New England Clam Chowder

This creamy New England Clam Chowder recipe is chock-full of tender clams, bacon and red potatoes. For the ultimate California touch, serve this inside a Boudin sourdough bread bowl!

New England Clam Chowder
Top this New England Clam Chowder with chopped fried bacon bits and minced chives or parsley.

New England vs. San Francisco Clam Chowder

Have you ever wondered the difference between a New England and a San Francisco Clam Chowder?

Naturally, both are delicious cream soups with most of the same ingredients.

Honestly, the only real difference is the serving vessel— a sourdough bread bowl. Preferably from the historic Boudin Bakery!

New England Clam Chowder in Sourdough Bread Bowl Recipe
Serve this New England Clam Chowder recipe in a San Francisco style sourdough bread bowl.

Recently, we enjoyed sampling the chowders along Fish Alley at San Francisco’s Fisherman’s Wharf. It’s interesting to see how the consistency varies from each stand. Some are more watery, and some much thicker. I personally prefer a thicker clam chowder by adding more roux to my soup.

More hearty soup recipes

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New England Clam Chowder in Sourdough Bread Bowl Recipe

New England Clam Chowder Recipe

Recipe by Jason Hill –
This creamy New England Clam Chowder recipe is chock-full of tender clams, bacon and red potatoes. To make it San Francisco style, serve this inside a Boudin sourdough bread bowl!
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Course Soup
Cuisine American
Servings 6


  • 1 large white onion diced
  • 2 celery stalks diced
  • 1 pound red potatoes skin on, cubed
  • 5 slices semi-frozen bacon, diced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 20 oz. canned clams
  • 2 cups chicken broth may substitute water or clam juice
  • 3 cups half and half or heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire Sauce optional

Roux (Thickener)

  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1/2 stick butter


  • Dice onions, celery and potatoes. Place potatoes in cold water and set aside.
  • Over medium-high heat in a large stockpot, cook diced bacon until browned. Add celery and onion and cook until onions are translucent, scraping pan to get bits of flavor.
  • Strain potatoes and add to onions and celery. Strain clams into 2 cups of broth or clam juice, and add to pot along with the bay leaf. Reserve clams to use in a moment.
  • Bring to a boil, then simmer for 15-20 minutes, or until potatoes are tender.
  • Add 2 cups half/half to pot, along with the reserved clams.
  • Make a roux in a separate pan by heating 1/2 stick of butter until melted. Stir in flour and whisk for about 2 minutes until thickened. Stir in 1 cup half/half and keep stirring until thick and smooth.
  • Use roux to thicken your chowder, stirring in about 1/4 cup at a time, until it reaches your desired creaminess.
  • Serving variations: Enjoy with a fresh thyme sprig and slice of sourdough garlic toast OR place it in a sourdough bread bowl and top with minced chives and cooked bacon bits.
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Keyword chowder, clam chowder, clams, comfort food, seafood, shellfish, Soup recipes, soups
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AboutJason Hill

Hi, I’m Jason Hill, host of YouTube’s “Chef Tips” series. I graduated from culinary school in 1998, and gained my experience working the lines in Southern California. I launched my cooking videos in 2007. I love sharing quick and easy recipes that get people back in the kitchen.

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