others too thin. Some shells are filled with rubbery shells, others are covered in bacon. That's why it's so important to have a good recipe on hand to satisfy that chowder craving whenever it strikes.

The very best bowl of clam chowder

The first published recipe for chowder (with clams or otherwise) comes from a print in the Boston Evening Post in 1751. This soup bore little resemblance to the thick, creamy stew we love today, and although clams were not originally the main ingredient , they certainly are now!

These days, the ideal bowl of chowder is full of salty clams, smoky notes of bacon, and a rich, luscious broth that just begs to be sipped straight from the bowl.

Some recipes call for fresh clams, but canned ones work just as well for both convenience and flavor.

Dairy is a relatively modern addition – although a creamy consistency is the hallmark of a classic clam chowder, it wasn't always that way. Potatoes are a wonderful side dish that help to further thicken and flavor the soup, as well as add some bite and texture.

What is the difference between New England Clam Chowder and Manhattan Clam Chowder?

Despite their common core ingredient, New England clam chowder and Manhattan clam chowder are very different dishes. New England clam chowder has a creamy milk base that is usually thickened with flour. Manhattan Clam Chowder, on the other hand, is thinner and bright red thanks to the addition of tomatoes.

Tips for clam chowder

  • Remember to save the clam juice! This adds a nice salty flavor to the soup without having to purchase an additional bottle.
  • Watch your salt! Both the bacon and canned clams are already salty, so you may not need to add as much when seasoning.

What to serve with clam chowder

As for garnishes, you can't go wrong with oyster crackers, but a few freshly chopped herbs (like chives) would work wonderfully, as would perhaps some extra crispy bacon. Nice, crusty slices of bread are also great for soaking up the soup.

“This mussel soup is a pure oasis of well-being. It is very easy to prepare because it uses canned mussels. Saving the juice to use in soup ensures great clam flavor. It's creamy but doesn't feel too heavy or too rich. Definitely enjoy.” a healthy batch of oyster crackers!” –Patty Lee

  • 2 slices Bacon, cut into 1/4-inch pieces

  • 2 tablespoon Butter, divided

  • 1 large yellow onion, peeled and diced

  • 1 tablespoon All-purpose flour

  • 2 cups Water

  • 4 Medium red potatoes, Peel and cut into 1/2-inch cubes

  • 3/4 teaspoon fine salt

  • hyphen fresh ground black pepper, or to taste

  • 2 cups half and half

  • 3 (6.5 ounces) cans chopped Shellfishdrained and stored with juice

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. In a Dutch oven or large pot over medium-high heat, cook the bacon until almost crispy.

  3. Reduce heat to low, add 1 tablespoon butter and onions, and sauté until softened, about 5 minutes. Be careful not to let the onions brown.

  4. Add the flour and cook for another 2 minutes.

  5. Stir in the water and reserved clam juice and once mixed, add the potatoes. Season with salt and pepper, increase the heat to medium, bring to a boil, and cook, uncovered, until the potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes.

  6. Reduce heat to very low, add half, remaining 1 tablespoon butter, and clams, and cook until heated through. Not cook! Turn off heat, adjust seasonings and serve hot.

Recipe variation

  • In the summer months, fresh corn kernels would add a nice sweetness and texture to this clam chowder.
  • Instead of mussels, try this recipe with white fish, mussels or other seafood.

Here's how to store it

  • Store leftover clam chowder in an airtight container for up to 3 days. To reheat, simmer on the stove, being careful not to boil.

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