Very easy clam chowder

During the colder months, my husband and I love to make soup for dinner a couple times a week. It’s a wonderful way to use leftovers and a wonderful way to make leftovers. I love packing leftover soup for lunch, or freezing the extra for a lazy weekend dinner.

I especially like New England clam chowder and I was always intimidated to make it from scratch until a couple of years ago. I’m not sure why, but I thought it was complicated to make. In reality, clam chowder is one of the easier soups to prepare. I can quickly whip this up when I get home from work and we can enjoy a hot bowl of soup within an hour.

This is a modified recipe that I’ve come up with because it is easy and fast. There are certainly more authentic or frugal ways to prepare chowder. This is also a lower fat version.


  • 7 slices of turkey bacon (of course you can use regular bacon instead)
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • two 20 oz packages of diced potatoes and onion (you could also make this from scratch with about seven peeled and cubed potatoes and one large chopped onion)
  • 2 Tbsp flour
  • one 8 oz bottle of clam juice
  • four 6 oz cans minced clams
  • 2 cups whole milk (or half and half if you like a richer soup)
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • salt and pepper

Depending on how big a bowl of soup you like, this recipe makes between 4-6 servings. We always have enough to pack for lunch and I usually freeze a serving for later as well.

Steps: (Scroll down for pictures. For ease of printing, I’ve separated the steps from the pictures. If you want to print this recipe without pictures, the easiest way to do so is to copy the text and paste it into a Word document. Or copy the text and choose “print selected” from your browser’s menu bar.)

1. Microwave the bacon on a plate between paper towels until crispy.

2. While the bacon is cooking in the microwave, heat up the butter in a large saucepan. Sauté the onion and potatoes in the butter for 3 – 5  minutes. Sprinkle with the flour and stir well to coat.

3. Open the cans of clams and drain just the liquid from the cans into the pan with the potatoes, reserving the actual clams for later. Also, add the bottled clam juice to the pan as well. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer for about 15 minutes until the potatoes are tender.

4. While the potatoes are simmering, chop or crumble the bacon, measure out 2 cups of milk, and wash and chop the parsley.

5. Once the potatoes are tender, add the milk and minced clams and season with salt and pepper. Allow the soup to heat through, about 5 minutes.

6. Finally, stir in the parsley and bacon and serve. We like our chowder with crusty bread and red wine. Enjoy!

Using the packaged potatoes and onion saves at least a half an hour and is not much more expensive than purchasing the whole vegetables. I love shortcuts when I cook during the week!

Above, the potatoes are sautéing in the butter. Instead of microwaving the bacon, you could instead fry the bacon and sauté the potatoes in the bacon fat. But I’m all about saving time, so I use the microwave.

Above, the potatoes and onion are simmering for 15 minutes until tender.

I like to get everything ready and laid out on the counter.

Microwaving the bacon and using packaged potatoes and onion are the primary shortcuts that keep this recipe a snap to make. Using turkey bacon instead of regular and whole milk instead of half and half gets it lower in fat too.

Do you have any soup-making shortcuts?

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2 Responses to Very easy clam chowder

  1. Marisa says:

    You seem like quite a cook! Good work!
    And I the placemat is really awesome 😉

  2. Lindsay says:

    Thanks! And, yes the place mat is awesome and even coordinates with my new gray walls and gold linen drapes.

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