This quick and delicious clam chowder is lighter in texture and consistency than other classic clam chowders. Perfect for a cold winter night.

Okay everyone, here is a fabulous recipe for a quick and easy clam chowder that I tried last week.

Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated, this was very easy to put together and was surprisingly delicious.

A white bowl of clam chowder with a spoon taking a bite out.

Not thick enough in my book for bread bowls, it was perfect with served with a crusty roll and my husband, who is a self-proclaimed clam chowder afficionado, declared it a “make-again.” That’s pretty high praise.

I actually loved the fact that it seemed a bit lighter in texture and consistency (not heavy and glue-y) than other clam chowders I’ve made.

The bacon adds great smokiness and flavor and is perfect paired with the silkiness of the cream.

My only advice is don’t oversalt the soup – the bacon and clams add just the right amount of salt without being too overpowering!

White bowl full of clam chowder.

What To Serve With This:

Cornbread Muffins or Cornbread and Fluffy Honey Butter
Broiled or griddled cheese quesadillas (for a fancier quesadilla these Crispy Cheese Wraps)
Fresh, seasonal fruit

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Quick and Delicious Clam Chowder

5 stars (2 ratings)


  • 4 slices thick-cut bacon, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 bottles (8-ounces each) clam juice
  • 4 cans (6.5-ounces each) minced clams, drain and reserve clam juice
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 medium russet potatoes, about 1 1/2 pounds, scrubbed and diced medium
  • 2 large bay leaves
  • ¼ teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves or 2 teaspoons dried parsley
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  • Fry bacon in medium saucepan (I used a medium enameled dutch oven) over medium-low heat until fat renders and bacon crisps, 5 to 7 minutes. Add onion to bacon; sauté until softened, about 5 minutes.
  • Add flour; stir until lightly colored, about 1 minute. Gradually whisk in bottled clam juice, reserved clam juice from clams, and water.
  • Add potatoes, bay leaves, and thyme; simmer until potatoes are tender, about 6 minutes (don’t overcook the potatoes or they will become mushy after adding the cream and bringing to a simmer!).
  • Add clams, cream, parsley, and salt and ground pepper to taste (be careful not to oversalt!); bring to simmer.
  • Remove from heat and serve.
Serving: 1 Serving, Calories: 398kcal, Carbohydrates: 35g, Protein: 10g, Fat: 25g, Saturated Fat: 12g, Cholesterol: 75mg, Sodium: 559mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 4g

Recipe Source: adapted from Cook’s Illustrated