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Rhode Island Clam Chowder

Scott Phillips

Yield: Yields about 10 cups

Servings: 8 to 10

This thin, clear-broth chowder is the least common style; even in Rhode Island, it’s often served alongside the more familiar New England and sometimes Manhattan chowders. It’s the true seafood-lover’s clam chowder, containing neither dairy nor tomatoes to mask the fresh sea flavors.


  • 2 oz. thin-sliced 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, sliced crosswise 1/8 inch thick (about 1 cup)
  • 1 Tbs. finely chopped garlic (2 large cloves)
  • 6 cups diluted clam broth, plus the reserved clam meat (1-1/2 to 2 cups), finely chopped
  • 1-1/2 lb. large Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/3-inch dice (about 3-1/2 cups)
  • 2-1/2 tsp. chopped fresh thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 Tbs. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Nutritional Information

  • Calories (kcal) : 240
  • Fat Calories (kcal): 60
  • Fat (g): 7
  • Saturated Fat (g): 3
  • Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 0.5
  • Monounsaturated Fat (g): 1.5
  • Cholesterol (mg): 65
  • Sodium (mg): 890
  • Carbohydrates (g): 23
  • Fiber (g): 2
  • Protein (g): 21


  • Put the bacon in a wide heavy-duty 4- to 5-quart pot or Dutch oven and cook 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 sweet and tender, about 10 minutes. The onion shouldn’t color. Add the celery and garlic and cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until all the vegetables are tender, 5 to 7 minutes more. Add the clam broth, potatoes, thyme, bay leaves, and 1/4 tsp. pepper. Bring to a boil over high heat. Lower the heat to maintain a simmer and cook until the potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes.
  • 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 chopped parsley. Season to taste with black pepper, if desired.


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Reviews (7 reviews)

  • butta211 | 04/19/2020

    I had high hopes for this. Made it for superbowl and while it smelled great it lacked any kind of depth of flavor. Sorry fc, every recipe of yours is usually so incredible.

  • AccountingProfessor | 03/17/2015

    Best. Clam. Chowder. Ever.When the clam chowder article came out in the magazine,I didn't make this as the photo made it look rather, well, insipid. What a mistake! After making this, we are former New England chowder-eaters, as we have been permanently converted to this Rhode Island style that we had never seen. It's the essence of clam, without the dairy or tomatoes interfering. Many thanks to those who wrote the positive reviews, as the reviews are what prompted me to try it!

  • bimbels | 07/15/2014

    Delicious! I just made it and it's incredible even before all the flavors have come together. The only thing I did differently was I did NOT toss the bacon fat - why waste good bacon fat?! It was only about a tablespoon or so and just added more flavor. This is definitely a keeper - and I'm a Rhode Islander!

  • DianaEhri | 03/06/2014

    We had a chowder cook-off with all 3 chowders. This one won hands down.

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