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


  • 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


  • 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).

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. Can this be modified to be flour/grain free? 

  2. Yummy I will try this today for my family. Thanks for sharing this amazing recipie.

  3. I found this recipe a few years back. It definitely is the best. I partially mash the potatoes, I like some of everything in each spoonful. It is delish, thank you.

  4. This is my only clam chowder recipe!  I have made this countless times and it comes out perfect every time. I actually had to make it twice in one day so my husband could take it to his buddies at work. Not a drop left and lots of “when is she gonna make it again”! 

  5. Hi. I made this recipe. I have never used a recipe before for clam chowder. I always made my own. Honestly, this recipe was pretty good. Personally, I like a more clamy taste. Thanks for giving us a recipe to try.

  6. Do you have any suggestions for a milk option for lactose intolerant? Coconut milk? 

  7. Do you use the whole leek or just the white part?? Thank you in advance want to make this yummy sounding soup, what to know the answer to my question first,

    • Hi Carole! Use the white and the light green! Actually the dark green is edible, too, but you just have to cook it a bit longer. Leeks are good! :)

  8. This is my family’s new favorite Clam Chowder recipe! Absolutely delicious!! The only change to the recipe I made is I used heavy whipping cream ONLY because I misread the recipe. This recipe is definitely a keeper!! Thanks for sharing it.

  9. Pure comfort food! Looks so delicious!

  10. **********Can this be the most delicious Clam Chowder I ever ate, or made! It’s a 10+star recipe! Loved it! Husband said it was fabulous and his favorite soup. I did add more chicken broth, a carrot cut in small dice, used fresh, frozen clams and their juice, and used a bottle of Bar Harbor clam juice, and added 1-1/2 tps Tabasco Sauce. So YUMMY! Thank you Reluctant Entertainer! You created a very awesome Clam Chowder! You also have a nice website with great ideas! Love it!

  11. What a great recipe for a thicker style Clam Chowder! This was so very delicious, easy to make and my husband said it was his favorite soup, that it was perfectly seasoned. I did add one peeled carrot cut into a small dice, a bit more chicken stock, used organic whole cream, used chopped frozen clams, and added 1-1/2 tsp. Tabasco sauce at the end. Yummo! Thank you Reluctant Entertainer for sharing your recipes! So good!

  12. I love clam chowder soup as does my family, and am excited to try this recipe. The last recipe I tried was okay. Hoping yours is far better. From the feedback you’ve been getting, I already have a great feeling this will be my go- to recipe for clam chowder!

  13. I can’t wait to try this – so delicious!

  14. My husband is not a soup person but he likes Clam Chowder so he asked me to make some. I’ve never made clam chowder but have done other “cream” base soups before so I figured I’d give it a try! Found this recipe and it looks YUM! I’m just finishing it up no for lunch on a cold winters day! here’s hoping hubby likes it, it looks and smells heavenly! 😁

  15. This recipe looks DIVINE! I can’t wait to try this!

  16. This was amazing my sweetheart ate two large bowls and homemade biscuits and bonus grandson who eats nothings ate a whole bowl. Thank you for this amazing Recipe

  17. YUM! Made this again for us and friends we hosted. This is still a keeper and repeater. Thank you! Blessing to you in the new year, Sandy!

  18. It was so delicious! Added small scallops and a few shrimp and made it a seafood chowder. Hubby had 3 bowls! Definitely will make again

  19. This was simply amazing! Thanks for the delicious recipe! My family loved it!

  20. My husband told me I had to write a review for this clam chowder. He ate two large bowls. It’s truly the best clam chowder. He said he’s going to be spoiled in restaurants now because nothings going to top this chowder. Excellent recipe thank you. 

  21. My son loves clam chowder, I will have to make this for him soon!

  22. When I test a recipe that’s not my own, I always do my best to follow it to spec before I modify it. In this case, I didn’t use leeks cuz I didn’t have them. Other than that, everything else was available. This soup was absolutely divine! Next time, I will use the leeks, fresh time instead of dried, about 1/2 to 3/4 cup more chicken stock and I’ll throw in some fresh clams, too! This Will definitely be in the winter soup rotation!

  23. Love a bowl of clam chowder! This one looks amazing. Can’t wait to try it!

  24. I made this soup for my nephews wedding reception, it was a real hit. This recipe is a definite keeper. 

  25. This is the first time I’ve ever made clam chowder.  My picky husband said at least 4 times “this is good”!  He ate 3 bowls of it.  It was delicious!  Definitely a keeper.  Thank you!

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