New England Clam Chowdah

This post may contain affiliate links.

This New England Clam Chowdah (otherwise known as clam chowder) is thick and creamy, and it’s topped with plenty of bacon!

clam chowder in a white bowl

Clam chowder has a special place in the hearts of everyone in our family. We have some connections to the East coast. My husband grew up in Connecticut, and he spent his summers vacationing on the south shore of Boston. When I met my husband, I started spending summer there too. And when our son Brooks was born, we all began to spend summers near Boston. So we’re all deeply affectionate toward New England Clam Chowdah! We’ve tried every kind of clam chowder out there, so this recipe encompasses everything we love in a good clam chowder.

ingredients displayed for making clam chowder

Ingredients needed:

  • chopped onion
  • chopped celery
  • chopped potato
  • minced clams
  • butter
  • all purpose flour
  • whole milk (or half and half)
  • 2% milk
  • salt and pepper
  • cooked and crumbled bacon

four photos showing process of clam chowder

How to make New England Clam Chowdah:

Onion, celery and potatoes are added to a large saucepan. Clam juice and water are added to the pan to cover the veggies. A little bit of salt is added, and then it’s brought to a simmer.

Once the veggies are done simmering, prepare the white sauce. Melt butter in another pan, and whisk in flour. Add both milks, and whisk until thickened. If you want your chowder to be thick and rich, use half in half instead of whole milk.

two photos showing process of making clam chowder

Then pour the white sauce into the pan with the simmering veggies. Add the clams too. Season with salt and pepper. And your New England clam chowdah is done!

ladle full of clam chowder

The texture is thick and creamy and wonderful. The potatoes are tender (sometimes I like to use unpeeled red potatoes). And there are chunks of clam in there to enjoy too.

bowl of clam chowder with bacon

The best New England Clam Chowdah is not complete without adding chopped crispy cooked bacon on top.

spoonful of clam chowder

If you love chowder, you might also like to try my Sausage and Corn Chowder or this Easy Chicken Corn Chowder.

clam chowder in a white bowl

New England Clam Chowdah (clam chowder)

Super thick and creamy clam chowder with bacon!
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 40 mins
Course Soup
Cuisine American
Servings 6 servings



  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 2 medium Russet potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • Two 6.5-ounce cans clams (juice reserved)
  • 1 teaspoon salt


  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • ½ cup all purpose flour
  • 2 cups whole milk or half and half cream
  • 2 cups 2% milk
  • salt and pepper, to taste


  • 4 strips bacon, cooked and chopped
  • sourdough bread, for serving (optional)



  • In a large saucepan, add the onion, celery and potatoes. Pour the clam juice over the veggies (don't add the clams yet); add enough water just to cover the vegetables, sprinkle on salt, and simmer until tender.


  • Make the white sauce when the veggies are done simmering. In another large saucepan, melt the butter; whisk in the flour. Add the two milks and whisk until thick while it's heating up. Pour the white sauce into the pan with the simmering veggies. Add the clams and season with salt and pepper, as desired. Heat through.


  • Serve the clam chowder in soup bowls and top each bowl of soup with some bacon. Serve with sourdough bread, if desired.
Keyword Clam Chowder, soup

bowl of New England Clam Chowdah