Clam Chowder

5 from 1 vote

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A rich, creamy bowl of Clam Chowder is the epitome of comfort food to me. I crave this soup year-round, not just in the colder months. Bonus points for this recipe being gluten-free, too!

top view of a creamy chowder soup and two plates next to it with crunchy round bread bowls on white plates with the top perfectly cut off and chunky cream soup and a spoon.
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Making clam chowder at home is more delicious, flavorful, and cost-efficient than ordering it at a restaurant. This soup is also ridiculously easy to whip up. Need I say more?!

My kids RAVE over this meal. It is easily one of our family favorites, and for good reason. This homemade clam chowder uses cornstarch instead of flour, making it gluten-free. This recipe also omits the bacon, but we don’t miss it because it is big on flavor.  

Making clam chowder is surprisingly simple and budget-friendly. I use canned clams and clam juice, which make the flavor out of this world. Canned clams are very affordable, and you get way more clams per bowl than any restaurant version.

wooden board and a shell pattern white plate holding a large crunchy round bread soup bowl with chunky cream souping the center and a silver spoon to the left.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • Classic comfort food sure to be a family favorite
  • Quick prep time in 15 minutes
  • Easy recipe perfect for those days when you just can’t!

Recipe Ingredients

  • Butter
  • Vegetables – Potatoes, celery, onion, garlic
  • Clam juice
  • Canned clams
  • Stock – Chicken or seafood stock
  • Cornstarch This keeps it gluten-free
  • Heavy cream
  • Seasonings Salt, pepper, and thyme

See the recipe card below for full information on ingredients and quantities.

crunchy round bread bowl on white plate with the top perfectly cut off and chunky cream soup and a spoon in it a second plate in the background and a rustic turquoise soup pot.

How to Make Clam Chowder

  1. Cook onions, celery, and garlic in butter until soft.
  2. Add potatoes, clams, juice, and stock. Simmer until potatoes are tender.
  3. Thicken and allow to cook a few more minutes.
  4. Add the cream and seasonings.

Recipe FAQs

Should I rinse canned clams?

Don’t rinse canned clams because it will dilute the flavor. Also, be sure not to drain off the clam juice; just put it in the clam chowder. Trust me on this one. It will make a huge difference in the taste of your soup.

What is the difference between New England clam chowder and other clam chowders?

New England clam chowder is the more well-known chowder. It is the typical creamy, white soup. Whereas the Manhattan clam chowder has a red, tomato base.

Are canned clams healthy?

Canned clams are healthy and a budget-friendly way to get protein. They also contain a good amount of zinc, iron, potassium, and omega-3s. I really like Snow’s brand, but feel free to use what you like or can find.

white plate holding a large crunchy round bread soup bowl with chunky chowder the center and a silver spoon.

Expert Tips

  • I’ve made this with new red potatoes and didn’t peel them. Easy peasy.
  • A gentle simmer is better than a rolling boil to allow flavors to develop without overcooking the clams or vegetables.
  • Cooking it a little longer makes the potatoes softer and helps thicken the soup.
  • Clam chowder also makes for THE best leftovers. The flavors have a chance to really marinate together, and it is so good the next day or two!
close up 6 large round rolls baked golden brown and a little x on the tops line a silicone baking sheet and a few of the rolls are hollowed for the bread bowl.

What do I serve with clam chowder? 

I like to complete this meal by serving a green salad, like an easy spinach salad with clam chowder. If you aren’t restrictive with gluten, a loaf of homemade crusty Italian bread will also make a wonderful side.

Next-level bread? Serve the chowder in these show-stopping bread bowls for a delicious and impressive effect. Oyster crackers are also really yummy to serve with clam chowder.

More Soup Recipes to Consider

Did you try this recipe? Leave a ⭐️ rating below and share it on InstagramFacebook, and Pinterest!

top view of a creamy chowder soup and two plates next to it with crunchy round bread bowls on white plates with the top perfectly cut off and chunky cream soup and a spoon
5 from 1 vote

Clam Chowder

You’ll love how quick and easy this clam chowder recipe is and your family will love it as much as mine. It’s rich and creamy but oh so simple to make. 
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 30 minutes
Total: 45 minutes
Servings: 6

Ingredients 

  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 2 to 3 stalks celery, chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic or 2 cloves minced
  • 2 pounds potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme leaves, or 1 tablespoon fresh
  • 2 jars clam juice, (8 ounce jars)
  • 2 can minced clams with juice, (6.5 ounce cans)
  • 4 cups chicken or seafood stock
  • 1 cup cold water
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • chopped fresh chives for serving, optional
  • bread bowls or oyster crackers for serving, optional

Instructions 

  • In a large stockpot or Dutch oven add the butter, chopped celery, and onion, and cook over medium high heat, stirring occasionally, until the onion is tender, about 5 minutes.
  • Add the garlic and stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  • Add the potatoes, thyme, clams with juice, clam juice, and chicken stock to the pan. Bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce to medium. Add a lid to the pot and simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes.
  • When the potatoes are tender add the cold water to a small bowl and whisk in the cornstarch. Add the cornstarch mixture to the stock pot and stir to combine. Let the mixture simmer for 3 more minutes.
  • Add the cream, salt, and pepper and remove from the heat.
  • Adjust the salt and pepper to taste.
  • Serve in bread bowl or normal bowls with chopped chives and oyster crackers.

Notes

  • I like Snow’s brand clams.
  • You can add more clams to this recipe and replace some chicken stock with more clam juice. The taste is great. This is just how I make it for my family because it’s a little more economical like this.
  • I don’t like bacon in my clam chowder, I think it hides the clam flavor. That being said, if you do like it, fry up 4-6 pieces in your Dutch oven first, remove the bacon and cook the veggies in the remaining bacon grease instead of butter. Add the crumbled cooked bacon before serving.
  • If you have the time you can cook the potatoes longer than just to the tender stage. Sometimes I’ll cook them an extra 15-20 minutes until they are super super tender, it makes the soup thicker and we like it like this too.

Nutrition

Serving: 1 of 6 servings, Calories: 531kcal, Carbohydrates: 39g, Protein: 10g, Fat: 38g, Saturated Fat: 24g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g, Monounsaturated Fat: 10g, Trans Fat: 0.3g, Cholesterol: 115mg, Sodium: 1098mg, Potassium: 920mg, Fiber: 4g, Sugar: 7g, Vitamin A: 1430IU, Vitamin C: 32mg, Calcium: 91mg, Iron: 2mg
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