How to Make an Amazing New England Clam Chowder

By Megan Radogna , last updated March 15, 2011

Learning how to make amazing, creamy, New England clam chowder is surprisingly easy, and this classic north-east coast recipe that is both satisfying and easy to make. Many other kinds of chowders exist, from the tomato-based Manhattan clam chowder to the soupier Rhode Island-style chowder to the spicy Southern style full of vegetables. But for those who love thick, hearty soups, this delectable New England clam chowder recipe will do the trick.


  • 4 slices bacon, diced (can be substituted for ham or salt pork)
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped onion
  • 1 1/2 cups water or 1 1/2 cups bottled clam juice, depending on taste
  • 4-5 cups peeled and cubed potatoes, depending on desired amount
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • Ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 cups half-and-half
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 2-3 (10 ounce) cans minced clams
  • 2 tablespoons flour

Place diced bacon in large stock pot over medium-high heat. Cook until almost crisp, and then add onions and cook 5 minutes. Stir in water or bottled clam juice and potatoes, and season with an appropriate amount of salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, and cook covered for about 20 minutes, or until potatoes are tender when stuck with a fork. Pour in half-and-half and heavy cream, and add butter. Drain clams, reserving clam liquid, and then stir clams and all of the clam liquid into the soup. Add about two tablespoons of flour to the soup for thickening. Cook for about 5 minutes, or until heated through; stir until desired thickness is achieved. Do not allow to boil over.

Best of all, this recipe can be modified to fit the varying tastes of people picky about the flavors and consistencies of their chowder. For a strong flavor of clams, substitute 1 1/2 cups of water for 1 1/2 cups of bottled clam juice. For a thicker soup, use flour and heavy cream to thicken the broth, and add more potatoes and clams.

Now all that’s left to do is eat and enjoy!

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