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Chunky New England Clam Chowder

Clam Chowder doesn’t have to be runny or full of cream. Add more of the good stuff to make this Chunky New England Clam Chowder.

Chunky New England Clam Chowder by FamilySpice.com

Soup and I have an interesting relationship. My husband LOVES soup – all forms of soups. And he passed this soup obsession to two out of three kids. Me? I like to chew my food.

Soup doesn’t light my fire like it does for my husband. I lean towards chunkier soups than the traditional liquid type. The same for peanut butter and mashed potatoes – I like them chunky.

Satueeing Vegetables for Chunky New England Clam Chowder by FamilySpice.com

One soup I do go ga-ga over is chowder. I love red AND white clam chowder. But even my beloved white chowder needed a little makeover for me. So, I went chunky. And if you love red chowder, I’ve got a fabulous recipe for a hearty and healthy Manhattan clam chowder.

What goes into a good chowder

The basic vegetables for a fabulous clam chowder is pretty universal: onions, potatoes, carrots and celery. I like to change things up, of course, and have used a variety of potatoes for clam chowder: red potatoes, finger potatoes, russet potatoes.

For thin skinned potatoes, I like to keep the skin on. The red and yellow potatoes are more waxy and hold their shape during the cooking process. If I’m using Russets, I peel the potatoes.

Canned Clams for Chunky New England Clam Chowder by FamilySpice.com

To bacon or not to bacon?

Some may feel that it is a sin to not start with bacon when you are making clam chowder. Don’t get me wrong, I love, love, LOVE bacon. But I don’t really care for it in my chowder. I do like to sprinkle a little crushed up bacon on top, as a garnish.

Canned clams versus fresh clams

I live in Southern California. Getting fresh clams can be difficult, let alone expensive considering you need about 3-pounds of clam meat for this chunk clam chowder. So, I always use canned clams. And just a note, Costco sells big gonga cans of clam chowder for a great price!

Just remember when using canned clams, drain the clams (save the juice for your chowder!) and give the clams a good shake and rinse with water so you can get the grit out.

Cooking up Chunky New England Clam Chowder by FamilySpice.com

This Chunky New England Clam Chowder epitomizes what I love: chunks of clams to chew on, chunks of potatoes I can taste, chunks of celery and carrots that are full of flavor all hugged in a creamy base.

Now this is a soup I can clearly bite into.

Yield: serves 8

Chunky New England Clam Chowder

Chunky New England Clam Chowder by FamilySpice.com

Clam Chowder doesn’t have to be runny or full of cream. Add more of the good stuff to make this Chunky New England Clam Chowder.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes


  • 1 TBS extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped onions
  • 2 cup fingerling potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch rounds
  • 1 cup chopped carrots
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed or minced
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 TBS all purpose flour
  • 3 lbs canned clams
  • 3 cup half-and-half
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • 2 TBS chopped green onions, green parts only


  1. Heat a large stock pot on medium and add olive oil.
  2. When oil is hot add onions and cook until softened, about 8 minutes.
  3. Stir in potatoes, carrots and celery and continue to cook vegetable for 5 minutes, stirring often.
  4. Stir in garlic, salt, pepper and flour.
  5. Cook for an additional 2 minutes.
  6. Separate the juice from the canned clam meat. You should have about 1 quart of juice.
  7. Stir the clam juice to the cooked vegetables, scraping the bottom of the pot to pick up the browned bits.
  8. Bring the soup to a boil, then reduce to low and simmer until the vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes.
  9. Stir in the reserved clam meat and half-and-half, parsley and green onions.
  10. Continue to simmer for 15 minutes, stirring often.
  11. Check seasoning and serve hot.

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Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:

1 bowl

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 437Total Fat: 14gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 117mgSodium: 569mgCarbohydrates: 30gFiber: 2gSugar: 7gProtein: 46g