Creamy Clam Chowder Recipe: A Hearty Seafood Soup Delight

Are you looking for the perfect comfort food to warm up those chilly evenings? Look no further than my mom’s famous clam chowder recipe! This New England-style chowder is the epitome of creamy, indulgent goodness.

Growing up in a coastal town, my family always had access to fresh clams and seafood. My mom came up with this chowder recipe decades ago, and it has been a staple at family gatherings ever since.

With its creamy broth, tender potatoes, smokey bacon, and savory clams, there’s nothing quite like a bowl of homemade clam chowder to satisfy your appetite and warm you up on a cold winter night. So let’s get started on this delicious journey that will warm your soul and make memories that will last a lifetime!

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Mom's Famous Clam Chowder
Mom’s Famous Clam Chowder

Are you ready to taste the best clam chowder recipe ever created? Look no further, because I am about to share with you my mom’s famous clam chowder recipe that will have your taste buds dancing with joy.

Firstly, this recipe is a perfect blend of creamy and full of clams potatoes. The combination of the tender potato cubes and the savory minced clams gives this hearty soup an addictive quality that will make you crave it again and again.

Not only is this clam chowder yummy, but it also very versatile. You can serve it as a meal on its own or as an appetizer before your main course, depending on what suits your occasion best. Additionally, the recipe can be adjusted to cater to a crowd size, making it perfect for dinner parties and events.

One of the best things about my mom’s clam chowder recipe is that it uses readily available ingredients but still manages to deliver incredible flavor. You don’t have to search high and low for exotic herbs or spices – just grab some fresh parsley, thyme, and dried parsley, and you’re good to go!

Lastly, this recipe is easy to follow and doesn’t take long to make. Simmering the bacon adds extra depth of flavor, but if you’re short on time, canned bacon will do just fine. And although my mom suggests using bottled clam juice for authenticity, it can be replaced with homemade clam juice or fish stock.

In conclusion, there are a plethora of reasons why you will fall in love with my mom’s famous clam chowder recipe. It’s incredibly delicious, versatile, easy-to-follow, and customizable. So roll up your sleeves and let’s dive in!

Ingredient List

Before starting to cook this famous clam chowder, make sure you have the following ingredients on hand:

  • 4 slices of bacon, diced
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, finely chopped
  • 2 carrots, finely chopped
  • 4 red potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups bottled clam juice
  • 2 cups whole milk or half-and-half
  • 2 cans (about 10 oz each) of clams or fresh clams
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley or dried parsley
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Note that when selecting your ingredients, it is important to opt for high-quality products. For example, if you use fresh clams instead of canned ones, the taste will be significantly better. Additionally, don’t forget to chop all vegetables into small pieces so that they can cook evenly in the chowder.

The Recipe How-To

Step 1: Preparing the Bacon

First things first, we need to prepare our bacon. Take some slices of bacon and dice them into small pieces. In a large pot or dutch oven, cook the diced bacon over medium-high heat until they are crispy, stirring occasionally. Then, remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and set aside.

Step 2: Sautéing the Onion, Celery, and Carrots

In the same pot, sauté chopped onion, diced carrot, and diced celery in melted butter until they are softened. This should take about 5-7 minutes.

Step 3: Adding the Potatoes and Liquid

Add cubed potatoes(peeled or unpeeled, whatever your preference), a few sprigs of fresh or dried parsley, a pinch of thyme, and enough bottled clam juice (about two 10 oz cans) to cover the potatoes. If you prefer a thicker chowder base, you can add half-and-half or milk/cream at this stage. If you don’t have pre-made clam juice, you can also use homemade clam juice by boiling fresh clams in a pressure cooker and straining the liquid through cheesecloth.

Step 4: Cooking until Potatoes are Tender

Bring the mixture to a boil then lower the heat to medium-low. Let it simmer for about 20-25 minutes or until the potatoes are cooked to your preference. Don’t forget to stir occasionally.

Step 5: Adding Clams and Half-and-Half (Optional)

After the potatoes are softened, add clams(canned or fresh) with their juice to the pot along with reserved bacon. Let it simmer over medium heat for an additional 10 minutes.

If adding half-and-half or milk/cream, adjust consistency according to your preference by adding more clam juice if necessary.

Step 6: Seasoning with Salt and Pepper

Taste your chowder and season with salt and pepper as needed.

Step 7: Serving Your Clam Chowder

Ladle your creamy New England clam chowder into bowls and sprinkle chopped fresh parsley on top for garnish. Serve hot alongside crackers or crusty bread.

Enjoy your warm bowl of comfort during chilly nights!

Substitutions and Variations

If you’re feeling adventurous and want to switch up the ingredients in this mom’s famous clam chowder recipe, there are many substitutions and variations you can try. Below are some substitutions you can use in case you don’t have all the ingredients listed:

– Celery: if you don’t like the taste of celery, you can substitute it with fennel or bok choy.

– Carrot: for a different taste and texture, try using sweet potato or parsnip instead of carrot.

– Bacon: if you’re looking for a healthier option or don’t eat bacon, use smoked paprika or liquid smoke to create a smoky flavor.

– Clams: You can use fresh clams in place of canned ones for a fresher tasting dish.

Additionally, here are some variations that you can incorporate into this mom’s famous clam chowder recipe:

– New England Clam Chowder with Corn: Add corn kernels to your chowder for an extra burst of sweetness and crunch.

– Creamy Fish Chowder: replace clams with fresh fish fillets and swap out bacon for salt pork. Cook fish in the chowder until tender.

– Vegan Clam Chowder: Swap out bacon, butter, and half-and-half with vegetable oil, plant-based butter, and unsweetened almond milk. Instead of clams use chopped mushrooms.

Whatever substitutions and variations you choose, just remember to balance and adjust the seasoning to your liking. Don’t forget to experiment in the kitchen to find your own unique version of this classic comfort food!

Serving and Pairing

Mom’s Famous Clam Chowder is a classic comfort food that warms the soul and nourishes the body. This hearty soup can be enjoyed as a meal on its own, but it also pairs wonderfully with a variety of sides and beverages. Here are some serving suggestions to elevate your dining experience:

1. Crusty Bread: A slice of fresh, crusty bread is the perfect vessel for soaking up every last drop of rich, creamy broth. Serve with butter or olive oil for extra flavor.

2. Salad: A crisp, refreshing salad balances out the richness of the chowder with its fresh greens and tangy dressing. A Caesar salad with homemade croutons would be a great choice.

3. Wine: A dry white wine like Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, or Sauvignon Blanc complements the briny flavor of the clams without overpowering the soup. If you prefer red wine, go for something light like Pinot Noir.

4. Beer: A cold beer is a classic pairing for clam chowder, especially if it has a malty sweetness that matches the sweetness of the clams. Try an amber ale or brown ale.

5. Cornbread: For a Southern twist on an East Coast classic, serve Mom’s Famous Clam Chowder with a slice of warm cornbread slathered in honey butter.

Regardless of what you choose to serve with your chowder, make sure to have plenty of fresh parsley on hand for sprinkling over each bowl. The bright green adds color and freshness to the dish and balances out its richness. Enjoy!

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

If you’re making this rich and creamy New England clam chowder for company, you’ll be pleased to know that it can be made a day ahead of time. This way, you won’t have to worry about cooking while your guests are present, as you can simply reheat it before serving.

To make sure the chowder stays well-preserved, transfer it to an air-tight container once it cools down to room temperature. Afterwards, keep the container in the fridge until you’re ready to reheat it.

When reheating the chowder, pour it into a pot over low heat and stir occasionally until it reaches the desired temperature. Keep in mind that boiling the soup can cause the creamy base to separate, so use gentle heat to avoid this.

Alternatively, you could also test your cooking skills with canned or bottled clam juice instead of fresh clams, resulting in a more accessible preparation process without sacrificing flavor quality nor nutritional value. If you are unsure about how much soup to serve for your dinner party or family gathering, consider making a bigger batch and freezing some for later. Once frozen properly in sealable containers or freezer bags, thaw and reheat leftovers gently over low heat with some added liquid such as milk or cream.

Whichever method you choose, make sure to store any remaining chowder properly in a sealed container in your refrigerator or freezer for future consumption without quality loss — although we doubt there will be any leftovers once anyone tries this delicious mom’s famous clam chowder recipe!

Tips for Perfect Results

Are you ready to plunge into the world of clam chowder? Trust me when I say that you’ll be glad you did. But before you begin, there are some tips and tricks that will be helpful to ensure the perfect results.

Firstly, make sure that all your ingredients are fresh and of high quality. This is paramount when it comes to creating a flavorful and delicious chowder. The potatoes should be firm and without blemishes, the bacon should be smoky and not too fatty, and preferably use fresh clams rather than canned ones.

To make your chowder even more heavenly, try substituting half-and-half with milk or heavy cream. By doing so, you get an enhanced richness and creamy texture in your soup. Be sure to include fresh parsley to add more depth in flavor to your final dish.

When adding clams to the pan, make sure not to overcook them as they can become rubbery and chewy which ruins the meal’s overall taste experience. Add them towards the end so they have just enough time to cook through.

If you’re feeling adventurous, try out different variations such as using red potatoes instead of white potatoes or substituting salt pork for bacon. You can also spice up your chowder by using different herbs such as thyme or dried parsley; or by adding spices such as salt and pepper in accordance with your taste preference.

Lastly, don’t shy away from experimenting with serving suggestions for your chowder aside from typical crackers or breads. For instance, garlic bread or sourdough bread pairs exceptionally well with this dish.

With these tips, you can make the best clam chowder ever!


Now that we’ve gone through the ingredient list, recipe how-to, substitutions and variations, serving and pairing, make-ahead, storing and reheating, and tips for perfect results, we can move on to answering some frequently asked questions about this delicious Mom’s Famous Clam Chowder Recipe. This section aims to clear any doubts or concerns you may have before starting the recipe, as well as provide extra useful information to enhance your cooking experience. So let’s dive in!

What is the most popular clam chowder?

When it comes to clam chowder, a beloved and widely recognized recipe is New England clam chowder. Its traditional blend includes clams, onions, corn, celery, bacon or salt pork, and potatoes, making it a timeless favorite among many.

What’s the difference between New England clam chowder and regular clam chowder?

When it comes to clam chowders, the New England version is distinct from others due to its creamy texture. Also called Boston-style clam chowder, this savory soup is made using milk or cream, giving it a thicker consistency compared to clam chowders from other regions. Its ingredients include potatoes, onion, pork, clams, butter, and is typically served with oyster crackers on the side.

What is the thickener in New England clam chowder?

According to Charlie Burke from The Heart of New England online magazine, true New England chowders do not have a heavy consistency. Instead, they use potatoes to naturally thicken the broth along with milk or cream.

What is the most famous chowder?

When it comes to clam chowder, there are two main variations: New England clam chowder and Manhattan clam chowder. The latter is often characterized by its rich red hue, which comes from the use of tomatoes. It is believed that this ingredient was added due to the influence of the Italian immigrants who were residing in Manhattan at the time. Compared to New England clam chowder, Manhattan clam chowder has a thinner broth. This variant is popularly known as a classic dish in the Northeast region of the United States.

Bottom Line

In conclusion, my Mom’s famous clam chowder recipe is sure to be a hit at any meal. This New England-style chowder is packed with flavor from fresh clams, savory bacon, and hearty potatoes. Plus, with easy-to-find ingredients and simple instructions, you’ll be able to whip up a batch of this delicious soup in no time.

Whether you’re craving a comforting bowl on a chilly day or need an impressive appetizer for a family gathering, my mom’s clam chowder recipe is the perfect choice. It’s versatile enough to make adjustments or additions that suit your personal taste and dietary needs.

So go ahead and give this recipe a try – I guarantee you won’t regret it! Whether you’re a seafood aficionado or just looking for a tasty way to warm up, there’s nothing quite like Mom’s famous clam chowder.

Mom's Famous Clam Chowder

Mom’s Famous Clam Chowder Recipe

Ummm thick and Creamy!! This is a good one!! I don't care for clams so I divide this soup in half before I add the clams and I have an awesome potato soup for myself and my daughter and my happy hubby gets all the clam chowder.
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Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Fusion
Calories 524.2 kcal


  • 1 (6 1/2 ounce) can chopped clams (you can add 2 cans if you really like clams)
  • 1/4 lb bacon (diced)
  • 2 cups bottled clam juice
  • 4 large potatoes (diced)
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 1/2 cup diced carrot
  • 1 whole onion, chopped
  • 1 quart half-and-half
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon thyme
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley or 2 tablespoons dried parsley


  • Chop or dice all of your vegetables and set aside.
  • Drain clams, save the liquid.
  • (I usually throw in the extra clam juice for the added flavor, you will get about 1/2 cup of juice from the can of clams).
  • (I start the bacon and the vegetables all in the pan that I will finish the soup in- then you get the flavor from the bacon crustys on the bottom).
  • Fry bacon bits and set aside.
  • Drain off all bacon fat but enough to coat the bottom of the pan.
  • Saute potato, onion, celery and carrot in bacon drippings for 5 minutes.
  • Add the clam juice, salt and pepper, thyme and chopped parsley.
  • Cook for 20 minutes or until the veggys are all fork tender.
  • Add the 1/2 and 1/2.
  • Add the Bacon.
  • (This is where I divide the soup if you want a pot of potato soup as well).
  • Add the clams.
  • Thicken to desired consistency with cornstarch and water.

Your Own Notes


Serving: 437gCalories: 524.2kcalCarbohydrates: 54.2gProtein: 16.6gFat: 27.7gSaturated Fat: 14.5gCholesterol: 85.3mgSodium: 448.6mgFiber: 6.2gSugar: 3.7g
Keyword < 60 Mins, Chowders, Low Protein
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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