Best Clam Chowder

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! :)

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.

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

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!

Easy Clam Chowder


Best Clam Chowder
Print Recipe
4.32 from 58 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


  • 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, chopped into chunky pieces, drained
  • 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, 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.



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).

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179 comments on “Best Clam Chowder”

  1. Today was the perfect day for this soup! We love this! Definitely a fan! Very easy to do! 

  2. Surprisingly my kiddos love clam chowder! I’ll have to make this for them! They’ll be so pumped!

  3. Amazing! Just like mom used to make!!

  4. It’s snowing like crazy out right now! This Clam Chowder would be perfect for dinner!

  5. Seriously, the best clam chowder I’ve ever eaten!

  6. Clam chowder is my hhusband’s favorite soup! He’s going to be thrilled when I make this for him!

  7. This chowder looks so creamy! I cannot wait to make it!

  8. This recipe is perfect now that the weather is starting to get colder!

  9. This soup looks SO delicious! I haven’t had clam chowder in a while…need to make this soon!

  10. I love soup season! I’ll have to add this to my rotation

  11. I love clam chowder and I can’t wait to make this for my husband! :)

  12. No joke, this is THE BEST clam chowder we’ve ever made.

  13. This is the perfect comfort food – great for a chilly nigh!

  14. Amazing comfort food. I would love this for dinner.

  15. Wow, this whole pot looks fantastic! Two bowls please! 

  16. This really is the BEST clam chowder. It’s so comforting!

  17. I’ve made this twice now, and both times were delicious! Thank you for the terrific recipe! I made as is the first time, and then cut back to .5 teaspoon of thyme the second go around. Just personal preference.

    Don’t know if this is a helpful tip or not, but I was telling a buddy at work, two cans of minced clam (in juice) is exactly one cup of liquid (I tested myself). I’m assuming you could save a couple bucks perhaps and not drain the clams, and skip the bottle of clam juice. Full disclosure, I drained the clams both times and used a bottle of clam juice. Just might be an option for some folk!

  18. It’s good, but not the best . Nothing is the best with canned anything . Use fresh clams, change out the chicken proth , with the salt water you cooked them in , and add a extra 1/2 cup of it, add 1/2 teaspoon of paprika , and 1/2 teaspoon of tarragon . Let it cool, then reheat ….

  19. Here in Oregon clam chowder is pretty much a staple Friday “soup of the day”! This is very close to my recipe, I do sprinkle a bit of dill in if I have it on hand. Sometimes I add finely chopped or grated carrot to the vegetables when I saute’ them. I love to serve this with my crabmeat scones and coleslaw!

  20. this is a regular (and favorite!!!) meal in our home. 
    we have always loved clam chowder, and need never 
    go out for it again. thank you, thank you, thank you!

  21. I use clam juice when cooking the potatoes,add 3 bay leaves and some wonderfully flavored tarragon. Here’s a little restaurant secret- If your chowder isn’t thick enough,add some instant potato flakes to thicken it. They add flavor and thicken any chowder nicely.

  22. The title says it all- The Best Clam Chowder.  This soup is FABULOUS, a definite keeper in my soup file.

  23. My husband is lactose intolerant and loves NE clam chowder. Substituted soy creamer for the half and half and it came out great!! Thanks so much for sharing this delicious easy recipe! Will be making it again and again :) 

  24. I have read all these comments. Sooo good but I use shrimp , not being the clam love. Use lemon juice. Just thought I might say corn chowder & Shrimp . Best in the house . Loved it. Thx. 

  25. This chowder was amazing!!! Absolutely the BEST Clam Chowder my husband and I have ever had! Will definitely make again.

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