Best Clam Chowder Recipe (VIDEO)

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!

Best Clam Chowder

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.)

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! :) My video on Facebook has 18 million views, if that says anything about this recipe! :)

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

Well, New England Clam Chowder 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, like this BEST CLAM CHOWDER recipe today!

Easy Clam Chowder

What ingredients are in clam chowder

Clam chowder is a soup that 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

How do you make Homemade Clam Chowder

You may like New England Clam Chowder, or Manhattan Clam Chowder, and then there’s Boston Clam Chowder or Red Clam Chowder. Whatever the flavors, I say, make homemade clam chowder, and your guests will be happy! 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!

How do you make creamy Clam Chowder

BEST 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.

But how do you make creamy clam chowder?

To make a traditional cream sauce you take flour and half-and-half, mixing until smooth. Gradually you stir this mixture into the soup. Bring the soup to a boil, and continue to cook and stir for a few more minutes until thickened.

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.

Best Clam Chowder Recipe

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.

And it’s even better when “my cup runneth over” with a bowl of delicious comforting Best Clam Chowder!

Best Clam Chowder
Print Recipe
4.96 from 23 votes

Best Clam Chowder

This delicious, creamy Best Clam Chowder is the perfect soup to serve for a lighter holiday meal.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time35 mins
Total Time55 mins
Course: Soup
Cuisine: American
Servings: 6

Ingredients

  • 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 (red potatoes or Yukon gold) 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, chopped into chunky pieces, drained
  • Bay leaf
  • Chopped fresh chives or green onions for garnish

Instructions

  • 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.
  • 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 (drained) 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.
  • Crumble the reserved 2 strips of bacon. Garnish chowder with crumbled bacon and fresh chopped chives.

Video

Notes

Originally posted December 2014 on Reluctant Entertainer

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

This post has affiliate links. Every purchase from these links supports RE at no extra cost to you. Thank you!

212 comments on “Best Clam Chowder Recipe (VIDEO)”

  1. I personally do not eat seafood but I would love to make this for my family because they all do.
    Could I also use this as a base for seafood chowder? If so what other seafood would I add to make it?
    If not what would I do to make it a seafood chowder?

  2. This was excellent and so glad I found the perfect recipe.

  3. I am really sorry but the Thyme was absolutely waaaaay too overpowering.  I couldn’t taste anything else in the soup except the Thyme.  Very disappointed as I have never been to this site nor ever left a disparaging comment on one but I feel like there needs to be a disclaimer about the Thyme flavor.

  4. Made this for game day today, did not change a thing. It was delicious. I like to use Bumblebee whole baby clams. They are just the right size with no chopping required. Since I don’t like to miss a down of football I cooked it in the slow cooker. Followed the cooking directions for a pot, just cooked it longer. Hubby said it was the best I have ever made & guests loved it. Being chowder lovers I like to serve in big bowls. Next time I will double the recipe as there was none left after one bowl for four of us. Granted it as enough but like to have extra just in case someone wants a second helping. 

  5. Oh wow!! This recipe was divine!! My entire crew loved it and I am excited to add it to my recipe collection….. it’s going in my coveted book, not just kept on Pinterest. Thanks for such a yummy and not difficult recipe. 

  6. I love clam chowder! I also add corn and grated carrot if I have it I put ham in well as bacon. A little cooking wine adds to the taste too.

  7. Has anyone used almond flour instead of the white flour?

    • I don’t think the flavor would be very good with almond flour, Colleen, but if you try it and you like it, please come back and tell us!

  8. Hello, and thanks for this greatttttt recipe!!! Followed it to the letter; and, it came out perfect. I like that it isn’t tooo clammy- just the right amount of clam taste, not overwhelming!!  Will make for many more years to come! 

    ! Btw, I am sitting here eating a bowl right now (on a 90 degree day in Michigan) and loving it!!!

  9. This is such an Easy and Most YUMMY recipe!

    Thank you soo soo much for sharing!

    When cooking, evaporated milk works well in place of half and half? when cooking, I rarely truly “measure” much ? this recipe works well this way? Very Yummy and comforting?

    Thank you, again ???

  10. I would love to have this recipe, but cannot print from my iPad. Please could you email to me at hilbart@mweb.co.za . Many thanks. It sounds really delicious and winter will soon be upon us here in S.A.

  11. I have frozen clams. Would they work instead of canned?

  12. Hi Sandy, I loooooved this recipe, but for health purposes now have to be gluten free. What would be a good substitute for the flour? Corn starch? Brown rice flour? Potato starch? Thank you!

    • I always tell people who are gluten free that they know their diets (and what they can or cannot eat) best. SO I don’t really give advice for that. But YES, a GF substitution will work, Gaby! ENJOY!

  13. This recipe is insanely awesome. Just made it and impressed, not only myself, but kids and friends from New England. Im a home chef from Las Vegas and love cooking and trying different recipes and even making my own up or doing something different to another’s recipe. This is probably my third or fourth time making clam chowder and by far my favorite. Hands down Sandy, hands down!!!

  14. I made this yesterday and only got to taste it while cooking – it was gone before I knew it! Everyone loved it though and want me to make it again – I will double it!

  15. I don’t have a Dutch oven. Can I use my regular soup pan?  I’ve got everything to make this just trying to figure out what to do. Thank you. I’m super excited!

  16. My husband said this was the best clam chowder he’s ever ever had!!

  17. Delightful and so delicious! Great recipe. 

  18. Can you use the drained liquid from the canned clams in lieu of the bottled clam juice?  Aren’t they the same thing?  Seems redundant to drain clams then buy a separate bottle of clam juice.

  19. I made this tonight and it was wonderful. Didn’t change a thing. 

  20. Could I make this a day early and just rewarm in the crockpot on the day of?

  21. In my business, it can be a challenge to shut off and stay away from the laptop or social media. But it feels good to take a break. The cold nights are perfect for a hearty bowl of clam chowder.

  22. I tried the receipe and it is sooooo good but was my first time ever cooking with leek and I used about 3/4 of a regular sized leek and I think I used to much because it was pretty pungent but was not bad tasting at all.  Still super good but I think I should use less leek next time. How much of leek do you actually use?

    • Mostly just the white and light green parts are eaten! Always google or ask if you’re not sure with a particular ingredient (I’ve learned to do this, too!) :)

  23. Looks delicious, can you email this to me? Thank you

  24. So many positive reviews! Can’t wait to try it! I will be back for my comments soon! 

  25. Can I substitute cornstarch for the flour? My daughter is glucose intolerant.

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