How To Make Clam Chowder With Bacon

Sep 18, 2020 | Fish and Seafood, Recipes, Soups

What could be better on a chilled late summer day than a big bowl of Clam and Bacon Chowder? Nothing! The answer is, there is nothing better than a big bowl of Clam and Bacon Chowder on a chilled late summer day. “But, Mr. Chef’s Notes Guy,” you say. “I don’t know how to make Clam and Bacon chowder.”. “Hahaha,” I say. Don’t you worry, old Mr. Chef’s Notes Guy will show you everything you need to know. The only question you have to ask yourself is, are you ready?

Let’s make some chowder!


The first step in making anything is to gather your ingredients. For this recipe, you will need a few potatoes (about 2 cups in total once they are peeled and diced). You will also need an onion, two celery stalks, four strips of bacon, about one pound of cooked clams that your friend’s parents gave you (or clams from any other source). To tie it all together, you will also need one litre of whole milk, one teaspoon of fresh chopped thyme, and some salt and pepper.


Let’s start with the potatoes. First, peel them. Next, dice them about 1cm x 1cm or as close to that as you can get. Rinse the diced potatoes under cold water until the water runs clear. Cover the potatoes with hot water, season with a big pinch of salt and put the pot on the stove on high. Boil the potatoes until they are tender. Drain the potatoes, and divide in half. Leave one half of the potatoes whole, mash the other half as fine as you can. I pushed my potatoes through my sieve with a spoon to get extra smooth potatoes. Set the potatoes aside and move on to the next step.

Onion and Celery

Next up, dice the onion and celery into small, evenly sized pieces. In total, you want about two cups of onion and celery. The ratio of each isn’t that important though I suggest having a bit more onion than celery.


You’ve cooked the potatoes, half of them are mashed. You have diced the onions and celery. Now, it’s time to cook the bacon. Cut the bacon strips into 1 cm pieces and put them in a room temp pot. Turn the burner to medium and cook the bacon. Stir it every once in awhile until the bacon is browned and crisp. Drain off all the fat except one tablespoon.


The clams I used came from my friend’s parents who dug them on a local beach. They were the biggest clams I’ve ever seen. I cleaned the clams by cutting off the vent and eviscerating their bellies. Then I chopped them into smaller pieces. If you don’t have a friend with super cool parents who will give you a bag of giant clams, don’t worry, there are other options. For clam chowder, you can use fresh, canned, or frozen clams. I generally prefer canned clams for chowder because you get all the liquid they are packed in, which you can use to flavour the chowder. Whatever clams you choose, you want about one cup of them when all is said and done.

How To Make Clam Chowder With Bacon

Step 1

The bacon should be already crispy and ready to go. While the pot is still hot, add in the onion and celery and cook for about five minutes, stirring every minute or so. Make sure to scrape the bottom of the pot to lift up all of those delicious brown bits.

Step 2

Once the onions and celery are soft, and the onions are translucent, add the whole milk. You can use cream here too but don’t use anything less than whole milk. 2% milk, for example, will likely curdle. That’s not what you want. Heat the milk just until it is hot. If you are using canned clams, you can add the liquid from them before the milk. Cook the clam liquid until it has almost completely evaporated before adding in the milk.

Step 3

Once the milk is hot, stir in the mashed potatoes, then the whole potatoes and the thyme. The mashed potato is going to act as the thickener for the chowder. This chowder is not overly thick. I prefer a slightly thinner chowder than most people. If you would like it to be thicker, you can either add more mashed potatoes. Alternatively, you can make a bechamel instead of using just milk as the base. At this point, season the chowder with a pinch of salt and pepper too.

Turn the heat down to low and let the chowder simmer for about five minutes. Stir it now and then to make sure the mashed potatoes aren’t settling to the bottom of the pot.

Step 4

The final step is to add the clams into the chowder, then taste and adjust the seasoning as needed. Because the clams are cooked, they will only take a minute or two to heat. If you are using fresh clams, add them when you add the potatoes.

Serve the Clam and Bacon Chowder

Serve the clam and bacon chowder with soda crackers, a roll or tea biscuit. It is best, if you can, to enjoy the chowder while gazing out over the ocean.


There you go, I told you that old Chef’s Notes guy was going to tell you everything you need to know to make Clam and Bacon chowder all for yourself. Now, and most importantly, go do it. You’ll be happy you did.

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Clam and Bacon Chowder

A simple and delicious clam and bacon chowder flavoured with thyme. The perfect chowder for those who dislike overly thick chowders.
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Course: Soup
Cuisine: Canadian
Keyword: Bacon, Chowder, clam and bacon, clams, Fish and Seafood
Servings: 4 people
Author: Chef’s Notes


  • 2 cups Peeled and diced potatoes
  • 4 Strips Bacon, cut into 1 cm pieces
  • 1 1/2 cup Diced onion
  • 1/2 cup Diced Celery
  • 1 cup Clams, Cooked and Chopped
  • 1 L Whole Milk (3.25%)
  • 1 tsp Fresh Chopped Thyme
  • Salt and Pepper to taste


  • Boil the potatoes until they are tender. Drain them well, and divide in half. Leave half the potatoes as they are and mash the other half. Set aside.
  • Put the bacon in a medium pot over medium heat. Cook until brown and crisp. Drain all the fat but 1 tbsp.
  • Add the celery and onion into the pot with the bacon and cook for about 5 minutes or until the vegetables are soft and the onions are translucent.
  • Add the milk into the pot and cook just until it is hot.
  • Stir the mashed potato into the milk, then add in the diced potatoes, and thyme. Turn the heat down to low and simmer the chowder for about 5 minutes.
  • Add the clams into the chowder, season it with salt and pepper to taste, and serve.
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