Winter Clam Chowder – Perfect Comfort Food

For winter warmth and nourishment, what's better than than a steaming bowl of creamy chowder? Try these great recipes for New England Clam Chowder Day!

For a little winter warmth and nourishment, nothing goes down more smoothly than a steaming bowl of creamy chowder. Known for its New England origins and early connections to Newfoundland fishermen, local chowder enthusiasts understand that if it sticks to the pot, it’ll stick to their ribs. Many even have blue ribbons to prove it. In northern regions, chowder competitions rival pie contests and chili cook-offs, with recipes passed down through generations from fisherman’s wives to daughters and granddaughters.

A Delicious Tradition

Chowder is traditionally made with chopped clams, diced potatoes, onions, and a mixture of cream, milk, and butter as its base (sometimes thickened with flour). Variations include substituting clams with other fish or corn. The Manhattan version uses tomatoes instead of cream and milk and omits potatoes. Rhode Island’s South County Style chowder features a clear broth infused with bacon, onions, potatoes, and quahogs.

Chowder is typically topped with crushed oyster or saltine crackers; however, other accompaniments may consist of baking powder biscuits, cornbread, garlic bread, and more.

No matter when you prepare this hearty dish, a bowl of chowder feels like a warm embrace for your insides. Whether you follow tradition or venture outside conventional chowder recipes – winter or summer – your insides (and your family’s) will surely be grateful!

Clam chowder - Clam

New England Clam Chowder

Course Main Course
Cuisine American


  • 1 quart shucked clams (add water if too dry)
  • 1/3 pound salt pork
  • 1 large onion, minced
  • 2 ribs celery, minced
  • 1/2 cup of butter
  • 1/4 cup of flour
  • 2 large potatoes, diced
  • 1 quart of milk, scalded (may use half cream for thicker soup)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 teaspoon thyme
  • salt and pepper


  • Drain and chop clams, reserving liquid (may substitute 5-pound can chopped clams).
  • Fry salt pork in a heavy pan until all fat is rendered; add onions and celery and brown lightly.
  • Add butter; melt.
  • Blend in flour and stir constantly for 5 minutes.
  • Add clams, potatoes, milk, clam liquid, bay leaf, and thyme.
  • Cook until the potatoes are tender.
  • If desired, add fish and/or shellfish to make seafood chowder.
  • Serve in a bread bowl for an extra-hearty meal.
Keyword thick new england clam chowder recipe

Manhattan Clam Chowder

Course Main Course
Cuisine American


  • 2 bacon slices, cut into 1/2-inch squares
  • 1/3 cup chopped onion
  • 3 tablespoons diced (1/3 inch) green bell pepper
  • 3 tablespoons diced (1/3 inch) celery
  • 2/3 cup diced (1/3 inch) peeled boiling potato (1 small)
  • 1 oz bottle clam juice
  • 1 cup canned diced tomatoes including juice
  • 1 1/2 dozen small hard-shelled clams (1 1/2 to 2 inches in diameter; 2 pounds total), scrubbed well
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • salt and pepper


  • Cook bacon in a 2- to 3-quart heavy saucepan over moderate heat, stirring, until golden, about 5 minutes.
  • Reduce heat to moderately low, then add onion, bell pepper, and celery. Cook, stirring until softened, about 5 minutes.
  • Stir in potato, bottled clam juice, and tomatoes (with juice) and simmer, covered, 10 minutes.
  • Stir in clams and simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, until clams open wide, 8 to 10 minutes. (Discard any clams that after 10 minutes have not opened as they are raancid.)
  • Remove pan from heat.
  • Remove most of clamshells with tongs, then detach clams and return them to chowder. (Keep a few in their shells for garnish.)
  • Stir in parsley and add salt and pepper to taste.
Keyword manhattan clam chowder progresso
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Beth Herman

Beth Herman is a freelance writer with interests in healthy living and food, family, animal welfare, architecture and design, religion, and yoga. She writes for a variety of national and regional publications, institutions, and websites.

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Where’s the corn chowder?


Any of the chowders..served up in a bread bowl..Mmm Mmm Good

marilyn vanscyoc

clam chowders– Cant wait to experiment to see which I like the best!


I have done the clams I just am not a fan of chowders but I am not the only 1 in family my mom and husband both like chowders when it comes to clam chowders so I think it would be great to try 1 if not all of these chowders




I had never lived out of the south when we moved to Massachusetts and tasted lobster and clams for the first time. Fell in love with anything with lobster in it, clams only so-so. Although I do love clam fritters made and served hot as they were down on the shore in R.I.
I sure do miss lobster!.Hard to find here in Alabama. Sometimes I buy a frozen lobster tail, thaw it and make a Lobster Sub. Those were so good. I order Lobster Chowder sometimes from a mail order catalog just to get the taste of lobster.


I didn’t see corn chowder mentioned(:)

Jeff Pauly

I love just about any type of chowder, although clam chowder is my favorite. On a trip once up the Pacific coast, I stopped at a number of places to try the chowder as long as it was made from scratch. I continue to sample chowders whenever I’m on the coast. Santa Cruz Ca. has an annual chowder festival usually in February. I hope to make it one time.

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