Clam Chowder

September/October 2014

Your rating: None Average: 3.6 (16 votes)

In this healthy clam chowder recipe, traditional heavy cream is replaced with milk and flour-thickened clam juice and we keep sodium amounts reasonable with lower-sodium clam juice instead of higher-sodium broths. By making your own creamy clam chowder, you can save up to 300 calories, 20 grams of saturated fat and 500 milligrams of sodium per serving compared to many store-bought or restaurant chowders.

Clam Chowder

Makes: 6 servings

Serving Size: about 1 1/2 cups

Active Time:

Total Time:


  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 cups clam juice (see Tip) or seafood stock
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 3 cups diced white potatoes
  • 1 16-ounce container chopped fresh clams (plus their liquid), thawed if frozen
  • Chopped cooked bacon for garnish
  • Snipped chives for garnish


  1. Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onion and celery; cook, stirring frequently, until softened and beginning to brown, 3 to 6 minutes. Sprinkle flour, thyme, salt, pepper and bay leaf over the vegetables and cook, stirring, for 1 minute more. Add clam juice (or seafood stock) and milk; bring to a gentle boil, stirring constantly.
  2. Stir in potatoes and bring just to a simmer. Simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes are tender, 12 to 15 minutes.
  3. Add clams and cook, stirring frequently, until cooked through, 2 to 4 minutes. Serve topped with bacon and chives, if desired.

Tips & Notes

  • Make Ahead Tip: Cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days, slowly reheat over medium-low or microwave on Medium power.
  • Check the label carefully when using clam juice because the sodium can vary dramatically among different brands. We test with Bar Harbor clam juice, with only 120 mg sodium per 2-ounce serving.


Per serving: 237 calories; 9 g fat (2 g sat, 6 g mono); 24 mg cholesterol; 27 g carbohydrates; 0 g added sugars; 4 g total sugars; 15 g protein; 2 g fiber; 455 mg sodium; 664 mg potassium.

Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin B12 (136% daily value), Potassium (19% dv)

Carbohydrate Servings: 2

Exchanges: 1 starch, 1/2 vegetable, 1 1/2 lean meat, 1 1/2 fat

More From EatingWell

Recipe Categories

Ease of Preparation
Total Time
45 minutes or less
Main Ingredient
Preparation/ Technique

Get a full year of EatingWell magazine.
World Wide Web Health Award Winner Web Award Winner World Wide Web Health Award Winner Interactive Media Award Winner