Classic Clam Chowder

New England style clam chowder
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Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 30 mins
Total: 40 mins
Servings: 4 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
451 Calories
15g Fat
43g Carbs
34g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 451
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 15g 19%
Saturated Fat 7g 35%
Cholesterol 79mg 26%
Sodium 1979mg 86%
Total Carbohydrate 43g 16%
Dietary Fiber 4g 15%
Protein 34g
Calcium 244mg 19%
*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 celery stalks
  • 1 small onion
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt (plus more to taste)
  • 2 large potatoes
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup broth or clam juice
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 1/2 pounds fresh clams
  • Garnish: freshly ground black pepper

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

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

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

  4. Meanwhile, peel and chop the potatoes. Once vegetables are soft, sprinkle them with the flour. Cook, stirring until the flour smells a bit like pie crust—that will let you know that it is cooked and keep the chowder from having a raw flour flavor—about 2 minutes. Add the potatoes, broth, and milk. Bring to a simmer and cook until potatoes are very tender, 10 to 15 minutes.

  5. Meanwhile, do one of two things. Either shuck the raw clams or heat a large pot over high heat. Add 1/4 to 1/2 cup water to the pot. It should sizzle immediately. Add the clams, cover, and cook until all the clams are open—3 to 5 minutes. Lift clams out of the pot. Use a fork or small tongs to pull the clams out of their shells. Discard the shells. Strain the 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 the chowder.

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

  7. Taste the chowder and add more salt to taste if it needs it. Serve it hot, topped with pepper, if you like.

  8. Enjoy!