Clam Chowder with Corn

Soup and StewChowderClam

This Homemade Clam Chowder is the bomb! It's a variation of a classic New England clam chowder recipe, and includes corn in addition to hard shell clams, potato, and cream.

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

The Best Clam Chowder!

Repeat after me, “Chow-DAH!” That’s the way it should be said, if you are anywhere in the vicinity of New England, which is the birthplace of this wonderful clam stew.

The word “chowder” is thought to have been derived from “chaudière”, an old French term for cauldron, or a big cooking pot.

Traditionally chowder is made with salt pork, onions, potatoes, milk or cream, butter, and fish like cod or haddock, or clams. Many of the older recipes add some wine (Madeira) as well.

There’s a wonderful website I recommend called The New England Chowder Compendium which showcases a collection of historical chowder recipes dating back to the 1700s. Chowder is one of those things that is made in many different ways, and pretty much everyone thinks their way is best. It’s worth noting that the variations of this stew go back hundreds of years!

On a recent trip to Massachusetts, we sampled clam chowders at practically every stop. The best one we had, in my opinion, was at a little coffee shop in Concord, Mass. The soup was creamy, but not overly so (some clam chowders can be such cream bombs), thickened a little with flour, but not too much, and with tasty chunks of what appeared to be salt pork, and lots of corn in addition to chopped clams.

I loved it! Corn isn’t usually included in clam chowder, but believe me, it’s fabulous.

Here is my take on clam chowder, with plenty of suggestions for substitutions. Even my dad, who insists he doesn’t like clam chowder, loved this soup. Consider the recipe a guideline, and play with it to your liking.

Speaking of which, how do you like your clam chowder? Please let us know in the comments.

More great clam and seafood chowder recipes

Clam Chowder with Corn Recipe

  • Prep time: 30 minutes
  • Cook time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 8

This recipe uses fresh clams. If you don't have access to fresh clams, you can use clam juice and canned chopped clams. In that case, skip steps 1 and 2 and use 16 oz of clam juice, and 1 1/2 to 2 cups of chopped clams, saving the liquid from the cans to add to the clam juice.

Salt pork is traditional, it's like slab bacon that hasn't been smoked. You can easily substitute with bacon, or pancetta. If you don't use salt pork, you may need to add more salt to the soup.

The flour is a thickener. If you are cooking gluten-free or want a thinner consistency to your soup, leave it out. If you want a thicker soup, add more flour.


  • About 4 lbs of littleneck or cherrystone clams (about 3 dozen clams or so, depending on the size)
  • 1 Tbsp butter or extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 ounces salt pork, cubed (or chopped bacon or pancetta, cubed)
  • 2 cups chopped onion
  • 1 Tbsp flour (or more, depending on how thick you want the soup)
  • 1 cup dry white wine, like a Sauvignon blanc (or you can use 2 Tbsp of white or cider vinegar, or lemon juice)
  • 2 pounds potatoes (russets or Yukon gold), peeled and diced
  • 1 to 2 cups of water
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 sprigs of thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning (or paprika with a dash of cayenne)
  • 1 1/2 cups corn (frozen is fine)
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley


1 Clean and prep clams: Rinse and scrub the clams to remove of any dirt. Place clams in a bowl, cover with cold, salted water and refrigerate for 30 minutes to an hour. This will allow the clams to expel some of their grit into the water. Discard any broken clams or clams that are open and do not close when you touch them.

2 Steam the clams: Place the clams in a large pot and add about a half inch of water to the pot. Cover the pot and bring the water to a boil. Let the clams steam until they all open up, 5 to 10 minutes. The steaming water may foam up a bit, so watch so it doesn't overflow the pot.

Use a slotted spoon to remove the clams from the pot to a bowl. Strain the remaining clam steaming liquid through a fine mesh sieve to catch any grit, and reserve. You should have 2 to 3 cups of clam liquid. Separate the clams from the clam shells. Discard the shells. Roughly chop the cooked clams.

3 Brown the salt pork: Place the salt pork and butter or oil in the bottom of a large, thick-bottomed pot. Heat on medium and brown the salt pork. (Note that if you are using salt pork that is mostly fat, you won't need any additional fat from butter or oil, but you might want to put a little water in the pan to help render the fat from the salt pork.)

4 Add onion: Add the chopped onion to the pan, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are translucent, about 5 minutes.

5 Add flour, let cook, then add wine: Sprinkle flour over the onions and stir until everything is coated with the flour. Let the flour cook for a minute or two. Slowly add the white wine to the pot, stirring after each addition.

6 Add potatoes, clam steaming liquid, spices: Add potatoes to the pot. Add 2 to 3 cups of the strained clam steaming liquid and a cup of water. The liquid should cover the potatoes. If not, add a little more, either water or clam cooking liquid.

Add the bay leaf, thyme, black pepper, and Old Bay. Heat to a boil and reduce to a simmer.

Cover and cook for 10 minutes, then add the corn (if using) and cook for 5 minutes more, or until the potatoes are cooked through.

7 Heat cream: While the potatoes are cooking, heat a cup of cream in a small saucepan until steamy.

8 Add clams, stir in cream: When the potatoes are tender, add the chopped clams and turn off the heat of the soup. Slowly stir in the heated cream. Adjust seasonings. Stir in the fresh parsley.

Serve with oyster crackers or rustic bread.

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Clam Chowder, Mom, and Memories - a Maine clam chowder by Hank Shaw

New England Clam Chowder from Chef John of Food Wishes

How to clean the sand out of clams - tips from thekitchn

What's the difference between little neck, cherry stone, and quahog clams - also from thekitchn

The New England Chowder Compendium - collection of historical chowder recipes dating back to the 1700s.

Elise Bauer

Elise Bauer is the founder of Simply Recipes. Elise launched Simply Recipes in 2003 as a way to keep track of her family's recipes, and along the way grew it into one of the most popular cooking websites in the world. Elise is dedicated to helping home cooks be successful in the kitchen. Elise is a graduate of Stanford University, and lives in Sacramento, California.

More from Elise

51 Comments / Reviews

No ImageClam Chowder with Corn

Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. Tiffany

    Good! I really tried to stick with the recipe, had to use ham instead of bacon (sigh) but it was really good! i’m going to make it again. Thank you! :D


  2. Sarah

    Love clam chowder and I always add creamed corn.

  3. Steph Kindel

    Just made this with freshly dug quahogs. Used bacon and no corn (what we had in the house), but thanks for providing a good base with which to start.


  4. Alexander

    I’m from Maine. Let the ole lady try this recipe spite by ole’ fashion ways and it tasted like charcole. Either she cooked it too long or she did something ele wrong, but It was the worst ever. Simple rule from Maine. Don’t add anyhting but maybe potatoes. God I want clam chowder… Not salt pork chowder. Just never add anything but sea food too a chowder. My boss is a 40 year+ Chef and He would throw it away. The one time I regret not paying attention. Salt pork no! Milk fine. Do over do it. Half the time thats the problem. Add way too much and loose the truditional Maine flavor. I couldn’t even take 2 bites before that salty overcooked pork taste showed up. Its called clam chowder not pork chowder.

  5. Mary M

    I’ve eaten clam chowder everywhere from Canada to Texas and have loved almost every bowl. There was one in San Diego…well, never mind. One of the very few that were terrible. I grew up on Campbell’s, still love it, too. BUT – here in Dallas there is a restaurant called Yard House that makes the most delicious clam chowder I have ever encountered. Turns out their chef is from Maine! About your recipe: I’m sure it’s great, as are all your recipes, but I have to admit my stomach tightened up a bit as soon as you mentioned corn. I love good corn, but there are certain places it shouldn’t go, and this is definitely one of them! If I make this, I will not be adding corn. Everyone to his own taste!

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