Thick and Hearty Clam Chowder

Updated post with pictures!

I am a clam chowder kind of gal. Well, I'm a seafood kind of gal. If that is all that was left on the face of the planet to eat I'd be one happy camper. My family loves seafood too.

Every Christmas Eve I make clam chowder, served in yummy sourdough bread bowls. The tradition started after I was married. My mom used to make Oyster Stew on Christmas Eve, and, while I liked it, I'm not a huge fan of oysters, and my hubby definitely doesn't care for them. A dear friend of mine shared this recipe with me when I was in college. We had a church family camp and went clamming. She sent me home with the recipe and I haven't looked back or tried another. It's that good.

My youngest daughter, who loves clam chowder, and is 18 has only found, seriously, one restaurant where she has liked the clam chowder as much as she likes mine. That makes this mama happy. It is highly requested every year, and I think I'd have mutiny if I didn't make it.

I also switched it up a bit last year and also made a non-dairy version using cashew cream and can I just say, it was just as good. I had planned to do it this year, but cashew prices were really high and I just didn't do it. I will share those differences below the original recipe in case you want to go a different route. The only thing that changes is removing the half and half and whipping cream.

I tend to double the recipe just so we have leftovers. Doubling it served 8 of us with leftovers, so would easily serve 10-12 without leftovers.

**See the very bottom of the post for how I substituted cashew cream for the dairy. 

I mentioned that last year I made it with a cashew cream as is how I substituted. Soak 2 1/2-3 cups of cashews in filtered water for at least 5 hours. Drain and then place in a blender with about 3 cups of vegetable or chicken broth. Blend on high until smooth. Add to the pan at the time you would be adding the dairy in the recipe below. Add more broth if you need to thin the soup, or add flour to broth, add some hot liquid and add back into soup if you need to thicken it up. 
Yield: 4-6 servings

Thick and Hearty Clam Chowder

prep time: 20 MINScook time: 1 hourtotal time: 1 hours and 20 mins

A full of flavor, hearty clam chowder that will soon become a favorite


  • 1/4 lb. Diced Potatoes
  • 4 slices bacon, diced (or use more...I love bacon)
  • 6 Tbs. butter
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 3 ribs celery, chopped
  • 1 tsp. marjoram
  • 2 tsp. basil
  • 1 tsp. dried italian seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp. dill
  • 1/2 tsp. thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • white, ground, and cayenne pepper to taste
  • 1/3c. flour (more if you want thicker)
  • 4 c. whipping cream
  • 1/2 c. half and half
  • 2 c. clam nectar
  • 2-3 c. fresh or canned clams, chopped


  1.  In a large saucepan, cook bacon til transparent
  2. Add celery, onion, butter and all seasonings. Cook until vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes. 
  3. Stir in flour and cook over low heat for about 3 minutes. 
  4. Stir in cream, half and half and clam nectar. Heat to just under boiling. 
  5.  Add clams and potatoes, bring to a boil slowly, then reduce heat. Cook until potatoes are tender.
  6. Serve in sourdough bread bowls!


**If you want it thicker, add more flour by first placing flour in a bowl, add some of the liquid from the pan into it, whisking to combine, and then stir it back into the chowder. 

**You can blanch the potatoes ahead of time, but I use a french fry cutter from pampered chef to make a small dice and they don't take long to cook right in the chowder, just lower the heat so as not to burn the bottom of the pan. 

**Prep and cook times are approximates.
Created using The Recipes Generator


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