5-star winner! Clam chowder with a creamy broth, tender clams, and smoky bacon is a classic comfort food. Grab a spoon, dive in, and let the warmth wash over you.

This chowder costs approximately $12.07 to make. The recipe makes six servings, and each serving costs around $2.01. 

A close up of Clam Chowder in a pot with bacon and fresh thyme on top.

I grew up eating New England Clam Chowder on the East Coast and am sharing my version of a classic recipe with you so you can make it perfectly every time.

This 5-star New England clam chowder recipe will have you diving into creamy comfort. It delivers rich flavors, tender clams, and pure satisfaction.

What You’ll Love About This New England Clam Chowder

  • Simplicity: My recipe focuses on quality ingredients without being overly complicated. This allows the pairings of the flavors to shine through, resulting in a culinary masterpiece. 
  • Classic Flavors: This recipe has all the trademarks of a New England clam chowder: creamy broth, tender clams, smoky bacon, and fluffy potatoes. 
  • Versatility: You can easily adjust this recipe with different potatoes, clams, or herbs.

New England Clam Chowder Ingredients and Estimated Cost

Per Serving Cost: $2.01

Recipe Cost: $12.07

  • 5 slices bacon – $1.85
  • 1 cup onion – $0.23
  • 1 cup celery – $0.44
  • 2 garlic cloves – $0.08
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt – $0.03
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme – $0.18
  • ¼ teaspoon fresh black ground pepper – $0.05
  • 3 cups vegetable broth – $1.64
  • 1 cup half & half – $1.07
  • 1 cup clam juice – $0.00
  • 2 russet potatoes – $0.52
  • 2 cans chopped clams with juice – $5.98

NOTE: The recipe prices are calculated by using grocery store websites. The recipe cost is calculated by the amounts needed for the recipe. The actual cost of the recipe will vary depending on what ingredients you already have. I updated the pricing for this recipe in January 2024.

All of the ingredients needed to make this recipe.

How to make Clam Chowder

***For complete recipe instructions, see the recipe card below.

  1. First, set the bacon in a Dutch oven and cook on low-medium heat until crispy. Crumble the bacon and place it on a paper towel-lined plate. Set aside 2-3 tablespoons of bacon drippings. 
  2. Next, add the onion and celery and cook until soft. Add in the garlic, thyme, salt, and pepper and saute for another thirty to forty-five seconds. 
  3. Then, pour in the broth, half-and-half, and clam juice. Bring the mixture to a simmer until the potatoes are tender. 
  4. Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the clams. 
  5. Serve with crumbled bacon. You can also add fresh herbs and crackers (both optional). 

A picture collage showing how to make this recipe.

Recipe Variations

  • Bacon: Pork bacon is recommended to produce drippings. Other bacon, such as turkey bacon, will not yield the same results.
  • Potatoes: Other potatoes, such as red or Yukon gold, can be used.
  • Clams: Canned clams are pre-cooked. They will heat when added to the hot soup. Do not continue to simmer since clams can easily overcook and become rubbery.
  • Half & Half: You can lighten the chowder up by using milk. Alternatively, you can make it richer and slightly creamier by using heavy cream.

Clam Chowder Storage Tips

SERVE: Serve this creamy chowder as a main dish immediately after making it. It should not be left out longer than two hours. 

STORE: Store the leftover clam chowder in the fridge in an airtight container for up to four days. 

FREEZE: While you can freeze clam chowder, the quality of the soup’s texture and potatoes may be compromised. Once cooled, transfer the chowder to an airtight freezer container and store it for three months.

THAW: Thaw overnight in the fridge.

REHEAT: Reheat the chowder slowly on the stovetop to keep the perfect texture.

New England Clam Chowder in a soup pot with a serving spoon.

Easy Clam Chowder Recipe FAQs

New England vs Manhattan Clam Chowder

Manhattan Clam Chowder is traditionally made with a tomato-based broth and more veggies than New England Clam Chowder, which is made using a cream-based broth.

Lobster Bisque vs Clam Chowder

Clam Chowder recipes are known for being thick and chunky, while Lobster Bisque is considered a creamy soup because it is pureed to have a smooth, creamy consistency.

Is clam chowder keto?

Traditionally, no, most clam chowders aren’t keto-friendly. They often rely on potatoes or flour for thickening, which are high in carbs. However, the good news is you can make it keto-compatible!

  • Skip the starchy stuff: Ditch the potatoes and swap them for low-carb alternatives like cauliflower rice.
  • Choose broth wisely: Go for vegetable or seafood broth instead of milk-based options.

What to serve with clam chowder?

The perfect side for your clam chowder depends on your mood and the chowder itself! Here are some ideas:

  • Oyster Crackers: A classic and light nibble to soak up the broth.
  • Salad: A simple green salad with a light vinaigrette cuts through the chowder’s richness. 
  • Bread: Crusty sourdough, garlic bread, or warm rolls are perfect for dipping and dunking. Try serving chowder in a bread bowl for an edible adventure!
Chowder in a bowl that's garnished with bacon.

More From Food Folks and Fun

A serving spoon getting chowder from a soup pot.
5 from 1 vote

Easy Clam Chowder Recipe

Recipe Cost $ $12.07
Serving Cost $ $2.01
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
6 people
Creamy broth, tender clams, and smoky bacon are classic comfort in a bowl. Grab a spoon, dive in, and let the warmth wash over you.

Equipment

  • cutting board
  • chef's knife
  • measuring cups and spoons
  • Dutch oven
  • mixing spoon

Ingredients
 
 

  • 5 slices bacon chopped or whole
  • 1 cup chopped onion about ½ large onion
  • 1 cup diced celery about 2 stalks
  • 2 large cloves garlic grated
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • ¼ teaspoon fresh black ground pepper
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 cup half & half
  • 1 cup clam juice reserved from canned clams
  • 2 russet potatoes peeled and cubed (about 2 cups)
  • 2 6.5 oz. cans chopped clams with juice

FOR SERVING:

  • Fresh thyme optional
  • Fresh parsley optional
  • Oyster crackers optional

Instructions

COOK BACON:

  • Place bacon in a dutch oven or soup pot.
  • Cook on low-medium until crispy, then crumble.
  • Transfer to a paper towel lined plate.
  • Reserve 2-3 tablespoons of bacon grease.

MAKE SOUP:

  • Add onion and celery and saute until soft, scraping bits from bottom of pan, about 5 minutes.
  • Add garlic, thyme, salt, and pepper.
  • Saute another 30-45 seconds until fragrant.
  • Pour in broth, half and half, and clam juice.
  • Bring to a simmer before adding potatoes.
  • Continue to simmer for about 10 minutes or until potatoes are tender.
  • Remove from heat and stir in clams.

SERVE:

  • Serve with crumbled bacon, a sprinkle of fresh herbs, and crackers.

Nutrition

Serving: 1.75cups | Calories: 226kcal | Carbohydrates: 24g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 0.02g | Cholesterol: 26mg | Sodium: 1165mg | Potassium: 510mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 544IU | Vitamin C: 9mg | Calcium: 75mg | Iron: 1mg

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