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New England Clam Chowdah

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 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Course Soup
Cuisine American
Servings 6 servings
Calories 406 kcal



  • 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



  • 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.


Serving: 1servingCalories: 406kcalCarbohydrates: 32gProtein: 12gFat: 26gSaturated Fat: 15gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 71mgSodium: 675mgPotassium: 660mgFiber: 2gSugar: 10gVitamin A: 815IUVitamin C: 7mgCalcium: 227mgIron: 1mg
Keyword Clam Chowder, soup
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

bowl of New England Clam Chowdah

Recipe Rating


Tuesday 10th of February 2015

How about using Swanson's cream starter in place of the non-fat milk? Has anyone used that? I would like to know if it gives a good result as I haven't tried it yet.


Sunday 22nd of February 2015

I haven't tried it but I'm pretty sure you can find non-fat milk at every market in the United States, so that's what I would use.


Wednesday 17th of October 2012

Brooks, your blog has inspired my boys 3 and 4 to help me more in the kitchen! They just love checking out your page. Try using more clam juice for your broth (still with the flour and butter) but then add 1 cup of heavy cream instead of the other milks. I make several cream soups with a base like this and the cream paired with the stock (in this case clam stock) is amazing. And 1 cup of cream has less calories than 4 cups of milk! Keep up the great work.

RecipeBoy's Grandma

Thursday 20th of October 2011

This looks yummy. Maybe you could make it for me while I'm there. Looks like it could easily be made gluten free! love


Monday 17th of October 2011

I'm with you, bacon is the best. And this chowder, wow, another touchdown for Recipe Boy!

Aunt Susie

Sunday 16th of October 2011

Looks delicious! Clam chowder is one of my favorites, too.