Clam chowder is a timeless, creamy soup that has warmed the hearts (and stomachs) of seafood lovers for generations. Originating from the coastal regions of New England, this hearty dish has become a staple in American cuisine. Whether you're a seasoned seafood enthusiast or a home cook looking to explore new recipes, clam chowder is sure to delight your taste buds and impress your guests.

Clam Chowder Recipe

Ingredients List

Here's everything you'll need to create this delicious clam chowder:

  • Fresh Clams: 2 pounds, cleaned and rinsed
  • Bacon: 4 slices, diced
  • Onion: 1 medium, finely chopped
  • Potatoes: 2 large, peeled and diced
  • Celery: 2 stalks, chopped
  • Garlic: 2 cloves, minced
  • Butter: 3 tablespoons
  • All-Purpose Flour: 3 tablespoons
  • Clam Juice: 2 cups (reserved from steaming the clams or store-bought)
  • Chicken or Vegetable Broth: 2 cups
  • Heavy Cream: 1 cup
  • Bay Leaf: 1
  • Thyme: 1 teaspoon, dried
  • Salt and Pepper: To taste
  • Fresh Parsley: Chopped, for garnish

Preparation Steps

Cleaning and Prepping the Clams

  1. Rinse the Clams: Place the clams in a colander and rinse them under cold water, scrubbing with a brush to remove any sand or grit.
  2. Steam the Clams: In a large pot, add 1 cup of water and bring it to a boil. Add the clams, cover, and steam for 5-7 minutes until the clams open. Discard any clams that do not open.
  3. Reserve Clam Juice: Strain the cooking liquid through a fine mesh sieve lined with cheesecloth to remove any sand. Reserve this clam juice for later.
  4. Chop Clam Meat: Remove the clam meat from the shells and chop it into bite-sized pieces. Set aside.

Cooking the Bacon

  1. Render the Bacon: In a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat, cook the diced bacon until it's crispy, about 8-10 minutes.
  2. Remove Bacon: Use a slotted spoon to transfer the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate, leaving the bacon fat in the pot.

Sautéing the Vegetables

  1. Sauté Onions and Celery: Add the chopped onion and celery to the pot with the bacon fat. Cook over medium heat until the vegetables are softened, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add Garlic: Stir in the minced garlic and cook for an additional minute until fragrant.
  3. Add Potatoes: Add the diced potatoes to the pot and stir to combine with the other vegetables.

Making the Broth

  1. Create Roux: Push the vegetables to the side of the pot and add the butter. Once melted, sprinkle the flour over the butter, stirring constantly to form a roux. Cook for about 2 minutes until the roux is lightly golden.
  2. Add Liquids: Gradually whisk in the reserved clam juice and chicken broth, ensuring there are no lumps.
  3. Simmer: Add the bay leaf and dried thyme. Bring the mixture to a gentle simmer and cook until the potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes.

Adding Clams and Cream

  1. Combine Clams and Cream: Stir in the chopped clams and heavy cream. Cook for an additional 5 minutes until the clams are heated through.
  2. Season: Taste the chowder and season with salt and pepper as needed. Remove the bay leaf before serving.

Seasoning and Final Touches

  1. Adjust Seasoning: Check the seasoning one last time and adjust if necessary.
  2. Finishing Touches: Add the crispy bacon back into the pot and give the chowder a gentle stir.

Serving Suggestions

Serve your homemade clam chowder hot, garnished with freshly chopped parsley and a sprinkle of black pepper. This dish pairs beautifully with:

  • Crusty Bread: For dipping and soaking up the creamy broth.
  • Oyster Crackers: A classic addition to any chowder.
  • Side Salad: A fresh green salad balances the richness of the soup.


There you have it—a comforting bowl of classic clam chowder, perfect for any seafood lover or home cook looking to impress. We hope you enjoy making (and eating) this delicious recipe. Don’t forget to share your culinary creations with us!

Helpful Tips

  • Make It Gluten-Free: Substitute the all-purpose flour with a gluten-free flour blend.
  • Thickening Alternative: If you prefer a thicker chowder, mash some of the potatoes before adding the clams and cream.
  • Storage: Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat gently on the stove, adding a splash of cream if needed to maintain the desired consistency.

Happy cooking!

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