Clam Chowder: the easy, creamy comforting seafood soup recipe 

Total time: 35 Min
Difficulty: Low
Serves: 8 people
By Cookist

When it comes to seafood soups, clam chowder is one of the most popular out there. Made from chopped clams, potatoes, crispy bacon, and vegetables cooked in a cream-based broth, it's a thick, hearty soup that's perfect for banishing the cold during winter.

Clam chowder is super easy to make. It only takes about 20 minutes to prep and cook. There are a few different types of clam chowder. They come from different regions in the U.S. Boston (aka New England) clam chowder is the version featured in this recipe. Manhattan clam chowder is a red chowder made with tomatoes rather than cream.

Whatever type of clam chowder you make, be sure to serve it with some crusty bread or crostini so you can mop up your bowl!


Clam Chowder Ingredients

It's easy to make clam chowder from scratch. Of course, you'll need a few cans of chopped clams as these are the star ingredient of the soup. Make sure you reserve the juices as they'll add a wonderful flavor to the dish!

Celery, onion, and garlic serve as the aromatic vegetable base of your clam chowder.

Use chicken broth instead of water to make your chowder make savory and delicious.

Potatoes make your clam chowder extra heart. Russet potatoes are the best option.

Milk and half and half give the chowder its rich, creamy texture. Whole milk is the gold standard, but you can use reduced fat instead.

You'll need flour to thicken the soup.

Finally, add crispy fried bacon to take the chowder to the next level.

How to Make Clam Chowder

Ready to get cooking? Start by heating a splash of oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the bacon and saute it until cooked and lightly crisp. Scoop it out with a slotted spoon and set the bacon on a paper towel-lined plate to drain.

Next, sauté the celery and onions for 5 to 7 minutes until soft, then stir in the garlic. Saute the garlic until it turns fragrant, about 45 seconds. Now add in the flour and stir well. Pour in the juice from the clams, broth, milk, half and half, and stir the soup until smooth and clump-free. Add the potatoes to the soup and bring everything to a boil.

Once boiling, lower to a simmer and cook until the potatoes turn tender and the soup has thickened. Mix in the clams then season the chowder generously with salt and pepper. Add the bacon, serve with some freshly baked bread and enjoy¬

How to Thicken Clam Chowder

Use flour to thicken clam chowder, then cook the soup down until the liquid thickens. You can add a cornstarch slurry to thicken the soup up further if the flour isn't working. Dissolve one tablespoon of cornstarch in one tablespoon of water and stir it into the soup.


Tips for Making the Best Clam Chowder

You can use vegetable broth as a substitute for chicken broth.

Leave out the bacon to make a pescatarian-friendly clam chowder.

Use gluten-free flour instead of all-purpose flour to thicken your clam chowder if you're on a gluten-free diet.

What to Serve with Creamy Clam Chowder

Clam chowder makes a fantastic appetizer or can be paired with side dishes to make a full meal. Serve your clam chowder with freshly baked crusty bread or fluffy homemade dinner rolls so you can mop your bowl. Serve with roasted veggies, a hearty green salad, or pasta salad to round out your meal.

How to Store Clam Chowder

Let the soup cool down slightly then transfer your clam chowder to an airtight container and pop it in the fridge. It'll stay good for 3 to 4 days.

More Soup Recipes You'll Like

bacon, diced
6 slices
small yellow onion, diced
celery, diced
3 stalks
Garlic, minced
3 to 4 cloves
1/2 cup
chopped clams, juices reserved
4 6.5-ounce cans
Chicken broth
1 cup
Whole Milk
1 cup
Half and half
1 cup
medium russet potatoes, peeled and diced
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste


Sauté the bacon in a Dutch oven over medium heat until cooked.

Take the bacon out of the pot with a slotted spoon and set it on a paper towel-lined plate to drain.

Place the onions and celery in the pot. Cook for 5 to 7 minutes until soft.

Stir in the garlic. Cook for 45 seconds or until fragrant.

Stir in the flour.


Pour in the juice from the clams, and broth.

Pour in milk.

Add half and half, and stir the mixture until smooth and clump-free.

Put the potatoes into the pot.

Bring the liquid to a boil, then reduce it to a simmer.

Cook until the potatoes are fork-tender and the soup is thick.

Add in the clams then season with salt and pepper.

Add the bacon, and serve.


Use homemade, store-bought, or low-sodium chicken broth as the base for your clam chowder.

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