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New England Clam Chowder

New England Clam Chowder

New England Clam Chowder - creamy white hearty soup made with fresh tender clams, potatoes and smokey bacon. Definitely a great comforting dish on a season like this!
Course Soup
Cuisine American
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 4 - 5
Calories 592kcal
Author Imma


  • 3 cups water
  • 5 pounds live clams in shells, shells scrubbed (see notes for canned substitute)
  • 4 slices thick bacon, diced
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • 1 large bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon Creole seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • cup clam juice, or more
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup half-and-half
  • 4 cups potatoes, cubed
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Chives, for garnish (optional)


How to Boil Clams

  • Add about 3 cups of water to a large pot, then add clams—cover and place over high heat. Cook clams for about 5 minutes. Uncover the pot, stir the clams, and continue cooking for another 3-4 minutes or until the clams open up.
  • Turn off the heat and discard any clams that have not opened. Strain the liquid from the pot through a mesh strainer lined with a coffee filter and reserve juice to use later. Coarsely chop the clams and set them aside.

How to Make Clam Chowder

  • In a large pot over medium heat, cook bacon until crispy. Drain bacon on paper towels while leaving the bacon fat in the pot - about 1-2 tablespoons.
  • Next, add butter to melt, followed by onions and celery, and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic, thyme, bay leaf, Creole seasoning, and flour, and cook for about a minute or until the garlic is fragrant and the flour turns pale golden.
  • Pour in reserved clam juice, cream, and half-and-half while whisking constantly until combined. Stir in the potatoes and bring mixture to a boil. Then reduce heat and simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes.
  • Add chopped clams meat and cook until heated through (about 2 minutes). Season chowder with salt and pepper to taste. If the chowder is too thick, gradually stir in more half-and-half or clam juice until you reach your preferred consistency. Adjust seasonings to taste.
  • Garnish with chopped bacon and chives and serve immediately with crusty bread or cornbread.


  • You can substitute 12 ounces of canned clams. You can also use oysters or scallops if you can't get clams.
  • Please keep in mind that nutritional information is a rough estimate and can vary greatly based on the products used.


Serving: 240g | Calories: 592kcal | Carbohydrates: 43g | Protein: 24g | Fat: 36g | Saturated Fat: 19g | Cholesterol: 125mg | Sodium: 964mg | Potassium: 1208mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 1585IU | Vitamin C: 32.1mg | Calcium: 208mg | Iron: 8.5mg