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Easy Clam Chowder | New England Style

This easy clam chowder recipe is straight from New England and remains my favorite! I try all different recipes for creamy clam chowder but I keep coming back to this one!

Spoon is in the crock of creamy veggie filled chowder

Living in New England has its perks: beautiful foliage, cool accents, Maine lobsters, delish seafood and … easy clam chowder!  Or as Bostonians would say, “clam chowdah”.  Everyone has a favorite recipe.

I love New England clam chowder.  So much so, that I won’t get it in a restaurant unless I know it is good.  I hate to be disappointed by a watery bowl of a tasteless chowder wannabe.

When I was growing up, my parents had my three sisters and me help them make the chowder (read: do the grunt work).  We would sit there cutting up the slippery quahogs and the greasy salt pork.  Very labor intensive, but the final result was always delicious.

I knew I had to come up with a recipe that tasted delicious but without the muss and fuss of the salt pork or quahogs.  I also wanted a thicker and creamier chowder than the one I grew up with.  I think I’ve nailed it with this recipe, which I’ve been making for over 20 years.

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Helpful tips

  • I use spelt flour to make my chowder and even though the roux will look brownish at first, adding the cream makes it white again
  • Cook your veggies just enough that they are tender.  Do not over cook them.  I stick my fork in a potato to test it
  • I use half and half but you could use either milk for a lighter chowder, or light cream for a thicker one
  • I use canned clams but you can use fresh if you so desire.  You will just have to cut them up into smallish pieces
  • Serve this chowder with crusty bread because you can butter that bread and dip it in the chowder.  So good

How to make easy clam chowder

Step one

Gather a large sauté pan and the ingredients – onion, carrots, celery, potatoes, butter and canned clams.

Onion, celery, carrots in a pan

Step two

Chopped all the vegetables and place them in a pan and drain the juice from the two cans of clams in the pan as well as an 8 ounce bottle of clam juice. (A)

Step three

Bring the vegetable mixture to a boil and lower to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes.  Check with a fork to see if it is done and add 5 minutes if not.

Step four

Gather the flour, butter and Dutch oven or stock pot to make the roux. (B)

On the left - veggies and clam juice and on the right - the roux ingredients

Step five

Add the butter to the Dutch oven and turn the heat on medium/low. Add flour and whisk until it becomes a paste. (C)

Step six

Add half and half and whisk as it thickens up. It will take around 5 minutes. (D)

Butter and flour mixed for a roux on the left and cream added to the roux on the right

Step seven

After you reach the right consistency, take the pan of vegetables cooked in the clam juice and pour the whole thing in the roux mixture. Add the salt and mix it together until it is smooth.  Add the drained the chopped clams and let it heat for 5 more minutes, being careful not to boil the clam chowder.  You don’t want rubbery clams.

Here’s what it looks like before you ladle it out to your chowder-loving tribe.

Close up shot of a pan full of chowder with bowls behind the pan

Voila!  You are done.  Now all you need to do is serve it and eat it all up. 🙂

Two crocks of thick chowder with fresh ground pepper on top and rolls in the background

Let’s see how thick this easy clam chowder really is.

A spoonful of chowder with a drip hanging off the spoon

And the clam chowder from above. Do you see my reflection in one of the spoons.

Overhead shot of the clam chowder with the spoons in the crocks and rolls on plates

I hope you enjoy this easy clam chowder recipe as much as I do.

Please feel free to leave me a comment. How do you like your chowder? Thick? Chockful of veggies? I’d love to know!

And as always, may all your dishes be delish!

If you’ve tried this or any other recipe on the blog, I’d love the hear what you thought about it in the comments below.  I love hearing from you!  You can also FOLLOW ME on FACEBOOKTWITTERINSTAGRAM and PINTEREST to see more of my delicious food and delightful cocktails!

A crock filled with the easy clam chowder - square

Easy Clam Chowder

This easy clam chowder satisfies the palate while being a quick and delicious appetizer or meal!
5 from 22 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Soup
Cuisine: Seafood
Keyword: easy clam chowder
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 6 cups
Calories: 395kcal

Ingredients

  • 3 carrots cut in desired shape
  • 1 onion large, chopped medium sized
  • 2 stalks of celery sliced and cut in half again
  • 3 potatoes I used yukon gold, cut in cubes
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cans chopped clams not drained
  • 8 fluid ounces clam juice
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 pint half and half

Instructions

  • Cut all your vegetables
  • Place in big sauté pan
  • Open cans of clams, drain the juice IN the sauté pan
  • Add the bottle of clam juice in the pan as well
  • Bring vegetable mixture to a boil, then lower heat to allow it to simmer
  • Check vegetables at 15 minutes to see if done (tender).  Cook for 5 more minutes if not done.  Remove from heat and set aside.
  • In stock pot, melt the butter on medium heat
  • Slowly add the flour and whisk until it becomes a paste.  It should take around 1 minute
  • Add half and half and whisk constantly until the roux reaches your desired consistency (for me, thicker is better) – around 5 minutes
  • Pour vegetable/clam juice mixture in roux
  • Add clams and salt
  • Stir mixture and set it to heat for another 5 minutes being careful not to let it come to a boil
  • Serve
  • Enjoy
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Notes

Tips for making the Clam chowder:
  1. I use spelt flour to make my chowder and even though the roux will look brownish at first, adding the cream makes it white again
  2. Cook your veggies just enough that they are tender.  Do not over cook them.  I stick my fork in a potato to test it
  3. I use half and half but you could make milk for a lighter chowder, or light cream for a thicker one
  4. I use canned clams but you can use fresh if you so desire.  You will just have to cut them up into smallish pieces
  5. Serve it with crusty bread because you can butter that bread and dip it in the chowder.  So good

Nutrition

Serving: 1cup | Calories: 395kcal | Carbohydrates: 33g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 24g | Saturated Fat: 15g | Cholesterol: 69mg | Sodium: 355mg | Potassium: 747mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 5965IU | Vitamin C: 18.4mg | Calcium: 142mg | Iron: 4.2mg
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60 Comments

  1. This is so close to mine Layneey & now I need to make it. I’m still injured in the shoulder but this will be worth the time & effort ๐Ÿ™‚ I just add chopped up precooked bacon (not too well cooked & drain the grease well & pat more grease off) to the soup at the end ๐Ÿ™‚ Nice fresh buns with butter to top it off,,yumm

    1. Thanks Sherri! I know peeps put bacon in their chowder. My folks put salt pork, but I haven’t for years. I’ll have to try the next time I make it!

  2. It looks so creamy! I love that you’ve come up with an easy way to cook a yummy clam chowder. I wish I lived in the Northeast and could have all the delicious seafood anytime!

        1. Becky, the cans I use are 6.5 ounces each. I hope this helps. And a little more clams in a chowder is not a bad thing in my book. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  3. Very pretty dish! This look amazing! I definitely want to try your recipe, and I’m sure it’s very tasty. Is good food and this looks like one of the BEST! So YUMMY!

  4. Yum! This clam chowder looks and sounds so delicious! I’ve never tried it, but I will definitely save this as one of the things to try! Pinned!

  5. i was just looking at this on instagram and saying homemade soups and stews are so comforting.

  6. This creamy clam chowder looks fantastic! The thick and rich sauce and all the vegetables make the perfect meal all by itself.

  7. This bowl of goodness is calling my name. I LOVE clam chowder…and this looks so delicious. Comfort food that is great all year round works for me. Sure wish I lived closer to the sea for the fresh seafood.

    1. Thanks Gloria! I love chowder too and I’m happy to be in New England where they have the best! But I still like making it myself! ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. I do love a good clam chowdah, and I have to admit that I’ve never made it at home. If you’re telling me I can start with canned clams and have a chowder that’s every bit as good as restaurant-variety “from the shell” offerings, I am ALL IN. These shots look amazing!

    1. Thank you, Michelle, that means a lot to me. I haven’t made it with fresh clams in a while because this version is just as good! I’ll have to make it with fresh just to see if there is a big difference. ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. Oh my Elaine! This clam chowder looks soooooo creamy and delicious- I normally make it with salmon but this is definitely a must try, have and cook. Thanks for the wonderful recipe. Yummmm ????

    1. Thanks Ramona!! It really is creamy! My family loves it (even some of the ones who feel neutral about chowder)

  10. Living on Long Island, we love chowder too! My son worked at the local fish market in high school so I not only got great clams, he shucked for me. I make a lot of Manhatten Clam Chowder but the family prefers New England. We are all together tomorrow night, they are going to love this easy clam chowder. Easy and delish!

    1. That’s so fun Eileen! There is nothing like fresh seafood. I do like Manhattan clam chowder but I prefer NE as well! Thank you for your comment!

  11. Yum! I am so craving a bowl (or 3) of this right now. It looks incredibly creamy and tasty!

  12. My husband is from New England and is always talking about how he can’t find a good clam chowder down here ( we live in Florida).. I haven’t thought to make my own until I saw this recipe! He will be thrilled!

  13. Oh I looooove New England. My dad’s family came from the Boston area, so Clam Chowdah is huuuuge in my family. Reading this post brought back some very happy memories ๐Ÿ™‚ I will have to share it with my family members who may want quick and easy a taste of home!

      1. Hi Elaine, can’t believe I missed adding that to the recipe card. You can either add the salt to the vegetables while they cook or when you add the clams to the chowder. Hope this got to you in time. Thanks for pointing it out and happy holidays.

  14. A girl after my own heart. We live in Boston so clam chowder is always a must! Love how thick and creamy this recipe is, though I also love the thinner style my mom usually makes. It’s never summer until chowder is on the menu!

  15. New England clam chowder is the best! I love that you’ve created an easy to make version!

  16. I love a good clam chowder, but have never made it myself. And I agree. Thicker is SO much better ๐Ÿ˜‰

  17. This classic is one of my all time favorites and it really looks like you nailed it. Your soup looks fantastic! The weather is supposed to be unseasonably chilly this week so it will be a perfect time to make some soup!

  18. Haha.. laughing at ‘do the grunt work’!! Isn’t that the truth! Joking aside, this recipe is absolutely lovely. Clam chowder can be done so poorly if you don’t know exactly what you are doing but this recipe is perfect and shows how easy it is to make perfect clam chowder. Love it!

  19. Oh this looks so creamy and so delicious Elaine. I love having a good soup or stew no matter what season so I’ll be try this for sure very soon. It’s perfect family dinner.

  20. Can you believe I’ve never even tried clam chowder, let alone made it myself! You make it seem do-able, however, which is pretty tempting – I could whip up a batch for dinner one night ASAP!

  21. I made this last night and my family raved! Iโ€™m making it again through the week. There were no left overs. I have to double the batch next time. Iโ€™m a good cook but was always worried about attempting this. Thank you so much! You are my official go to recipe site! Most people struggle with making a rue but I have that down to a art but still feared clam chowder. I got this!

    1. You do have this, Hope! Thank you so much. Your comment made my day! I’m so happy you tried the recipe and your family enjoyed it. (It’s one of my favorite recipes!)

  22. I love clam chowder but this has no flavor. I don’t know what happened. I followed exactly. My husband said dump it but I won’t waste food. I even used fresh clams!!

    1. I’m so sorry to hear that, Tammy. That’s very odd. I don’t think I’ve ever had anyone say that. It’s a soup that my relatives always want me to make.

  23. Elaine thank you for sharing, this came out really good! I added more clams because I just love them.
    My husband said this is a keeper and can’t wait for me to do again. He licked the bowl ๐Ÿ˜‚, he really did.

    1. Lol! I’ve gone as far as swiping my finger around the bowl and then licking my finger, but I’m impressed he licked it!! ๐Ÿ™‚ Thank you for letting me know Mimi! I really appreciate it. I love making clam chowder and eating it. I don’t make it as often as I like but that’s because hubby can’t eat it. So I end up eating the whole thing myself unless I bring it to someone’s house! ๐Ÿ™‚

  24. excellent clam chowder recipe. Found this recipe to be the best.
    thank you for the great instructions and how to keep your class fresh and not chewie.

    1. Thanks so much, Dan! I appreciate it. I love this chowder and make it every few months now, but only because hubby can’t have the cream and I’m not switching it out for almond milk. ๐Ÿ˜‰