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New England Clam Chowder


This creamy chowder uses canned clams for convenience. It’s a great soup year-round.

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Rate this recipe 4.7/5 (22 Votes)


  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 slices smoked bacon, cut into 1/4-inch strips
  • 1 medium onion, finely diced
  • 2 celery stalks, diced into 1/4-inch pieces (reserve tender leaves)
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 (16 ounce) tub frozen clams
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 pound Idaho potatoes, scrubbed and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 lemon
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper


Servings 8
Preparation time 15mins
Cooking time 40mins
Adapted from


Step 1

Heat the butter in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add bacon and sauté until golden about 2 minutes.

Add the onion and celery and sauté until softened, mixing often.

Add flour and stir to distribute evenly. Add the stock, juice from 2 cans of chopped clams (reserve clams), cream, wine, thyme, and potatoes and stir to combine.

Bring to a gentle simmer, stirring consistently. Once the mixture thickens, reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for 20 minutes, stirring often, until the potatoes are nice and tender.

Add clams and season to taste with salt and pepper; cook for another 2 minutes.

I use Maldon salt to season my finished dishes, which adds a restaurant style taste.

Make it Fresh: If you prefer to use fresh clams, you’ll need about 5 pounds. Bring clams and 3 cups of water to a boil in a large covered pot. Cook the clams until they open, about 3 to 5 minutes. Let cool slightly. Remove clams from shells with a paring knife while holding over a bowl to catch juices. Reserve clam meat in a bowl, discarding shells. Mince clams; set aside. Pour clam juice and broth (the water used to cook the clams) slowly into a new bowl. Leave a couple of tablespoons of clam broth in the bottom of the bowl in case of sediment. Use stock in place of bottled clam juice.

Smoked Salmon: Follow the recipe, but add 8 ounces of smoked salmon to the pot just before serving.

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