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


Recipe Summary

45 mins


Ingredient Checklist


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.

  • 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.


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; carbohydrates 19.6g; dietary fiber 1.2g; sugars 8g; fat 12.6g; saturated fat 6.2g; cholesterol 56.3mg; vitamin a iu 841IU; vitamin c 5.3mg; folate 45.8mcg; calcium 210.6mg; iron 1.8mg; magnesium 41.8mg; potassium 477.9mg; sodium 829mg; thiamin 0.1mg.

Reviews (7)

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22 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 18
  • 4 star values: 1
  • 3 star values: 1
  • 2 star values: 2
  • 1 star values: 0
Rating: 5 stars
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: 5 stars
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
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
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
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
Rating: 5 stars
Sooo good! And lower fat for sure! Try this recipe you won't be disappointed!! Read More
Rating: 3 stars
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
Rating: 5 stars
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: 2 stars
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