This Easy Clam Chowder is hearty, creamy, and so flavorful, with lots of goodies on every spoonful. Enjoy it all year round!
Clam chowder may sound fancy, but it’s actually a very simple soup and easier to make at home than you might think, just using a few pantry items.
The two different types of clam chowders are New England and Manhattan. The New England version is dairy-based (using milk or cream), and is usually thick, made with potatoes. Manhattan is tomato-based and usually much thinner. Both delicious! But definitely not the same. If given the choice, I go for the New England Clam Chowder every time.
Why use canned clams in clam chowder
A lot of clam chowder recipes call for fresh clams in their shell, but I actually prefer canned clams – they’re way cheaper, easier, and the best part is you get the juice that comes with them, which makes for a more delicious soup base.
What is salt pork?
I also use salt pork in my clam chowder, instead of bacon.
Salt pork is salt-cured pork. It is usually prepared from pork belly, or sometimes even fatback. Salt pork looks like uncut slab bacon, but is fattier and cured longer, lending a stronger, saltier depth of flavor to recipes like this one. Having said that, you certainly can use bacon!
My favorite part about this easy soup is it’s chunky! Seems like a lot clam chowders are thin, consisting mostly of the broth. But this one is loaded with potatoes, pork, and clams. Lots of clams. So every spoonful has goodies on it, leaving you so satisfied!
Other SOUP RECIPES we love!
Easy Clam Chowder
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup diced salt pork
- 1 medium sweet onion , finely diced
- 1 clove garlic , minced
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 large potatoes , peeled and cut into small cubes
- 2 cups half-and-half (or whole milk)
- 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
- 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
- 2 bay leaves
- 14 ounce (2, 7 ounce cans) whole clams , drained, juice reserved
- oyster crackers , for serving
- fresh chopped parsley , for garnish
- In a large stockpot or Dutch oven, melt the butter over medium-high heat.
- Add the salt pork and cook until brown and crispy, only stirring a few times so it develops a nice crust, about 6 minutes.
- Add in the onion and saute until softened, about 3 minutes. Add in the garlic and stir for 30 seconds until fragrant.
- Stir in the flour until lightly browned, about 1 minute.
- Add in the potatoes, half-n-half, vegetable stock, clam juice, white pepper, thyme, and bay leaves.
- Bring to a simmer, scraping up any brown bits from the bottom of the pot. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes.
- Discard the bay leaves.
- Add the clams and cook for 1 minute longer to warm them through.
- Ladle the soup into bowls and top with some crackers!
- Half-n-Half is equal parts heavy cream and whole milk.
- You can sub in 6 slices of diced bacon for the salt pork, if desired.
- Cooking time may need to be adjusted depending on the size of your potato cubes.
- Leftover can be stored in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.