This easy homemade New England clam chowder is a classic creamy soup. It tastes the best made with smoky bacon, tender clams, and diced potatoes. This simple soup is comforting, and guaranteed to satisfy your cravings for a bowl of comfort food on a cold winter night.
- 6 slices bacon, crumbled
- 2 cups yellow onion, finely chopped (122g)
- 1 1/4 cups celery, finely diced (160g)
- 1 1/4 cups carrots, finely diced (170g)
- 4 1/2 cups yellow potatoes, peeled and cubed (about 3 large potatoes)
- 1 tablespoon bacon grease (reserved from frying the bacon)
- 2 tablespoons butter (30g)
- 1/3 cup all-purpose flour (45g)
- 1 1/4 cups clam juice (reserved from the 2 cans of clams; 295 ml)
- 2 cups filtered water (475 ml)
- 3 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream (120 ml)
- 2 1/2 cup milk (600 ml)
- 2 10-ounce cans of whole baby clams (295g)
- 1/4 cup parsley, finely chopped
- 1 cup oyster crackers
How to Make Stove Top:
- Fry the bacon in a cast iron skillet over medium-low heat, turning the slices once or twice with a fork. This should take 10 minutes. Drain the bacon on a paper towel-lined plate, and pour the bacon grease into a bowl and set aside. Let the bacon cool, then break into smaller pieces.
- Melt 2 tablespoons of butter and 1 tablespoon of bacon fat in a 6-quart Dutch oven set over medium high heat. Add the carrots, onion, and celery and saute for 8 minutes.
- Sprinkle the flour over the vegetables, then cook the mixture for 2 minutes, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon.
- Gradually add the reserved clam juice from the canned clams, whisking constantly to break up any lumps.
- Pour in the water, then add the cubed potatoes, fresh thyme, bay leaf, salt and pepper. Mix well to combine. Cover and bring to a boil, then simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, so the potatoes won’t stick to the bottom of the pot. The chowder will start to thicken from the potato starch.
- Reduce the heat to low, then add the cream, milk, and whole baby clams. Stir gently and let the the milk and clams heat through, roughly 5 minutes. Be careful not to boil the chowder. Remove from the heat and stir in the crumbled bacon.
- Serve warm with fresh parsley and oyster crackers.
How to Make in the Crock Pot:
- Chop up the bacon, fry in a cast iron skillet over medium low heat until fat is rendered. Remove the bacon and drain the fat except for 3 tablespoons.
- In the same skillet over medium high heat, saute the mirepox (onion, celery and carrot) until soft, roughly 8 minutes.
- In a large crock pot, add 1/2 the bacon, the mirepox, water, diced potatoes, and spices. Stir and cover.
- Cook on high for 4 hours or on low for 8 hours.
- During the last hour, whisk 4 tablespoons of cornstarch with 1 cup of whole milk to make a slurry. Also remove some of the diced potatoes and mash them. The addition of these two things will help thicken the broth. Add the slurry, mashed potatoes, whole milk (1 1/2 cups), 1/2 cup of heavy cream and the clams. Stir. Adjust seasonings, if necessary. Cook until the diced potatoes are done and the broth has thickened.
- Serve warm with a garnish of bacon, parsley and oyster crackers.
- Make this up to two days ahead then reheat on medium low on the stovetop before your event.
- Adding the clams during the last 5 minutes of cooking to make sure they stay tender.
- Increase the flour, decrease the liquid, add mashed potatoes, or let it simmer uncovered, if you need your soup thicker.
- Category: Soup
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: creamy clam chowder recipe, new england clam chowder