This lighter Clam Chowder, full of canned clams, potatoes, and corn, is still creamy but with less fat than most other versions.
This thick and creamy chowder is lighter and healthier than most traditional clam chowders. For some other chowder recipes, try my Creamy Roasted Cauliflower Chowder, Smoked Salmon Chowder, and Cheddar Corn Chowder with Bacon.
New England style chowder is creamy, and is usually high in fat and calories like you can see in the Bon Appetit recipe, which has over 700 calories per serving. Bacon, heavy cream and potatoes all come into play. My chowder recipe is much lighter, made with 2% milk instead of cream which reduces the calories significantly. I also blend half of the soup in a blender, which helps thicken it giving it a creamy consistency without adding cream. I also skip the bacon, but you can certainly add some if you wish.
What kind of clams are used for clam chowder?
I live on the bay, so naturally we have lots of clams around. But shucking clams to make soup is quite a bit of work, so using canned clams are usually my preferred choice when I want to whip up a quick meal. To make this soup quick and easy, I used canned clams in my clam chowder. While you can use fresh clams if you’re lucky to live neat the coast, canned clams are just so much easier and affordable. I also use the juice from the cans to season the soup.
How do you make clam chowder from scratch?
Making canned clam chowder from scratch is pretty easy.
- Melt the butter and cook the onions until translucent. Stir in the flour.
- Add milk, vegetable broth, clam juice, potatoes, bay leaf, thyme, salt, and pepper. Cook for about 10 minutes until the potatoes are soft.
- Put half of the soup in the blender and blend until smooth. Return the soup to the pot.
- Add the clams and corn to the soup and more salt if needed, and then cook for five more minutes.
- Serve the soup and garnish with parsley. Enjoy!
More Soup Recipes You’ll Love:
- Cauliflower Chowder
- French Onion Soup
- Cheddar Corn Chowder with Bacon
- Slow Cooker Split Pea Soup
- Smoked Salmon Chowder
Clam Chowder, Lightened Up
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter
- 2 tbsp flour
- 1 large white onion chopped fine
- 2 medium russet potatoes peeled and cubed small
- 3 cups 2% milk
- 1 cup vegetable broth
- 2 10 oz cans clams drained, juice reserved
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tsp thyme
- 2 tbsp fresh chopped parsley
- kosher salt and fresh pepper
- 1 cup fresh corn
- oyster crackers optional for serving
- In a large pot, melt butter. Add onions, and heat on low heat until onions are translucent, 5 to 8 minutes.
- Add flour and stir 1 to 2 minutes.
- Add the milk, vegetable broth, reserved clam juice, potatoes, bay leaf, thyme and salt & pepper to taste.
- Bring to a boil, then cover and cook on low until potatoes are soft, about 10 minutes.
- Remove half of the soup and discard bay leaves, put soup in blender and blend until smooth. Return to pot.
- Add clams, corn and adjust salt if needed and cook another 5 minutes.
- Serve and garnish with fresh parsley.