Shirley's Maine Clam Chowder Recipe -
Shirley's Maine Clam Chowder Recipe
  • READY IN 55 mins

Shirley's Maine Clam Chowder

Recipe by  

"This is a rich clam chowder, but not as thick and pasty as some. Fresh shucked clams are recommended, but you may also use canned clams."

+ Recipe Box + Shopping List + Menu Print

Ingredients Edit and Save

Original recipe makes 8 servings Change Servings
  • PREP

    45 mins
  • COOK

    10 mins

    55 mins


  1. In a small saucepan, heat clam juice and peeled potatoes. Bring water to a boil and let simmer until tender, about 15 minutes.
  2. Place bacon in a large stock pot. Cook over medium high heat until evenly brown. Stir in onions and celery. Cook until vegetables are soft.
  3. Add potatoes, clam juice and clams to the stock pot. Heat until simmering.
  4. In a separate pot, gently warm (do not boil) half and half. Pour warm half and half into the stock pot and heat just until warmed through. Do not boil the chowder or the cream will separate. Serve hot.
Kitchen-Friendly View

Reviews More Reviews

Most Helpful Positive Review
Jul 13, 2003

Wow!! The best in a lonnnggg time. Thanks. Hope you don't mind but i made an addition by adding 4 tablespoon's of corn starch.

Most Helpful Critical Review
Dec 20, 2008

I didn't like the part about not draining off the bacon fat after frying. It made the whole chowder too fatty and greasy. In fact, my stomach hurt after eating this chowder. My husband (a New Englander, himself) said it tasted like bacon chowder, not clam chowder.

Jun 28, 2006

Use Salt Pork - these days "Bacon" comes with flavors (maple!!) that don't blend well with clams. BUTTER (!), Thyme (CAREFUL! Go Slow. It can quickly overpower the chowder!) & White Pepper. Best made the "Day Before". Like many soups, stews and chowders . . . time adds to the fullness of the flavor.

Jan 28, 2008

I "doctored" and "cheated" a bit as every cook does: used 3 cans diced potatoes, 2 cans sliced carrots, sauteed the chopped onions and celery with a heaping tablespoon minced garlic in the bacon fat, and used a combination of half and half and heavy cream. Didn't have any clam juice but used 4 cans chopped clams, juice and all. Added a good bit of black pepper to stand up to the cream base and a touch more garlic salt for proper seasoning. Threw it all in the crockpot 8 hours on low...PERFECT-O. Before serving, I dissolved about 5 tablespoons cornstarch in cold water and mixed in to thicken it up to an appropriate "chowder" consistency. So delicious!!! A winter-time favorite!

Sep 11, 2007

I added garlic, salt, and cracked pepper. I used 3 cans of chopped clams in place of what was called for in the recipe because I did not have access to shucked clams. My family loved this recipe. It was a little "ligher" than a traditional clam chowder and we liked that. We will make this again.

Jan 16, 2007

This recipe was good after I made some changes to suit my taste. I used a 28oz. can of whole baby clams, 4 potatoes, a 14 1/2 oz. can of evaporated milk, 1 cup of water, and I thickened it with a little flour. I used turkey bacon, but the bacon flavor was strong, so I will cut down on it and use just 9 slices instead of 12 next time. I felt the recipe could use more seasoning, so I added garlic, parsley, thyme, and chicken bouillon. I served it with hot dinner rolls and the family enjoyed it. Will make it again.

Sep 01, 2010

A true New England chowder. No need to add any thickening agents...the potatoes and cream do that perfectly! I chop a handful of celery leaves and add a bit of dry marjoram to the potato, celery and clam broth while they simmer together. I too prefer salt pork to bacon. I often make a "base" with this to freeze for later, especially when clams are plentiful in the warm months. I make it up to the point where I would add the cream and freeze in quart sized containers. When I'm ready to use it, I thaw the base in the refrigerator and heat slowly with the cream. I also prefer adding cracked black pepper to taste individually.

Sep 18, 2007

Just about as perfect as it gets. Good sourdough bread and some citrus salad or Waldorf salad and you have a real Saturday night meal.


Rate This Recipe

Glad you liked it! Your friends will, too:


  • Calories
  • 284 kcal
  • 14%
  • Carbohydrates
  • 30.9 g
  • 10%
  • Cholesterol
  • 51 mg
  • 17%
  • Fat
  • 11.5 g
  • 18%
  • Fiber
  • 2.7 g
  • 11%
  • Protein
  • 14.5 g
  • 29%
  • Sodium
  • 343 mg
  • 14%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

See More
Subscribe Today!

In Season

Mealtime Money-Savers
Mealtime Money-Savers

Browse through over 500 recipes for delicious, budget-friendly meals.

Can What You Can't
Can What You Can't

The old saying goes, "Eat what you can, and can what you can't!" We have the know-how.

Subscribe Today! Only $7.99
Subscribe Today! Only $7.99

Delicious recipes, party ideas, and cooking tips! Get a year of Allrecipes magazine for $7.99!

Related Videos

New England Clam Chowder I

Here’s a hearty comfort-food classic to warm you up on cold winter days.

My Best Clam Chowder

See how to make a creamy, 5-star clam chowder.

Cindy's Awesome Clam Chowder

A surprisingly quick-and-easy, creamy clam chowder with bacon and potatoes.

Recently Viewed Recipes

Argentina  |  Australia & New Zealand  |  Brazil  |  Canada  |  China  |  France  |  Germany  |  India  |  Italy  |  Japan  |  Korea  |  Mexico

Netherlands  |  Poland  |  Quebec  |  Russia  |  SE Asia  |  United Kingdom & Ireland  |  United States