My family really enjoys eating clam chowder. It’s one of the only soups that it regularly on our annual meal plan. Since there are 11 of us, it’s essential for me to create a large batch of clam chowder each time. And to make it simple, I use a large can of Costco clams.
At Costco, I can purchase a two pack of these clams. Each can is 3-pounds!
This is also one of my go to meals for company when it’s a cool day outside. It’s so simple to put together and really can feed a crowd. Depending on the size of the bowls used, you can feed between 15-20 people with this recipe.
My original inspiration for this recipe came from a blog that has since turned to private viewership only. I took the recipe and tweaked it a bit to match my family’s preferences.
Note: Clam chowder tastes best when you mix it up one day and serve it the next. But, I don’t often do that. It still tastes good the day it’s made, but for best results, make it in advance and let it sit in the fridge for about 24 hours. Then, slowly reheat it on the stove.
You will need two large pots to make this. Preparing it this way really speeds up the process, though it does give you an extra pan to wash.
To make a large batch of delicious clam chowder you will need:
- 1 3-pound can of clams (I use one the ones from Costco)
- 8 russet potatoes, washed and chopped (I use medium sized ones and leave the peel on, but you can peel if you prefer)
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 3 sticks of butter (1 1/2 cups)
- 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 tsp. garlic powder (or more to taste)
- 6 cups whole milk
- 2 cups half and half
- 2 T rice vinegar (or white vinegar)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Crumbled bacon for garnish (optional)
In the larger of your two pans, place the chopped potatoes and onion. Add the liquid from the can of clams, but not the actual clams. If your potatoes stick out above the clams, add a bit of water to cover them.
Bring this pan to a boil and let boil until your potatoes are soft (10-15 minutes depending on how large of a chop you used)
Meanwhile, in your other pan, melt the butter. When it’s melted, but before it browns, add the flour and garlic and whisk well. Let this cook for a minute or two.
Then, while stirring constantly, slowly add the milk and half and half.
Let this mixture cook slowly, and thicken. It should be thick about the time your potatoes are soft.
Carefully pour the thickened mixture over your potatoes, without draining anything.
Then, add the clams, vinegar, and salt and pepper.
Let heat until the clams are hot, being careful not to let the bottom scorch.
Carefully ladle chowder into bowls. Add additional cracked pepper and bacon crumbles to the top if desired.
Serve with crackers. Or if you’re like my kids, crumble the crackers into the chowder before eating.
What to Serve with Clam Chowder
In addition to crackers, we sometimes serve the following with clam chowder:
Since it’s such a simple meal, I try to not to add any complicated sides to it.