This homemade Clam Chowder recipe is thick and creamy and loaded with delicious clams, veggies and potatoes. Pair it with a bread bowls and it’s easily one of my favorite soups!

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, topped with fresh cracked black pepper.

What I love about this chowder:

  • Restaurant Quality: I kid-not that this Clam Chowder is better than I’ve had at most restaurants, and it’s much healthier and less expensive made from home.
  • Comfort Meal: It’s the coziest meal on a cold day, especially served with a slice of artisan bread, or inside a bread bowl.
  • Make Ahead – I love that I can make the entire thing in the morning and heat it up for dinnertime. It makes great leftovers, too.

How to make Clam Chowder:

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

Canned clams in a metal strainer above a large pot, drained.

Cook Potatoes: 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 pot with chopped potatoes and water, with a few bay leaves floating on top.

Sauté Veggies: 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.

A large pot filled with chopped onions, celery, bell peppers, and garlic being sautéed in olive oil and butter.

Thicken: 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. 

A large pot filled with sautéed veggies, milk, and half and half to make the broth for the best clam chowder recipe.

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

Chopped clams being stirred into a creamy broth for easy homemade Clam Chowder.

Serve this easy clam chowder recipe in a homemade bread bowl or with a slice of artisan bread and a fresh salad. Enjoy!

A close up image showing a bowl of easy Clam Chowder with a spoon 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 creamy clam chowder 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). Creamy soups can also have a slightly different texture once thawed.

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Recipe

A bowl of homemade Clam Chowder with a spoon in it, topped with fresh cracked black pepper.
Prep 15 minutes
Cook 30 minutes
Total 45 minutes
Save Recipe

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). Creamy soups can also have a slightly different texture once thawed.

Nutrition

Calories: 337kcalCarbohydrates: 36gProtein: 8gFat: 19gSaturated Fat: 9gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0.3gCholesterol: 39mgSodium: 524mgPotassium: 759mgFiber: 3gSugar: 6gVitamin A: 887IUVitamin C: 30mgCalcium: 131mgIron: 2mg

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I originally shared this recipe November 2018. Updated October 2021 and October 2023.

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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.

4.98 from 314 votes (301 ratings without comment)

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Made your clam chowder and we just had it for supper. Absolutely delicious & very hearty. Thank you. It is definitely is a keeper.

  2. 5 stars
    I rarely comment on things but I literally went back to this site to say this is ONE of the best dishes I’ve made. I added tiny shrimps to my chowder but followed the recipe to the exact and came out amazing!

  3. 2 stars
    man how to adulterate clam chowder – celery? ugh.. and most offensive – bell peppers? garlic? and you call this clam chowder? (i’m sure this won’t get posted)

    1. Hi Cat, did you actually try this recipe? Clam chowder (like so many recipes) will vary in ingredients depending on the region its made, and I’m hugely passionate about this recipe–it’s the only one I’ll ever make. You’re welcome to share your own recipe for clam chowder online :-).

    2. It did get posted. Probably to call you out for being a jerk. Unbelievable that you rated a recipe 2 stars that you didn’t try, yet had the gall to just be rude. If you don’t like something you can always feel free to just say nothing. You posted nonsense, so I replied to you.

    3. I’m trying to gauge what this recipe yields because I want to try it with a larger group. What is “6 servings”? 6 cups?

      Also, I bought the cans and extra clam juice because another recipe has you add clam juice. The juice from the cans is enough?

      Excited to make this!

  4. Lauren you’re perfectly right making your own clam chowder with the proper ingredients is so delicious with fresh clams from the sea much better than those that comes in the canned because they loose taste after awhile

  5. 5 stars
    I have made this 4 times and every time its delicious. Thank you someone does use it.❤💜

  6. awesome chowder .. i used chicken broyh to cook with potatoes .. bit white wine and fish sauce .. cooked veggies using left over bavon fat and butter .. best chowder I’ve ever made ..added bit chives, dill, yummm yumm thank you

    1. If you want to post your own recipes, start your own site. People want to see how the recipe on this page is, not the recipe you made.

  7. 5 stars
    This was a deliciously rich recipe! Easy to make and so good! I used 2% “Not Milk” plant based milk for the milk and cream and it worked great!

  8. Made this recipe today–(I love cooking from scratch and had never made homemade New England clam chowder before. My husband of 37 years loves my cooking–he said today: “the BEST thing I have ever eaten!” Nuff said!!!

  9. 5 stars
    Normally when I make chowder it is pretty brothy. But using your recipe, this was the heartiest chowder I’ve ever made! My husband was so happy! Delicious and easy!

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

  11. 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…

  12. 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

  13. 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.

  14. 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!

  15. 5 stars
    Im a little particular about Clam Chowder.
    I dont want it to taste like potato soup. This is a fantastic recipe, very flavorful. Thank you !

  16. 3 stars
    The flavor was there. I mess up with the roux (too thick for me) but then the flour and the butter were not equal parts plus I am mixing a roux with vegetables in it making it hard to stir. I will try again but I have made simpler clam chowders before

    1. Also used milk and cream from a carton. So if you bake from scratch you’re supposed to milk the cow yourself, grind the flour and grow, cut, and process sugarcane into sugar in your kitchen?

  17. 4 stars
    Thanks for the recipe! I added 4 slices of bacon and browned it before adding the veggies. I also added 1 tsp of old bay seasoning. I used two cups half and half and no milk and an extra cup of chicken broth. It turned out great!