Best Clam Chowder

Any time of year, this delicious, creamy soup, Best Clam Chowder, is the perfect dish to serve for a lighter meal.

I love the magic of soup season—-the comfort and ease of gathering ’round the table with family and friends! Planning a soup meal is quite simple, especially serving my yummy Best Clam Chowder as the main dish, with a side of hot bread and a basic green salad (or Classic Shrimp Salad with Thousand Island Dressing.)

In the past, I’ve been intimidated to make Clam Chowder, because I was afraid it wouldn’t be as tasty as a bowl that might be served at the beach, or at a really good restaurant. But this recipe is one of my favorites, and is one of the top recipes on my RE! Yay! :)

Best Clam Chowder |

In fact, watch the video above and see for yourself how simple it is to make Clam Chowder …

Soup season means slowing down, inviting people in to your home, and sharing life … and love.

Best Clam Chowder.

Clam Chowder is so easy to make, I always wonder why I don’t make it more often. (We trypically make it around Christmas or the holidays.)

Plus, this recipe has bacon (YUM!)It’s comforting, filling, and delicious, and it’s also the perfect “light” holiday meal.

Clam Chowder |

Relax and enjoy.

Slowing down and enjoying the table experience means to be present in the moment!

Don’t over complicate. If you’re planning a soup night, keep it simple! Make the soup ahead of time, set out hot bread and a fresh salad. You don’t need to be a slave to your kitchen! Planning a simple menu means more time with your guests.

Get off social media. Ask everyone around the table to put their phones away. There’s no need to be looking at what others are doing (scrolling through Facebook or Instagram, while you’re at the table with dinner guests). Instead, if we only looked inside (our own windows), to not miss out on what’s happening right at the table!

Relish in the joys. Ask a lot of questions, get to know the people who are sitting around you. Look into their eyes, look for joys (and pains), and listen. Be present. Enjoy!

I have one small wish when we have guests over for dinner, besides being prepared, and desperately wanting to RELAX.  My wish is to be present in the moment, to not worry about what’s going on around me, but to really engage, right then and there.

Best Clam Chowder

In the meantime, I love to entertain. And it’s even better when “my cup runneth over” with a bowl of delicious comforting Best Clam Chowder!

Any time of year, this delicious, creamy soup, Best Clam Chowder, is the perfect dish to serve for a lighter holiday meal.

Best Clam Chowder

Yield: 5-6

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 35 minutes

Total Time: 55 minutes

This delicious, creamy Best Clam Chowder is the perfect soup to serve for a lighter holiday meal.


  • 8-10 bacon strips, divided
  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • 2 celery ribs, chopped
  • 1 leek, finely chopped
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3-4 small potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1 cup broth (chicken or vegetable)
  • 1 bottle (8 ounces) clam juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups half-and-half, divided
  • 3 cans (6-1/2 ounces each) of whole clams, undrained, chopped into chunky pieces
  • Bay leaf
  • Chopped fresh chives or green onions, for garnish


1. In a Dutch oven, cook bacon over medium heat until crisp. Remove to paper towels to drain; set aside. Add butter to the drippings (you can spoon out some of the drippings if you don't want to ues that much); saute celery, leek, and onion until tender. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer. Stir in the potatoes, broth, clam juice, salt, pepper and thyme. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 15-20 minutes or until potatoes are tender.

2. In a small bowl, combine flour and 1 cup half-and-half until smooth. Gradually stir into the soup. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 1-2 minutes or until thickened.

3. Stir in clams and remaining half-and-half; heat through (do not boil); turn down to low heat; add the bay leaf. Cook for additional 2-3 minutes on low heat. Add in 4 strips of crumbled bacon.

4. Crumble the reserved 2 strips of bacon. Garnish chowder with crumbled bacon and fresh chopped chives.

This delicious, creamy Best Clam Chowder is the perfect soup to serve for a lighter holiday meal.

More Clam Chowder recipes:

Manhattan Clam Chowder (Simply Recipes)

Slow Cooker New England Clam Chowder (Baked by Rachel)

Smoked Salmon Chowder (Pinch of Yum)


  1. our CE meal is always clam chowder served in bread bowls…I’ve been making it for over 20 years and my youngest who loves clam chowder has yet to find one she likes as much…lol…a few have come close, but not quite. :) Makes this mama feel good! it is much anticipated by everyone especially my father-in-law

  2. Hi Sandy, We’ll be having our big Swedish Smorgasbord tonight. Forty Two at our house for dinner. Everybody brings a dish or two. We have the same exact thing every year, with my favorites being pickled herring with shots of Aquavit, Swedish Meatballs, Homemade Baked Beans, Corn pudding, Scalloped Oysters and of course lots of cookies! Stop over the blog for my Swedish Christmas House Tour! :) Merry Christmas to you and thanks for all the great inspiration! xo

  3. Hi Sandy!

    Merry Christmas dear friend! Your clam chowder looks amazing. We celebrated Christmas with Turkey and Ham. The ham was amazing. Pit-smoked. I am going to use the bone and make some navy bean soup over the next few day.

    Things have been busy here. My Mom turns 90 next week. She is doing amazing! But my Dad’s health is really failing. We do our best for him every day. It’s a struggle for him. Thanks for keeping him in your prayers.

    Much love, Mary

  4. Hello I was making this tonight and can’t figure out where the butter goes? Can you clarify?

  5. Looks fabulous! What type of broth?

  6. Clam chowder is hands-down one of my favorite meals! It’s a must when I visit San Francisco! This recipe is very similar to a recipe that I have that is supposed to mimic a famous Bay Area recipe, so I am 100% going to make this recipe!

  7. Is the butter added to the bacon drippings? The wording is confusing.

  8. I am also wondering if the butter is added to the bacon drippings or used seperately? This recipe sounds delicious and I can’t wait to try it.

  9. Made this last night for 5 people. Everyone thought it was great. Don’t be shy with the bacon. Definitely add extra. It can only make it better in my opinion. I bought the cans of chopped clams but they chop them too small. It’s like a crumble. Next time I will buy 3 cans of whole clams and chop them myself into chunkier pieces. I also added a nice big bay leaf.

  10. Add the butter into the drippings then sauté the veggies in it.

  11. would you please clarify what you mean by 2 pieces of celery. is it 2 stalks, ribs, chunks—–

  12. Could you please clarify what type of broth (vegetable or chicken)?


  13. Thank you for this recipe. I just made it and it’s DELICIOUS!

  14. I’ve made this a couple of times, and it is so delicious! It’s easy, quick, and tastes like a million bucks!!

  15. Hi, I would like to make this tonight but cant find any leeks in my small town. Can I leave them out or is there a substitute you recommend?

  16. I love this clam chowder. I’d really like to double the recipe for Christmas day. Do you think doubling all the ingredients will work out?

  17. I have a relative with a severe gluten allergy. Could I use corn starch with the half & half? And how much would I use? Thank you in advance for the help!

    • Corn starch and half and half are both gluten free, but you need to go online and check it out for yourself, Mandy (or call your guest). Just to make sure! :) ENJOY!

    • When substituting corn starch for wheat flour, add half as much corn starch as the recipe calls for of wheat flour.

  18. Hi, can you tell me what ‘half and half’ is ?

  19. looks amazing! can’t wait to try it!

  20. Hi, this sounds delicious.  

    Do you add the butter and veggies INTO the bacon drippings or discard those?  Thanks!

  21. I don’t normally leave comments on blogs, but I had to tell you this recipe is fantastic!  I have been making clam chowder for Christmas dinner for years,  This year I decided to try your recipe and it was hands down the best clam chowder I have ever had!  

  22. Oh my gosh- you’re the only other family that I know that eats clam chowder on Christmas Eve. We have been doing this for DECADES. Your recipe is very similar to mine (like, nearly EXACTLY the same)- I use whole milk, add a bit of thyme, too (I think it goes well with the bay) and use only onions, no leek. I bet that leek gives even another lighter, oniony layer to the soup. Mmmmm. Nice to know that someone else makes the same soup on the same day!

  23. Made for dinner today, it was awesone

  24. Hello,

    This looks delicious! I will
    Be the only one in my family to eat this (I know, I know) will this reheat well? 


  25. Do you think this could be made in the slow cooker (after sautéing everything)?

  26. I made this for father’s day, coupled with fish and chips. My family raved about the chowder 11yrs to 82yrs of age. I’m originally from the Boston area and this recipe far exceeded my expectations. I’m keeping this recipe to pass down to generations. Well done!

  27. Can this be frozen?

  28. Oh my God….must, must, must make. I’ve never made clam chowder because I always thought you HAD TO use fresh clams and I’m sort of intimidated by them and would be afraid the final dish would be full of sand… This looks amaaaaazing and with canned clams, easy peasy!

  29. Hi and thanks for this recipe!!! This is my husbands favorite and i have never tried to make it becasue i thought it was to difficult, but this looks simple and tasty!!! Just one question, at the end after you stir in the clams and the half and half how long to you let it cook? I assume the clams cook very fast so once its mixed is it basically done?

  30. I don’t eat pork. Can beef bacon be substituted?

  31. I love clam chowder, but not bacon.  Wondering if anyone has tried this without the bacon.  

  32. If you are using fresh clams, do you cook them first or toss them in raw to cook in the soup?

  33. Do you add the liquid from the canned clams also to the pot?

  34. This recipe looks absolutely delicious, Sandy. I just have one question. Do you think I could substitute crab for the clams? I have two huge cans of lump crab sitting in my refrigerator that I would like to and need to be used. Many thanks.

  35. I’ve yet to find the actual recipe.
    And that seems like an awful lot of bacon grease–could we use just a couple tablespoons?

    • The recipe is in the post, click PRINT RECIPE, Karen :) Yes, as recipe states, you can adjust the bacon grease or use a leaner bacon! ENJOY!

  36. How much of each ingredients do u use….a cup? Half of cup? I really want to try but need more information…thank you

  37. I want to make this but not a big fan of celery. Will it taste completely different if I take that out? Does normal clam cowder have celery?? I feel like I never saw celery in it before, so I am wondering how that can alter the taste. But then again I only had real clam chower once and it was so amazing I didnt even look at the bowl since I was scarfing it down so fast 😅😅😂😂😂

  38. I have never used leek, do you use the whole bunch or just a part of it? This recipe is on my menu looks delish!!

  39. I’ve been searching for a good clam chowder recipe and think I’ve found it! It doesn’t seem too complicated. Plus I like the addition of the veggies (leek, celery) in there. Can’t wait to try this one. Thanks for sharing. 

  40. If I wanted to add corn and carrots to this how much would you adjust the liquid/cream? 

  41. I have made this twice in the last 3 weeks and doubled it both times, I love it!  I forgot to get bacon the second time and I didn’t even notice. It is just perfect on a cold day. I will be keeping this recipe for life, thank you!! 

  42. I made this today for a football game. It was delicious. I just about tripled the recipe and it worked great. The only thing I added was some Better Then Bouillon Lobster Base bc I’ve recently become obsessed with the better then bouillons and are using them a lot, and I used lite cream. So flavorful, so creamy so yummy. Thank you for the great recipe.

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