Down East Clam Chowder

There are many different opinions regarding what is considered “Down East” Clam Chowder, but where I live on the coast of North Carolina, we’re pretty serious about our clam chowder.  Especially when it’s labeled “Down East”.

Down East Clam Chowder

We made a big pot of this Down East Clam Chowder the other day when it snowed (along with these Snowmaretto Cocktails!)

Snow Tubing

You can tell we don’t get much snow here!  That’s me and my best friend’s (Melissa’s) kids being pulled on a tube behind the truck while this chowder was simmering.  I’m normally cold-natured as all get out but that Snowmaretto Cocktail had kicked in by then!

Down East Clam Chowder

I like to catch my own clams and freeze them in the shell… they’re easier to chop and retain their juices.  I don’t even use water; if you have plenty of juices from the clams you should have enough broth once it has simmered a while.  But if you need to add water, by all means, do so!

I’ve heard old-timers say that when your clam chowder resembles “dish water”, it’s just right.  And they’re exactly right.  Sorry for the visual, but this clam chowder is a family favorite and freakin’ delicious!!!

5 from 1 reviews
Down East Clam Chowder
  • 4 ounces salt pork or bacon slices (about 4 slices)
  • 1 pint clams (roughly chopped) in their juices
  • 3 cups chopped yellow onion
  • 6 cups potatoes, peeled and cut into approximately 1 inch cubes
  • ½ teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning
  • Pepper, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • Optional: fresh chopped parsley for garnish
  1. In a large saucepan or soup pot, fry bacon over medium to medium-high heat until browned. Add onion and butter. Cook onions until translucent, about 3 minutes.
  2. Add remaining ingredients and bring to a simmer. Cover and simmer for approximately 2 hours, or until clams and potatoes are tender. Top wish fresh chopped parsley, if desired.


  1. Al Godley says

    This is how my Dad always cooked his and how I cook mine. It is a family favorite of ours, too. I’ve not cooked this for some time so thanks for the reminder! Oh and thanks for the Old Bay ingredient. I’ve not added that before! Great addition!

    • Amy @ The Blond Cook says

      Thanks, Al! I love this clam chowder too! Can’t wait until the weather gets warmer so that I can catch my own clams :-)

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