This rich and creamy homemade New England clam chowder is packed full of meaty clams, bacon, buttery yellow potatoes, and a touch of heavy cream.
Have you been craving the perfect winter soup?
Well, look no further than this hearty homemade New England clam chowder!
This chowder is packed full of clams, veggies, bacon, potatoes, and a touch of cream.
I made this soup extra easy but using canned clams (well, for the photos I might have added a few fresh steamed clams) in water but you can use fresh clams if they are easy to find in your area.
This soup is extra hearty and is a dream to serve on cold winter days.
Plus it’s ready in under an hour and great topped with oyster crackers, crispy bacon, and even a sprinkle of Old Bay seasoning.
Table of Contents
Ingredients for New England clam chowder
- Thick sliced bacon
- Yellow baby potatoes
- Fresh thyme
- Dried oregano
- Crushed red pepper
- Kosher salt
- Black pepper
- All-purpose flour
- Canned clams in water
- Clam juice
- Heavy cream
Using fresh clams
Using canned clams is perfectly acceptable for this recipe, but it is equally delicious if you opt to use fresh clams.
To use fresh clams steam 2 dozen cleaned cherrystone clams.
After they are steamed, pull out the clams and chop them for the soup.
Add them to the soup in place of the canned cans.
However, because you’ll be using fresh clams you won’t have the juice from the canned clams which we use as part of the broth. The juice from the cans equals roughly 2 cups so add in 2 cups, or 2 extra (8ounce) bottles of clam juice.
Using chicken stock
If you’re looking to make this soup less clammy (or you can’t find clam juice) you can replace the bottled clam juice with chicken stock.
Toppings for clam chowder
I’m happy to eat my clam chowder any way I can get it but my favorite toppings are:
- Crispy bacon
- Oyster crackers
- Minced fresh parsley
- Sprinkle Old Bay seasoning
- Dash of hot sauce
More soup recipes
Homemade New England Clam Chowder
- 8 slices thick sliced bacon diced
- 2 celery stalks small dice
- 1 large yellow onion small dice
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 2 pounds baby yellow potatoes cut into 1/2 inch chunks
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 4 6.5 ounce cans chopped clams in water USE THE CLAM JUICE DON'T DRAIN
- 3 8 ounce bottles clam juice 3 cups
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 cup heavy cream
- In a large soup pot set over medium heat add bacon.
- Once the bacon starts to render its fat add in diced celery and onion.
- Cook over medium heat until the vegetables are soft and translucent.
- Add in garlic and saute until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
- If your bacon does not give off a lot of fat drizzle in a little olive oil or a tablespoon of unsalted butter.
- Add potatoes, thyme leaves, red pepper flakes, oregano, kosher, salt, and black pepper to the pan. Stir to combine.
- Sprinkle in flour and toss to combine until you see no more dry flour.
- Add the clams WITH THEIR JUICE to the pan along with bottled clam juice and bay leaf.
- Stir and bring to a simmer, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until your potatoes are fork tender.
- When your potatoes are soft add your heavy cream, stir to combine, taste, and season if needed, and serve hot with oyster crackers.
- Using fresh clams: Steam 2 dozen cherrystone clams and dice the meat. You'll need to use 2 more cups of clam juice to make up for the lack of clam juice found in the cans.
- Each can of diced clams should give you 1/2 cup of clam juice. That means you'll like need 3 bottles of clam juice.