Clam Chowder is a pretty well known soup. Often found in coastal towns (for obvious reasons), everyone claims that their clam chowder is the best, but I find sooooo many places serving gelatinous, over-floured mush with seafood flavor.  I know a few gems along the Oregon coast that have good (and Gluten free!)  chowder from scratch, but when I have a chowder craving and no time to drive to the coast I make this clam chowder.

The way I cook the clams not only gives you a clammy/herby broth but also helps cut down on the amount of sand. I don’t think anyone likes taking a bite of clam chowder and  grinding sand between their teeth. I scrub my clams really well just before cooking and then strain the broth really well. The last of the broth is left in the pot because if any sand has come out it sinks to the bottom.

I also naturally thicken my  chowder with potatoes, there’s no need to add flour (of any kind) to soup that has potatoes in it. Potatoes naturally have starch in them and as they breakdown they thicken the soup…. I just speed it along with the use of an emulsion blender.


Clam Chowder

  • Author: Alycia Louise


Units Scale

Clams and Herb broth

  • 1 to 1 1/2 LBS Fresh Clams ( I used Manilla but you can use what you like.)
  • 4 1/2 cups Water
  • 3 Bay Leaves
  • 2 Sprigs Thyme (or 2 tsp dried Thyme )
  • 2 Pinches Salt

The Chowder

  • 1 TBS Oil
  • 1 Large Yellow Onion (Diced)
  • 3 Cloves Garlic (Minced)
  • 3 Medium Russet Potatoes (Minced)
  • 4 cups Chicken or Vegetable stock ( or 1 32 fl oz box of stock)
  • 5 Yukon Gold Potatoes (Cubed)
  • 2 Medium Carrots (Diced)
  • 2 cups Water
  • 1 tsp Celery Seed
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Pepper
  • 1 cup Heavy Cream
  • 1 TBS Butter


The Clams and Herb Broth

  1. Scrub and rinse the clams, throwing away any bad clams (fresh clams should close if handled. If they remain open they have died and are bad).
  2. Add the clams and water to a pot and bring to a simmer. Cook for 5-7 minutes. All the clams should be open (if not discard them). Using a slotted spoon strain out the clams and shells, keeping the broth in the pot. Separate the clam meat from the shells, reserve the meat and return the shells to the broth.  Give the clams a rough chop if they are on the bigger side and refrigerate until ready to use.
  3. Add the bay leaves and salt to the broth and allow to simmer for 20 minutes.  Strain out the solids and avoid keeping any sand that accumulated on the bottom, keep the broth.

The Chowder

  1. In a large stock pot heat the oil over medium heat. Once hot add in the diced onion and saute till the onion begins to soften, then add the minced garlic.
  2. Add in the minced russet potatoes, chicken stock and the herb broth you made earlier. The potatoes should be covered. Cook until potatoes are soft, about 15 minutes.  Take an emulsion  blender  and blend everything until smooth.
    If you don’t have an emulsion blender you can use a food processor or blender and blend  in batches until everything is smooth.
  3. Now add in the Yukon potatoes, carrots,  clams and spices. Top it off with the water to make sure everything is covered. Allow to bubble for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Turn down the heat and add the cream and butter.
  4. Serve up and enjoy.


I love using my Cast Iron Pot for making soups and chowders, if keeps heat wonderfully and cooks evenly. 

Also check out this Emulsion blender to still get creamy soups and chowders without washing all the blender parts.

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Alycia Louise
Alycia has worked in the food industry for over 10 years. She lives in the PNW with her husband and three dogs. Her likes include coffee, rainy days and horror movies.
Articles: 251

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