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Recipe for quick and easy white clam chowder

White clam chowder, made quick and easy.

Here in New England, we love, love, love clam chowder. White, red, or clear -- where you come from probably determines your loyalty to one version or another. So what's a girl who was born in Manhattan (the home of red chowder), lived for decades in Boston (white chowder), and now spends most of her time in Rhode Island (clear chowder) to do? Well, if that girl were me (and she is!), she'd create her own chowder, the quick and easy kind. I'm partial to white chowders, made with the addition of milk or cream. And though I live near the water and can get fresh clams at my local fish market, I know many of you cannot, so I've used canned clams (our local favorites, from Iggy's, the clams we used in Rhode Island Recipes), and bottled clam juice in this recipe. Chowder is a summer tradition at clam shacks throughout Rhode Island, but it's a year-round comfort food that's easy to make in your own kitchen.

New England clam chowder.

Quick and easy white clam chowder

From the pantry, you'll need: clam juice, onion, bacon, thyme, all-purpose unbleached flour, fresh black pepper.

Serves 4-6.


3 slices bacon, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
3 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, chopped (approximately 1-1/2 to 2 cups)
2 Tbsp fresh thyme leaves
2 tsp all-purpose unbleached flour
13 oz canned chopped clams with their juice (add more clams, to your taste)
8-oz bottle of clam juice + 8 oz water
1 cup half-and-half (not fat free)
Fresh black pepper, to taste


In a Dutch oven or heavy stock pot, sauté the bacon over medium heat until it begins to curl but not crisp, 3-4 minutes. Then, add the onion, and continue cooking for 2 minutes, until the onions are translucent.

Stir in the potatoes and thyme, and cook for 3-4 minutes.

Add the flour, and stir until the flour is absorbed by the bacon fat. Pour in the clams and their juice, the bottled clam juice and water. Raise heat to high, bring to the boil, then reduce heat to low and cook for 10-15 minutes, until the potatoes are tender.

Add the half-and-half, and cook for 5 minutes (do not boil). Taste, and add black pepper as needed.

Serve hot.

[Printer-friendly recipe.]

More fishy soup recipes in The Perfect Pantry:
Moqueca/Brazilian fish stew
Jamaican run down (fish stew with tomato, peppers and coconut milk)
Smoky shrimp, corn and bacon chowder
Salmon chipotle chowder with orzo and corn

Other recipes that use these pantry ingredients:
Sweet potato fish chowder, from The Food in my Beard
Manhattan clam chowder, from Simply Recipes
Clam chowder recipe, Maine style, from Hunter Angler Gardener Cook
Clam chowder with bacon and green chiles, from Food Renegade
Lighter New England clam chowder, from Sarah's Cucina Bella

Disclosure: The Perfect Pantry earns a few pennies on purchases made through the Amazon.com links in this post. Thank you for supporting this site when you start your shopping here.


Quick and easy way to Nirvana Lydia.

Sounds good to me!

Bellini, Kalyn: This is one of my ultimate comfort foods. Hope you like it!

clear clam chowder intrigues me. do you just leave out the half and half, or are there additional ingredients too?

Janis, here's my recipe for clear chowder, on my soup blog: http://www.soupchick.com/2011/07/rhode-island-clear-chowder-recipe.html

That sounds awesome to me. I think I need to make this come fall, because I haven't had a good bowl of clam chowder in forever (and to me, white clam chowder *is* clam chowder).

Kirsten, I created this chowder for easy year-round making (with canned clams), so I hope you get your white chowder "fix"!

What a disappointment. The recipe was followed "to the letter of the law." The chowder was thin and watery -- unlike any I'm used to eating. I was born on the Massachusetts South Shore and know good chowder.

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