Clam Chowder - the ultimate comfort food and treat. Rich, creamy and hearty with clams, heavy cream, potatoes, and crispy bacon.
What’s great about making it at home is that you control the creaminess, saltiness, and the amount of clams in the soup. Make it as thick as you want or add more clams. Feel free to use fresh clams but canned is easier, especially serving for a large family or crowd.
Serve in bread bowls, with slices of sourdough bread or oyster crackers.
Types of Clam Chowder
You may hear clam chowder called New England clam chowder or Manhattan clam chowder.
New England clam chowder ( also know as Boston clam chowder) has a creamy consistency from milk, heavy cream or combo of the two. Clams, bacon, potatoes and heavy cream makes this soup rich and hearty and almost always topped with oyster crackers.
Manhattan clam chowder does not contain any cream and very different due to its red color. The tomato-based chowder is thinner and includes more vegetables such as celery, carrots or green peppers. Manhattan clam chowder is more like a tomato stew than clam chowder.
3-4 slices bacon, cut
1 onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon fresh thyme or 1/2 teaspoon dried (optional)
3 Tablespoons butter
3 Tablespoons flour
2 cups vegetable or chicken broth (or water and bouillon)
2-3 potatoes, cut into cubes ( I used unpeeled red potatoes)
1-2 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 (6.5oz) cans, minced clams
1 cup heavy cream ( or more as needed)
Optional garnish: parsley, chives or thyme
In large pot, cook bacon until crisp. Remove and set aside. Add onions, celery, garlic and thyme and sauté for few minutes until onions are translucent.
Add butter. Once butter has melted, sprinkle flour and mix together. Add broth and mix together.
Add potatoes, bay leaf, salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until potatoes are tender, about 10-15 minutes. Add in clams with juice and heavy cream and simmer for a few minutes.
For a thicker consistency, add some flour (start with 1 teaspoon) and for a creamier soup, add some more heavy cream and simmer for a few minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning, as needed.
Top individual servings with reserved bacon and optional herbs.