Classic Clam Chowder

New England style clam chowder
LauriPatterson/E+/Getty Images
Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 30 mins
Total: 40 mins
Servings: 4 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
562 Calories
14g Fat
52g Carbs
55g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 562
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 14g 18%
Saturated Fat 6g 30%
Cholesterol 144mg 48%
Sodium 2505mg 109%
Total Carbohydrate 52g 19%
Dietary Fiber 4g 15%
Total Sugars 8g
Protein 55g
Vitamin C 54mg 268%
Calcium 308mg 24%
Iron 7mg 38%
Potassium 2180mg 46%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

This classic clam chowder is smooth and flavorful, chock full of fresh, delicious clams. It is neither gloppy nor gluey, but hearty and satisfying and a cinch to pull together.

You can play around with the proportions of milk and broth or water and feel free to use all milk if you like. Whole milk will yield a richer, more classic chowder.


  • 2 slices bacon

  • 2 tablespoons butter

  • 2 stalks celery

  • 1 small onion

  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste

  • 2 large potatoes

  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

  • 1 cup broth or clam juice

  • 1 1/2 cups milk

  • 1 1/2 pounds fresh clams

  • Freshly ground black pepper, for garnish

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Finely chop bacon. Heat a medium pot over medium-high heat, add butter, and once butter is melted, add bacon. Cook, stirring now and again until bacon renders its fat. Adjust heat so butter doesn't brown.

  3. Meanwhile, finely chop celery and onion. Add to bacon and season with salt. Cook, stirring once in a while, until vegetables are soft, about 3 minutes.

  4. Peel and chop potatoes. Once vegetables are soft, sprinkle with flour. Cook, stirring until flour smells a bit like pie crust—that will let you know that it is cooked and also help prevent chowder from having a raw flour flavor—about 2 minutes.

  5. Add potatoes, broth, and milk. Bring to a simmer and cook until potatoes are very tender, 10 to 15 minutes.

  6. Either shuck raw clams or heat a large pot over high heat. Add 1/4 to 1/2 cup water to pot. It should sizzle immediately. Add clams, cover, and cook until all clams are open—3 to 5 minutes.

  7. Lift clams out of pot. Use a fork or small tongs to pull clams out of their shells. Discard shells. Strain clam cooking liquid through several layers of cheesecloth or a clean kitchen towel to make sure any grit is left behind. Add strained cooking liquid to chowder.

  8. Once potatoes are tender, add clams and simmer until clams are cooked through, about 5 minutes for raw shucked clams and just 1 to 2 minutes for the steamed-opened clams.

  9. Taste chowder and add more salt to taste. Serve hot, topped with pepper, if you like.