New England Clam Chowder

New England Clam Chowder

21 Reviews
From: EatingWell Magazine, September/October 2008

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.

Ingredients 6 servings

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Original recipe yields 6 servings
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  • 2 teaspoons canola oil
  • 4 slices bacon, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme, or 1 teaspoon dried
  • 1 medium red potato, diced
  • 1 8-ounce bottle clam juice, (see Makeover Tip)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 cups low-fat milk
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • ⅓ cup all-purpose flour
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 12 ounces fresh clam strips, (see Shopping Tip), chopped, or 3 6-ounce cans chopped baby clams, rinsed
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced


  • Active

  • Ready In

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. To serve, discard bay leaf. Ladle into bowls and top each serving with some of the reserved bacon and scallions.
  • 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 information

  • Serving size: generous 1 cup
  • Per serving: 255 calories; 13 g fat(6 g sat); 1 g fiber; 20 g carbohydrates; 16 g protein; 46 mcg folate; 56 mg cholesterol; 8 g sugars; 0 g added sugars; 841 IU vitamin A; 5 mg vitamin C; 211 mg calcium; 2 mg iron; 829 mg sodium; 478 mg potassium
  • Nutrition Bonus: Calcium (21% daily value)
  • Carbohydrate Servings:
  • Exchanges: ½ starch, ½ low-fat milk, 1 lean meat, 2 fat

Reviews 21

September 08, 2017
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By: KP2828
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
December 31, 2016
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By: Linda Burns
This is a regular cold night dinner in our house. So easy and delicious. Easy enough for a week night meal.
December 10, 2014
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By: EatingWell User
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
January 13, 2013
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By: EatingWell User
This is incredible! I have made it several times, just as it is written, and my family continues to beg for more! Excellent recipe!
September 27, 2012
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By: EatingWell User
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.
September 27, 2012
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By: EatingWell User
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
December 03, 2011
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By: Ashley
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.
December 06, 2010
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By: EatingWell User
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!
November 09, 2010
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By: mika
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).
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