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Easy Creamy New England Clam Chowder

Thanks for sharing!

This delicious New England clam chowder is easy to make and is ready to eat in about a half an hour. It’s creamy, comforting and oh so good! 

close up of spoon in bowl of creamy clam chowder with oyster crackers

Creamy chowders are a filling and wonderful way to enjoy soup season.  This New England style clam chowder is lent friendly and super delicious.

There are plenty of chunks to fill you up and the flavor is fabulous. You’ll be surprised how easy it is to make! 

I have always been a fan of clam chowder.  I grew up on the canned stuff and liked it well enough.

It wasn’t until the first time I had it in a restaurant that I knew how much better it could be. You too can have the good stuff, and it’s easier to make your own creamy chowder than you’d think! 

bowl of New England clam chowder with soup crackers

Much like the recipe for my brother’s shrimp and fish chowder, homemade clam chowder is delicious with the vegetables cooked in bacon grease. It adds that certain something to the final flavor. 

Feel free to do that and stir some bacon in at the end if you’d like.  This time I thought I’d keep the recipe lent friendly and bacon free.

You won’t miss it. This creamy clam chowder recipe is absolutely delicious as written!

Tips for making this clam chowder recipe

Like most of our favorite easy soup recipes, this chowder uses simple ingredients to make something fabulous. There really isn’t anything complicated to do or source.

The most time consuming part of the recipe is chopping the vegetables.  You will want to get the potatoes in nice small pieces.

It is easier to eat with a half inch or smaller dice. Plus the smaller chunks will cook more evenly and quickly. So it is worth spending the time chopping to get the best results.

small cubes of potato, chopped celery and onion being cooked in dutch oven.

Sautéing the chopped onions and celery makes them perfect in the final soup. It also gives the potatoes a chance to get started being cooked, ensuring they are cooked through before the soup is finished.

If you live on the coast, using canned clams may seem sacrilegious. For us in the center of the country, cans of clams are an obvious best choice.

enameled dutch oven full of new England clam chowder.

Sourcing great fresh clams is not always easy in a small town grocery store. Plus the canned chopped clams are ready to go! 

The tender clams and the liquor give such a great flavor. The texture of the clam meat ends up great too with almost no effort. 

Little dude says the best bowls of clam chowder have plenty of oyster crackers. Good clam chowder can also be topped with a sprinkle of fresh parsley or even a squeeze of lemon. No matter how you top it, you’ll be happy you gave it a go.

While you are in the canned seafood aisle picking up the clams, pick up an extra.  Then whip up some of our family’s favorite clam dip.  It is creamy, delicious and perfect on potato chips or veggies. 

Frequently Asked Questions About Chowder Recipes

What makes a soup a chowder?

Merriam-Webster’s dictionary defines chowder as “a thick soup or stew made of seafood or corn with potatoes and onions and milk or tomatoes”. We have seafood, potatoes, onion and milk here so it’s officially chowder!

What is the difference between Manhattan chowder and New England chowder?

New England clam chowder has a creamy milk based broth like you see here. Manhattan clam chowder has a tomato based broth and is red in color. Both feature onions, potato and of course clams and both meet the definition of chowder.

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Yield: 8 Servings

Easy Creamy New England Clam Chowder

close up of spoon in bowl of creamy clam chowder with oyster crackers

A bowl of creamy soup is a filling and wonderful way to warm up. This easy clam chowder recipe is lent friendly and super delicious. There are plenty of chunks to fill you up and the flavor is fabulous. You'll be surprised how easy it is to make!

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes


  • 3 Tablespoons butter
  • 1-2 stalks celery
  • 1 medium onion
  • 3 medium potatoes*
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 4 Tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 cups vegetable or seafood stock*
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 (6.5 ounce) cans chopped clams
  • 1.5 cups half and half*
  • salt and black pepper to taste
  • Optional: oyster crackers or lemon wedges for serving


  1. Thinly slice the celery. Finely dice the onion and cut the potato into approximately 1//2-1/4 inch cubes.
  2. In large pot or dutch oven, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onions, celery and potatoes along with a quarter teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally until the onions are translucent.
  3. Add the garlic, thyme and flour. Stir to coat everything with the flour and cook for a minute or two, stirring frequently.
  4. Slowly pour in the stock, scraping up the bits on the bottom of the pan as you do. Add the milk, bay leaf and clams (with the juice!)
  5. Cook over medium heat until it just starts to bubble then drop the heat to medium-low heat and simmer for about 10 minutes.
  6. Stir in the half and half, heating until warmed through. Adjust the salt and pepper to your liking.
  7. If you would like to adjust the final thickness of your chowder, you can add a splash of milk to thin it further or let it simmer for a few more minutes to make an extra thick chowder.
  8. Enjoy your delicious chowder!


*I like using red skinned or yukon gold potatoes in this chowder, but russet potatoes also work well.

Chicken broth is also delicious in this chowder if you aren't trying to keep it Lent friendly or pescatarian.

You can use half whole milk and half heavy cream in place of the half and half if desired.

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Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 260Total Fat: 11gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 49mgSodium: 388mgCarbohydrates: 29gFiber: 3gSugar: 5gProtein: 12g

All nutritional information is estimated and will depend on the exact ingredients you use.

Did you make this recipe?

I'd love to see it! Share a picture on Instagram or Pinterest and tag me @carleecooks to let me know how it went!

This delicious New England clam chowder is easy to make and is ready to eat in about a half an hour. It's creamy, comforting and oh so good!

Thanks for sharing!


Monday 9th of May 2022

It was easy n awesome, it was yummy


Monday 9th of May 2022

I am so glad you liked it!

Southern Home Express

Thursday 12th of March 2020

This looks so delicious!


Thursday 19th of March 2020

It really is!

Andrea Nine

Wednesday 11th of March 2020

The perfect hearty soup and this recipe looks so easy, a lot of people get intimidated by clam chowder but all they need is this recipe my friend!


Thursday 19th of March 2020

It really is easy and so darn delicious!


Wednesday 21st of October 2015

Hi, Sounds yummy. Thanks for sharing. Have a great day!


Wednesday 21st of October 2015

This is one of my all-time favorite soups. I am glad we are back to soup season!


Friday 4th of September 2015

Oooh, I'd like this, Carlee! Cheers from Caroles' Chatter


Friday 4th of September 2015

It is so good, Carole! Thanks for stopping by!

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