New England Clam Chowder

Like a lot of people, I re-committed myself* to eating healthier and losing a few pounds in the New Year. Unlike a lot of people, I won’t attempt to live off of cold salads and clear broths. It’s winter, people! I want comfort food – and lots of it.

This milky chowder filled with meaty bites of bacon and the subtle spice of Old Bay and peppery parsnips is what I consider the ultimate winter meal. The combination of smoke and cream reminds me of curling up in front of a fireplace while fat snowflakes fall outside. Close your eyes when you eat it and you can almost hear the bells of a horse-drawn carriage being pulled down the road. It tastes luxurious but, with less than 350 calories per (big) bowl and loads of vitamins C and A, I know its a great way to stick to my goals.

(*I refuse to say it’s a resolution. That sounds too drastic and unattainable. I do, however, resolve to fit into my pants again.)

New England Clam Chowder
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
I prefer my chowder milky and light, not thick, so I make it with equal parts vegetable stock and half and half. If you prefer a thicker soup, omit the stock and add more cream. If you prefer a creamless chowder, you'll love my Manhattan Clam Chowder.
Serves: 4
  • ¼ pound Applewood Smoked Bacon, diced
  • 1 Shallot, minced
  • 2 Parsnips, peeled and chopped
  • 2 Carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 2 Potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 1 Tablespoon Flour
  • 1 cup Low Sodium Vegetable Stock or Water
  • 2 cans (6.5 ounces) Chopped Clams
  • 1 cup Fat Free Half and Half
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped Fresh Parsley
  • Salt, Pepper, and Old Bay Seasoning to taste
  • Oyster Crackers, for serving
  1. Add the bacon to a heavy-bottomed soup pan set over medium heat. Once the bacon is browned and crisp, add the shallot, parsnips and carrots. Cook 5 minutes, or until they begin to soften. Stir in the flour and cook for another minute.
  2. Add the stock, the liquid from canned clams and the potatoes. Simmer over medium-high heat for 15 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender. Reduce the heat to low and stir in the clams and half and half. Cook until heated through. Stir in parsley and season to taste. Serve with oyster crackers.




  1. I’m definitely trying your recipe for this! I rarely attempt to make clam chowder but I love the parsnips in this and it looks like it is fairly low carb which Grumpy has no choice but to do now since his diabetes diagnosis. Pinning it!

  2. yum! beautiful looking chowder. i haven’t had clam chowder in so long — maybe 2012 is finally the time! :) thanks for the recipe. btw: where do you get fat-free half and half?

    • The stores around here all have it right next to the regular half and half. I usually buy Hood brand because it’s cheapest, but I believe Land O’Lakes also makes it.

  3. i can never ever get sick of New England clam chowder! its a def comfort food! One that i wouldnt mind eating when trying to drop a few Lbs.

  4. I haven’t had clam chowder in forever but it really is a creamy delicious delight. I love that you’ve lightened it up for us!

  5. This looks delicious! I am tracking points on Weight Watchers. Do you have more complete nutritional information? I entered everything on a calorie conversion program and it came out at almost 500 calories. I’m assuming this is incorrect based on your description. Would it be possible to share the exact calories, fat, carbs, protein, fiber, etc.? Thanks so very much!

    • According to, it has 331 calories, 9 grams fat, 42 grams carbs, 16.5 grams protein, 5.5 grams fiber

      • Thank you SO much! All of these ingredients are going on my shopping list and we’re having it for dinner tonight. Thanks again!!

  6. could you please deliver a bowl of this for lunch tomorrow? Thank you so much :)

    haven’t had a bowl of chowder in ages!

  7. This looks like a faster version than my long drawn out way! I want to try it!

  8. I see Applewood Smoked Bacon and I think Nueske’s. Curious if that’s what you used?
    Chowder looks yummy! I agree – Great comfort food for the winter. Thanks!!


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