Mom’s Clam Chowder Soup

5 from 1 vote

My Mom’s Clam Chowder Soup Recipe is the BEST ONE you’ll ever eat. This New England Clam Chowder is creamy and full of clams and potatoes and delicious flavor.

I regularly crave this calm chowder and my craving doesn’t go away until I make it. I hope you love it just as much!


bowl of clam chowder with spoon inside


Okay, so the title is a little misleading: this is my Mom’s recipe, but not originally. I was going to call it “Teacher Darlene’s Clam Chowder Soup Recipe” but that doesn’t roll off the tongue like “Mom’s” does.

When I was about 7 or 8 years old I started taking tap dancing lessons. My mom surprised me with them: I arrived at the studio and all my friends were there. My 3 besties were all with me and those were the best evenings. We’d tap our hearts out for 45 minutes and then do a fun 15 minute closing of gymnastics or jazz dance, and then all of us and our moms would go to Taco Bell for dinner.

Our teacher’s name was Darlene. I don’t remember a lot about her but I know I really liked her. We danced in a tiny room at a ballet studio and our moms sat and watched and gabbed as we danced. At some point in our 2 year tenure, we must have gotten together with Darlene outside of class and had the soup, or maybe my mom just happened to be randomly talking to her about clam chowder and she gave her this recipe.

My mom would make this on special occasions yearly after that; it was always a staple in our recipe box. I absolutely love clam chowder – it’s my favorite soup – but this one compares to no other clam chowder soup I’ve ever had. It’s seriously the best clam chowder recipe, and I’ve tried them all.

ladle of clam chowder soup over pot

I was super picky as a kid but I would eat clams. (Weird, right?) Clam chowder has always been my favorite soup, it’s the only soup I’ll order at a restaurant and the only soup I’ll eat out of a can. Throughout my life I have regularly been able to smell and taste the memory of this soup, and once that happens I have to make it or the craving won’t go away.

As an adult I can put words to the feeling I couldn’t as a kid: the flavor of this recipe is three-dimensional. It’s kind of an abstract concept, I know, but it’s true. Once you taste it and compare it to other recipes, you’ll realize this one is so much more full and well rounded. There are a few reasons for that, and we’ll go through why in a minute. Just know that once you taste my Mom’s Clam Chowder Soup recipe, you’ll never think another soup is as good ever again.

I mean, I’m basically proclaiming this the best clam chowder recipe in the world, no biggie.

My Mom’s Clam Chowder Soup Recipe is a creamy New England Clam Chowder that’s basically award winning…in our family anyway.

Process shots of how to make clam chowder soup

How to make the best Clam Chowder Soup recipe in the world:

  • This recipe takes a little bit of time, but it’s worth it. The best things are, aren’t they?
  • When I was a kid my mom would use 3 pots and pans to complete this soup, but I switched it to a one pot soup recipe. You can cut down on the time if you go old school and use separate pots, but I hate dishes.
  • First, you boil your potatoes, then drain and set them aside. Use red potatoes, and you can choose to peel them, or not. Be sure to cut them in small bite sized chunks. No one wants huge slices of potato in their chowder.
  • The first secret to the flavor of this chowder: green onions and garlic. They get sautéed in oil. The smell alone wakes me from dreams sometimes.
  • I changed my mom’s recipe a tiny bit: hers called for an entire stick of butter, but I just couldn’t do it. Instead, I used 4 tablespoons of butter and ¼ cup of flour to make a roux (cooked flour and butter that thickens to make a paste).
  • NOTE: this is a combination chowder and soup. I’ve had all sorts of clam chowders and some are thin and some are super thick. This is in-between. The roux won’t be a thick paste but more of a thin one.
  • Once the roux has cooked you add half and half (I tried thinking about how to change it to lighten it up, but no, gotta keep it pure) and then you add the SECRET INGREDIENT:
  • Clam Juice goes in next. There are a ton of clam chowder recipes out there made with chicken stock. Um, no. This is CLAM chowder, let’s use CLAM Juice. I use a bottle of juice and the juice from the 4 cans of chopped clams that go in at the end. The juice adds a TON of flavor and is what makes the flavor three-dimensional like I talked about before.
  • Only add your clams at the very end, once the soup is hot and done. They only need to cook for about 5 minutes; any longer and they’ll get too tough.

This soup is best served with a nice thick and crusty sourdough bread. Even better if you serve it in a bread bowl!

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Mom's Clam Chowder Soup

My Mom's Clam Chowder Soup Recipe is the BEST ONE you'll ever eat. This New England Clam Chowder is creamy and full of clams and potatoes and delicious flavor.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Yield 4 -6 servings
Serving Size 1 /6 recipe


  • 2 cups 300g cubed red potatoes (about 7-8 baby potatoes)
  • 1 tablespoon 15ml olive oil
  • 1/4 cup 15g chopped green onions (about 2 onions)
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 4 tablespoons 57g unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup 31g all-purpose flour
  • 1 pint 473ml half and half
  • 4 cans 6.5 ounces each chopped clams (with juice)
  • 1 jar 8 ounces/236g clam juice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried basil


  • Cube the red potatoes bite sized. You can peel them or not, your choice. Place them in your soup pot and cover with enough water to just cover the potatoes. Bring to a boil and cook until just fork tender. (Cooking time will depend on potato size.) Drain and set aside.
  • Open the canned clams and drain the juice into a measuring cup. Set the clams aside for the end of cooking.
  • Place the pot back on the stove over medium heat. Add the olive oil, then the green onions and garlic. Stir until fragrant, just under minute or so, then add butter and cook until the butter is melted. Stir in the flour and cook a minute or two.
  • Whisk in the half and half, making sure to fully mix in the flour mixture. Cook about 5 minutes or so, or until the mixture thickens, stirring often and whisking when necessary. Be sure to get all the bits off the bottom while you’re stirring so the flour mixture doesn’t stick.
  • Once the milk mixture has thickened, add the jar of clam juice and the reserved juice from the cans of clams. Stir to combine then cook until hot.
  • Once the soup is hot, add the potatoes and clams and cook no more than 5 minutes, or until clams are hot.
  • Serve immediately with crusty sourdough.

Recipe Video

Nutrition Information

Serving: 1/6 recipe | Calories: 319kcal | Carbohydrates: 26g | Protein: 11g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Cholesterol: 62mg | Sodium: 7477mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g

Nutritional information not guaranteed to be accurate

If you love all sorts of clam chowder recipes, you should check out Mary’s Chunky Clam Chowder and Michelle’s Manhattan Clam Chowder!

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9 CommentsLeave a comment or review

  1. How would you adapt this if you used fresh clams instead of canned clams. I would use the juice out of the clams when I open them .

  2. If you Brown the onions, add the potatoes and broth, which is not a secret in New England, then add clams when potatoes are done you can smash/mash a few potatoes to thicken the Chowder. You won’t need flor that way.  I am a New England purest. 

  3. I love your story telling with your recipes and I love that this one is from Darlene to your mom and now to the rest of the world! Looks like a total winner!