A classic clam chowder recipe for any time of year, with perfect tastes of bacon and clams. The flavors mingle together into a delicious Best Clam Chowder! Watch the video!

a blue braiser of clam chowder, with a ladle, and bread and butter in the background

I love the magic of soup season—-the comfort and ease of gathering ’round the table with family and friends! And clam chowder always brings a little magic to the table! Serve it in my favorite LeCreuset Braiser, which keeps the soup nice and hot.

Best Clam Chowder

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.)

a beautiful dinner board with a pot of clam chowder in the middle, with bread, crackers, and shrimp cups

Clam Chowder Soup

In the past, I’ve been intimidated to make  a clam chowder soup, 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 easy recipes on my RE! Yay! :)

You can also serve it on a big board, like below! Here’s the link to Epic Clam Chowder Dinner Board!

a woman holding a large board with a pot of clam chowder in the center, with bread, and shrimp cups

What is the difference between Boston and New England clam chowder?

Well, New England and Boston Clam Chowder are really the same dish. What makes a chowder “different” is the broth that is used. For example, Rhode Island broth is clear, and Manhattan has a red tomato broth. Boston is thick and creamy!

a close up of a pot of fresh clam chowder

What ingredients are in clam chowder

This recipe contains clams and broth. You may also add diced potatoes, onions, and celery. Or in my recipe – bacon! You may also add a simple garnish, such as fresh parsley or chives.

  • Bacon: It’s optional, but on my … the flavor! Do not use turkey bacon, you will not get the robust bacon flavor.
  • Saute: Butter, celery, leeks (yes, leeks – so good!), onion, and garlic.
  • Potatoes: Red potatoes or Yukon gold potatoes.
  • Broth: Chicken or vegetable with clam juice (for that extra clam flavor) and half and half (or use 2% cows milk). Flour for thickening!
  • Seasoning: Salt, white pepper, dried thyme, and always a bay leaf.
  • Clams: 2-3 cans of minced clams. Easy!
  • Garnish: Chives or green onion or crumbled bacon!

How to Make Clam Chowder - with a ladle and soup bowls

How do you make Homemade Clam Chowder

Whatever the flavors, I say homemade is the best! I changed it up awhile back and made a yummy Corn Salmon Chowder Recipe!

  1. In a Dutch oven, you cook bacon (for amazing flavor!) over medium heat until crisp.
  2. Then you saute celery, leek, and onion until tender, adding garlic. Eventually stirring in potatoes, broth, clam juice, salt, pepper and thyme.
  3. Boil and simmer until potatoes are tender.
  4. Make the creamy sauce (soooo good).
  5. Stir in the clams and crispy bacon!

Grab the recipe below for the very best creamy clam chowder!

It’s comforting, filling, and delicious, and it’s also the perfect “light” holiday meal.

A dutch oven of Best Clam Chowder Recipe

Relax and enjoy.

Here are a few tips on slowing down and enjoying the table experience …

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.

More Chowder recipes:

Manhattan Clam Chowder (Simply Recipes) Slow Cooker New England Clam Chowder (Baked by Rachel).

Best Clam Chowder is best made in your favorite Le Creuset Braiser and then take it straight to the table for serving.

Don’t forget the ladle, because your guests will be coming back for more. My favorite soup bowls, classic white always looks sharp.

clam chowderin a big pot, on a round board with bread and shrimp cocktail cups
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Best Clam Chowder

Makes 4 main dish bowls or 6 small lunch bowls.


  • 8 bacon strips, divided
  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • 2 celery ribs, chopped
  • 1 leek, finely chopped (or 1 shallot)
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3-4 small unpeeled potatoes (red potatoes or Yukon gold), cubed into 1/2-inch pieces (optional to peel)
  • 2 cups broth, chicken or vegetable
  • 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 chopped clams, undrained
  • Bay leaf
  • Chopped fresh chives or green onions, for garnish


  • 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, salt, pepper and thyme. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 10-15 minutes or until potatoes are tender.
  • 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.
  • Stir in clams and juice 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.
  • Crumble the reserved 4 strips of bacon. Garnish chowder with crumbled bacon and fresh chopped chives or green onions thinly sliced.



Originally posted December 2014 on Reluctant Entertainer
Did you make this recipe?Tag @reluctantentertainer on Instagram and hashtag it #reluctantentertainer!

Fresh clam chowder (with fresh herbs and bacon on top)

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