Classic Clam Chowder + Weekend Wrap Up

Taste the ocean in this delectable and traditional New England clam chowder. Easy to make and freeze and the perfect use for any extra clams.
New England Clam Chowder Recipe

Hi there. Summer has been so busy as we are at the shore every weekend, and the last two weekends we have hosted friends which has been so much fun. I finally had a chance to read a bit on Sunday at the beach and fell promptly asleep! As much as I love entertaining it can be tiring. So, this post is a bit of a catch up post. I will be sharing my recipe for classic clam chowder or as our clams come from right off of Cockenoe Island I am officially calling the clam chowder recipe, Cockenoe Clam Chowder! I will get to that in a bit.

What is immediately on my radar is the fourth of July. We will host friends this Sunday for a BBQ and to watch the fireworks from the shore. I am thinking of making the best Mediterranean pasta salad to go with Mr. SB’s amazing ribs. I am searching for a good bar recipe that will withstand the heat and of course we will have s’mores as we always do. We toast the marshmallows on the fire pit. It should be a great weekend to celebrate! I will try to share next week (although I will be college touring again so it may be after that…).

So to get back to the clam chowder, Mr. SB discovered how to go clamming/oystering last summer. He even received his shell fishing license and bought all of the equipment (well Santa actually brought some of it). Of course he had to go clamming as soon as possible. We had so many oysters and clams (all delicious and so, so fresh) that I had about 8 cups extra. The clams you find on the East Coast can range from the softer shell steamers to what we call in RI, quahogs, which have a very hard shell and are generally quite meaty. They are perfect for chowder (I also love to steam them and dip into butter). So I used a basic soup recipe and added cream and of course the classic white pepper. I recommend buying white pepper if you do not have it as it makes a difference. Below is the recipe. Enjoy!

Cockenoe (Classic) Clam Chowder

Taste the ocean in this delectable and traditional New England clam chowder. Easy to make and freeze and the perfect use for any extra clams.
Course Appetizer, Soup
Cuisine American
Keyword Clam Chowder, Cockenoe, New England Clam Chowder
Prep Time 30 minutes
Servings 6 servings


  • 7 pounds clams scrubbed and rinsed. I steam them first (7 cups includes the shells – there will be less once shells are removed)
  • 3 cups water
  • 4 bacon strips
  • 1 medium-size Spanish onion diced small
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 3 large red or yellow potatoes cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 cup heavy or light cream
  • 1 tsp white pepper (or to taste)


  • In a large soup pot over high heat, add clams to water. Bring to a boil and cook just until clams open, about 10 minutes. Remove clams from broth and set aside. (Discard any clams that don't open.) Strain broth through a sieve lined with a coffee filter and set aside. Picture of my steamed clams below.
    Cockenoe Steamed Clams
  • Clean your soup pot; then, over medium-high heat, sauté bacon until it’s browned and fat is rendered. Using a slotted spoon, remove bacon to a paper towel (you won’t use the bacon so use for something else). Add diced onion to pot and sauté until translucent.
  • Stir in flour and cook 1 minute, being careful not to brown. Whisk in reserved clam broth. Add potatoes and thyme, and simmer 10 minutes.
  • Remove clams from shells, reserving liquid, and chop roughly. Strain liquid; then add clams and liquid to pot. Stir in parsley and cream; cook just long enough to heat clams through, about 3 minutes.
    New England Clam Chowder Mixture
  • We love this chowder with fresh bread and a green salad.


Often we steam our clams ahead of time as after clamming we want to cook them right away.  This preparation also reduces the work time when you are making the chowder.  You could also pre cut your onion and potatoes so that the chowder comes together very quickly.  

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