Instant Pot New England Clam Chowder

After spending a glorious weekend in Maine with some great company and family, it was all too obvious that my next recipe just HAD to be a New England Clam Chowder.  I also had to make it because this soup is a rich one and has always been one of my all-time favorites.  It’s just heaven in a bowl…so let’s eat that too!

And after you try this soup, wave goodbye to the canned version forever because THIS is on another level.  I’m not even kidding.

And because the Instant Pot is a maestro at cooking potatoes in a fraction of the time they’d take on the stove (not to mention melds flavors together even better), this is going to be SUPER fast and SUPER easy.

Not only is this one of the the best New England Clam Chowders you’ll ever have, but you can enjoy it while sitting on the dock of the bay in summer ☀️ or while curled up on the couch or at the ski lodge after hitting the slopes in front of a big fire in winter ❄️(If Manhattan Clam Chowder’s more your thing, click here!)

Here’s How I Made It!:

Start off with 2 Idaho potatoes.  Peel ’em and chop ’em into chunks.

Then, take and onion and two celery stalks and dice ’em up nicely while reserving the leafy tops for later.

Take some canned chopped clams IN their juice and put them through a strainer so that the clam juice is separated and reserved from the clams.

Take some butter and toss it into the IP so it melts.  From there, add the onions and celery and cook for a few minutes until slightly softened.

And then add some flour to coat.  Mix well!

Add chicken broth, the clam juice, the leafy tops from the celery and bay leaves. Secure the lid and cook on high pressure.

Quick release, discard the bay leaves and now let’s stir it up and add the heavy cream and chopped clams.  Bring to a simmer in the IP and then add some salt & pepper (and some Old Bay and/or Zatarain’s if you want to give it an extra kick!).

Mix well…

…and serve in a bread bowl (you may as well go all out)!  ENJOY!

Yield: 6

Instant Pot New England Clam Chowder

Instant Pot New England Clam Chowder

This New England Clam Chowder is the real deal. So much in fact, you'll think you were sitting on the docks of the bay in Ogunquit, or Kennebunkport, Maine.

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp of salted butter
  • 1 medium onion, minced (a food processor or blender will help with this)
  • 2 celery stalks, sliced and finely chopped (with leafy tops reserved)
  • 1 pound of Idaho potatoes (about 2 of them), peeled and cut into small cubes
  • 3 tbsp of all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups of chicken broth (2 cups of water + 2 tsp of Chicken Better Than Bouillon)
  • 1 tbsp of cooking Sherry
  • 2 (10 oz) or 3 (6.5 oz) cans chopped clams, separating and reserving the juice from the clams
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cup of heavy cream
  • 1/2 tsp of salt
  • 1/2 tsp of ground black pepper

OPTIONAL:

  • Oyster crackers, for topping
  • 1/4 tsp of Old Bay seasoning, for spice
  • 1/8 tsp of Zatarain’s, for a kick (do NOT use more than 1/8 tsp. This stuff is a concentrate and goes a long way!)
  • Bread bowls (I suggest sourdough if possible), with the center carved out but with the bottom still left in tact (you can get these at Panera, your local bakery or you can usually find these in the deli section of your supermarket. It doesn’t HAVE to be sourdough though – any will do!)

Instructions

  1. Add the butter to the Instant Pot and hit “Sauté” and “Adjust” so it’s on the “More” or “High” setting.  When melted, add the onions and celery and stir constantly for about 2-3 minutes
  2. Add the flour, coat the onions and celery with it and mix well
  3. Add the chicken broth, sherry, all of the clam juice (but NOT the clams!), bay leaves, leafy tops from the celery and potatoes. Stir well
  4. Secure the lid and hit “Keep Warm/Cancel” and then hit “Manual” or “Pressure Cook” High Pressure for 5 minutes.  Quick release when done and remove the lid
  5. Hit “Keep Warm/Cancel” again and then hit “Sauté” and “Adjust” so it’s on the “More” or “High” setting.  Add in the clams, heavy cream and salt & pepper (and the Old Bay and/or Zatarain’s ONLY if you want it a little spicy and with a kick) and bring to a simmer. Stir well for about 2 minutes and once it begins to bubble, it’s done and you can turn off the heat or keep on the “Keep Warm” setting
  6. Serve in either a bread bowl or top with some oyster crackers…or do both!
  7. Enjoy!

Jeffrey's Tips

Vegetarian (who eats seafood) or Pescatarian?  You can absolutely sub clam or vegetable broth for the chicken broth!  Just use 2 cups of water + 2 tsp of either Clam Better Than Bouillon or Vegetable Better Than Bouillon!

Prefer a tomato-based Manhattan Clam Chowder instead? You’re in luck! I have the best recipe right here!

While I think the consistency is perfect as is, some may want it even thicker. To achieve this, after you add in the cream and bring to a bubble on “Sauté,” add in a cornstarch slurry comprised of 2 tbsp cornstarch + 2 tbsp water, stir well and let bubble for 2 minutes. Then, switch to the “Keep Warm” setting and as the bubbles die down, stir and it will thicken more.

Want to use fresh clams? Go for it! Just make sure you rinse them very well to remove any sand remnants and chop them up small. You’ll still need about 1.5 cups of clam juice separately for the broth!

Some people like theirs with bacon or pancetta. Feel free to cut up a crew strips or used diced pancetta and add in in while cooking the onions and celery!

Also a GREAT complement to my Lobster Rolls!

Reader Interactions

Comments

  1. Lindsay

    This was my 18-year old son’s first Instant Pot recipe and it was both delicious and easy to prepare. My 90-year old father even had a second bowl and he Never has seconds! Thanks for a great recipe and directions!

  2. Lo

    Hello again 😊Do you have a place on your recipes for serving size?
    Are they pretty much always for 4 to 6 people?
    And do you normally use a 6 quart or an 8 quart ?
    Love your stuff
    Got your recipe is a gift for Christmas
    Gonna Have the whole family making recipes from it
    Doing the clam chowder and the lobster bisque this weekend

  3. Kate

    Had this for our New Year’s Eve dinner with crusty bread! Wonderful! Thank you! (Actually, I made it from your cookbook!)

  4. Amy

    Love this recipe so much. I make it for friends and family and everyone comments on how delicious it is. One option I prefer is to add some celery salt instead of plain salt. Yum!!

  5. Nancy

    This is some of the best chowder I’ve ever made, and I’ve made some good chowders!
    I add scallops with the clams, so good!

  6. Linda Landsberg

    Just made this recipe this morning, very delicious, would add more potatoes next time I make it. I will double the recipe next time.

  7. Tom W.

    I made my second batch of this tonight, for my Dad, and he loved it.

    This time I actually measured the amount of Zatarains Shrimp & Crab Boil I used. I did not measure this the first time I made this recipe. As it turns out the Shrimp and Crab Boil is an ingredient that, from experience, needs to be measured… carefully.

    I added thoroughly minced mushrooms (I love mushrooms but I wanted the clams to be the star of the show so the mushrooms had to be turned into background noise). I also used one can of whole baby clams and two cans of the minced clams.

    It was out of this world. SO good. Dad is still raving about it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *