Clam Chowder Lightened Up

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This lighter Clam Chowder, full of canned clams, potatoes, and corn, is still creamy but with less fat than most other versions.

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.

This lighter Clam Chowder, full of canned clams, potatoes, and corn, is still creamy but with less fat than most other versions.

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.

It’s delicious served with oyster crackers or a slice of crusty bread. You could also serve it with a simple mixed green salad, this Green Bean Salad, or Wilted Baby Spinach.

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.

  1. Melt the butter and cook the onions until translucent. Stir in the flour.
  2. Add milk, vegetable broth, clam juice, potatoes, bay leaf, thyme, salt, and pepper. Cook for about 10 minutes until the potatoes are soft.
  3. Put half of the soup in the blender and blend until smooth. Return the soup to the pot.
  4. Add the clams and corn to the soup and more salt if needed, and then cook for five more minutes.
  5. Serve the soup and garnish with parsley. Enjoy!

Puree half the soup in a blender to make it thickPouring chowder into pot from blenderThis lighter Clam Chowder, full of canned clams, potatoes, and corn, is still creamy but with less fat than most other versions.

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This lighter Clam Chowder, full of canned clams, potatoes, and corn, is still creamy but with less fat than most other versions.
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4.53 from 23 votes
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Clam Chowder, Lightened Up

209 Cals 16 Protein 23.5 Carbs 6 Fats
Prep Time: 5 mins
Cook Time: 25 mins
Total Time: 30 mins
Yield: 8 servings
COURSE: Dinner, Soup
CUISINE: American
This lighter Clam Chowder, full of canned clams, potatoes, and corn, is still creamy but with less fat than most other versions.


  • 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.


Serving: 11/4 cups, Calories: 209kcal, Carbohydrates: 23.5g, Protein: 16g, Fat: 6g, Sodium: 209.5mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 6g
WW Points Plus: 5
Keywords: chowder, clam chowder, soup recipe

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  1. I love clam chowder and after leaving our the corn which I don’t like, this was delicious!! I wish Ww would let us save your recipes. It is so petty of them while you are so helpful to Ww customers.

  2. Hi! I’d like to input this info into WW. Is there any way of getting more complete nutritional info so that I can calculate points?

  3. Do you use chopped clams or whole clams??

  4. Delicious. Do you freeze left overs or leave in the fridge?

  5. My husband was hankering for good clam chowder and we found it with this recipe! Its so easy to make, delicious and much healthier! Thank you so much for sharing this, its definitely going to be a favorite of ours.

  6. Just got back from a weekend in “the Hamptons” our first visit and was craving clam chowder (which I passed on while there).  I truly enjoyed this healthier slimmed down version last night and can’t wait for leftover lunch today!

  7. So glad I did this one, It is now a favorite soup of ours. We loved it. I did do some swaps based on reading some reviews, used only one tab brummel and brown to saute–and used 7.5 ounces of leeks instead of onion that I happened to have, and I liked the idea of adding celery so added 1 cup chopped celery. I didn’t add corn and for us we liked without the corn, so that was fine. I had some left over steamed fingerling potato and sliced them up and added those so a bit hard to tell how much potato I added for a perfect calorie count –as already steamed they were about 12.3 ounce worth of potato. I used almond milk unsweetened. I had two types of clams in cupboard some small whole ones in a 10.5 ounce can and some larger ones in 6 ounce can (two different brands) Seemed just fine to us. I did add fresh thyme at least a tab and parsley and a bit of seasoned blend Penzey Fox Point that has a mix of salt/ pepper and herbs in it. Will make again and again. Oyster crackers are great with this.

  8. yes it was very good

  9. This recipe was awesome! I used chicken stock because it’s what we had on hand, 3 potatoes to beef it up a little, and whole milk + some cream. Flavors were great! I’m from the east coast and was missing clam chowder – I’ve never tried to make it myself before and was pleasantly surprised by how easy it is!!

  10. Love your recipes. It would be helpful to know the serving size – 3/4 cup, 1 cup etc., especially for soups/stews.

  11. I usually love all the skinny taste recipes but not this one, I’m not sure why? It could have been me and my cooking? 

  12. I only had 2 6.5 cans of clams and 1 russet potato so I used 1/2 an onion, 1 1/2 cups milk, and 1/2 tsp thyme…left butter, flour, veg broth and corn the same. I did add some sliced celery. This was delicious! I was surprised how rich and creamy it was. A definite winner, thank you for the recipe!

  13. Yum! Used this recipe to create a seafood chowder with clams, scallops and shrimp. Sautéed onion and celery in water to reduce fat and subbed non-dairy milk due to allergies. A hand whizzer worked great to thicken the soup. Also added a little Old Bay seasoning. This will definitely replace the high calorie, high fat version we usually make at Christmas. Thanks! 

  14. How many ounces of potatoes do you use? Thanks

  15. Do you blend the potatoes with the soup??

  16. Delicious and light! Will definitely make again!

  17. Excellent recipe for clam chowder! Be sure and blend half the recipe as this gives it a lot of it’s creaminess. It has a wonderful smooth taste. We ate ours with saltine crackers for a crunchy addition. Highly recommend!

  18. Clams are crazy expensive in my area. I ended up purchasing half the clams this recipe calls for, and then added a few drops of fish sauce, to taste, as compensation. It’s FANTASTIC!!!