Chopped clams, aromatic vegetables and creamy potatoes blended with low-fat milk and just a half cup of cream gives this chunky New England-style clam chowder plenty of rich body. Serve with oyster crackers and a tossed salad to make it a meal.

EatingWell Test Kitchen
Source: EatingWell Magazine, September/October 2008

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Recipe Summary

total:
45 mins
Servings:
6
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Ingredients

Ingredient Checklist

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add bacon and cook until crispy, 4 to 6 minutes. Transfer half of the cooked bacon to a paper towel-lined plate with a slotted spoon. Add onion, celery and thyme to the pan; cook, stirring, until beginning to soften, about 2 minutes. Add potato, clam juice and bay leaf. Bring to a simmer, cover and cook until the vegetables are just tender, 8 to 10 minutes.

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  • Whisk milk, cream, flour and salt in a medium bowl. Add to the pan and return to a simmer, stirring, over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring, until thickened, about 2 minutes. Add clams and cook, stirring occasionally, until the clams are just cooked through, about 3 minutes more.

  • To serve, discard bay leaf. Ladle into bowls and top each serving with some of the reserved bacon and scallions.

Tips

Makeover tip: Check sodium carefully when using clam juice because the amount of sodium can vary dramatically between brands. We use Bar Harbor clam juice with only 120 mg sodium per 2-ounce serving.

Shopping tip: Look for fresh clam strips at the seafood counter.

Nutrition Facts

255 calories; protein 16g 32% DV; carbohydrates 19.6g 6% DV; exchange other carbs 1.5; dietary fiber 1.2g 5% DV; sugars 8g; fat 12.6g 19% DV; saturated fat 6.2g 31% DV; cholesterol 56.3mg 19% DV; vitamin a iu 841IU 17% DV; vitamin c 5.3mg 9% DV; folate 45.8mcg 12% DV; calcium 210.6mg 21% DV; iron 1.8mg 10% DV; magnesium 41.8mg 15% DV; potassium 477.9mg 13% DV; sodium 829mg 33% DV; thiamin 0.1mg 14% DV.

Reviews (21)

Read More Reviews
21 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 17
  • 4 star values: 1
  • 3 star values: 1
  • 2 star values: 2
  • 1 star values: 0
Rating: 4 stars
09/09/2017
First time we made this. I would do it again and add a bit of pepper but that is me. Used 3 cups of whole milk instead of the low fat and heavy cream Read More
Rating: 5 stars
12/31/2016
This is a regular cold night dinner in our house. So easy and delicious. Easy enough for a week night meal. Read More
Rating: 3 stars
12/10/2014
First time making Clam Chowder I don't have anything bad to say about this recipe as it is my first time making clam chowder. I tried using real clams but the grocery store by my house was out of fresh clams so I went canned. Next time I will use real clams. Also...i'm not sure if heavy cream could be purchased here in Canada as I haven't been able to find it anywhere. We have 35% whip cream (liquid) 18% cream and half n half. Not sure which one to use so grabbed whip cream. It doesn't taste bad at all. Pros: Really easy to make especially on a weeknight after work Read More
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Rating: 5 stars
01/13/2013
This is incredible! I have made it several times just as it is written and my family continues to beg for more! Excellent recipe! Read More
Rating: 2 stars
09/27/2012
More cream. Forget the low fat milk- cut back on the cholesterol some where else but not on a good chowder. If guilty use half and half. Steam real clams in minimum water chop and use it instead of store bought juice Never canned clams - they are tasteless. Mince real garlic (and notelephant garlic it's lousy) never garlic powder. Some butter helps too. No flour thicken with corn starch. Add any salt and pepper at serving. AND THE REAL SECRET is to let the chowder sit overnight in the fridge so the flavors get to know each other. Read More
Rating: 2 stars
09/27/2012
More cream - forget that low fat milk stuff sorry about the cholesterol but cut back elsewhere. If feeling guilty use half and half. No garlic power should be used - fresh minced garlic only. Never canned clams they are rather tasteless - steam fresh ones in a minimum amount of water until they open and then chop them. Save the water and use it instead of store bought clam juice. Thicken with corn starch not flour. Some butter is good too. AND the best secret is to store the fully prepared chowder in the fridge overnight. It very much improves it as the flavors get to know each other. Salt/pepper optional at serving never before. Pros: Adding clamjuice good but there is a bettr way. Cons: Never garlic powder. Forget the low fat milk. Canned clams do not do it Read More
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Rating: 5 stars
12/04/2011
Yum! I just finished eating this chowder. So so so good! Only change I made was to add carrots and 2 tsp. of minced garlic with the onions and celery. Oh and I also forgot to pick up bacon when I was at the grocery store so I obviously left that out. Just a note for those who may not think of it: if you use canned clams you won't need to buy the bottled clam juice. You get enough from the cans. Next time I may add a bit more clam juice -- I think I would prefer the base to have just slightly more clam flavor to it. Read More
Rating: 5 stars
10/30/2011
This is the best clam chowder recipe I have ever made. Stacie Columbus OH Read More
Rating: 5 stars
10/30/2011
This was delicious--very creamy which is hard to come by in "light" recipes. My mistake was using minced clams they just disappeared in the soup. If you can't get the strips chop some whole clams into big chunks yourself. It's worth it. Erica Reading PA Read More
Rating: 5 stars
10/30/2011
I modified this recipe by replacing bacon clam broth clam strips and heavy cream with 1T olive oil low sodium vegetable broth crabmeat and half & half and it was WONDERFUL! Next time will add fresh corn too thanks for the suggestion! Barbara Anastasia La Jolla CA Read More
Rating: 5 stars
10/30/2011
My teenage boys love clam chowder and when I told them I was thinking of making a "healthy" version for dinner they both said "don't bother those recipes never taste good". Well were they ever surpised! This is a keeper for a lighter yet incrediably tasty clam chowder. I had 2 ears of corn in the crisper and cut the kernals off and added them with the clams - adding both summer sweetness and a crispy bite to this wonderful soup! And it was as quick and easy to make as noted. Margie Portola Valley CA Read More
Rating: 5 stars
10/30/2011
Delicious and easy Read More
Rating: 5 stars
10/30/2011
I made this soup for my daughter and husband. Not being a big fan of clam chowder I was just hoping that I would at least be able to eat it. From the first bite I absolutely LOVED this soup as did my family. I did make a few changes like using fat free half and half instead of the low fat milk and heavy cream. I used canned chopped clams and the juice they were packed in instead of the bottled clam juice. I also cooked the bacon in a separate frying pan and transferred it to a dutch oven for the remainder of the cooking process. This reduced the amount of fat in the soup. This is a real stick to your ribs soup that is easy to make and that is perfect for a cold winter night. Read More
Rating: 5 stars
10/30/2011
This was a GREAT clam chowder! I made it tonight and it is the 1st CC recipe that has worked for me! I will definately be making this again VERY soon!! I used 2 10 oz cans of whole clams and rough-chopped them to make sure and get good chunks of clam. Thank you for the amazing recipe! Read More
Rating: 5 stars
10/30/2011
This was my first time making clam chowder. It was easy to make and it was so good. My husband said "It tastes like more!" I added a small can of corn (rinsed) and some garlic. I will definitely make this again and I will probably double it so we have lots of leftovers!!! Yummy!!! Read More
Rating: 5 stars
10/30/2011
I can't believe I am the dissenter......I so wanted to LOVE this recipe but it had no taste!!! It tasted like cream of nothing soup. I checked/rechecked my recipe thinking I goofed but found no mistakes. While in a local gourmet shop I purchased three bottles of clam juice only use 2/recipe from the company which gave this recipe to Eating Well Bar Harbor. Went to their website and got the recipe. When I saw Eating Well mentioned there I felt good about it. I doubled the recipe because to me soup is best the next day. I had purchased 6 cans of clams minced by mistake and after reading Erica's comments went back and returned them for chopped instead. Doubled all ingredients and followed the recipe to the T. I even went back and added some of that third bottle of juice in hopes of giving it a flavor boost; as well as a tablespoon of tomato paste a little Louisianna hot sauce.........bland bland bland. How in the world can you all love this?????? Read More
Rating: 5 stars
10/29/2011
I put in some fennel seeds to give it more life! Also I used some evap skim milk in lieu of some of the skim milk for more body. Personally I do the Manhattan style more often and use spices. Read More
Rating: 5 stars
10/29/2011
very good. i added carrots for a little extra nutrition and flavor Read More
Rating: 5 stars
10/29/2011
I have made this recipe several times and my family and I are never disappointed! It is the one recipe my family requests the most! I highly recommend it! Read More
Rating: 5 stars
10/29/2011
This recipe is fantastic. The comments I got on it were nothing but praise. I made a few edits. I added more thyme than what was marked as well as some basil (to add more flavor). I used two large cans of baby clams (for more protein I think you could add more clams) which seemed to be the right size for the soup. I left out the bacon (and subsequent oil) and used half & half instead of heavy cream (to reduce the calories further). I'm not sure if anyone else noticed but it looks like the calories are off. This recipes yields well over six heaping cups of soup and one cup of soup is closer to 150 calories instead of 250 (according to the online recipe calories counter I used). Read More
Rating: 5 stars
10/29/2011
Excellent - made as written but toward the end I added a little extra salt and some garlic powder to bring out the flavors. This was a big hit in my house and perfect for a chilly night. The creaminess was just right for New England clam chowder. They didn't have any fresh clam strips at my grocery store but the guy at the seafood counter found me a 12-oz. container of frozen chopped clams that worked perfectly when thawed. I served with a crusty whole-grain bread and oyster crackers. Definitely going to make again! Read More