Authentic New England Clam Chowder in One Pot

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white clam chowder

What’s Up, Hungry People!

What do you crave on a frosty evening? If your answer is a robust bowl of creamy, hearty chowder, then we’re on the same page. Especially when it’s brimming with ingredients like potatoes, onions, bacon, and of course, clams.

This week’s challenge was to recreate a famous dish. I’m not sure about you guys, but I can’t think of “New England Clam Chowder” without thinking about this scene from Ace Ventura:

The Secret Ingredient

You might be surprised to learn that the backbone of an authentic New England clam chowder is good old canned clams. They ensure that home cooks like us get a meaty punch in every bite. And if you’re into chunky soups like I am, toss in ample potatoes, bacon, celery, and onions.

ingredients for clam chowder

Here’s What You Need:

  • Clams: Provide the key seafood flavor and texture.
  • Chicken stock or broth: Acts as the base liquid, adding depth and flavor.
  • Potato: Offers starchiness and thickness to the chowder.
  • Onion: Enhances flavor and gives aromatic undertones.
  • Celery: Adds crunch and an earthy, aromatic flavor.
  • Bacon: Infuses the chowder with a smoky, savory note.
  • Flour: Helps thicken the soup, giving it the classic chowder consistency.
  • Butter: Adds richness and helps in sautéing the vegetables.
  • White vinegar: Provides a touch of acidity to balance flavors.
  • Lemon: Introduces a fresh, zesty note and cuts through the richness.
  • Heavy cream: Gives the chowder its creamy texture and rich flavor.
  • Bay leaves: Infuse a subtle, herbal undertone.
  • Chives: Garnish that offers a mild oniony flavor and color contrast.
  • Salt & pepper: Essential seasonings to enhance and balance flavors.
potatoes and onions in pot

Let’s Cook!

Kick off your soup game by searing those veggies that need a little extra cooking time. Crisp that bacon first. With the bacon done and out of the pot, in go the potatoes using the leftover bacon goodness. After about 10 minutes of them doing their thing, it’s time for the onions and celery to join the party.

soup base for chowder

Building the Base

By the time those potatoes start showing a hint of translucency at the edges, you’re all set to pour in the chicken stock. Let it mingle and simmer for a while. Then comes the flour – sprinkle it in and stir until it’s fully blended in and the broth starts to thicken up.

simmering soup base

Layers of Flavor

Pour in the remaining chicken stock, add a cup of water, and slide in those bay leaves. Allow it all to simmer until those potatoes are soft and oh-so-tender. In the final moments of this simmering stage, pour in any leftover chicken stock and bid farewell to the bay leaves.

stirring soup base

If you’re up for an extra creamy treat, here’s a nifty trick: blend almost all the soup, leaving just a cup unblended. I gave it a pass this time, but it can create a fun texture contrast.

bay leaf removed

Time’s ticking down! In the last three minutes, welcome the drained clams to the pot. They’re the guests of honor, after all. Remember to add them last, because they cook in a flash. Overcook, and they might get a tad too chewy for our liking.

adding clams to chowder

As soon as they’re in, stir in the heavy cream, making sure the chowder stops simmering. Off the heat it goes.

new england clam chowder

Mastering Your New England Clam Chowder:

  • Choosing Your Clams: Opt for high-quality canned clams. Fresh clams can also be used, but remember to clean and steam them first, then use the clam juice as part of your broth.
  • Potato Varieties: Russet potatoes break down nicely and add thickness. For firmer pieces, try Yukon gold or red potatoes.
  • Bacon Substitutes: If you don’t eat bacon, smoked turkey or even vegetarian smoke-flavored bits can add a similar smoky note.
  • Consistency Control: For a thinner chowder, reduce the flour by a tablespoon. For extra thickness, consider mashing some of the potatoes.
  • Avoiding Overcooked Clams: Clams can turn rubbery if overcooked. Make sure to add them towards the end, and don’t boil the chowder after adding them.
  • Serving Ideas: While cheddar drop biscuits pair beautifully, consider oyster crackers or a crusty bread for dipping.
easy chowder recipe

Diving into the heart of New England flavors without leaving our kitchens is truly an experience! This one-pot New England clam chowder recipe, with its creamy texture and hints of smoky bacon, is like a warm hug on a cold day.

clam chowder from scratch

Paired with some quick cheddar drop biscuits, it promises a meal that leaves you satisfied, yet craving the next spoonful. What’s more, it’s surprisingly simple to whip up, making it perfect for both weeknight dinners and special occasions. Hungry People, get ready to warm your souls and tantalize those taste buds!

new england chowder recipe

One Pot New England Clam Chowder

The Starving Chef
Experience the creamy, hearty essence of New England with this simple one-pot clam chowder recipe.
No ratings yet
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Course Main Course, Soup
Cuisine American, Soup
Servings 6


  • 16 oz clams drained
  • 2 cups chicken stock or broth
  • 1 potato chopped
  • ½ cup onion chopped
  • 4 ribs celery chopped
  • 2 strips bacon cooked & crumbled
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • ½ lemon juiced
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tablespoons chives optional for topping
  • salt & pepper to taste


  • In a large soup pan, cook the bacon until crispy. Remove the bacon from the pan, but retain the grease.
  • Add two tablespoons of butter to the pan. Introduce the chopped potatoes and sear them until they start to brown, roughly ten minutes. Add in the chopped onions and celery and continue cooking until the onions become translucent. Pour in the white vinegar.
  • Sprinkle the potatoes and onions with flour. Mix well to coat all the ingredients, then pour in one cup of chicken broth. Once the flour is dissolved, incorporate the remaining chicken broth. If necessary, add water to ensure the vegetables are fully submerged.
  • Allow the chowder to simmer for approximately fifteen minutes. Squeeze in the lemon juice. Introduce the drained clams to the chowder, followed by the heavy cream. Stir well and let it sit for about three minutes to ensure the clams are cooked.
  • Serve the chowder hot. Garnish with crispy bacon and chives if desired. Pair with cheddar drop biscuits.
Keyword chowder, clams, seafood, soup
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