Traditional, creamy and perfect, this simple Classic Clam Chowder recipe will be your new go-to recipe when you are craving clam chowder. The steps and ingredients in this recipe are so simple you could even put the kids in charge of making it. It pairs perfectly with Lunch Lady Cafeteria Rolls or this easy homemade Artisan Bread.
Every time I make this chowder, I get asked for the recipe. I have another Easy Clam Chowder recipe on the site that is also really delicious, but it has a few shortcuts that make it a little less traditional. For example, it has mixed frozen veggies in it. Classic Clam Chowder typically only has potatoes, onions, and celery in it. My mom has been making this Classic Clam Chowder for years, and I am so excited for you to try it. It is superb!
More of my Favorite Classic Recipes
- Classic Meatloaf Recipe
- Classic Taco Soup
- Classic Chewy Chex Mix
- Classic Banana Bread
- Classic Broccoli Salad
- Classic Chocolate Fudge
- Classic Deviled Egg Recipe
step-by-step pictures for how to make Classic Clam Chowder
Frequently Asked Questions about how to make Classic Clam Chowder
can I add bacon to this clam chowder?
Yes. If you want to add bacon to the chowder, first, cut the bacon into bite-size pieces and cook the bacon until it is almost crisp. In the alternative, you could use real bacon crumbles and add them to the chowder or to individual servings.
will canned potatoes work in this recipe?
If you don’t have fresh potatoes on hand, you can use canned potatoes. If they’re not already diced, cut them into small cubes. Since the potatoes are already cooked, the simmering time will be cut down to reach the desired thickness.
do I have to use clam juice?
I recommend using clam juice for the most classic and authentic flavor. Vegetable or chicken broth will work in place of the clam juice. You can even use water and chicken bouillon, and the chowder will still taste good.
do you recommend using a variety of clams and/or seafood?
If you desire, you can use whole clams, chopped clams, and baby clams. You could also turn it into seafood chowder by using a combination of clams, salmon, shrimp, or crab.
can I use low-fat milk in this recipe?
Using low-fat milk will work in this recipe since the potatoes help to thicken the chowder.
- Open the cans of clams and drain them, reserving the juice. Set aside.
- In a large pot add ½ cup butter, diced onion, diced potato, sliced celery salt, and pepper. Sauté for 4-5 minutes or until onions are slightly translucent.
- Next, add flour and stir until all of the veggies are evenly coated with flour.
- Pour in the reserved clam juice, stirring continually and quickly while pouring. Continue adding the liquids: the bottled clam juice and then the milk (start with 2 cups of milk). Keep stirring as you add the liquids.
- Allow the chowder to come back to a simmer and add up to an additional cup of milk if your soup seems too thick.
- Next, add the clams.
- Continue simmering until potatoes are tender, approx. 15-20 minutes.
- When potatoes are tender and soup is the desired thickness, add the ½ cup heavy cream and dried parsley flakes. You can serve anytime after this point, or if you desire, you can let the soup continue to simmer a little longer.
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