Bowl of New England Clam Chowder

New England Clam Chowder

Enjoy this umami-rich take on the classic clam chowder.
Course Soup
Cuisine American
Keyword new england clam chowder
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 272kcal
Author Karen Gibson


  • 3 8-ounce bottles clam juice
  • 1 pound Yukon gold potatoes , peeled, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 3 slices bacon , finely chopped
  • 2 cups onions , chopped
  • 1 cups celery , plus some leaves, chopped (about 2 stalks)
  • 2 garlic cloves , chopped
  • 2 small carrots , chopped or cubed
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves , stem discarded
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 - 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 5 each 6 1/2-ounce cans chopped and/or baby clams , drained, juices reserved
  • 1 cup half-and-half or heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoons fish sauce
  • 1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • salt and pepper , to taste


  • Bring bottled clam juice and potatoes to boil in heavy large saucepan over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low; cover and simmer until potatoes are fork tender, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat.
  • Heat butter and oil in heavy large stock pot over medium heat. Add bacon and cook until it begins to brown, about 8 minutes or so. Add onions, celery, garlic, carrots, thyme and bay leaf and sauté until vegetables soften, about 6 minutes. Stir in flour and cook 2 minutes to remove the raw flour flavor. (Note: I always find that 1/4 cup of flour is not enough, but 1/3 cup is too much. Usually, a heaping 1/4 cup is just about right).
  • Gradually add reserved juices from clams, whisking thoroughly. Allow to heat for a few minutes to thicken. Add some (or all of thpotatoes from the potato/clam mixture. Use an immersion blender to smooth out the chunks of vegetables. (It doesn't need to be completely velvety - simply blend to your preferred texture. I like to leave small lumps of onions, celery and carrots visible.)
  • Add the rest of the potato mixture (including liquid), clams, half-and-half or cream, fish sauce*, Worcestershire sauce and hot pepper sauce. Simmer chowder 5-10 minutes to blend flavors, stirring frequently (do not allow to boil or the cream will curdle). Season to taste with salt and pepper.


(Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Refrigerate uncovered until cold, then cover and keep refrigerated. Bring to simmer before serving.)
*So, what's with the fish sauce? Isn't the clam juice enough? Yes and no. Clam juice is a fairly mild by-product, compared to other sea creatures (think, salty sardines). Folks mix it with tomato juice and drink it right down. It's not my cup o' tea, but, there's even a brand of juice drink you can buy at the grocery store called Clamato. Fish sauce, however, is much stronger than clam juice. I personally avoid even sniffing the bottle of fish sauce; however, when added to food while cooking, it imparts an incredible umami that you just can't get from anything else. SoupAddict recommends fish sauce.


Calories: 272kcal