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This savory recipe for clam chowder is so flavorful and delicious, and super easy to make. It’s the perfect warm soup for a cozy night!

Chowders are the ultimate comfort food on a cold day, and this recipe for clam chowder is the most classic of them all. We also love Chicken Corn Chowder and Potato Corn Chowder!

Clam chowder in a white bowl with biscuits on the side.

Ready in 45 Minutes or Less!

We are huge soup fans at my house and enjoy eating it all year round, but I always look forward to the colder months, when I can make soup without making my kitchen unbearably hot.

When it’s cold outside, a thick and hearty soup like this delicious recipe for clam chowder is a must! It’s loaded with tender chunks of potatoes, crisp bacon, savory clams, and a creamy and flavorful soup base.

Today’s clam chowder is incredibly delicious, totally filling, and my kids always gobble it up without complaining. Oh yeah – and it’s all made in 45 minutes or less!

I’ve tried a lot of varieties of this chowder, and I love that this one isn’t very fishy tasting. The canned clams and clam juice make it delicious and flavorful without being too salty. The bacon adds another little boost of flavor and is the perfect complement to the clams. This chowder is so good!

A ladle full of clam chowder over a dutch oven.

How to Make Clam Chowder

This recipe for clam chowder is surprisingly effortless to make, considering how hearty and delicious it is! The most time-consuming part is probably preparing/chopping all the ingredients.

BACON. Add the bacon to a large pot over medium heat, and cook until crisp and browned. Remove the bacon from the pot and place it on paper towels to drain.

VEGGIES. Add the butter, celery, onion, and garlic to the pot, and cook for 3-4 minutes, until the onions and celery are softened.

POTATOES. Add the potatoes, chicken broth, clam juice, pepper, salt, and Old Bay seasoning to the pot. Simmer for 10-15 minutes, or until the potatoes are cooked through and easily pierced with a fork.

THICKEN. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, half and half, and milk. Pour the flour mixture into the pot and cook for 10 minutes, or until thickened.

Slow Cooker Directions

Easily make this homemade clam chowder in the crock pot!

COMBINE. Cook the bacon, celery, onion, and garlic as instructed on the recipe card. Add it to a crock pot as well as the potatoes, clams, broth, and seasonings.

COOK. Cook on LOW for 6-7 hours. In a separate bowl, mix the flour, half and half, and milk until smooth. Add it to the slow cooker during the last 30 minutes of cook time.

Overhead shot of chowder in a white bowl.

Recipe Tips

These simple tips will make the best clam chowder recipe even better!

  • Don’t discard the bacon drippings. It will help infuse so much flavor into the vegetables when you sauté them. 
  • Half and half is a mixture of whole milk and heavy cream. To make your own, combine ¾ cup of whole milk with ¼ cup of heavy cream.
  • For even more taste and texture add chopped carrots and bell peppers.
  • Old Bay Seasoning is a mixture of celery seed, paprika, mustard, salt, red pepper, and black pepper.

Toppings. We like to top ours with sliced green onions and oyster crackers, with maybe a little extra crumbled bacon sprinkles on top. For some color add some chopped fresh parsley or scallions.

Potatoes. I’ve made it with both russet potatoes and red potatoes, and it’s delicious either way. If using russet potatoes, peel them before cutting. If you use red potatoes or Yukon gold potatoes you do not need to peel them just wash and dice.

How to thicken clam chowder. I like creamy clam chowder but the texture is really a matter of preference. For thinner chowder, add more broth. For a thicker clam chowder recipe there are several ways to obtain that.

  • Add a cornstarch slurry: In a separate bowl, combine 1 tablespoon of cold water with 1 tablespoon of cornstarch. Pour it into the chowder and simmer.  
  • Potatoes. Smash a few of the potatoes already in the chowder and stir. You can also add some potato flakes. 
  • Simmer longer to allow for the extra liquid to evaporate out.
Several baked bread bowls on a sheet pan with one cut open.

Serving + Storing Info

Serving suggestions. I like to serve this clam chowder with warm crusty bread or cheese Biscuits on the side, and a green salad to balance things out a little. You can also serve it in a delicious Bread Bowl. It’s one of our favorite cold-weather meals!

STORE. Place leftover New England clam chowder in an air-tight container and refrigerate for up to 3 days.

FREEZE. Clam chowder can also be frozen for up to 3 months. Thaw in the fridge and then reheat it slowly over low heat stirring occasionally to help it combine smoothly.

Homemade recipe for clam chowder topped with green onions.

Recipe FAQ

What potatoes are best in clam chowder?

You can use russet, red, or Yukon gold potatoes. Russet potatoes will need to be peeled, but red and gold potatoes just need to be washed before you cube them.

Are canned clams good in clam chowder?

Canned clams are a wonderful alternative to using fresh clams for a few reasons. Canned clams are considerably less expensive, very flavorful, and much quicker and easier.

For More of our Favorite Creamy Soups, Try:

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5 from 12 votes

Recipe for Clam Chowder

By: Lil’ Luna
This savory recipe for clam chowder is so flavorful and delicious, and super easy to make. It's the perfect warm soup for a cozy night!
Servings: 8
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 30 minutes
Total: 40 minutes

Ingredients 

  • 5 slices bacon chopped
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 cup celery chopped
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 4-5 medium potatoes peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 3 6.5 ounce cans clams drained and juice reserved
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup half and half
  • 1 cup milk
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Instructions 

  • Add the bacon to a large pot over medium heat, and cook until crisp and browned. Remove the bacon from the pot and place it on paper towels to drain.
  • Add the butter, celery, onion, and garlic to the pot, and cook for 3-4 minutes, until the onions and celery are softened.
  • Add the potatoes, chicken broth, clam juice, pepper, salt, and Old Bay seasoning to the pot. Simmer for 10-15 minutes, or until the potatoes are cooked through and easily pierced with a fork.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, half and half, and milk. Pour the flour mixture into the pot and cook for 10 minutes, or until thickened.

Nutrition

Calories: 219kcal, Carbohydrates: 22g, Protein: 7g, Fat: 12g, Saturated Fat: 6g, Cholesterol: 27mg, Sodium: 691mg, Potassium: 612mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 2g, Vitamin A: 235IU, Vitamin C: 16mg, Calcium: 109mg, Iron: 4mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Main Course, Soup
Cuisine: American
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About Kristyn

My name is Kristyn and I’m the mom of SIX stinkin’ cute kids and the wife to my smokin’ hot hubby, Lo. My mom’s maiden name is Luna, and I’m one of the many crafty “Lil’ Lunas” in the fam. On this site I like to share all things creative - from recipes to home decor to gifts and home decor ideas. Welcome!

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Recipe Rating




15 Comments

  1. Larry Kashdan says:

    This recipe looks SOOOOO good!
    I will definitely try it! 😋

  2. Jen says:

    5 stars
    My favorite go to chowder recipe.

    1. Lil'Luna Team says:

      Thank you!! Glad to hear that you enjoy the chowder!