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Clam chowder is one of the foods that I turned up my nose to as a child but absolutely love as an adult. I worked at a restaurant during college that served it every Friday night. It was so delicious and I was always glad to work a Friday shift so that I could treat myself to a cup and a mini loaf of bread to go with it.
My husband and I loved going to San Francisco and eating clam chowder and all-you-can-eat sourdough bread at Fisherman’s Grotto 9 when we were first married. I knew that this was a recipe that I needed to add to our family recipe book because good clam chowder isn’t always easy to find. I doctored up my tried and true creamy potato soup recipe and came up with this variation on the classic New England clam chowder.
New England Clam Chowder vs. Manhattan Clam Chowder
I always found it odd that New England and Manhattan clam chowders were both categorized as chowders. To me, a chowder is a thick and creamy soup (New England). If you’re looking for a white clam chowder recipe that is creamy, you’ll want New England Clam Chowder. It is made with a milk or cream base.
If you’re looking for more of a soup that is thinner and made with a tomato base and vegetables you might like Manhattan clam chowder better.
New England and Manhattan aren’t the only types of clam chowder, they are just the more popular ones. I live near the Outer Banks and they serve Hatteras clam chowder which is made with a clear broth, bacon, potatoes, and onions and thickened with a bit of flour. It’s delicious, but I still prefer New England.
Clam Chowder Ingredients
How to Make 30-Minute Clam Chowder
My clam chowder doesn’t have half and half or heavy whipping cream. It’s made from milk and actually gets it’s creamy texture from a packet of country gravy mix! I love that it’s a dump and go type recipe.
- You’ll start with a little bit of butter in your stockpot. Once that’s heated you’ll add chopped onions and cook until the onions are translucent.
- Then you’ll add two bottles of clam juice, water, 3 cans of chopped clams (in juice) and chopped potatoes.
- Bring this to a boil and cook until the potatoes are fork-tender (about 15 minutes).
- While the chowder is simmering, fry up a few slices of bacon and crumble. Set aside. This will be added on top at the end! You can also slice up a few green onions for a garnish if you’d like.
- Once the potatoes are soft, mix 2 cups of milk with a packet of country gravy mix. Add to the stockpot and stir until chowder thickens.
- Remove from heat. The chowder will thicken as it cools. I like letting it cool 10-15 minutes before serving.
One pot makes 6 generous portions. I love this recipe because it tastes even better the next day! So delicious and full of flavor.
30-Minute Clam Chowder Recipe
30-Minute Clam Chowder Recipe
- 2 Tbsp. butter
- 1 med. onion diced
- 2 (8 oz) bottles clam juice
- 1 cup water
- 3 (6 oz) cans chopped clams DO NOT drain the juice
- 6 medium red potatoes chopped into bite-sized pieces
- 2 cup milk
- 1 pkg. dry country gravy mix
- 6 slices of bacon cut into tiny strips (slivers)
- salt and pepper to taste
- Slice potatoes, onion, and bacon. Set aside.
- Heat butter in a large stockpot. Add onions and salt and pepper (to taste) and cook, stirring frequently until translucent.
- Add clam juice, water, clams and potatoes. Bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat and simmer until potatoes are fork tender, about 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, cook the bacon slivers in a skillet.
- When the bacon slivers are nice and crispy, remove from heat and drain on paper towels. Set aside.
- In a small bowl, whisk milk and the country gravy packet together. Add to soup and stir until thickened on med-low heat.
- Serve soup with bacon slivers, green onions, and whatever toppings you like.