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Contest-Winning New England Clam Chowder Recipe

Contest-Winning New England Clam Chowder Recipe

In the Pacific Northwest, we dig our own razor clams and I grind them for the chowder! Since these aren't readily available, the canned clams are perfectly acceptable. —Sandy Larson, Port Angeles, Washington
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 20 min. Cook: 35 min. YIELD:5 servings


  • 4 center-cut bacon strips
  • 2 celery ribs, chopped
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 3 small potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 bottle (8 ounces) clam juice
  • 3 teaspoons reduced-sodium chicken bouillon granules
  • 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups fat-free half-and-half, divided
  • 2 cans (6-1/2 ounces each) chopped clams, undrained


  • 1. In a Dutch oven, cook bacon over medium heat until crisp. Remove to paper towels to drain; set aside. Saute celery and onion in the drippings until tender. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer. Stir in the potatoes, water, clam juice, bouillon, pepper and thyme. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 15-20 minutes or until potatoes are tender.
  • 2. In a small bowl, combine flour and 1 cup half-and-half until smooth. Gradually stir into soup. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 1-2 minutes or until thickened.
  • 3. Stir in clams and remaining half-and-half; heat through (do not boil). Crumble the cooked bacon; sprinkle over each serving. Yield: 5 servings.

Nutritional Facts

1-1/3 cups: 260 calories, 4g fat (1g saturated fat), 22mg cholesterol, 788mg sodium, 39g carbohydrate (9g sugars, 3g fiber), 13g protein.

Reviews for Contest-Winning New England Clam Chowder

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MY REVIEW User ID: 8892696 250355
Reviewed Jul. 12, 2016

"Was so flavorful im glad i made it. I served it with garlic bread sticks!"

mwajr User ID: 8833959 247050
Reviewed Apr. 13, 2016

"I substituted 2 leeks (mostly the white parts) for the onion, unsalted chicken broth for the bullion and added salt to taste. This is a great recipe!! Thanks for sharing."

abashu User ID: 6784654 244555
Reviewed Feb. 27, 2016

"I have a recipe I love and thought I would give this one a try. My old favorite is much better."

kvanvuren User ID: 5637536 244427
Reviewed Feb. 24, 2016

"This was the first time I made clam chowder and I made this for supper tonight. My family and I really liked it! I doubled the recipe, more than doubled the potatoes and decreased the half and half to 3 cups, instead of 4 cups with the recipe doubled.

Thank you for the recipe!"

cclaudiamc User ID: 1015500 243364
Reviewed Feb. 7, 2016

"This was an excellent recipe for clam chowder. I did use 3 cans of clams which I drained and added the juice to the water for cooking the potatoes and did not buy 8 oz. of just clam juice separetly. I also used 1/4 instead of 1/3 cup flour because I did not want it too thick, it was perfect for us with 1/4 cup flour. I wish the reviewer "from New England" had been more specific in why she would not make this again. A negative remark with no explanation is of no help at all. Enlighten us please as to why you made it in the first place since you have stated it "is definetly NOT New England Clm Chowder.""

cbenne12 User ID: 7424916 242427
Reviewed Jan. 24, 2016

"Will not be making this again. Coming from New England, this is definitely NOT New England Clam Chowder."

Blgrubb User ID: 8691908 241464
Reviewed Jan. 10, 2016

"Made Clam Chowder for the first time...glad it was this recipe. It was excellent. My husband & I couldn't quit eating it. Followed the recipe exactly except I added an extra can of clams, but drained them. Already planning when to make it again."

Lovepiggs User ID: 986676 238645
Reviewed Dec. 3, 2015

"My first time making clam chowder. I'm glad I chose this recipe. It was delicious. We like it a little thicker, so next time I'll adjust the flour and liquid accordingly. But it was still very good. I used chicken broth instead of water, otherwise followed recipe exactly.

Oh, also, I added one carrot chopped into very small pieces."

SkylerHale User ID: 8620255 237498
Reviewed Nov. 16, 2015

"amazing my dad said it was like a restaurant."

whirleycook User ID: 6530905 236274
Reviewed Nov. 3, 2015

"I did make some minor changes but basically this is a great recipe. Great for a rainy day. I used fresh thyme, not dried. Used a small dice for the potatoes. I used whole fat half and half cuz I couldn't find fat free. I made the roux in a separate pot, using about 1/4 cup of flour instead of 1/3, and stirred it into the potato clam juice mixture. My potatoes were soft but a little teeny bit firm at about 12 minutes. I found that I didn't really need very much thinning at the end so I used only about 1/4 cup of the half and half there. Result was a lovely delicious thick and creamy chowder that is the best I've ever made. Served it with fresh baguette bread and butter. Hubs an I ate the whole pot and I had to make another the following day because we didn't get enough! Thanks for sharing the recipe."

tsuop User ID: 6274346 235438
Reviewed Oct. 22, 2015

"I don't like bouillon, so I eliminated it and the water and used chicken broth. DELISH!!"

cindylcan User ID: 8456616 229960
Reviewed Jul. 21, 2015 Edited Mar. 6, 2016

"Made this tonight after seeing the favorable reviews. Followed recipe as is, except cut back on the 2 cups of half & half after so many said it was too much. I ended up using about a cup and a half. I thought it was good, and easy to make. Probably would give it a 3 1/2 out of a scale of 5. Next time I may try what ikenatr suggested...making the rue in my dutch oven before adding the liquids.

Added note...since my first review above I have tried other recipes that I haven't liked as much as this one."

poppadude User ID: 8368591 227209
Reviewed May. 31, 2015

"EX !!!!!"

kandycrossno User ID: 8258933 225885
Reviewed May. 4, 2015

"I prepared this for a party of 50 yesterday following instructions exactly with the exception of the "low fat" 1/2 n 1/2. I used regular and cut out 1/5 of the recommendation. It turned out to be an ABSOLUTE CROWD PLEASER! I received favorable remarks all afternoon and was asked by several to add it to my menu. I doubt that I'll add it to the cafe's menu, but I will DEFINITELY offer it on the catering, There is no doubt about this recipe winning contests. Thank you for sharing it"

ikenatr User ID: 8341355 224999
Reviewed Apr. 17, 2015

"As a working cook for over 7 years I was dubious about the idea of adding a flour slurry so late in the cooking process. Regrettably, I was correct. The flavor was overwhelmed by raw flour.

I would suggest making the rue (that's what it is) in the pot before adding the liquids.
You do that and leave out most if not all of the half/half then you will come closer to a perfect chowder.
Other than those issues the flavor profile was on point. i look forward to trying this again while trusting in my instincts..."

tamidolls User ID: 1067453 221813
Reviewed Mar. 2, 2015

"I have been using the same chowder recipe for years and decided to try this one last night. I am so glad I did. It was absolutely delicious. I added extra garlic and carrots. I also used three cans of clams. I used one cup of half and half, as recommended by other reviewers, and the consistency of the chowder was perfect."

mkaskela User ID: 6061564 220420
Reviewed Feb. 13, 2015

"Great! I used fresh clams though."

H7zAngel User ID: 8134492 160745
Reviewed Dec. 1, 2014

"I remember growing up in Hoquiam, Washington and having fresh razor clams when we were allowed to dig for the season. Living in Tennessee now it is not the same but making clam chowder is like being back home. Instead of using bacon in my clam chowder I use smoked jowl to saute my onions in. Next week I will be making this for my daughter's Tae Kwon Do masters. Since they are from Korea I am trying my best to cook things for their taste and when I mentioned clam chowder Master Park licked his lips and said he can't wait. I love cooking for them because so far I have not had one complaint from them about my cooking in American, Korean, Chinese and Italian Dishes."

mikemcni User ID: 8066481 176996
Reviewed Nov. 1, 2014

"This makes a good chowder base but using canned clams and bottled juice leaves little clam flavor. Use fresh salty clams and you can skip the boullion."

OhBeeOne User ID: 6442248 94446
Reviewed Nov. 1, 2014 Edited Mar. 11, 2015


Will be making this often this winter
I did add a handful of shrimp, too."

Coccinelle65 User ID: 7187686 106042
Reviewed Oct. 26, 2014

"This chowder had a delicious flavor and I didn't think that it needed any added seasoning. I do prefer my chowder a bit thicker (and I only used 1 cup of half-and-half which was the "full fat" version) and I would definitely double the amount of clams used. I am particular about the taste of my chowders and usually, if there is something about a recipe that I didn't like, I won't even bother to remake it with changes. This recipe, however, I will make again with the added clams. Very tasty."

pols005 User ID: 2996794 107701
Reviewed Oct. 12, 2014

"This was silky and most delicious!"

Sana2266 User ID: 7734950 173628
Reviewed Oct. 10, 2014

"Excellent, and low cal, really enjoyed it"

Jenisl User ID: 6929561 173626
Reviewed Oct. 3, 2014

"Made exactly as is but used only one cup 1/2 and 1/2. Absolutely delicious!!"

GardenPrayer User ID: 7912175 173623
Reviewed Jul. 30, 2014

"This recipe is a keeper! I have never made Clam Chowder before and didn't know what to expect, I even doubled the recipe. My husband LOVED IT! It is a nice creamy thick soup that I will be making again."

Cookie-press User ID: 7878501 179635
Reviewed Jul. 6, 2014

"I just made this and it's excellent. I have celiac disease so I used potato flour to thicken it up, and I have no bullion cubes so used chicken stock instead."

lucason16 User ID: 1579113 142066
Reviewed Dec. 14, 2013

"Had this for a Christmas get-together with my husband's golfing buddies & their wives. Everyone loved it. It is definitely a keeper for my recipe book."

Beth2196 User ID: 7467182 176994
Reviewed Oct. 31, 2013

"Great recipe!! Creamy and yet light. I followed the recipe, however, I added another can of clams. Perfect with salad and baget Will make this a favorite!"

mimirita User ID: 6302531 179616
Reviewed Sep. 30, 2013

"Very good chowder. Poured off most of the bacon drippings, saved about 2 TB for sautéing. I used 3, 10oz. cans of Crown Prince whole wild caught clams. I also just used the juice from the cans, strained. The fat free half & half worked beautifully. I used white whole wheat pastry flour which worked well for thickening. Husband says to rate this chowder at 4 stars,I thought 5 stars!"

sls777 User ID: 6137319 176993
Reviewed Jun. 17, 2013

"This was excellent!!! The difference is using the bacon drippings to saute the celery and onion."

bmhunter User ID: 7241833 179613
Reviewed Apr. 25, 2013

"Absolutely amazing. I'll be making this for years to come."

shamarfa User ID: 7145673 107699
Reviewed Feb. 20, 2013

"This soup is so comforting. It's very flavorful and doesn't make you feel bloated afterwards."

marthalynnchr User ID: 6296883 160741
Reviewed Jan. 8, 2013

"Made this over the cold rainy weekend...absolutely wonderful...used 4 cans of clams and used the clam juice from the cans of clams instead of the bottled...amazingly delicious!!! Thank you for this wonderful recipe!!"

LucyNC2012 User ID: 6715257 160739
Reviewed Dec. 25, 2012

"This chowder was amazing! This was my first time making New England Clam Chowder, and this may be the only recipe I ever make. I was apprehensive to make other recipes because of all the cream and butter that they often call for. This recipe does not taste "light" at all and is still rich without all the fat. I made it as an appetizer, but this could easily be a main dish soup."

cmfisher User ID: 5990602 179612
Reviewed Sep. 28, 2012

"absolutely great....even husband and grandson loved it!"

DorineM User ID: 2361046 158453
Reviewed Apr. 18, 2012

"To Pickup2....I almost fainted when she asked if she whould add Tomatoes to make it "Boston" Clam a Bostonion we would NEVER add tomatoes....that is known as Manhattan Clam Chowder with a tomato base!"

gcjmorgan User ID: 1019549 158450
Reviewed Feb. 7, 2012

"Fantastic !! I increased the bacon, served it Baked Potato soup style with the option of adding green onions, cheese and sour cream ...SOOOOO GOOD !"

zether User ID: 6465041 163667
Reviewed Jan. 20, 2012

"I made it today and it was so yummy. My husband and I had to go for seconds. I did change the recipe a little i used regular chicken bouillon and regular half and half. And i followed the instruction the same way."

dimikimi User ID: 2476865 176991
Reviewed Jan. 8, 2012

"Great quick and easy recipe! I actually added a bag of thawed frozen seafood (scallops, shrimp, and squid) and only one can of clams and it was amazing!"

pickup2 User ID: 4287987 179609
Reviewed Jan. 5, 2012

"Delicious! I need to know how to make the "Boston Clam Chowder" or do I just add some(few) tomatoes? Carolyn"

Calvin984 User ID: 1265425 107695
Reviewed Jan. 4, 2012

"Absolutely Outstanding! Will make this over and over. Made a few changes due to personal preference or because what I had on hand. Used reg. Hickory Smoked Bacon. Used a Vadalia onion, added 2 carrots, sliced, used black pepper, added 1 Knorr homestyle chicken concentrate and reduced chicken bouillon to 1 tsp, probably would omit bouillon all together next time. Used 4 cans of Snow's minced clams, drained and used juice in place of bottled clam juice. Sauted carrots with onion and celery. Gave a bowl to my next door neighbors and 5 mins later they called and said this was "Fine Dining, Restraunt Quality"."

up4trble User ID: 4758185 160737
Reviewed Nov. 6, 2011

"very quick and easy to make. Delicious taste. Definitely would make again. Only thing I did differently was to add a touch of Old Bay Seafood seasoning."

daabbott User ID: 5730142 179607
Reviewed Oct. 21, 2011

"Outstanding! I used regular half-n-half since that's what I had on hand so no doubt higher in fat, but oh so good. This is by far one of the best clam chowder recipes I've ever had. Will be making this often, especially during the cold winter months."

turtledaisy User ID: 3675355 94410
Reviewed Jul. 25, 2011

"Excellent chowder recipe. Very nice flavor."

LadySullen User ID: 3595759 106040
Reviewed Mar. 26, 2011

"This is one of the best New England clam chowders I've ever tasted. Even my husband loved it, and he's not all that nuts about creamed soups. The only things I did differently was double the white pepper and

stir the crumbled bacon right into the soup. This is definitely a recipe I'll use over and over again. Thanks!!"

Diane M. Cammarata User ID: 5844439 176989
Reviewed Mar. 25, 2011

"Very good, but omit the garlic. I'd make it again."

Ashaline User ID: 1186991 94390
Reviewed Feb. 3, 2011

"This soup is amazing! I made this last night and even my daughter who will NOT eat soup loved it! I just ate some of the leftovers for lunch and it was even better than I had remembered. It was so full of flavor and I felt like it was from a high quality restaurant! You won't be disappointed!"

jlhuber81 User ID: 4044059 107648
Reviewed Jan. 26, 2011

"Made this last night. My husband loved it. I thought it was a bit too peppery, but that is easy to remedy. Loved how creamy it is. Will definately make this again."

crazydaizy69 User ID: 109026 176988
Reviewed Oct. 21, 2010

"amazing but used fresh thyme because dried makes it taste sweet I was giving this secret from a chef friend of mine & it made all the difference"

scoleman User ID: 3762739 175432
Reviewed Oct. 12, 2009

"I've made this a few times and everyone that tried it loved it... and can't believe it's not full of fat!"

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