Clam Chowder – A Homemade Family Favorite

Clam Chowder
Clam Chowder is a favorite of mine, especially homemade. My son has decided he doesn’t like anything that comes out of the sea. But, he likes this. This soup is full of flavor because of a secret ingredient – and it’s gluten-free.  Serve it with Old Bay Biscuits and make it a family favorite.

Traditional clam chowder usually has either salt pork or bacon in it. You can see my recipe for Hearty Clam Chowder does have salt pork in it. The salt pork adds flavor, or if you don’t have salt pork, bacon fat would also add flavor.  But, what if you don’t want any meat at all and still want the flavor? What is the difference between a slice of pork and a slice of bacon?  The bacon has been smoked – that’s what gives it that great flavor. So what’s the answer here? The answer is Liquid Smoke.

Liquid Smoke for Clam Chowder

You have to be careful with Liquid Smoke.  It’s very, very strong, and a little bit goes a long way. Liquid smoke is a natural product made from condensing the smoke from burning wood.  For that reason, if you use too much, well, your food is going to taste like wood. But, if you use just a tiny bit, you can get that smoky flavor that you want. I highly recommend an eye dropper for this task. Use your favorite brand of liquid smoke, I happen to prefer Wright’s Hickory Liquid Smoke.

Safe for Gluten-Free

Neither I nor anyone in my family has a gluten intolerance, but I know there are a lot of people who either have celiac disease or other intolerance to gluten. This recipe is also safe for gluten-free as it does not use flour to thicken it, only the starch that comes from the potatoes. If you want it thicker, by all means, make a roux with your preferred flour and butter.

Clam Chowder

Clam Chowder

A very nice clam chowder everyone will like
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 35 mins
Course Dinner, Lunch, Main
Cuisine American
Servings 4
Calories 252 kcal


  • 1 onion chopped
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon bacon fat
  • 3 drops Liquid Smoke
  • 1 potato cubed
  • 8 oz clam juice
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable base
  • 1 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1 can clams chopped
  • 2 tablespoons cream
  • 3 drops Tabasco


  • Heat a large saucepan and melt the butter and bacon fat. Add the liquid smoke and stir it into the butter mixture.
  • Add the onions and saute them until they are translucent.
  • Add the potatoes and saute them with the onions for a minute or so.
    Clam Chowder - A Homemade Family Favorite
  • Add the clam juice, milk, vegetable base, Old Bay seasoning, and salt. Taste for seasoning.
    Clam Chowder - A Homemade Family Favorite
  • Reduce the heat and let the soup simmer for about 20 minutes or until the potatoes are fork-tender.
  • Add the clams, cream, and Tabasco and mix in thoroughly and simmer on low for about 5 minutes.
    Clam Chowder - A Homemade Family Favorite
  • Put the soup in a nice tureen and serve.


If you like your chowder thick, you can make a roux with 1 tablespoon of butter and 2 tablespoons of flour mixed together and add at the end with the clams.
Keyword Friday Food, Gluten-Free, Pescatarian


Clam Chowder - A Homemade Family Favorite

Clam Chowder – A Homemade Family Favorite
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About arbpen

As an award-winning and serious home cook, I seriously believe there is no reason why you can't have a restaurant quality meal at home. One of the good things about eating at home is to save money, so armed with a good menu plan, a shopping list, and an appreciation of good food, we can all have gourmet food on a budget.

One Response to Clam Chowder – A Homemade Family Favorite

  1. Pingback: Old Bay Biscuits - Great with Chowder and Soups - The Good Plate

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