New England Clam Chowder

New England Clam Chowder

Packed with fresh local clams — quahogs, which are large and perfect for chowder — in a rich broth, this lighter version of a New England favorite is delicate, mild and creamy with a hint of the sea. Tweet this

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Developed by Jennifer Shea Rawn, MS, MPH, RD


  • [2,220 grams] 9 quahog clams
  • [350 grams] 1½ cups (350 milliliters) water
  • [320 grams] 1½ cups (350 milliliters) dry white wine
  • [20 grams] 2 tablespoons (30 milliliters) extra-virgin olive oil
  • [370 grams] 1½ cups Vidalia onion, diced (about 1 large onion)
  • [80 grams] 1 cup celery, diced (about 2 stalks)
  • [10 grams] 1 tablespoon garlic, minced (about 3 cloves)
  • [550 grams] 3 cups baby gold potatoes, cubed (about 5 potatoes)
  • [<1 gram] 4 fresh thyme sprigs
  • [<1 gram] 1 bay leaf
  • [450 grams] 2 cups (470 milliliters) whole milk
  • [<1 gram] Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Oyster crackers (optional)


  1. Clean shells of clams with a scrub brush under cool, running water and set aside. In a large steamer pot over medium heat, add water and wine, cover and bring to a boil. Once boiling, carefully add clams to the pot in a single layer. Cover and cook until most clams open wide, about 6 minutes. Remove open clams with tongs, and pour any liquid in the shells back into the pot. Place open clams on a large baking sheet to cool. Cover the pot and continue cooking the remaining clams for an additional 6 to 7 minutes. Turn off heat, drain opened clams and place on baking sheet. Discard any clams that haven’t opened. Set clam broth aside and let cool.
  2. Once clams are cool to the touch, remove them from their shells using your hands, chop into bite-sized pieces with a knife, place into a bowl and keep refrigerated. Pour any liquid from the chopped clams into the large pot of broth. Discard clam shells. Strain the clam broth through a fine mesh strainer lined with a coffee filter or cheesecloth into a large glass or metal bowl and set aside.
  3. Wash large steamer pot to remove sand or debris then heat the large steamer pot over medium heat and add olive oil. Add onion and celery and cook for 8 minutes until softened, but not brown, stirring often with a silicone spatula. Add garlic, reduce heat to medium-low and cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Add potatoes, thyme, bay leaf and clam broth. Bring to a boil over medium heat, then reduce heat to simmer and cover. Simmer covered for 30 minutes, or until potatoes are tender, then remove from heat.
  4. Remove bay leaf and thyme sprigs. Add chopped clams to the pot. In a small bowl or large measuring cup, slowly stir together milk and ½ cup chowder to help temper the milk. Slowly add milk mixture to the pot of chowder, stirring constantly to incorporate milk and prevent it from curdling. Ladle into bowls and top with freshly ground pepper. Serve with oyster crackers, if desired. Serves 6.

Cooking Note

  • Any large, hard-shelled clam can be used. If you need to warm the chowder after incorporating milk, warm it on very low heat. Never boil the chowder.

Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1½ cups (370 grams)

Note: Assumed 30% alcohol retained.

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Jennifer Shea Rawn
Jennifer Shea Rawn, MS, MPH, RD, is a registered dietitian and nutrition communications expert based in Cape Cod, Mass. Read her blog, and connect with her on Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook.