New England Clam Chowder from the Daughter of a Newton Massachusetts Gal

This is the type of soup that you might need to add a little water to as it cooks if the clams don't give off enough liquid. Make sure to wash your clams well, as one taste of grit ruins a whole bowl of soup! Serve with lots of bread for sopping up every bit!
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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 40 min
  • Active: 40 min
  • Yield: 4 to 6 servings
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2 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 large leeks, white and light green part only, diced

2 stalks celery, cut into 1/2-inch rounds  

2 medium cloves garlic, grated 

2 teaspoons red pepper flakes 

Kosher salt 

2 cups clam juice 

1 cup chopped canned clams  

2 cups heavy cream 

1 cup half-and-half 

4 medium Yukon gold potatoes, cut into 3/4-inch dice 

2 bay leaves 

Freshly ground black pepper 

Splash Worcestershire sauce 

Splash hot sauce, such as Tabasco 

7 pounds littleneck or Manila clams, scrubbed  

1 teaspoon chopped fresh dill 


  1. Make the base of the soup: In a large saute pan or wide shallow pan, melt the butter. Add the leeks, celery, garlic and red pepper flakes. Season with salt and cook until tender and translucent, 5 to 8 minutes. Add the clam juice and chopped clams. Simmer until tender. Keep warm.
  2. Cook the potatoes: Meanwhile, in another pot, combine the cream, half-and-half, diced potatoes and bay leaves. Bring the mixture to a gentle simmer and cook until the potatoes are tender, 5 to 8 minutes. Season with salt and black pepper. Stir in a splash each of Worcestershire and hot sauce.  
  3. Cook the clams: Place a large pot on the stove, heat 1 cup water and add the clams in their shells. Cook until they pop open. Put the clams in a colander. Strain and reserve the cooking liquid.  
  4. Finish the soup: Add the reserved cooking liquid from the clams to the leek mixture. Stir to blend. Taste for seasoning. Combine with the potato mixture. Add the clams in their shells and the dill. Remove and discard the bay leaves. Taste for seasoning.
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