New England Clam Chowder Recipe


Jump to Recipe

Print Recipe

My creamy New England Clam Chowder ice cream made with tender clams, chunks of russet potatoes, a mirepoix of vegetables, and smoky bacon. Making every bite of this delicious soup a culinary event.

overhead view of New England clam chowder in a white bowl

Bring the taste of New England to your home with this easy Clam Chowder recipe. This hearty soup is comfort food at its best.

close up of white bowl of New England Clam Chowder

Clams were abundant in the coastal New England area of ​​the United States and clam chowders and seafood stews could be found cooking on the stoves in many New Englanders’ households.

But with the advent of canned soups, America stopped making homemade soups and most seafood soups became an extravagance we only got to enjoy on those special occasions when we would dine out.

You might also enjoy my version of Manhattan chowder.

What kind of clams should I buy?

bowl of top neck clams in shells

Little Neck clams are most often the type of clams you’ll find in supermarkets. This size clam is generally used in pasta dishes such as clams and spaghetti. And that’s because the larger the clam gets, the tougher and chewier it will be.,

A lot of supermarkets also carry Middle Necks (pictured above), Top Necks or Cherrystone.

  • Pasta Necks (or Spaghetti clams) – smaller than Little Necks, they are tender and easy to digest. Their delicate flavor goes well in light sauces, pasta or rice dishes.
  • Little Neck – small and tender they are usually steamed open or eaten on the half shell. Also good for pasta dishes.
  • Middle Neck – rich, firm-textured meat has a salty and slightly sweet flavor. Great for steaming in a garlic sauce and for soups.
  • Top Neck – typically eaten raw on the half shell, grilled open or as a baked clam appetizer such as clams casino or deviled clams.
  • Cherrystone – eaten raw or most often used for baked clam appetizers such as clams casino or deviled clams.
  • Chowder – the largest and toughest hard clams, usually winding up in chowders.

If you don’t see them, ask the seafood person if the larger clams can be ordered.

Ingredients to make New England Clam Chowder

ingredients to make New England clam chowder

Let’s start by gathering the ingredients we need to make New England Clam Chowder. In Chef Speak, this is called the Mise en Place, which translates into Everything in its Place.

Not only does setting your ingredients up ahead of time speed up the cooking process, but it also helps ensure you have everything you need to make the dish.

Simple Pantry Ingredients

  • fresh clams
  • russet potatoes (or red potatoes)
  • bacon
  • celery, onions, carrots
  • heavy cream
  • whole milk
  • butter
  • all-purpose flour
  • thyme
  • black pepper

I’m not a fan of using a bay leaf in my chowder, but feel free to add one or two bay leaves if you enjoy the flavor it imparts.

How to make New England Clam Chowder

The first step is steaming the clams you’ll be using for the soup.

large pot of clams steamed open
  • Add one cup of water to a large pot over medium heat.
  • Add the whole unopened clams to the pot and cover.
  • Steam the clams for 8-10 minutes or until they open.

**Don’t let the clams cook longer than it takes to steam open.

Once the clams have steamed open, remove them from the stove and allow them to cool until you can safely handle the clams.

clam meat in glass bowl surrounded by open shells

When the clams have cooled sufficiently, remove the meat from the shells. Don’t remove the tiny mussel that holds the clam to the shell; it will be tough and chewy.

**Discard the shells but make sure to save all the clam broth from the steamed clams. The natural flavor of the clam juice really enhances the overall flavor of the chowder.

chopped clam meat

Chop the clams into small pieces and refrigerate the chopped clams until needed.

*Canned clams or frozen clams may be used if you can’t find fresh clams. You will also need a bottle of clam juice with either of these choices.

pot with onions, carrots and celery added to cooked bacon

In a 4-6 quart soup pot (or dutch oven) cook the bacon over medium-high heat until it’s almost done. Add the onions, celery, and carrots and continue cooking for 5-6 minutes.

*Authentic Clam Chowder would have used salt pork instead of bacon.

vegetables and bacon with flour added to make roux

Reduce the heat to low and add the flour to the pot to make a roux. This 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.

potatoes added to chowder

Heat the clam broth in a saucepan while the roux is cooking. Add the hot clam broth to the roux and mix well using a wire whisk.

When thoroughly mixed, add the potatoes and fresh thyme into the pot and stir to mix well.

new england clam chowder in large pot with milk added

Now add the whole milk and the heavy cream. Allow the soup to simmer over low heat for about an hour.

**If the soup gets too thick, add water to the pot. I wouldn’t add any more dairy at this point, just water.

white bowl with New England clam chowder

Before serving the chowder, add in the chopped clams and simmer for 5 additional minutes to bring the soup back to temperature. Serve with crackers, oyster crackers or fresh crusty bread and enjoy!

*Some folks enjoy hot sauce with their chowder.

overhead view of white bowl of New England Clam Chowder

Can you freeze New England Clam Chowder?

Yes, you can. You may need to add a little water to the soup when reheating.

Recipe FAQ’s

What is the difference between Clam Chowder and New England Clam Chowder?

New England Clam Chowder (also referred to as “Boston-style” clam chowder), is made using milk and cream. This makes it a much thicker chowder than other regional types of clam chowder. The other two styles of clam chowder, Rhode Island Clam Chowder and Manhattan Clam Chowder, are both tomato-based broth-style soups.

Why is it called New England Clam Chowder?

Originally made in the Maine and Massachusetts area and food historians believe that French or Nova Scotian settlers introduced the soup to the area, thus lending to the name of New England Clam Chowder.

Can I use canned clams to make New England Clam Chowder?

Yes, you can. Canned clams are a great alternative to fresh clams when fresh clams are not readily available. Make sure to buy extra clam juice when purchasing canned clams to help make the chowder.

More Soup Recipes You’ll Love!

overhead view of white bowl of New England Clam Chowder

Print Recipe
Saw

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 my s

Cook Time1 Sir 30 my s

Total Time1 Sir 50 my s

Courses: Soup

Cuisine: American

Servings: 8

Calories: 337kcal

Author: Chief Dennis Littley

Ingredients

  • 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

Prevent your screen from going dark

Instructions

  • 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). Chop 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 too thick, add water to the 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.

Notes

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.,

Nutrition

Calories: 337kcal | Carbohydrates: 20g | Protein: 18g | Dish: 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

Leave a Comment