Quick, Thick, and Creamy New England Clam Chowder from Scratch

Rate this recipe

Average Rating

(3.9 / 5)

20 People Rated This Recipe


With some recipes, I struggle for years to get them right before I’ll blog about them. This is one of those recipes.

I have a postcard from “Bahston” that I’ve saved for 30 years (I went to boarding school in Massachusetts) with a recipe on it. Tried that. Nope, not quite right. I’ve tried adding lobster. Definite nope! I’ve tried moving the chowder from pot to pot and making a big mess. Double nope. I’ve tried adding bacon and vegetables. Nope, nope, nope.

Back to those boarding school years: I have very happy memories of getting a big bowl of New England clam chowder in the Boston airport—that was the taste of school happiness for me. It was the taste of the road to freedom and the road back home. Over the years, it’s become one of my favorite soups, one I almost always order whenever I see it on the menu. But when I tried to make it at home, I couldn’t get that thick creamy texture or the clean and simple taste.

If I’d only known it would only take about 15 minutes to make right…DOH! But at least this time I did it. And here is the secret… (Find more secrets in my new cookbook Scratch! It’s packed with 200+ fun, foolproof recipes you’re going to love. Check it out!)

Quick, Thick, and Creamy New England Clam Chowder from Scratch


  • 1 pound clams, chopped (fresh or frozen; for this recipe, I only had a bag of frozen whole clams)
  • 12 Tablespoons butter (it’s a lot, but it’s worth it; you can try cutting back if you want to)
  • 6 cups whole milk
  • 2 heaping Tablespoons white flour
  • 2 large russet potatoes
  • Salt


1. In a soup pot, make a roux* with 2 tablespoons of butter and 1 heaping tablespoon of flour. (*Basically, melt the butter, add the flour, and stir until it all mixes together.)

2. Add 8 tablespoons of butter (a stick) to the pot and melt until bubbly.

3. Add the clams and cook for about 5 minutes. Mine were frozen, so I cooked them for 6 minutes until they thawed.

4. Wash, peel, and chop the potatoes into tiny cubes (the tinier they are, the faster they’ll cook) then add them to the pot.

5. Add the milk and cook for another 5 minutes—it’s OK to let it boil!

6. In a separate, smaller pan, melt the remaining butter and add a tablespoon of flour, and mix.

7. Add this mixture to the gently boiling chowder in the soup pot, and stir—that is what thickens it up REAL GOOD!

8. Add salt and pepper to taste and devour with saltines or chowder biscuits, which are next on my learn-to-make list.

So simple, so easy, so delicious!

DISCLAIMER: Feeding yourself and your children organic foods may cause extreme health, healing, and happiness.


Related Posts:

, , ,

10 Responses to Quick, Thick, and Creamy New England Clam Chowder from Scratch

  1. Christine @ Taste of Divine August 4, 2014 at 3:44 pm #

    Maria I can’t wait to make this recipe! I’ve never tried making clam chowder before. Thanks for doing all the legwork so I didn’t have to 🙂

  2. Paula August 6, 2014 at 10:49 am #

    it’s also really good if you put a little celery in it and substitute a can of cream of celery soup for some of the milk. We even put cream in ours.

  3. Jim Connolly August 6, 2014 at 3:36 pm #

    You wanted to make some clam chowder.

  4. Kathy Folks August 7, 2014 at 12:43 am #

    Sounds like my very best “go to” recipe for chowder. My add is: Before adding the clams (sorry, I had to use canned), saute one whole chopped onion. Before adding the final thickening (butter/flour), I drop in 1 or two bottles of clam juice. Wow!! That really adds to the flavor.
    I only make this during the winter, but it never lasts more than 2 days. Enjoy.

  5. Allison January 26, 2015 at 3:15 pm #

    I like cooking chopped onions in butter and adding them

  6. Kevin Martinez February 17, 2015 at 11:06 pm #

    I followed the recipe and it came out great! Easy! Thanks

  7. Rick November 8, 2015 at 4:40 pm #

    I followed it as well..first I dug the clams this morning ” killing time waiting for the game to come on” (Patriots” who are 8-0 by the way )
    I added celery , onion & a few chunks of chopped up garlic cloves
    OMG is it good it thickened up so nice granted traditional New England clam chowder is more of a watery base chowda, however… i like this way much better

  8. Jasmin February 2, 2016 at 11:03 pm #

    Seeing as the word clam refers to many different kinds, what kind of clam should be used?

  9. Chris Moore March 31, 2017 at 9:53 am #

    Easy to make & VERY GOOD! Yes, add a bit of onion (sauteed or grilled to bring out the flavor). Also a good base recipe for potato soup – leave out the clams add more potatoes, onions or leeks and mushrooms, herbs etc. So glad I (and my born in New England siblings) found this site! THANKS MARIA!!!

  10. Bubbles August 5, 2017 at 1:23 am #

    To jasmin,

    It doesn’t matter what kind of clam any works. I used fresh big ones that I got at revere beach in Massachusetts. Razor clams, soft shell or the others kinds all work very well. Definitely making it again.??????

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *