How to Create a Flavorful New England Clam Chowder

Who doesn’t love a warm and comforting bowl of New England clam chowder? In this article, we will walk you through the steps of creating this classic American dish, bursting with flavors that will transport you straight to the shores of New England. So, put on your chef’s hat and get ready to dive into the world of clam chowder!

How to Create a Flavorful New England Clam Chowder
How to Create a Flavorful New England Clam Chowder

Step 1: Rendering the Bacon

To start off, we need to render the bacon. Cut up some uncooked, cured, and smoked slab bacon into small pieces. Heat up a stainless steel pot on moderate heat and add the bacon. Cooking the bacon slowly allows the fat to render out, which will later be used to thicken the soup. As the bacon starts to turn slightly brown, we add diced onions to the pot. The onions will release moisture, creating a flavorful base for our chowder.

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Step 2: Creating the Roux

Once the onions have turned transparent, it’s time to add the flour to create a roux. Sprinkle all-purpose flour into the pot and stir it in. The flour will absorb the bacon fat, making it easier to incorporate into the soup without forming lumps. For a healthier twist, you can use whole wheat flour instead. Just be sure to avoid bread flour, as it has a higher gluten content.

Step 3: Incorporating the Liquid

Now it’s time to add the liquid to our chowder. Start by pouring in some clam juice, stirring it slowly with a whisk. Adding a little liquid at a time helps prevent clumps and makes the process smoother. Once the roux has been fully incorporated, add the remaining clam juice. The mixture should start to thicken, thanks to the roux.

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Step 4: Adding Potatoes and Seasonings

Once the chowder reaches a simmer, it’s time to add the star ingredient – potatoes! Russet potatoes, cut into small cubes, are a classic choice. But if you prefer a more flavorful option, Yukon Gold potatoes work beautifully as well. Along with the potatoes, add freshly chopped thyme and a bay leaf to enhance the aroma. Let the chowder cook until the potatoes are tender and the flavors have melded together.

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Step 5: Finishing Touches

To complete our chowder, we add a touch of richness and creaminess. Mix in some canned clams and a splash of heavy cream, simmering for a little longer to allow the flavors to marry. The result is a hearty and delectable New England clam chowder that will warm your soul.


1. Can I use fresh clams instead of canned clams?
Absolutely! While canned clams offer convenience, using fresh clams will elevate the flavor of your chowder even more. Just be sure to steam the clams separately and add them along with their juices to the chowder towards the end.

2. Can I make this chowder ahead of time?
Certainly! In fact, clam chowder tends to taste even better the next day as the flavors continue to develop. Simply store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator and reheat it gently when ready to serve.


Making New England clam chowder may seem like a daunting task, but with the right techniques, it becomes a culinary adventure filled with deliciousness. So, next time you’re craving a taste of the coast, remember these steps and impress your family and friends with a delightful bowl of homemade clam chowder.

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