Facebook LinkedIn Email Pinterest Twitter Instagram YouTube Icon Navigation Search Icon Main Search Icon Video Play Icon Plus Icon Minus Icon Check Icon Print Icon Note Icon Heart Icon Filled Heart Icon Single Arrow Icon Double Arrow Icon Hamburger Icon TV Icon Close Icon Sorted Hamburger/Search Icon

New England Clam Chowder

Scott Phillips

Yield: Yields about 9 cups

Servings: 8

Creamy, hearty New England clam chowder is by far the most popular chowder style (compared to Manhattan or Rhode Island versions). Chowder made with milk or cream began appearing in the early 1800s, and New Englanders claimed it as their own in the 1900s. Many versions use a flour and butter roux to thicken the soup. The roux is necessary if you’re cooking with milk; otherwise, it curdles when boiled. This chowder gets its thick texture from a combination of heavy cream and puréed potatoes. You can crush some of the potatoes against the side of the pot (instead of puréeing the vegetables) for a thinner but equally delicious version.


  • 3 oz. thick-cut bacon (2 to 3 slices), cut crosswise into 1/4-inch strips
  • 1-1/2 oz. unsalted butter (3 Tbs.)
  • 1 large yellow onion, cut into small dice (about 2 cups)
  • 4 tender inner celery stalks, cut into 1/2-inch dice (about 1 cup)
  • 4 cups diluted clam broth, plus the reserved clam meat (1-1/2 to 2 cups), finely chopped
  • 2 lb. large Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice (about 4-1/2 ­cups)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp. chopped fresh thyme
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 3 Tbs. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • Kosher salt

Nutritional Information

  • Calories (kcal) : 370
  • Fat Calories (kcal): 160
  • Fat (g): 18
  • Saturated Fat (g): 10
  • Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 1
  • Monounsaturated Fat (g): 5
  • Cholesterol (mg): 105
  • Sodium (mg): 1070
  • Carbohydrates (g): 28
  • Fiber (g): 3
  • Protein (g): 22


  • Cook the bacon in a wide heavy-duty 4- to 5-quart pot or Dutch oven over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until just beginning to turn crisp and golden, about 4 minutes. Remove from the heat. Pour off and discard the bacon fat, leaving the bacon in the pot. Add the butter and onion and cook over low heat, covered, stirring occasionally, until the onion is softened but not colored, about 8 minutes. Add the celery and cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until just softened, about 5 minutes. Add the clam broth, potatoes, bay leaves, thyme, and 1 tsp. pepper. Bring to a boil over high heat. Lower the heat to maintain a simmer and cook, partially covered, until the potatoes are tender, 10 to 12 minutes. Discard the bay leaves.
  • Purée 1 ­cup of the soup solids with just enough liquid to cover in a food processor or blender, and add it back to the soup. Add the cream and bring to a boil.
  • Remove the soup from the heat, wait until it stops simmering (this may take a minute if you’re using a Dutch oven), and stir in the clams and parsley. Season to taste with salt and pepper.


Rate or Review

Reviews (4 reviews)

  • bstj8 | 01/15/2018

    This was really a very delicious clam chowder with rich flavors of the clams and heavy cream. Easy to make and follow, but you must follow the steps as indicated to achieve the final results. I used the heavy cream which I found to be very rich with the fresh clams and juice. This is so good on a cold night for supper. The chowder taste better the second day because the flavors had time to marry overnight. Heat on very low temp so you don’t over cook the cream. This one is a keeper for sure.

  • Socorroh | 02/01/2015

    This is delicious! Not too heavy but just right!

  • User avater
    capsaiCyn | 10/08/2012

    We really enjoyed this - like the other review, we used half and half. It was creamy enough, to the point that I honestly think heavy cream might have been overdoing it. As we made it we liked it a lot. I was a little intimidated by cooking the clams and making the broth, but it turned out to be easy. A yummy recipe and a good experience!

  • AccountingProfessor | 09/29/2012

    This was very delicious, with a deep clam flavor, yet light tasting. We used half and half rather than full cream, and it was still delicious. Next time I might add a bit less of the clam stock so that the soup is a bit thicker. Be sure to buy extra clams in case some are dead or don't open. I bought 26 clams, which turned out to be around 7 lb, and scaled down the recipe a bit given the smaller weight of clams. I wish I had bought 30 clams to allow for some being smaller and/or dead. (I bought the clams from the largest seafood retailer in the southeast with a really fast turnover, so they should not have been old.)

Rate this Recipe

Write a Review

Delicious Dish

Find the inspiration you crave for your love of cooking

Fine Cooking Magazine

Subscribe today
and save up to 44%

Already a subscriber? Log in.


View All


Follow Fine Cooking on your favorite social networks


We hope you’ve enjoyed your free articles. To keep reading, subscribe today.

Get the print magazine, 25 years of back issues online, over 7,000 recipes, and more.

See my options