Delicious Monterey Clam Chowder Recipe for Seafood Lovers

Are you looking for a comforting and hearty meal that will warm up your soul? Look no further than this Monterey clam chowder recipe! Originating from the Fisherman’s Grotto in Monterey, California, this chowder is a true culinary gem of the West Coast.

As soon as you take your first bite, you’ll be transported to the rugged coastlines of Monterey Bay, where succulent clams are harvested fresh daily. The rich cream base of this chowder is perfectly balanced with the flavors of bacon, celery, onion, and potato. The result is a savory and silky soup that will leave you feeling satisfied and content.

But don’t just take my word for it. This chowder has been a beloved staple of the Fisherman’s Grotto restaurant since 1946 when it was first introduced by the restaurant’s founder, Sabu Shake Sr. Over the years, this recipe has become a quintessential taste of Monterey, enjoyed by locals and tourists alike.

So come along with me on a journey to create the perfect bowl of Monterey clam chowder in your own kitchen. This recipe is straightforward and easy to follow – you don’t have to be an expert chef to master it. Get ready to impress your loved ones with this classic dish from the heart of California’s seafood scene.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Monterey Clam Chowder
Monterey Clam Chowder

Imagine yourself in Monterey, California, wandering along the wharf and gazing at the vast expanse of the Pacific Ocean. After taking in the serenity of the ocean blue, you want nothing more than to warm yourself up with a hearty and comforting meal. At that moment, what could be better than a bowl of Monterey Clam Chowder?

This recipe is not your ordinary clam chowder – it’s a masterpiece that combines the traditional ingredients of clam chowder with a unique touch of San Francisco-style. With ingredients like fresh garlic cloves, buttery diced bacon, and crunchy celery, this dish promises to deliver incredible depth of flavor that will leave you wanting more.

What makes this dish even more special is its versatility – it can be made with either half-and-half or heavy whipping cream (or both!), depending on your preference. You can also add black pepper to give a slight peppery taste that balances out the richness of this chowder. Trust me; each spoonful will take your taste buds on a luscious journey.

Furthermore, this recipe is perfect for those who enjoy seafood but are hesitant about cooking it themselves. It’s easy to make and requires only a few essential ingredients, making this recipe manageable for anyone, whether you’re an experienced chef or novice cook.

So why wait to visit Fisherman’s Wharf in Monterey or Grab a sourdough bread bowl at Fish Hopper when you can enjoy this delicious Monterey clam chowder in the comfort of your own home, any day of the year? I guarantee that once you try this fantastic recipe, seafood chowder just won’t cut it anymore!

Ingredient List

Sure, here are 11 unique photo captions for the Monterey Clam Chowder recipe:
Sure, here are 11 unique photo captions for the Monterey Clam Chowder recipe:

Let’s Gather What We Need

For this tantalizing Monterey Clam Chowder recipe, we will need the following ingredients:

  • 1 lb minced bacon
  • 3 tbsp of butter
  • 2 cups of potatoes (peeled and diced)
  • 1/2 cup of flour
  • 2 medium-sized onions, diced
  • 1 carrot, peeled and diced
  • 1 stalk of celery, diced
  • 3 cloves fresh garlic, minced
  • 1 can (8 oz) of clam juice
  • 2 cans (6.5 oz) chopped clams
  • 1 pint (16 oz) of half-and-half
  • 1 pint (16 oz) of heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 pint (8 oz) of milk
  • Pinch of black pepper

These are all the ingredients you will need to create your own rich, hearty and scrumptious Monterey clam chowder from the comfort of your home kitchen.

The Recipe How-To

Step 1: Sauté the Bacon and Vegetables

In a large pot, heat 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil over medium heat. Add the diced bacon and sauté for about 5 minutes until it is crispy. Using a slotted spoon, remove the bacon from the pan and set it aside.

Add 1 stick of butter to the same pot, then add 1 diced onion, 1 diced carrot, 1 diced potato, and 1 diced celery stalk. Sauté the vegetables for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until they are tender.

Step 2: Make the Roux

Melt an additional 5 tablespoons of butter in the pot with the vegetables. Once melted, add in 2 tablespoons of flour and stir constantly for about 2 minutes until the flour is fully mixed into the butter.

Step 3: Add the Liquids

Slowly pour in 3 cups of clam juice, stirring constantly to prevent lumps from forming. Then add in 2 cups of milk, followed by 1 cup of half-and-half, and stir gently to combine all ingredients.

Step 4: Simmer Your Chowder

Bring your chowder to a low simmer over medium-low heat, stirring frequently. Allow your chowder to cook for around 15-20 minutes, or until it begins to thicken slightly.

Step 5: Add Your Clams

Once your chowder has reached the desired thickness, add in one pound of minced Monterey Bay clams, including juices. Simmer for another 5-7 minutes to cook the clams.

Stir in freshly minced garlic cloves and season well with black pepper. Serve hot with a slice of sourdough bread or a seafood side dish to make restaurant-quality at home Monterey Clam Chowder that your family will love!

Substitutions and Variations

Now that you’ve got the basic recipe for this classic Monterey Clam Chowder, it’s time to get creative and make it your own. There are countless variations and substitutions you can make to suit your taste preferences or utilize the ingredients you have on hand.

– Vegetarian Option: Want to skip the meat? You can easily make this dish vegetarian by omitting the bacon and using vegetable broth instead of clam juice. Swap out the clam meat for chopped mushrooms or tofu for added texture and flavor.

– Seafood Medley: Mix up your seafood selection by adding in some shrimp, scallops, or chunks of white fish like cod or halibut. This creates a delicious medley of flavors that is sure to impress.

– Southwest Style: Add some spice to your chowder with diced green chilies, a pinch of cumin, and cilantro. You can also top it off with crunchy tortilla strips or serve it with cornbread on the side.

– Creamy Potato Recipe: If you’re not a fan of clams, you can make a variation that’s strictly potato-based creamy soup. Swap out the clams for more diced potatoes and cook until tender before blending in a blender with heavy cream until desired consistency is achieved.

– Keto-friendly: Joining the keto community? Use cauliflower instead of potato for a low-carb alternative. You can also substitute heavy whipping cream for half-and-half.

Whichever variation you choose, remember to taste as you go along and adjust seasonings as necessary. With these options, making this recipe will no longer be just about finding your groove; it’ll be about creating something truly unique to savor in any occasion!

Serving and Pairing

 A steamy bowl of Monterey Clam Chowder, loaded with tender clams and smoky bacon.
A steamy bowl of Monterey Clam Chowder, loaded with tender clams and smoky bacon.

When it comes to serving this Monterey Clam Chowder, there are a few things you ought to know to make the dish as satisfying as possible. First off, you have a few options in terms of presentation. You can serve it in bowls by itself or for something more authentic, you could serve it within a sourdough bread bowl, which adds a crispy texture while also soaking up some of the delicious broth.

For pure indulgence and decadence, consider pairing the chowder with fresh seafood like steamed clams, crab cakes or shrimp scampi. The rich, creamy flavor of this chowder complements seafood dishes perfectly, making for an unforgettable meal that any seafood lover will enjoy.

A strong white wine like a Chardonnay or Pinot Grigio pairs particularly well with this dish as they can help to cut through the richness of the chowder. Alternatively, you could opt for a lighter beer like pilsners or wheat beers that won’t overpower the delicate flavors of the clam chowder.

If you’re looking for a complete meal that will fill your stomach and satisfy your taste buds, then you can always add some crusty bread on the side to soak up all of the creamy goodness. Trust me when I say that nothing beats dipping a warm piece of bread into the soup and enjoying every last bite.

Overall, this dish is versatile and pairs well with many different dishes and beverages. So go ahead and experiment with your options until you find your perfect pairing.

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

 Thick and creamy, this chowder is a meal in itself - perfect for a cozy evening in.
Thick and creamy, this chowder is a meal in itself – perfect for a cozy evening in.

As a culinary explorer, I like to make sure that the dishes I prepare can be enjoyed anytime without sacrificing its quality. The Monterey Clam Chowder recipe is no exception to this rule. It can be made-ahead, stored, and reheated while still preserving its savory flavors.

If you’re planning to serve the chowder later, you can store it in an airtight container and refrigerate it for up to three days. Alternatively, you can freeze it for up to two months by transferring it into a freezer-safe container. Before serving, thaw the chowder overnight in the fridge and reheat in the stove over medium heat with a splash of milk or half-and-half.

For those who prefer not to use a stove, you can also reheat in the microwave by placing a portion of the chowder in a microwave-safe bowl with a cover. Heat on high for 2-3 minutes or until fully heated through, stirring occasionally.

When reheating, make sure to avoid boiling the chowder as this may cause the cream or milk to curdle. Instead, heat gently until the chowder reaches your desired warmth.

Overall, this recipe is highly recommendable for those who wish to have delicious Monterey Clam Chowder any time of the day. Whether freshly prepared or reheated, its flavors will not disappoint your palate.

Tips for Perfect Results

 A warm hug in a bowl - this chowder is guaranteed to warm you up on a chilly day!
A warm hug in a bowl – this chowder is guaranteed to warm you up on a chilly day!

No matter how easy a recipe may seem, there are always tips and tricks that can make all the difference in the end result – and this Monterey Clam Chowder recipe is no exception. In fact, with its delicious combination of flavors, getting it just right can be the key to impressing even the toughest food critic. With that in mind, here are a few tips to help you make the perfect Monterey Clam Chowder.

Firstly, when cooking the bacon, be sure to cook it until it’s crispy. The crunchiness of the bacon adds a delightful texture to the dish that complements the creaminess of the chowder perfectly. Additionally, make sure to remove any excess grease from the skillet before adding in the vegetables. This will prevent them from becoming too oily and help them maintain their crunch.

Another tip is to always add the cream slowly while stirring continuously. This will prevent curdling and ensure that everything is mixed evenly. Similarly, when incorporating the flour to thicken the chowder, pour it in gradually while whisking constantly to avoid lumps.

Timing is also crucial when making chowder. So, make sure each ingredient has cooked through before adding the next one – this ensures that each component retains its flavor and texture. Also, Don’t forget to let your chowder simmer for an additional 10 minutes after adding clams for them to cook through and for their briny flavor to meld into the rest of the broth.

Lastly, if you have time on your hands, consider letting your chowder rest overnight in your refrigerator . The resting period allows all the flavors and spices to fully develop which will enhance your overall taste experience.

By following these tips and tricks along with this Monterey Clam Chowder recipe, you are sure to impress anyone you serve it to – whether they’re a seasoned seafood lover or trying clam chowder for the first time!

Bottom Line

In conclusion, the Monterey clam chowder recipe is an absolute must-try for seafood lovers. With its rich and creamy texture and flavorsome ingredients, it’s perfect for any occasion, whether it’s a cozy winter evening or a summer picnic with friends.

If you’re looking to impress your friends and family with your culinary skills, this recipe is just the thing you need. It’s easy-to-follow and requires minimal prep time, making it ideal for even those who are new to cooking.

Furthermore, with the flexibility to make substitutions and variations, you can tailor it according to your preferences and experiment with different flavors. And if you follow my tips for perfect results and make-ahead, storing, and reheating the chowder, you can make sure that it tastes just as good the next day.

So why wait? Head to your nearest grocery store and grab some fresh clams, bacon, potatoes, and celery, and recreate the famous Fisherman’s Grotto Monterey-style clam chowder in the comfort of your home. Trust me; your taste buds will thank you for it.

Monterey Clam Chowder

Monterey Clam Chowder Recipe

This soup is the BEST clam chowder I have ever tasted! It is thick and very rich and fattening!
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Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 3 hrs
Cuisine Fusion
Calories 988.4 kcal


  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 potato, diced
  • 1 stalk celery, diced
  • 1/2 lb bacon, minced
  • 1/4 lb butter
  • 3 fresh garlic cloves, minced
  • 16 ounces clam juice
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 2 cups half-and-half
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 lb clam, chopped (fresh, frozen, or canned)


  • Place vegetables, bacon and margarine in a 5 quart sauce pot.
  • Saute over medium heat until vegetables are tender. Be careful not to brown or scorch.
  • When vegetables are tender, add flour to make a roux.
  • Cook for two minutes, allowing flour to cook while stirring occasionally.
  • Add clam juice and dairy products.
  • Stir by using a wire whip.
  • Add fresh garlic, black pepper, and chopped clams.
  • Cook over low-medium heat stirring occasionally to prevent chowder from scorching.
  • Cook for two hours or until chowder is brought to desired thickness. If a crockpot, or small steam kettle is available, it is recommended.
  • Also, clam juice can be added to thin chowder down if it gets too thick.
  • Cook for about 1 1/2 hours. The chowder needs to be stirred OFTEN, probably about every 5-10 minutes or so or it will stick to the bottom of the pot.

Your Own Notes


Serving: 553gCalories: 988.4kcalCarbohydrates: 53.6gProtein: 25.7gFat: 75.3gSaturated Fat: 41.4gCholesterol: 242mgSodium: 859.2mgFiber: 2.6gSugar: 4.5g
Keyword < 4 Hours, Chowders
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