Rhode Island clam chowder

Rhode Island Clam Chowder

Dairy-free and wonderfully brothy and briny, this recipe is a great alternative to the more common cream and tomato-based chowders.

Course Main Course, Soup
Cuisine American
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 4
Author Craig Fear


  • 5-6 pounds quahogs or cherrystone clams, gives about 2 cups clam meat or 2 cups canned clams (see good quality canned clams here)
  • ¼ pound 4 ounces salt pork or thick cut bacon (about 3 slices), diced
  • 1 TBSP butter
  • 1 whole yellow onion, diced
  • 3 stalks celery, diced
  • 1 quart fish broth or clam broth
  • 4 sprigs thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 pound red potatoes, diced into small cubes
  • Sea salt and pepper, to taste
  • Chopped parsley to taste


  1. Clean clams of dirt and sand. Scrub under running water and then place in a bowl and cover with water and let sit for 10-15 minutes. Drain and rinse clams. Repeat if necessary.
  2. To make clam broth, place clams in a large stock pot and add 1 quart of water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer and cook about 10 minutes until shells have opened. Strain broth through a cheesecloth lined fine mesh strainer and set aside. Remove clams from shells and set aside.
  3. Add salt pork to stock pot and cook over medium heat, about 5-7 minutes, stirring ocassionally, until fat renders out. Remove when crisp and browned. If using bacon, melt butter first, then add bacon to butter and cook until bacon browns, about 5-7 minutes, and remove. Careful not to burn either salt pork or bacon.
  4. Add onion and celery to pork fat and saute about 5 minutes until softened.
  5. Add broth, thyme, bay leaves and potatoes. Bring broth to a rolling boil, reduce heat and simmer, covered, about 10 minutes, until potatoes are cooked through.
  6. While soup is simmering, chop clams into small, bite-sized pieces.
  7. When potatoes are cooked, add clams and simmer for another minute. Remove thyme sprigs and bay leaves.
  8. Taste and season to taste with salt and pepper.
  9. Ladle into individual bowls and top with chopped parsley, to taste.