Thick and creamy Clam Chowder is one of my favorite easy soup recipes, and this one has all the traditional elements we love, like diced potatoes, veggies and plenty of delicious clams.

Looking for more soup recipes? Try my Chicken Noodle Soup, Corn Chowder, or Creamy Zuppa Toscana!

A bowl of homemade clam chowder, with a spoon in it.

What I love about this chowder:

  • Comfort Meal: warm, creamy clam chowder with a slice of artisan bread is the ultimate comfort meal on a cold day!
  • Restaurant quality: this soup is bursting with so much rich flavor, it tastes like it came from a fancy restaurant (but it’s much healthier, using less butter and cream that a restaurant would!).

How to Make Clam Chowder:

Drain clams, adding juice from the cans to a large stock pot. Set clams aside.

Clams in a colander over a soup pot where the clam juice was drained.

Add chicken broth and diced potatoes to the pot. Bring to a simmer, add bay leaf, and cook until the potatoes are barely fork tender, about 5-6 minutes.

A soup pot with clam juice, broth, chopped potatoes and bay leaf.

In a separate skillet, heat butter and olive oil over medium heat until the butter is melted. Add onions, celery, bell peppers and garlic and cook until tender, about 4-5 minutes.

Chopped veggies sautéing in a pot with melted butter.

Stir in flour and cook for 30 seconds. Gradually stir in milk and half and half, whisking as you add them to break up any clumps of flour. Bring mixture to a simmer and cook until the thickened, about 5 minutes 

Clam chowder broth and sautéed veggies cooking in a pot.

Combine creamy mixture into the potatoes. Stir in the salt, pepper, vinegar, and reserved clams. Cook for 5 more minutes.

Clams added to a soup pot of chowder.

Serve this easy clam chowder with a slice of artisan bread, or a fresh salad. Enjoy!

A large soup pot with clam chowder cooking in it.

Make Ahead and Freezing Instructions:

To Make Ahead: The vegetables can all be chopped ahead of time to make dinner time even quicker, or make the entire soup ahead of time and store in refrigerator until ready to eat.

To Freeze: I generally do not freeze soups with potatoes in them because the potatoes can get soft and mushy. However, some people don’t mind!

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Recipe

A bowl of homemade clam chowder, with a spoon in it.
Prep 15 mins
Cook 30 mins
Total 45 mins
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Ingredients
 
 

  • 4 6.5 ounce cans chopped clams
  • 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 pounds russet potatoes , peeled and diced (about 3 medium potatoes)
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 4 Tablespoons butter
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • 3 ribs celery (about 1 cup), diced
  • 1/2 red bell pepper , diced
  • 1/2 green bell pepper , diced
  • 2 cloves garlic , finely minced
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup half and half
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon red wine vinegar

Instructions
 

  • Drain the clams, adding the juice from the cans to a large stock pot. Set the clams aside.
  • Add chicken broth and diced potatoes to the pot (the liquid should just barely cover the potatoes). Bring to a simmer, add the bay leaf, and cook until the potatoes are barely fork tender, about 5-6 minutes.
  • While the potatoes cook, in a second pot, heat the butter and olive oil over medium heat until the butter is melted. Add the onions, celery, bell peppers and garlic and cook until tender, about 4-5 minutes.
  • Stir in the flour and cook for 30 seconds. Gradually stir in the milk and half and half, whisking as you add them to break up any clumps of flour. Bring mixture to a simmer and cook until the thickened, about 5 minutes 
  • Stir the creamy mixture into the potatoes. Stir in the salt, pepper, vinegar, and reserved clams. Cook for 5 more minutes.

Notes

Make Ahead Instructions: The vegetables can all be chopped ahead of time to make dinner time even quicker, or make the entire soup ahead of time and store in refrigerator until ready to eat.
Freezing Instructions: I generally do not freeze soups with potatoes in them because the potatoes can get soft and mushy. However, some people don’t mind and like to freeze clam chowder and reheat for another meal. 

Nutrition

Calories: 337kcalCarbohydrates: 36gProtein: 7gFat: 18gSaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 39mgSodium: 527mgPotassium: 741mgFiber: 2gSugar: 4gVitamin A: 880IUVitamin C: 29.8mgCalcium: 119mgIron: 1.7mg

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I originally shared this recipe November 2018. Updated October 2021.

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Lauren Allen

Welcome! I’m Lauren, a mom of four and lover of good food. Here you’ll find easy recipes and weeknight meal ideas made with real ingredients, with step-by-step photos and videos.

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Comments

  1. This recipe is awesome! almost identical to the one I made for years.
    This recipe will not fail you 🥰

  2. Really tastes nothing like clam chowder at all…maybe a potato chowder at best..a lot of time invested for a disappointing soup..would not recommend…

  3. Just wanted you know I made the Clam Chowder for my family. I had forgot how much my husband love Clam Chowder. He use to buy it in the can from the grocery store. I told him he had forgot to get the half and half so when I told him over the phone to pick up a carton, he said are you making it from scratch. I said yes and you should have heard the excitement in his voice. I am going to eat mine with crackers and that is exactly what he did and he loved the Clam Chowder and the next morning he did the same thing. Haven’t heard from my son yet because he picked up his food to take home. Oh! by the way I loved it too. (The cook Glenda). Thank you for sending me these recipes Lauren. February 16, 2022

  4. I have tried a number of Lauren’s recipes and none have failed me. They are simple and tase wonderful. However, I am in serious need of cutting fat & calls. Has anyone done this recipe without cream and used milk (either whole or low fat). I image the roux will thicken the liquid? Looking for suggestions please.

  5. 5 stars
    Followed the recipe exactly except I added a pint of homemade shrimp broth. Excellent! The potatoes were so soft and creamy. Definitely a keeper!

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