New England Clam Chowda
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Traditional New England clam chowder, made with mom, is awesome!
Recipe type: Seafood
Cuisine: Seafood
Serves: 6-8
  • 2 quarts fresh littleneck clams (yield ~ 2 cups chopped) OR enough canned/minced clams in juice to yield 2 cups (reserve the juice, too)
  • ¼ lb. salt pork, cut into small pieces
  • 4 Tb. unsalted butter
  • 1 large onion, minced
  • 2 Tb. all-purpose flour
  • 3 c. water
  • 5 c. clam juice (~2 cups from steamed clams + bottled clam juice to total 5 cups)
  • 4 c. potatoes, small cube (preferably Russet, skin on)
  • 2 c. clams, chopped
  • ¼ c. (or more, to taste) half and half
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  1. Prepare fresh clams (see Notes) starting 24 hours ahead. OR, drain canned clams and reserve the juice.
  2. In a soup pot, over low heat, render the fat of the salt pork; cook until crispy, then remove from pan.
  3. Add butter and onion and stir. Cook for a minute or so, then stir in flour. Once well-combined, slowly add water - 1 cup at a time, stirring to combine at each interval.
  4. Add clam juice & potatoes.
  5. Simmer a few minutes so potatoes start to cook and release their starch. If the broth seems very thin, make a beurre manie (equal parts soft butter [2 Tb.] & flour [2 Tb.] - mix well, then whisk into the hot soup so it dissolves without creating lumps. Continue to simmer over low heat.
  6. Once the potatoes are cooked, taste and add a little salt and pepper if needed (it should taste 'clammy' with a slightly salty bite, but not too salty).
  7. Add chopped clams then, after about 1 minute, turn off heat. Stir in half & half and serve!
1. If you purchase fresh clams, you need to remove as much sand as possible. I find it’s best to first soak them in salty water for up to 24 hours before serving (so try to buy them a day in advance). When you get home, rinse & place them in a large bowl, cover with water and add 1 Tb. salt. Place in refrigerator then check back in about 12 hours (ideally 24). The clams will do their thing in salt water - open to take in water and expel any sand from their shells.

2. When ready to make chowder, remove clams from the sandy water and place them in a saucepan with 1 c. fresh water. Cover and steam a few minutes, until shells open. Remove from heat, discard unopened clams, cool a few minutes, remove meat from shells and place it in a small bowl. Pour the pan juice over the clams but hold back the last tablespoon or so since it probably contains sand. Allow the clams to rinse a bit more and the juice to settle. Remove clams, then measure out the juice but hold back the last tablespoon or so since it probably contains more grit -- it should be close to 2 cups.
Recipe by My Delicious Blog at