Is this the best clam chowder recipe in the world? I think so! Creamy pumpkin is mixed with warm and earthy autumn spices and fresh seasonal vegetables for a fall soup recipe that is extra comforting and warm. You have the option to use canned clams, or fresh (or both), and it comes together in less than an hour.
Pumpkin clam chowder is definitely going to be your new favorite fall recipe! It can be made dairy-free with coconut milk as a substitution for the cream.
Don’t miss the video for how to make it above the recipe card!
Why You Will Love This Fall Soup Recipe
I don’t know about you, but I could eat soup every single day of the year. It’s my comfort food, and I don’t think there is a soup out there that I don’t like. That being said, this is one of the best soup recipes I’ve ever had, and here’s why:
Pumpkin Clam Chowder Ingredient Substitutions
Before we get to the full recipe, here are a few ingredient substitutions that you have the option to make. I love to provide these because there is nothing more disheartening than being really excited to make a recipe, only to find out that you are missing an ingredient!
How To Make This Fall Soup Recipe
It’s really straight forward you guys!
Make sure to scroll down to the recipe card for the full list of ingredients and instructions!
- Bacon & Veggies – Saute the bacon until crispy, then cook the celery & onion in the bacon grease.
- Aromatics & Spices – When the onion is translucent, toss in the garlic, ground cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon and ground ginger. Cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds, then add the flour.
- Broth & Pumpkin – Pour in the clam juice & pumpkin puree. Mix well.
- Potatoes & Butternut Squash – Add the cubed potatoes and butternut squash to the pot, along with a bay leaf. Cook 20 minutes until the potatoes and squash are just about fork tender.
- Fresh Clams – If using fresh clams, add them to the pot, place the lid on, and cook until they all fully open, between 5-10 minutes.
- Canned Clams & Cream – Toss in the canned chopped clams, cream, parsley.
- Season – Don’t skip seasoning! Salt is extremely important in this recipe, and I recommend using between 1 tsp and 1 1/2 tsp of table salt. Make sure to test it and adjust accordingly.
How Long Is Clam Chowder Good For?
You can store this homemade clam chowder recipe in an air tight container in the refrigerator for 3 days. If using fresh clams, I would use leftovers within 24 hours. I don’t recommend freezing it, as ingredients like the cream and clams don’t tend to freeze well.
Is Clam Chowder Mediterranean Diet Friendly?
Is clam chowder healthy? Most people would say no, but here is why I say ‘sort of‘.
Let’s talk about the ‘unhealthy’ ingredients. Bacon grease is not considered healthy because it is a processed food that is filled with nitrates and nitrites, which can potentially cause cancer (read about it HERE). So even while turkey bacon is healthier from a fat content stand point, it is still highly processed, which is not recommended on a Mediterranean diet.
So if you are trying to make this MedDiet friendly, skip the bacon and use extra virgin olive oil to cook the vegetables in instead.
Really, the only other ingredient that isn’t necessarily recommended on a Mediterranean diet is the heavy cream. Dairy should only be consumed on occasion.
So this is where swapping the heavy cream out for coconut cream is a good option.
And while one could argue that coconuts aren’t traditionally found in the Mediterranean, I think it is an okay ingredient to use to swap out the dairy.
*But please note that I am not a doctor or dietitian, so please consult with yours with any questions and before making any changes to your diet!
What TO Serve With Clam Chowder
Here are a few extra ingredients that you can serve along side this 5 star New England clam chowder recipe!
More Soup Recipes
Looking for some more simple, cozy soup recipes? Here are a few more of my favorites!
Did you make this recipe? It would mean so much to me if you would rate it below the recipe card and tag me in your creation on Instagram so I can admire your work! @emacnaughton
Pumpkin Clam Chowder: Fall Soup Recipe
- Dutch Oven or large stock pot
- 5 strips of bacon, pork or turkey (see blog post for tips if you want to omit bacon)
- 1 large onion, peeled and chopped
- 3 stalks celery, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced or pressed through garlic press
- 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/8 tsp ground cloves
- 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 1/4 cup all purpose flour
- 4 6.5oz cans of chopped clams, reserving their liquid (liquid should come to about 2 cups)
- 2 8oz jars of clam juice
- 1 15oz can of organic pumpkin puree
- 1 1/2 pounds yellow or red potatoes, scrubbed and cut into 1/2 inch cubes yields about 1 1/4 cups once cut
- 1 cup chopped butternut squash or pumpkin
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 cup heavy cream or coconut cream
- 1 tbsp minced parsley
- 1 tsp table salt, plus more according to taste
- fresh cracked pepper
- OPTIONAL: 1-2 pounds of fresh clams, cleaned See blog post
- Open the canned clams and drain and reserve their liquid in a separate container.
- Heat a large dutch oven or stock pot over medium-high heat. Add the bacon strips and cook until crispy on both sides, about 5 minutes. Remove bacon from pot and set aside.
- Toss in the chopped onion and celery. Cook until the onion is translucent, around 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Toss in the garlic, nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon and ginger. Stir well and cook for 30 seconds before adding the four and cooking an additional 30 seconds, stirring the entire time.
- Pour in the clam juice (the reserved canned juice and the bottles of juice should be between 4-5 cups), and mix in the pumpkin puree. Bring the mixture to a light boil before adding the chopped potatoes and squash to the pot, along with the bay leaf. Cook for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes and squash are just about fork tender.
- IF USING FRESH CLAMS: Add the fresh clams to the pot, stir well and place the lid on. Allow to cook for 5-10 minutes, until all of the clams have fully opened. If not using fresh clams, skip this step.
- Toss in the reserved chopped canned clams, cream, and parsley. Add your pepper and salt (don't skip this step, salt is very important in this recipe. Start with 1 tsp, and add more to your liking).
- Chop up the reserved bacon and sprinkle it over the top of each bowl. I recommend serving with a side of bread. Enjoy!
- You can store this homemade clam chowder recipe in an air tight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. If using fresh clams, I would use leftovers within 24 hours. I don’t recommend freezing it, as ingredients like the cream and clams don’t tend to freeze well.