This New England clam chowder is the best! This easy soup recipe is the perfect comfort food for a cold night.
Made with bacon, lots of potatoes and just the right amount of cream, you’ll be a soup master with my instructions on how to make clam chowder.
BEST CLAM CHOWDER IN NEW ENGLAND
This recipe has been a favorite in our house for years! It is by far Nathan’s favorite dinner recipe.
What makes this the best clam chowder recipe you ask? Simple. The roux starts with bacon! A roux is the mixture of fat and flour to create a thickening agent.
That fat is often butter, like in my chicken noodle casserole, but in this amazing clam chowder, it’s bacon fat. Bacon fat works perfectly to make a good creamy base for this soup while adding tons of flavor.
HOW TO MAKE NEW ENGLAND CLAM SOUP
Actually, it was my husband who started making this soup. I had never been a big fan because the broth was very liquid and thin. New England Clam Chowder should have a nice, thick creamy broth.
And then one day, I saw Nathan pull it off. After combining the bacon fat and flour, he simply poured the clam juice in one fell swoop. (Cue the emoji of the horror face).
The key to making this recipe work well is to add the clam juice very slowly. I’m talking like two tablespoons at a time when you start adding it. You want it to be a good gummy mess with the little clam juice being absorbed each time before adding more.
See how creamy it is in the photos? That’s what you’re looking for.
MAKING THE BEST CLAM CHOWDER IN NEW ENGLAND
- Add the thickly cut diced bacon to the preheated broth pot
- Cook until crispy. Add the onions and celery, cooking until tender. Add the garlic, cooking for 30 seconds making sure you don’t burn it.
- Mix the flour.
- Very slowly add the clam juice. Start with about two tablespoons at a time, whisking until the liquid is absorbed and then adding more. In the end you can add more at once and more quickly.
- Add thyme, potatoes and two bay leaves. Bring to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer for 20 minutes.
- Add the clams and heavy cream and enjoy!
Once you’ve done it several times, you’ll be able to do it while you sleep!
NEW ENGLAND CLAM SOUP SUBSTITUTIONS
- My husband hates onions and isn’t a big fan of celery or parsley, so when I make it just for him, I leave all that out.
- He loves potatoes, so I add a few more than this recipe requires.
- You can substitute chicken broth for clam juice. It decreases the clam’s flavor a bit, but saves a packet as clam juice can be expensive. On the other hand, I’ve had people tell me I’m a pagan because of this. You rule.
DO I HAVE TO USE BACON?
I guess you can do this without bacon. (BUT WHY?!?)
Start your recipe by melting 3 tablespoons of butter and then start sautéing your vegetables. Continue from there as usual. It is very likely that you will need to season your final soup with a little salt.
CAN I USE REGULAR MILK INSTEAD OF HEAVY CREAM?
Please don’t. Without heavy cream, you’re just not going to get that final creamy soup I know you want.
WHAT TO SERVE WITH CLAM CHOWDER
This recipe is great with bread for dipping. These one hour muffins or my homemade beer bread would be perfect.
I also love having a salad with my soup. Either this spinach salad or my winter salad would be delicious on the side.
If you make this soup or any of my other recipes, I’d love to hear from you!