Discover The Best Seattle’s Clam Chowder Today!

Are you ready to take a culinary journey to the Pacific Northwest? Because, my friend, that’s exactly where we’re headed with this recipe. We’re going to dive into a bowl of Seattle’s best clam chowder. Trust me; this recipe is going to knock your socks off.

Picture yourself strolling through Pike Place Market in Seattle. The sweet fragrance of fresh flowers fills your nose as you peruse local vendors selling their goods. Suddenly, the aroma of something savory catches your attention, and you turn the corner to see a long line at a small vendor stall. You join the queue out of curiosity and soon discover that the place serves the best clam chowder in all of Seattle.

Now let’s fast forward and bring Seattle’s savory goodness to your kitchen. I’m talking about an indulgent dish that features tender clams swimming in a creamy broth with smoky bacon and earthy thyme flavors complementing each other perfectly.

Making clam chowder from scratch can be intimidating, but fear not, for I’ve got you covered with this step-by-step recipe guide. Put on your apron, tie back your hair, and let’s raise our spoons high in honor of one of Seattle’s iconic dishes!

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Seattle's Best Clam Chowder
Seattle’s Best Clam Chowder

Hold on to your hats, folks! Are you ready for the ultimate clam chowder experience? Look no further than Seattle’s Best Clam Chowder Recipe – the award-winning, duke-award-winning recipe that has been making waves in the Pacific Northwest and beyond for years.

Trust me when I say that this recipe is unlike any other. Not only is it packed full of tender baby clams and juicy, flavorful bacon, but it also boasts a creamy, velvety texture that will have you scraping the bottom of your bowl. The combination of kosher salt and white pepper adds just the right amount of seasoning to take this dish from good to out-of-this-world amazing.

But here’s what really sets Seattle’s Best Clam Chowder Recipe apart from the rest: it captures the essence of Pike Place Market and the city’s clam chowder culture in every single bite. It’s like taking a trip to Seattle without ever leaving your kitchen!

So whether you’re a die-hard New England clam chowder fan or prefer the creaminess of Manhattan clam chowder, let me assure you – this recipe will be an instant hit. It’s versatile enough to stand on its own or pair perfectly with a crusty baguette and a glass of crisp white wine.

I promise that once you try this recipe, you’ll never want to go back to any other clam chowder recipe again. So grab your apron, tie back your hair, and get ready for a culinary adventure unlike any other.

Ingredient List

 Creamy and savory clam chowder heaven
Creamy and savory clam chowder heaven

Get Ready to Chow Down on the Best Clam Chowder!

This recipe brimming with baby clams is the original award-winning clam chowder in Seattle that will make your taste buds dance with joy. First, you will want to make sure you have all the ingredients before you start chopping and simmering. This rich and creamy clam chowder requires a mix of fresh vegetables and savory bacon as well as dried thyme, white pepper, and kosher salt spices to bring out the best flavor of the baby clams. Make sure you pick up all these ingredients before rolling up your sleeves!

Clam Soup Base:

  • 1 cup clam juice
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 cups whole milk


  • 3 ribs of celery, chopped (1 1/2 cups)
  • 1 medium leek, cleaned and sliced (white part only)
  • 1 small red onion, diced
  • 4 small red potatoes, peeled and diced (tender but not falling apart)

Baby Clams and Bacon:

  • 1 lb. canned or fresh baby clams (2 cups chopped rinsed weight)
  • 4 slices of thick cut bacon, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons of butter

Spices and Flavorings:

  • 1/2 teaspoon of dried thyme leaves
  • 1/8 teaspoon of ground white pepper
  • 1 teaspoon of smoked paprika
  • Salt to taste, preferably kosher salt

Note: For substitution or variation, see section (5) below.

The Recipe How-To

 A bowl of comfort on a cold and rainy Seattle day
A bowl of comfort on a cold and rainy Seattle day

Cooking the Aromatics

The first step in making Seattle’s Best Clam Chowder is to cook the aromatics. Take a large pot and heat bacon fat or salt pork over medium heat. Add chopped celery, diced red potatoes, diced red onion and chopped leek (make sure to rinse it thoroughly) into the pot. Cook for 10 minutes and add butter (for extra flavor) to the mixture. Continue cooking until the potatoes are tender, which should take around 2 minutes.

Adding the Broth

After you’ve cooked the aromatics, add 2 cups of clam juice, along with 1 cup of water to the pot. Bring everything to a boil and simmer for an additional 15 minutes.

Time for Clams

Next, add in one (1) can of drained and rinsed baby clams or two (2) cups of chopped razor clams. Continue simmering for another 5-7 minutes.

Making the Chowder Creamy

Slowly stir in one (1) cup of heavy cream, making sure to not let it boil. After adding the cream, reduce the heat to low and let everything simmer for an additional 5 minutes.

Season It Perfectly

Before serving, season the clam chowder with one and a half teaspoons of dried thyme, one tablespoon of kosher salt, and half a teaspoon of white pepper.

There you have it – your very own Seattle’s Best Clam Chowder! Don’t forget to serve with a side of oyster crackers or fresh bread for dipping into that creamy goodness.

Substitutions and Variations

 Loaded with juicy clams and tender potatoes
Loaded with juicy clams and tender potatoes

You want to make this clam chowder recipe unique? You can substitute some of the ingredients or add some variations to make it your own! Let’s explore some of the options you can try:

– Dried thyme: If you’re not a fan of thyme, you can substitute it with rosemary or bay leaves. Both add a distinct flavor profile that complements the chowder.

– Bacon: To make this recipe vegetarian, omit the bacon and use olive oil instead to sauté the onions and celery. Also, try adding smoked paprika for a smoky flavor that mimics the bacon taste.

– Heavy cream: If you want to reduce the fat in this recipe, use half-and-half cream instead of heavy cream. Alternatively, use coconut milk for a creamy and dairy-free version.

– Baby clams: While baby clams are traditionally used in clam chowder recipes, you can also use chopped razor clams for a meatier and more flavorful experience.

– Potatoes: Instead of red potatoes, try using Yukon gold or russet potatoes. They both work well in this recipe.

– Chowder variation: To switch things up, try making Manhattan-style clam chowder by using tomatoes as the base and adding corn; perfect for summertime!

Whatever substitution or variation you choose to make, always remember to adjust the seasoning accordingly. Be creative and have fun experimenting with what works best for you!

Serving and Pairing

 A classic Pacific Northwest dish with a twist
A classic Pacific Northwest dish with a twist

Oh boy, are you in for a treat! You’ve just made yourself the best clam chowder recipe out there – the award-winning Seattle’s Best Clam Chowder Recipe. But let me tell you, serving and pairing are just as important as taste.

First things first, serve your creamy clam chowder steaming hot in large bowls because when it comes to a hearty soup like this, small portions just won’t make the cut. I’d recommend using white pepper to add some heat, which will elevate the flavor profile and grab your taste buds by the throat. But be careful not to overdo it!

When it comes to pairing this dish, I’d suggest you go for something light-bodied yet refreshing – something that complements rather than competes with the chowder’s strong flavors. A decent Pinot Grigio would do the trick or even better, an oaked Chardonnay. If wine is not your thing, try a Pale Ale or a Pilsner. The effervescence of beer can help cut through the creaminess of chowder, making each slurp all the more satisfying.

And how can we forget about sourdough bread? To create that classic Pacific Northwest combination, serve your soup in a bread bowl made from locally produced sourdough bread. Taking out some of the inside of that delicious loaf will leave room for plenty of chowder and give you something to sop up every last drop.

Alright then, there you have it – my recommendations on how best to serve and pair this mouth-watering dish. Trust me; you don’t want to miss out on digging into Seattle’s famous clam chowder masterpiece.

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

 Satisfy your cravings with a steaming hot bowl
Satisfy your cravings with a steaming hot bowl

Alright, folks. You loved making this Seattle’s Best Clam Chowder recipe so much that you’re thinking of making it ahead of time so that you can have a bowl of warm creamy clam soup whenever the craving strikes. Who can blame you? With the perfect balance of fragrant herb, smoky bacon, tender clams and creamy soup, it’s hard not to want more.

If you want to make this mouthwatering clam chowder ahead of time, here’s what I suggest. Make the soup as usual, but leave out the potatoes. Refrigerate the soup in a tightly sealed container for up to 2 days. When you’re ready to eat, gently heat the soup on the stove over low heat, stirring occasionally. While the chowder warms, boil some diced potatoes in a separate pot until they are tender. Add the cooked potatoes into your hot chowder and voila! Your make-ahead clam chowder is served.

If you have leftovers or made extra, storing for later enjoyment is a breeze too! Store leftover chowder in an airtight container in the refrigerator for no more than 3 days. Note however that cream-based soups tend to thicken up when refrigerated due to starch in potatoes or flour used as thickeners. So, when reheating your chowder on the stovetop or microwave, you may need to add a splash of milk or broth and stir frequently until heated through.

Beware that while this method works well with most soups, generally it’s not recommended to freeze soup that has cream in them as they can break apart and separate when defrosted and reheated. For best results, enjoy freshly made or refrigerated clam chowder and store small quantities.

And there you have it – easy-peasy make-ahead instructions for Seattle’s Best Clam Chowder recipe. So why wait? Whip up a batch tonight and let your taste buds take a trip down Seattle famous Pike Place Market street with every spoonful eaten!

Tips for Perfect Results

 Hearty and filling, perfect for a winter meal
Hearty and filling, perfect for a winter meal

Cooking the perfect clam chowder can be a challenging endeavor, but with the right techniques and ingredients, it can be a deliciously rewarding accomplishment. Here are some tips for achieving the best results with Seattle’s Best Clam Chowder Recipe:

1. Use fresh ingredients: When it comes to seafood-based dishes like clam chowder, it is paramount to use fresh and high-quality ingredients. Fresh clams from the seafood market, organic vegetables, and herbs will significantly improve the flavor of your chowder.

2. Thoroughly rinse and drain the clams: Before using canned baby clams or preparing fresh ones, always rinse them properly under running water to remove any sand residue. It is essential to drain the clams well to prevent a watery chowder.

3. Proper seasoning: Seasoning plays an integral role in enhancing the taste of your chowder as well as balancing flavors between ingredients. Use adequate amounts of kosher salt, white pepper, and dried thyme as required in the recipe to add depth and richness.

4. Add cream towards the end: Adding heavy cream too early in the cooking process may lead to curdling or separation due to high heat. Therefore, it is advisable to add cream towards the end of cooking when the chowder has already thickened.

5. Don’t overcook the potatoes: Overcooking potatoes can result in mushy chowder, which can detract from its texture and flavor. Cook diced potatoes until tender but still firm enough to hold their shape.

6. Customize to your liking: Experiment with different variations by adding corn, bacon bits or even razor clams for a unique spin on this award-winning clam chowder recipe.

By following these tips and practicing precise cooking times, you’ll be able to create a delicious Seattle-style clam chowder that is sure to impress!


Now that you have all the necessary information about the Seattle’s Best Clam Chowder Recipe, you may have some questions and concerns that need clarifying. To help you further in your culinary exploration, I have compiled some Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) and provided detailed answers to each one of them. From ingredient substitutions to serving sizes, these FAQs are aimed at resolving any uncertainties or queries you may have. So, read on to sharpen your skills and produce a perfect bowl of clam chowder every time!

What is the most famous clam chowder?

If you’re looking for a hearty and flavorful soup, perhaps the most renowned one out there is the New England clam chowder. This soup is a traditional blend of ingredients that includes clams, corn, onions, celery, potatoes, and either bacon or salt pork.

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

New England chowder, sometimes known as “Boston-style” clam chowder, is a rich and creamy soup traditionally made with milk or cream. This chowder has a thicker consistency compared to other types of chowders and typically consists of a combination of potatoes, onions, and clams. Pork is also sometimes added for an extra depth of flavor. To serve, it’s commonly paired with oyster crackers.

What is the thickener in New England clam chowder?

According to a food expert at The Heart of New England magazine, true New England chowders are typically not thick. Instead, they utilize the natural starches in the potatoes to subtly thicken the broth and milk/cream base. This is a key characteristic that sets authentic New England chowders apart from other soup recipes.

What can I add to canned clam chowder to make it taste better?

For this recipe, you will need a large can of clam chowder, a 5 oz can of clams, 1/4 cup of either milk or cream, and 1 tablespoon of olive oil or butter (if cooking on the stove). Also, grab one rib of celery, chop it up, along with 1/4 onion, and 2 slices of precooked bacon, which you’ll also chop. Make sure to have some Old Bay Seasoning and fresh parsley on hand as well.

Bottom Line


So there you have it, my fellow culinary adventurers. The Seattle’s Best Clam Chowder Recipe is truly a treat for the senses that will leave you feeling satisfied and content. It’s no wonder why the Duke Award-winning chowder from Pike Place Market in Seattle is so beloved. With this recipe, you can now enjoy a taste of Seattle’s iconic dish right in your own kitchen.

So don’t hesitate to give this recipe a try. Follow the simple instructions and be sure to experiment with your own twists and adaptations. Remember, cooking is all about exploration and creativity. Embrace it!

In the end, I believe that you will love this recipe as much as I do. Whether you’re enjoying it on a cold winter’s night or as an appetizer at a summer barbecue, this hearty chowder is sure to delight your taste buds.

So put on your apron, grab your ingredients, and get ready to cook up the best clam chowder you’ve ever tasted!

Seattle's Best Clam Chowder

Seattle’s Best Clam Chowder Recipe

I kinda picked up this recipe when I first started out as a cold pantry cook. I worked at this place called The Brooklyn in Seattle. Now having never made the chowder, but only prepped certain components, I built this recipe in my head based off what I saw and tasted every day. You may be thinking, “I have never heard of Seattle Clam Chowder. Only New England and Manhattan chowders." Well let me tell you, that in Seattle, downtown restaurants live and die by their chowder. This is a recreation of one of the best I have tried and or made. Oh, one other thing. This recipe is a scaled down version of my recipe from back when I was the Sous Chef at a hotel. Sometimes scaling down a huge bulk recipe doesn't convert just right, so you may need to adjust some seasoning to your own taste, and check out any restaurant supply places that are open to the public if you have trouble finding the clam base. Good Luck and enjoy. New edit. reduced salt and white pepper. Edit again. So I finally got around to making this in my home kitchen. It turned out great. You can find the clam base online. I think I bought a tub of it from Amazon. Use Minor's brand. This second edit is to scale it back to a more reasonable level. Who really needs almost 3 gallons of chowder? In the end I think you'll find that the trouble to get a hold of the clam base and to track down that much clam juice and canned clams will pay off in the end. You'll have a great chowder that you can sub out the clams, clam base and juice and make a chicken corn chowder. Or whatever you feel like.
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Prep Time 40 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Course Soup
Cuisine Northwest (Seattle)
Servings 21 8oz bowls
Calories 341.8 kcal


  • 1 leek, chopped and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup celery, chopped and rinsed
  • 1 1/2 lbs red potatoes, diced
  • 1 quart clam juice
  • 8 (10 ounce) cans baby clams (with the juice)
  • 2 ounces clam base
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 8 ounces blond roux (by weight)
  • 1 quart heavy cream
  • 1/2 ounce dried thyme
  • 1/2 lb bacon (peppered is nice)
  • 1/2 cup red onion, diced
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper


  • Dice up bacon into small pieces and render in a large stock pot over med-low heat.
  • Once bacon has started to turn brown, add the onions and sprinkle with the 1 oz of salt.
  • Once the onions get soft and start to turn brown, add the leaks and celery, turn up the heat to med-high and sauté for a couple of minutes until they get tender.
  • Add the potatoes, clam base, chopped clams, clam juice, and the thyme.
  • Bring to a low simmer, and maintain the simmer until the potatoes are cooked.
  • Add the heavy cream and bring to a gentle boil.
  • When it starts to boil, add the roux 2 oz at a time, letting the chowder come back to a boil before adding more roux. Make sure you are stirring the entire time here.
  • When all the roux is added or the chowder reaches the thickness you like, add the remaining salt and pepper to your taste.
  • Please taste it before you add any additional seasoning. Don't add it all just because it lists it in the ingredients. I put the numbers in because I had to and I don't remember just how much to add.
  • I recommend serving with some good thick sliced sourdough bread and a few drops of green Tabasco sauce.

Your Own Notes


Serving: 5452gCalories: 341.8kcalCarbohydrates: 16gProtein: 17.7gFat: 22.9gSaturated Fat: 12.2gCholesterol: 108mgSodium: 508.6mgFiber: 1.2gSugar: 2.3g
Keyword < 4 Hours, Chowders
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