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overhead view of white bowl of New England Clam Chowder
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5 from 72 votes

New England Clam Chowder

Making delicious restaurant-style soups in your kitchen isn't difficult. It's all about the ingredients and a few simple techniques. And my New England Clam Chowder is a perfect example of a restaurant-style soup that you can make in your own kitchen for your family and friends.
Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time1 hour 50 minutes
Course: Soup
Cuisine: American
Servings: 8
Calories: 337kcal


  • 36 large clams (steamed and chopped)
  • 2-3 cups clam juice (from steamed clams )
  • 4 strips bacon
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 large onion small dice
  • 4 stalks celery small dice
  • 2 large carrots small dice
  • 2 medium potatoes cut into ¼-inch cubes
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves chopped
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups milk
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • sea salt to taste


  • The first step in making New England Clam Chowder is steaming open the clams. Add one cup of water to a large pot over medium heat. Add the clams and cover. Steam the clams for 8-10 minutes or until they steam open.
  • When the clams have steamed open, remove from the heat and allow to cool. When the clams are cool, remove the clam meat from the shell (leaving the muscle that attaches the clam to the shell). Chops the clams into small pieces and refrigerate until needed.
    Discard the Shells but Save the Clam Broth in the bottom of the pot. You will heat this up and use it to make the soup.
  • Set a 4- to 6-quart pot over medium-low heat. Add the bacon and cook, turning occasionally, until crisp. About 8 to 10 minutes.
  • Add the butter, onion, celery, and carrots, to the pot. Continue to cook the mixture for 4-6 minutes. Stirring the mixture as needed.
  • Reduce the heat to low and add in the flour, making the roux that will thicken the soup.
    Allow the roux to cook over low heat for 5- 7 minutes, but don’t let the roux get dark or burn.
  • Heat the stock in a saucepan while the roux is cooking. Add the hot stock to the roux and mix well using a wire whisk.
  • Add the potatoes, and fresh thyme into the pot at this time stirring them into the soup.
  • Add the milk and heavy cream to the soup and let the soup simmer over low heat for about an hour.
    **If the soup gets to thick, add water to pot. I wouldn't add any more dairy at this point, just water.
  • Before serving the chowder, add in the chopped clams and simmer for 5 additional minutes to bring the soup back to temperature.
  • Serve the Chowder with crackers, bread and a bottle of hot sauce.


Many supermarkets carry frozen, chopped clam meat in 1-pound containers. This is a better choice than canned clams. Just be aware that most frozen chopped clams come from China or Indonesia.
If using frozen clams, allow to fully thaw before adding to the soup.  You'll also need jarred clam juice if you use frozen clams.,


Calories: 337kcal | Carbohydrates: 20g | Protein: 18g | Fat: 20g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 81mg | Sodium: 293mg | Potassium: 588mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 3156IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 143mg | Iron: 1mg