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Are you ready to make the best clam chowder ever? This. Is. It. Your family and friends won’t believe that this is homemade. It’s so smooth and rich tasting that I’m calling it Ultimate Clam Chowder. You’ll love this easy, copycat recipe that’s inspired by the award-winning Splash Cafe Clam Chowder in Pismo Beach!
What makes a perfect clam chowder? In my opinion, crave-worthy chowder absolutely must be creamy and decadent, with hearty veggies and loads of salty, tender clams packed in every spoonful.
Although originally created on the east coast as New England Clam Chowder, I am among the many who agree it’s the west coast that has truly made this dish an epic experience. Including bright herbs, earthy vegetables, and brine-y clams really takes the recipe up to the level of Ultimate Clam Chowder!
The flavor of my homemade clam chowder is spot-on. It has definitely become my favorite chowder, going up against my now-second-favorite, the Award Winning Clam Chowder from Splash Cafe in Pismo Beach, California.
If you like classic Clam Chowder, you need to make this ultimate recipe!
WHAT’S COVERED IN THIS POST
- What Ingredients are in the Ultimate Clam Chowder
- How to Make the Best Clam Chowder
- See Below for the Recipe + Video!
- What Goes Well with Homemade Clam Chowder?
- Get the Pismo Beach Clam Chowder Recipe Here
What Ingredients are in the Ultimate Clam Chowder
Use fewer clams, and more potatoes if you need to. Or make 1/2 of the recipe.
Here is everything you need
- Canned minced clams or baby clams
- All-purpose flour
- Half-and-half cream
- Kinder’s Buttery Steakhouse Seasoning (or any all-purpose seasoning)
- Salt and ground black pepper
To make this soup recipe more budget-friendly, check at big box stores like Costco, Sam’s Club, BJs, or Smart & Final. Or order a large can of baby or minced clams on Amazon (linked) or Walmart online.
Did you know that you can make your own half-and-half? It is half milk and half cream, hence the name half-and-half. In our household, regular milk and have cream are standards in our fridge so it is simple to make my own when I need to.
How to Make the Best Clam Chowder
Start to finish it only takes roughly 30 minutes to make this Ultimate Clam Chowder recipe. But amazingly, it tastes even better than the best restaurant-style chowders that cook for hours!
1. First, do your veggie prep work by chopping up the onions, carrots, potatoes, and celery into roughly 1-inch pieces.
2. Drain the clams, reserving the juice. Pour the clam juice into a medium-sized stockpot, 4 quarts or larger. Including the juices from the canned clams is what really ramps up that terrifically salty, ocean-y flavor!
3. Next, add the vegetables to the pot, put on the lid, and simmer for several minutes, until the onions, carrots, potatoes, and celery have all slightly softened.
4. Meanwhile, as the vegetables are simmering melt the butter in a large saucepan. I added a little Kerrygold Herb butter (subbed for an equal amount of regular butter) to really enhance the herbaceous flavor of the chowder.
5. Once the butter has melted, add the flour and cook for just a minute or two.
See Below for the Recipe + Video!
6. Slowly pour the half-and-half into the pan with flour and butter mixture, whisking constantly until incorporated. Simmer on low heat and continue to whisk until thickened.
7. Once slightly thick, add the half-and-half mixture to the vegetables in the stockpot. Stir well, and cook for several more minutes on low heat.
8. Lastly, turn off the heat and add the clams just a few minutes before serving. If they cook too long they will toughen, so you want them to just get warmed in the hot chowder.
Then, just dish the chowder into soup bowls and serve.
This is such an easy recipe! I hope you serve this Ultimate Clam Chowder at your dinner table soon, and that your family loves it as much as we do.
This amazing clam chowder always takes me right back to Pismo Beach. You’ll feel like you are eating at your favorite beachside cafe, too.
I assure you this is the best homemade Clam Chowder ever!
What Goes Well with Homemade Clam Chowder?
Serve this clam chowder in a homemade bread bowl for the true coastal dining experience! My easy bread bowl recipe (linked) using frozen dough is ideal for serving clam chowder.
For a non-dairy side, try some delicious freshly baked bread. I have a nearly fool-proof recipe for crusty on the outside, soft on the inside homemade French Bread that you’ll love!
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Chowder is a soup with cream or milk mixed with ingredients such as potatoes, sweet corn, smoked haddock, clams and prawns, etc. Some cream-style chowders do not use cream, and are instead prepared using milk and a roux to thicken them.
If you’re using canned clams, drain them, reserving the liquid. Add enough water to the reserved clam juice (whether fresh or canned) to make 1-1/2 cups.
But the French can’t claim responsibility, for this truly is an American tradition. Customarily, chowder included onion, potatoes, and cream. Nowadays, not all chowders adhere to these guidelines.
Get the Pismo Beach Clam Chowder Recipe Here
Ultimate Clam Chowder Recipe
- Soup Pot or large sauce pan
- 1 can (51 ounces) minced clams (or use a few smaller cans to equal 51 ounces)
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 1 cup diced celery
- 2 cups cubed potatoes, 1" size
- 1 cup diced carrots
- 3/4 cup butter
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 quart half-and-half cream
- 2 teaspoons Kinder’s Buttery Steakhouse Seasoning (can substitute all-purpose seasoning)
- salt and ground black pepper to taste
- Drain juice from clams into a large saucepan or medium stockpot. Add the onions, celery, potatoes and carrots. If needed, add water to cover, and cook over medium heat until tender.
- Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Whisk in flour until smooth. Cook for 1-2 minutes until bubbly. Stir in half-and-half, and keep stirring until thick and smooth.
- Add half-and-half mixture to pot with vegetables. Stir in clams just before serving. When clams are heated through, stir in seasoning and add salt and pepper.