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Making a delicious and indulgent clam chowder recipe is easier than you think. Homemade clam chowder is filled with all the tasty textures and flavors you’d expect, tender potatoes and clams alongside the salty bacon to create the perfect balance.  

A bowl of soup with crispy bacon added on top ready to be enjoyed.There’s just something about soup that screams comfort food. Homemade clam chowder recipe is the ultimate in comforting soups. This creamy and delicious soup is hearty, indulgent, and perfect for cooler days and nights. This is the New England chowder of your childhood, guys.

What is New England Clam Chowder?

I don’t have a lot of seafood recipes on my site because Mr. Wishes aversion to seafood, but that needs to change. After all, I tell him it’s all in his head and he loves to be told that, as you can imagine. I mean, how can he not like my Garlic Butter Shrimp with Creamy Sauce?

New England clam chowder is a thicker, cream based soup that usually includes clams, potatoes, vegetables, salty pork, and sometimes fish!

A look at the finished pot full of homemade clam chowder soup.

Other clam chowders are distinguished by their broth. Rhode Island is a thinner, clear broth and the Manhattan clam chowder is known for its red tomato broth. It is hot and hearty and sure to warm you up on cold days.

Ingredients needed for this easy clam chowder recipe:

These are all the ingredients needed to make a delicious clam chowder.

There are quite a few ingredients needed for my homemade clam chowder but they’re necessary and they come together to create a crave worthy soup that everyone will love. Don’t let the long list of ingredients scare you off, most of these go into the pot to simmer and that’s as hard as it gets to make a delicious homemade clam chowder!

  • 3 (6.5oz) cans of chopped clams, undrained
  • 1 (8oz) bottle of clam juice
  • 4 slices of cooked bacon, chopped
  • 2 stalks of celery, chopped
  • ½ small onion, chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 4 small potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • ⅓ cup flour
  • 3 cups half and half
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • ½ tsp dried parsley
  • ½ tsp dried oregano
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp dried thyme
  • ¼ tsp red pepper flakes
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • 2 tsp chicken bouillon
  • 2 tbsp butter

Here we see the vegetables being added to the pot so they can begin cooking and absorbing flavors for the homemade clam chowder.

Shouldn’t I use fresh clams for a New England clam chowder recipe?

Not everyone has access to fresh clams, for those of you who do, feel free to swap them out. I like using canned clams and clam juice so and I don’t notice a difference in flavor. The convenience of canned clams is nice for those times of the year when clams are not readily available as well!

Now the vegetables, bacon, and seasonings are mixing within in pot as we make our New England clam chowder recipe.

What kind of potatoes should I use for clam chowder?

Using russet potatoes is perfect for clam chowder. They have a naturally creamy texture and after they’re cooked in the soup they lend a nice potato flavor versus the more waxy flavor of other potato varieties.

Next up we have to add the potatoes and more seasonings for this easy clam chowder recipe.

How to make homemade clam chowder:

Let’s dive into this easy clam chowder recipe. In just a few easy steps you’ll have a delicious dinner recipe on the table that the whole family will enjoy. If you’re a lover of seafood, be sure to also try my Pineapple Shrimp Fried Rice.

  1. Drain the clam juice from the canned clams into a measuring cup. Add to it the bottle of clam juice, enough to make 2 ½ cups, and set aside.
  2. In a dutch oven over medium heat cook bacon so that the fat is rendered and it is slightly brown. Remove half of the bacon, and with the remaining bacon and dripping, melt 2 tablespoons butter.
  3. Increase heat to medium-high and add in the celery and onion. Saute for 5-7 minutes or until onions are soft and translucent. Add potatoes, garlic, and red pepper flakes to the pot and cook for an additional 30 seconds.
  4. Sprinkle in flour and cook for an additional 1 minute. Stir in chicken broth, clam juice, chicken bouillon, and all seasonings.
  5. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Simmer, uncovered, for 15-20 minutes or until potatoes are very tender.
  6. Stir in heavy cream and bring back to a simmer to heat through. Remove from heat and stir in clams.

Image shows the liquid being added to make the broth of our New England clam chowder recipe.

This is the step where we add the seasonings to make our homemade clam chowder recipe flavorful and delicious.

How to make this clam chowder recipe thicker or thinner:

Everyone likes their clam chowder a certain way. If you find that you want to adjust the thickness of the soup after the recipe is finished here are some tips to help.

  • To add thickness you can simmer the soup for a bit uncovered. This will naturally allow the soup to thicken. You can also add a little less half and half.
  • If you like to have clam chowder that is more on the thin side you can add some chicken broth after the cooking process. Stir in slowly until the soup reaches your desired thickness!

Adding cream to the clam chowder recipe is key. It is what makes New England clam chowder unique.

A top down view of the finished creamy New England clam chowder soup recipe.

How to top your New England clam chowder:

You may top with the reserved bacon, oyster crackers, and even fresh parsley if you desire. There’s nothing wrong with just digging into it as is either! This recipe is so delicious that no one could blame you for not wanting to waste time before digging in.

If you’re looking for a creamy soup without the seafood, check out my Copycat Panera Chicken & Wild Rice Soup. I love soups with a creamy texture in the winter. You should also check out my friends recipe for Drunken Clams with Italian Sausage!

A top down view of the finished creamy New England clam chowder soup recipe.

 

5.0 from 7 reviews
New England Clam Chowder
Author: 
Recipe type: Dinner
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
 
This homemade clam chowder recipe is easier than you think! This is a traditional New England clam chowder recipe everyone loves!
Ingredients
  • 3 (6.5oz) cans of chopped clams, undrained
  • 1 (8oz) bottle of clam juice
  • 4 slices of cooked bacon, chopped
  • 2 stalks of celery, chopped
  • ½ small onion, chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 4 small potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • ⅓ cup flour
  • 3 cups half and half
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • ½ tsp dried parsley
  • ½ tsp dried oregano
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp dried thyme
  • ¼ tsp red pepper flakes
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • 2 tsp chicken bouillon
  • 2 tbsp butter
Instructions
  1. Drain the claim juice from the canned clams into a measuring cup. Add to it the bottle of clam juice, enough to make 2 ½ cups, and set aside.
  2. In a dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat cook bacon so that the fat is rendered and it is slightly brown. Remove half of the bacon, and with the remaining bacon and dripping, melt 2 tablespoons butter.
  3. Increase heat to medium-high and add in the celery and onion. Saute for 5-7 minutes or until onions are soft and translucent. Add potatoes, garlic, and red pepper flakes to the pot and cook for an additional 30 seconds.
  4. Sprinkle in flour and cook for an additional 1 minute. Stir in chicken broth, clam juice, chicken bouillon and all seasonings.
  5. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Simmer, uncovered, for 15-20 minutes or until potatoes are very tender.
  6. Stir in heavy cream and bring back to a simmer to heat through. Remove from heat and stir in clams.
Notes:
  1. You may top with reserved bacon, oyster crackers and fresh parsley if you desire.

Making a delicious and indulgent clam chowder recipe is easier than you think. Homemade clam chowder is filled with all the tasty textures and flavors you’d expect, tender potatoes and clams alongside the salty bacon to create the perfect balance.

Sharing is caring!