If you love clam chowder, then you're in luck! This easy recipe is just as yummy as the kind you'd buy at a restaurant, and it comes together in just minutes.

bowl of homemade clam chowder, from Shelf Cooking

The leaves are falling, the air is crisp, the days are getting shorter, and you know what that means? It's soup season!

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There aren't many things we love more than a one-dish meal, and this clam chowder sure fits the bill! Save yourself the time, money, and effort of going out to a restaurant to buy it. This 30-minute recipe is easy peasy and so stinking delicious!


a loaf of homemade bread, from Shelf Cooking

The great thing about clam chowder is that the potatoes make it super filling on its own. But if you're looking for the perfect sidekick to round out this meal, try one of these ideas:

  • Rustic Bread – We almost broke the internet with this one, guys! If you haven't tried our rustic bread recipe yet, here's your sign.
  • Buttermilk Biscuits – These three-ingredient biscuits are the perfect thing to whip up on soup night! Don't forget to pull some strawberry jam out of the freezer.
  • Grilled Ham & Cheese Sandwiches – Use no-knead bread or rustic bread to make some classic grilled cheese sandwiches. Add on some ham to kick up the flavor!
  • Baked Potatoes – Soup and baked potatoes are a classic combo!
  • Tossed Salad – Soup and salad make a great team, too. Make your salad even yummier with a quick batch of homemade vinaigrette.
  • Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins – Some might say muffins count as dessert, but when pumpkin is involved in the fall, all bets are off. These easy 3-ingredient pumpkin muffins are a must-try!

Crackers or a charcuterie board work great for soup night, too. You could even get the leftover tortilla chips out for a garnish.


ingredients for clam chowder, from Shelf Cooking

If you're short an ingredient or two, don't panic! We're about to show you how to shelf cook your way through this recipe. Here are some easy swaps you can make:

  • Chicken Broth – If you don't have chicken broth, you can use veggie broth or water instead.
  • Bacon – All out of bacon? Try bacon bits, turkey bacon crumbles, or diced ham.
  • Thyme – No fresh thyme? That's okay! Use one teaspoon of dried thyme.
  • Potatoes – Any kind will work! Red, russet, golden, you name it. Mix and match and use what you have.
  • Clams – We like to use canned clams because it's cheap and easy, but if you happen to have fresh or frozen, go for it!
  • Heavy Cream – If you're out of heavy cream, cream cheese makes a perfect substitute in soups.

Want more veggies? Add in some carrots and/or celery when you add in your potatoes. 


scooping clam chowder with a ladle, from Shelf Cooking

If you've been here a while, then you probably know how much we love a good freezer meal. So, if you're wondering whether you can freeze clam chowder, wonder no more. Here's the deal! You can freeze chowder, but we don't recommend it. Cream-based soups usually change in texture quite a bit after being frozen.

If you decide to try it, place it in an airtight container for up to two months, and be sure to stir frequently when reheating to prevent any curdling. Want to refrigerate those leftovers instead? Good idea! Clam chowder will last about four days in the fridge.


Say hello to the easiest, creamiest weeknight dinner you will ever have. This clam chowder is a crowd pleaser! 

bowl of homemade clam chowder, from Shelf Cooking

Easy Clam Chowder

This 30-minute chowder is the perfect weeknight meal! You'll love how easy it is to make, and your family will love the flavor. Enjoy!
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Main Course, Soup
Cuisine American


  • 6 slices cooked bacon, crumbled
  • 4 Tbsp butter
  • 1 onion, minced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 Tbsp fresh thyme
  • ¼ cup flour
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 ½ lbs potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 3 cans chopped clams, drained, juices reserved
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 pinch red pepper flake (optional)
  • Fresh chives, for serving (optional)


  • Melt butter over medium heat in a dutch oven.
  • Saute onion until translucent, then toss in the garlic and cook for an additional minute.
  • Stir in flour and allow to cook for 1 minute longer.
  • Stir in the chicken broth, reserved clam juice, thyme, red pepper flake, and potatoes.
  • Allow soup to simmer until potatoes are tender, about 12 minutes. Then, turn down the heat to low.
  • Add in clams and heavy cream and stir until heated through or for about 3 minutes.
  • Season to taste and serve with chives bacon crumbled on top. Enjoy!


When adding the cream, be sure your soup isn’t too hot. While cream tends to stand up well to heat, if your soup is boiling, it could curdle. 
Keyword clam chowder

If you love clam chowder, you need to add this to your next meal plan! You won't believe how easy this one is.

Well, there you have it! You can skip the $10 bread bowls full of clam chowder this fall and make a big pot for the whole family and save a ton of money instead.

We can't wait to hear what you think about this recipe, so please let us know, okay! Leave a comment below.

Clam chowder in a bowl from Shelf Cooking.

Want to try a few more of our favorite soups?

Chow for now!