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This New England Clam Chowder is packed with clams, potatoes, crispy bacon, all in the comfort of a creamy chowder. A bowl of this classic recipe will leave you fully satisfied. With a list of ingredients both inexpensive and easy to find, fool-proof instructions, this recipe is perfect any night of the week.
This soup is the perfect comfort meal on those days when the weather is keeping you indoors. Wrap yourself up in a fuzzy blanket, put on a good movie, find your favorite slippers, and grab a bowl of this chowder. It doesn’t get much cozier than this!
While you’re at it, get an extra bottle or two of clam juice, some tomato juice, and whip up a classic Canadian Caesar to accompany your chowder. You can thank me later! Nothing like having a themed dinner, right?
What’s so special about New England clam chowder?
Looking for a nice and hearty chowder? New England delivers. Also referred to as ‘Boston Chowder’, this variation features a creamy broth and a thicker consistency. You may have seen some versions with a thinner broth or even a tomato based broth. When I think of chowder, this creamy gift from New England is exactly what I crave.
Keep scrolling to the recipe card for the FULL ingredient amounts and instructions or click the “Jump to Recipe” button at the top of the page!
- Bacon – Any brand or flavor you like best.
- Butter – I always use unsalted to have full control over the sodium content.
- Onions – Any type you have on hand.
- Celery – I prefer my celery chopped small. You can cut them thicker if you like bigger pieces.
- Garlic – Use more or less as you see fit!
- Flour – Want to go gluten-free? Use 2.5 tbsp cornstarch mixed with an equal amount of water in step 4, after the clam juice. Stir well.
- Clam juice – I found these bottles at my local grocery store.
- Russet potatoes – Yellow-fleshed potatoes will also work.
- Half & half – This is half milk and half cream. If this product isn’t available to you, any cream between 10% and 20% will work.
- Bay leaf – Fresh or dried.
- Clams – I used canned clams. You can use fresh if you have access to them.
- Salt and pepper – Season to taste.
- Parsley – Freshly chopped, for garnish.
How to make New England clam chowder
- Cook the bacon & veggies: Over medium-high heat, cook the bacon in a large Dutch oven until crisp. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate. Add the butter, then stir in the onions and celery. Cook for 3-5 minutes until softened. Add the garlic to the pot and cook for 30 seconds.
- Simmer: Sprinkle the flour over the onion mixture and stir well. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring often, then pour in the clam juice. Use a whisk to make sure the flour doesn’t get clumpy. Add the potatoes, bay leaf, salt, pepper, and stir everything together. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook uncovered, stirring occasionally, for 15-20 minutes, or until the potatoes are fork tender.
- Finish the chowder: Add the clams and half & half, stir, and cook for 2 more minutes. Discard the bay leaf, stir in the bacon, garnish with parsley, and enjoy!
How to serve
There’s not often you find a soup that is stick-to-your-ribs hearty and filling. Chowder is one of those occasions! A bowl will fill you right up loaded with goodies. Top with some oyster crackers and enjoy. If you’re looking for some more variety, I would serve this chowder up with:
Freshly baked bread
And/or a refreshing salad
How to store leftovers
You can either keep your leftover chowder in the pot it was cooked in, or transfer it to an airtight container. It’ll last 3-4 days refrigerated. Reheat on the stovetop over medium heat, or in the microwave.
If you find it has thickened up too much after storing, you can add a splash more clam juice. All out of clam juice? Chicken, veggie broth or simply water will do the trick as well.
Can I freeze clam chowder?
If you plan on popping leftovers in the freezer, make sure the chowder has cooled down fully. While it’s not ideal to freeze clam chowder because of the texture changes for clams and potatoes, you can still use this storage option if you don’t mind a tougher clam and softer potato.
It’ll last 4-6 months frozen. Let the chowder thaw in the fridge first before reheating. You’ll want to be nice and delicate when you reheat frozen chowder as to not break up the potato pieces too much.
More comforting soup recipes to try:
- Chicken and Corn Chowder
- White Chicken Chili
- Cheesy Chicken Enchilada Soup
- Baked Potato Soup
- Mulligatawny Soup
Looking for more recipes? Follow on…
New England Clam Chowder
- 6 slices bacon chopped
- 2 tbsp butter unsalted
- 2 large onions chopped
- 2 stalks celery chopped
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- ⅓ cup all-purpose flour
- 4 cups clam juice
- 1 lb russet potatoes peeled and cut into bite size pieces
- 1 ½ cups half and half
- 1 bay leaf
- 19 ½ oz clams drained and juices reserved, chopped (3 cans 6.5 oz each)
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 tbsp parsley chopped, for garnish
- oyster crackers for serving
- Cook the bacon in a large Dutch oven until crisp. Transfer it to a towel paper lined plate to drain.
- Add the 2 tbsp of butter to the pot and melt over medium-high heat. Stir in the onions and celery and cook for 3 to 5 minutes until softened. Add the garlic and saute for 30 minutes until aromatic.
- Sprinkle the flour all over the onion mixture and stir. Cook for 2 minutes to remove the raw flour taste.
- Pour in the clam juice and stir. Add the potatoes, bay leaf, salt, pepper and stir everything together. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally for 15 to 20 minutes or the potatoes are fork tender.
- Stir in the clams, half and half and cook for another 2 minutes. Discard the bay leaf. Crumble the bacon and stir it in the chowder.
- You can either keep your leftover chowder in the pot it was cooked in, or transfer it to an airtight container. It’ll last 3-4 days refrigerated. Reheat on the stovetop over medium heat, or in the microwave.
- If you find it has thickened up too much after storing, you can add a splash more clam juice. All out of clam juice? Chicken, veggie broth or simply water will do the trick as well.