New England Clam Chowder Instant Pot recipe is not intimidating at all. Made with canned clams this easy Instant Pot Clam Chowder is extremely satisfying, creamy, delicious & so easy to make! Get’s done under 20 minutes. Don’t miss the tips & the recipe Video.
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Note: This post has been updated with serving ideas, leftovers and storage, reheating directions & frequently asked questions!
Instant Pot Clam Chowder
There are several versions of this hearty & comforting soup. However, our version is easy, beginner friendly, economical and tastes the best. If you love creamy, thick clam Chowder New England style you’ll definitely love today’s recipe!
This thick New England clam chowder recipe is packed with outstanding flavors. You’ll certainly want to re-fill your bowls!
Ingredients & Substitutions
Find the Ingredients with actual measurements at the bottom of the post. The list below is just a reference.
- Canned Clams: We love using the clam juice too. It definitely makes hefty soup with extraordinary flavors. So, reserve the clam juice from the cans.
- Potato: Our favorite picks are Yukon gold & red potatoes. You can use both peeled or un peeled potatoes.
- Onion: Yellow Onion tastes best. Shallots are also a great pick.
- Bacon: We love bacon in chowders. You can also make the soup bacon free.
- Seasoning: Old Bay, Black pepper powder, dried thyme, crushed black pepper.
- For Roux: All-purpose flour & butter.
- Worcestershire Sauce: This sauce adds a good punch to the soup. Don’t miss it!
- Dairy: Heavy Cream is our favorite pick. You can also sub it with half and half or whole milk. In that case the easy New England Clam Chowder recipe won’t be that creamy & thick.
- Chicken Stock: You can use canned stock or dissolve better than bouillon paste in warm water. You can also use Bouillon cubes dissolved in hot water. We picked better than bouillon paste.
- Reserved Clam Juice: The juice reserved from the canned clams.
- Oil: Any neutral oil would work. We used avocado oil.
- Garnish: Crispy fried bacon, fresh parsley chopped and Oyster Crackers.
Tips & Tricks
- Clam Juice: The reserved clam juice from the can will completely transform the recipe, add lots of heftiness to the soup and take it a notch up. I would totally recommend it.
- Bacon: Fry the bacon and do not discard the bacon fat. So much good flavors.
- Clam Chowder secret: New England style clam chowder is creamy & thick. The quick roux adds lots of good body and makes the soup creamy & thick. Do not reduce the roux quantity.
- Flavor secret: The massive flavor of this hearty soup lies in the seasoning and the Worcestershire sauce. Do not skip these ingredients. You can certainly play around with the measurements and add them according to your liking.
- Dairy: Heavy Cream will make the soup creamy & awesome in every way. Add it only after turning off the Instant Pot. Help stabilize the cream by bringing it to the room temperature first or warm it up slightly in microwave oven and than add it, the dairy will never curdle.
- Healthy Clam Chowder option: Sub the cream with whole milk or half and half. You can certainly reduce the butter quantity & drain the bacon fat.
How to make Clam Chowder in Instant Pot?
Find the detailed step by step recipe along with measurements + Video at the bottom of the post.
Step #1 Fry the bacon
Add little oil in Instant Pot on SAUTE settings set at NORMAL settings. Fry the chopped bacon until fairly crispy. You’ll have lots of bacon fat released in the process.
Step #2 Prep the quick roux
Now, add the onion & the celery and saute until the onion becomes translucent and soft. Add salt, this help cook the onion and celery fast.
Throw in the butter and allow it to melt. Add the flour and stir briskly for 30 seconds until it becomes pasty and a quick roux forms.
Step #3 Pressure cook Potatoes
Add the preserved clam juice from the can and the chicken stock. De-glaze the pot very well with the help of a spatula scraping the sides and the bottom of the pot. This will help loosen any stuck food particles and as a result will prevent the BURN error.
Add the seasonings like old bay, black pepper powder, Worcestershire sauce and also the bay leaf. Give everything a quick stir.
Throw in the diced potatoes, and bring it to a gentle simmer stirring frequently. Cancel the SAUTE function and PRESSURE COOK on HIGH for 3 minutes followed by a quick release (QPR).
Step #4 Add dairy, clam, make chowder
TURN OFF the Instant Pot and add the heavy cream (at room temperature or warmed slightly). This will help stabilize the cream. Give a quick stir.
Finally add the canned clams and check for seasoning. I added some extra crushed black pepper. After adding the clams you may bring the chowder to a gentle simmer at SAUTE function set at LOW heat. It’s an optional step. Serve hot and top with crispy fried bacon bits, chopped fresh flat leaf parsley and oyster crackers.
We even love this soup with pastas like this instant pot cajun chicken pasta, instant pot crack chicken pasta, instant pot pesto chicken pasta, instant pot Italian sausage pasta , instant pot salmon pasta , instant pot penne pasta and meatballs, instant pot rigatoni and meatballs. You can also make it more of a complete meal by serving it with the below items:
- Cheesy Garlic Bread.
- Bread Sticks.
- A light crisp salad.
- Lightly toasted sour dough bread.
- Corn bread.
- Regular crusty bread like sourdough.
Leftovers and storage
Fridge: Store this Instant Pot clam chowder for upto 5 days in the fridge in air tight moisture free containers.
Re-heat in the microwave oven or on the stove top with few splashes of milk if the soup thickens a lot. Garnish with the toppings and enjoy!
Freezer: Allow the soup to cool down completely. You can freeze it for up tp 3 months in air tight heavy duty individual potion size freezer safe bags or containers. Thaw this 5 star New England clam chowder overnight in the fridge and than follow the reheating directions given below.
How to reheat
Microwave Oven: You can reheat this authentic New England clam chowder in the microwave oven until warm or hot.
Stove-top: You can also reheat this soup in a heavy bottomed saucepan on the stovetop over medium low heat. Stir the soup frequently to prevent it from burning. You can also add a splash of water, milk or cream before reheating the creamy potato soup. This will help to bring back the original creamy consistency of the chowder.
New England clam chowder is also referred as Boston clam chowder. It’s milk or cream based and has a thicker consistency as compared to other kinds of chowders. Rhode island clam chowder does not contain any dairy. It has a clear base, hence, much lighter than New England clam chowder.
The base of New England clam chowder is milk or heavy cream.
New England clam chowder also referred as Boston clam chowder is the most popular clam chowder.
Yes, you can over cook clam chowder if you cook it for too long.
Oyster crackers taste best with clam chowder. Saltines are a great substitute if you are not able to find oyster crackers in your grocery store.
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I LOVE HEARING FROM YOU! If you try this Instant pot clam chowder recipe, please let me know! Leave a comment and rate it below. I would love to hear how it turned out for you, or any changes you make. You can also follow me on Pinterest or subscribe our free NEWLETTER for new recipes every week!
New England Clam Chowder Instant PotPrint Recipe Pin Rate
Watch Recipe Video
- 13 oz Canned Clams (**2 x 6.5 oz cans containing clams in clam juice.)
- 2 cups potatoes (**peeled & diced into ½ inch cubes. I used Yukon Gold potatoes.)
- 1 cup onion (**roughly chopped. I used yellow onion)
- ¾ cup celery (**roughly chopped)
- 3 strips bacon (**roughly chopped)
- 1 tbsp Avocado oil
- Salt (**according to your preference)
- ½ tbsp parsley (**fresh flat leaf parsley finely chopped)
- 2 tbsp fried bacon (**crispy fried bacon bits. You can use more.)
- ½ cup oyster crackers (**can use more or even less.)
- Set the Instant Pot on SAUTE function & set it on NORMAL heat. Add oil. When the oil becomes moderately hot gently release the chopped bacon and saute until lightly crispy stirring frequently. You'll have lots of bacon fat. You may discard it or use it in the next step.
- Now, add the onion and celery and saute until the onions begin to become translucent and soft. Add salt to quicken the process.
- Reduce the heat to LOW. Add the butter and allow it to just melt. Than, add the flour and stir briskly for 30 seconds to form a quick roux.
- Drain the clams from the cans & reserve the clam juice. Set aside the clams.
- Pour the clam juice and the chicken stock into the Instant Pot steel insert and de-glaze the pot very well with the help of a spatula scraping the sides and the bottom of the pot. There should not be any food particles stuck at the bottom of the pot. This will prevent the BURN error.
- Now, add the seasonings except the crushed black pepper and give everything a quick stir.
- Add the diced peeled potatoes and give everything a quick stir. Bring the liquids to a gentle simmer. Stir to prevent the roux from sticking at the bottom of the pot.
- CANCEL the SAUTE function. Close the lid, seal the valve and PRESSURE COOK on HIGH for 3 minutes.
- Once, the pressure cooking cycle is over do a quick pressure release (QPR) by manually moving the valve from the SEALING to the VENTING position. When the metal pin drops open the lid carefully.
- TURN OFF the Instant Pot and add the heavy cream (**read NOTES below). Give everything in the pot a quick stir.
- Now, add the clams and mix well. Hit the SAUTE function & set it on LOW settings. Bring the chowder to a gentle simmer. You can skip this step as well.
- Check for seasoning and add crushed black pepper. Served hot and top with crispy fried bacon, chopped fresh parsley and oyster crackers. Dig in!
- Heavy Cream: It’s better to stabilize the fridge cold cream before adding it to the super hot liquid in the pot. You can either use heavy cream at room temperature or just warm it up slightly in the microwave oven before adding it to the piping hot liquids in the pot. This will help stabilize the heavy cream and it will never curdle or split.
- The Chowder consistency: The chowder thickens as it cools down. We prefer thick chowders and not runny ones. If you prefer soupy, runny chowders adjust the dairy or liquid accordingly.
- The seasonings: The seasonings are totally a personal preference. If you feel the chowder needs more seasoning add more according to your liking and vice versa.
- Potatoes: We used Yukon Gold Potatoes. You can also use red potatoes.
- Heavy Cream Subs: Half and half or even whole milk are great choices. However, the consistency & the taste of the chowder will vary.
- Serving Ideas: Serve this hearty soup with crusty bread on the side.
- Storing Tips: This Instant Pot Clam Chowder will last for 5 days in the fridge when stored in air tight containers.
- Freezing Tips: I would NOT recommend freezing this Cream based Chowder because dairy always has a chance of curdling or separating.
- Re-heating Tips: The Clam Chowder thickens further when stored in the fridge. Re-heat it over medium low heat on the stove-top or in the microwave oven. You may add splashes of cream or milk while re-heating the soup.