Enjoy a bowl of warm, comforting, creamy homemade Clam Chowder. It’s simple to make and packed with tons of flavor!
AN EASY CREAMY CHOWDER
Clam chowder is a classic comfort food that’s perfect for a cozy evening in. It’s rich, creamy, and really is a whole meal. Today I’m sharing my favorite recipe for a New England style clam chowder – it has a delicious combination of cream, potatoes, bacon and clams to create an irresistible dish. Bacon really makes everything better, right? So grab your ingredients and let’s get cooking!
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:
With this recipe, you’ll get a New England Clam Chowder with a creamy broth. If you want a Manhattan Clam Chowder, you’ll make the chowder with a tomato broth base.
Sure! This is an easy recipe to swap the clams out for something you do enjoy. The chowder is the perfect base to change up. Shrimp, lobster meat, scallops or haddock are other versions a lot of people enjoy.
I prefer serving it with a sprinkle of freshly ground pepper, dried parsley, and oyster crackers, all accompanied by crispy bacon. Additional delicious toppings like cheese, various crackers, or even croutons would also be great options.
This recipe can be converted to the slow cooker. First, cook the bacon pieces and then set them aside. Saute the onion and celery with the garlic using the regular instructions. This is essential so they soften up before adding to the cooker. Then put it all into a 5-6 quart slow cooker. Then add in the seafood stock, clam juice, potatoes, bay leaves, and the rest of the seasonings. Cook covered on low for 6-8 hours (or however long it takes to get the potatoes fork tender). During the last half hour, add in the clams and half and half and cook on low until all is warmed through. Serve and enjoy.
Clam chowder is a hearty dish that can be served alone and you’ll end up nice and full. The only other things I would possibly serve it with is some crusty bread and perhaps a salad.
Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months. It can be frozen for up to 3 months.
As it cools, this mixture will thicken. If you have any leftovers that require reheating, I recommend adding additional stock to achieve a smoother consistency. You can reheat it either on the stovetop or by using a microwave.
INGREDIENTS NEEDED: (SEE RECIPE CARD BELOW FOR THE FULL RECIPE)
- bacon – do not skip the bacon and do not use pre-cooked bacon or microwave bacon. The freshly cooked bacon adds so much flavor to this and we need those bacon drippings.
- onion – I prefer a sweet onion (like Vidalia) – they aren’t as overpowering in flavor as a regular yellow onion but you use what you can find.
- celery stalks – if you don’t enjoy celery, you can leave it out. But I will tell you that everyone in my family (excluding me) does not care for celery and they will eat it in this. The celery flavor is not strong at all.
- garlic – I’m really going to suggest fresh garlic here. The jarred garlic has a much lighter flavor than the fresh stuff and we want that garlic flavor to shine here.
- all-purpose flour – this will be used to thicken it all up.
- seafood stock – if you can’t find seafood stock, you can purchase vegetable or chicken stock.
- half and half – With clam chowder, you want it to be thick and rich so buy the half and half instead of using milk.
- canned chopped clams – if you don’t live in an area where canned clams are readily available, you may have to order online. There are tons of options out there. I purchased a whole pack from Amazon (paid affiliate) so I’d have plenty to make this a few times.
- russet potatoes – russet potatoes work perfectly here. They are the perfect texture for clam chowder and they soak up a bit of the soup they are cooked in which gives them more flavor. You could use Yukon gold potatoes or red potatoes but they will not have the same texture and they don’t absorb the broth as well.
- bay leaves – I know bay leaves seem like they aren’t adding much to soup recipes but I promise it is – it’s just not a strong flavor. It’s one of those background flavors that is adding to the overall flavor of the dish.
- dried thyme – if you decide to use fresh thyme, I would double the amount used since dried thyme is stronger than the fresh stuff.
- paprika – want a smokier flavor? Try using smoked paprika.
HOW TO MAKE CLAM CHOWDER
Place a dutch oven over medium heat. Add the bacon and cook until crispy, about 10 minutes, stir often so it doesn’t burn. Take the bacon out but save the drippings in the pot. Add the onion and celery, and stir them around so it is coated in the bacon grease. Cook until softened, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally; try to scrape any of the browned bits from the bacon off the bottom of the pot.
Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, stirring constantly, 30 seconds. Add the flour and stir so the vegetables are coated. Cook for 2 minutes. Slowly add the stock to the pot while whisking constantly, this will help prevent lumps.
Slowly add in the half and half. Finally, add the reserved clam juice. Place the potatoes, bay leaves, pepper, thyme, paprika, and salt, and stir to combine.
Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and simmer uncovered for 30-35 minutes, until the potatoes are fork tender. Make sure to stir often and scrape the bottom of the pot to make sure nothing sticks. Stir in the clams and allow them to warm through for 5 minutes.
Serve immediately with the cooked bacon on top.
CRAVING MORE RECIPES?
- ½ pound bacon, chopped
- 1 medium sweet onion, small diced
- 2 stalks celery, small diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- 2 cups seafood stock
- 3 cups half and half
- 3 (6.5 ounce) cans chopped clams, drained but reserve the juice
- 2 russet potatoes, peeled and medium-diced
- 2 bay leaves
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- Place a dutch oven over medium heat. Add the bacon and cook until crispy, about 10 minutes, stir often so it doesn’t burn. Take the bacon out but save the drippings in the pot.
- Add the onion and celery, and stir them around so it is coated in the bacon grease. Cook until softened, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally; try to scrape any of the browned bits from the bacon off the bottom of the pot.
- Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, stirring constantly, 30 seconds.
- Add the flour and stir so the vegetables are coated. Cook for 2 minutes.
- Slowly add the stock to the pot while whisking constantly, this will help prevent lumps.
- Slowly add in the half and half. Finally, add the reserved clam juice.
- Place the potatoes, bay leaves, pepper, thyme, paprika, and salt, and stir to combine.
- Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and simmer uncovered for 30-35 minutes, until the potatoes are fork tender. Make sure to stir often and scrape the bottom of the pot to make sure nothing sticks.
- Stir in the clams and allow them to warm through for 5 minutes.
- Serve immediately with the cooked bacon on top.
- Please refer to my FAQ’s (Frequently Asked Questions) and ingredient list above for other substitutions or for the answers to the most common questions.
- This makes a wonderful base recipe, if you wanted to make it a seafood chowder with other seafood.
- This thickens as it cools. If you have leftovers you need to reheat, I suggest adding some more stock to loosen it up. Reheat on the stove top or microwave.
- I like to serve it with a little more pepper on top, dried parsley, and oyster crackers along with the bacon. Other yummy toppings would be cheese, other crackers, or even croutons.
- Keep leftovers in the fridge for up to 3 days, freeze for up to 3 months.
“The Country Cook” is not a dietician or nutritionist, and any nutritional information shared is an estimate. If calorie count and other nutritional values are important to you, we recommend running the ingredients through whichever online nutritional calculator you prefer. Calories and other nutritional values can vary quite a bit depending on which brands were used.