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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 chowder with another crock in the background
Photo Credit: Dishes Delish.

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.

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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
a bowl of chowder with black pepper and a roll on the side
Photo Credit: Dishes Delish.

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
Photo Credit: Dishes Delish.

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
Photo Credit: Dishes Delish.

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
Photo Credit: Dishes Delish.

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 the chowder with some bowls in the background
Photo Credit: Dishes Delish.

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

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

A spoonful of chowder with a drip hanging off the spoon with another crock in the background
Photo Credit: Dishes Delish.

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 in little fish dishes
Photo Credit: Dishes Delish.

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!
4.97 from 33 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 and place them in a sauté pan.
    3 carrots, 1 onion, 2 stalks of celery, 3 potatoes
  • Open cans of clams and drain the JUICE IN the sauté pan. Add the bottle of clam juice to the pan. Set aside the cans for one of the steps below.
    2 cans chopped clams, 8 fluid ounces clam juice
  • Bring vegetable mixture to a boil, then lower the heat to allow it to simmer. Check the vegetables for 15 minutes to see if they are done (tender).  Cook for five more minutes if not done.  Remove from heat and set aside.
  • In stock pot, melt the butter on medium heat.
    1/2 cup butter
  • Slowly add the flour and whisk until it becomes a paste.  It should take around 1 minute.
    1/2 cup flour
  • Add half and half and whisk constantly until the roux reaches your desired consistency (for me, thicker is better) – around 5 minutes.
    1 pint half and half
  • Pour vegetable/clam juice mixture in roux. Make sure to scrape the pan with a spatula to get all the flavor crystals.
  • Add clams and salt.
    1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Stir mixture and set it to heat for another 5 minutes being careful not to let it come to a boil.
  • Serve, and 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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From lighting up stages with her BA in theater to food journalist, Elaine Benoit's journey is a testament to passion's transformative power. As the CEO of Dishes Delish, she offers a blend of healthy, comforting recipes and exquisitely crafted cocktails. Beyond the kitchen, Elaine voiced her culinary adventures on her podcast, "Dishing," and co-owns Food Blogger Help, extending her expertise to guide budding food bloggers to success. Whether it's for a heartwarming dish or insights into food blogging, Elaine's diverse experiences make her a beacon in the culinary digital landscape.

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72 Comments

        1. Hi Colette. I wouldn’t. Technically you could but the milk product will look funny afterwards. Not that it would curd up but it produces little balls.

  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 🙂 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 🙂 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. 😉

  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! 🙂

  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. 🙂

  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 🙂 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 😉

  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! I’m making it again through the week. There were no left overs. I have to double the batch next time. I’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 😂, 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!! 🙂 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! 🙂

  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. 😉

  25. This is a great recipe which I followed exactly except for spelt flour. I used regular flour. It came out perfect! Fantastic taste! Everyone who tried it loved it! Thanks so much for posting it online!

    1. Kevin, you just made my day! Thanks so much for coming back to my site to let me know. I appreciate it. And I’m glad you all enjoyed it.

    1. I’m so happy to hear that, Lisa! I love chowder and although hubby can’t eat it, I make it anyway and have it leftover for days. Or I give some to my sister if she has been good. 😉

  26. Many clam chowder recipes online required more than 2 cans of clams and discarding the juice. This was the most cost effective recipe with just 2 cans and clam juice (natural, ~$12 total on sale), and it turned out amazing! I love that despite the simplicity of the ingredients, the flavor shown through and the ratio of clam/soup was sufficient. We used 1 cup of leftover heavy whipping cream and half&half which really thickened the soup (family preference).

    1. Thank you so much for your comment, Dana! I’m glad that you enjoyed it and came back to the site to let me know.

  27. Hi Elaine, I’m from Boston and am excited to try this Clam Chowdah recipe today. How many servings does it make? My family loves Clam Chowdah and I’m wondering if I should double it. Thank you.

    1. Hi Maggie, I, too, live in MA. 🙂 If they love it and you would like leftovers, then I’d say to double the recipe. I am the only one in this household who eats chowder (poor me, right?), so the recipe is for 6 cups. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

  28. Be sure to add clam juice. Without it the chowder has no taste. If cannot get it
    then use any kind of fish extract powder or juice.

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