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Easy Clam Chowder Recipe

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This easy clam chowder recipe is perfect for winter and spring dinner, and guess what? It’s gluten-free! 

Image shows a bowl of clam chowder with crackers and text that reads "Easy Frugal Clam Chowder Recipe"

I love winter soups and stews. They’re so warm and satisfying.

Cold weather has nothing on a good soup.

One of my favorites growing up was one that my mom made often – potato soup.

It was simple and super cheap. I didn’t understand much about nutrition back then, and never gave a thought to the lack of protein involved in a bowl of piping hot thickened potato and celery milk – with crackers on top, of course!

I guess it’s the Irish in me, but if it has potatoes in it, I love it, and this soup was loaded. Honestly, the potatoes are 3/4 of the reason I love yummy chicken stew so much. 

I tried that soup on Gabe when we first got married and his reaction was… less than I’d hoped for. He’s a much bigger fan of easy turkey chili.

Eventually, I discovered that mom’s potato soup was essentially clam chowder… without the clams.

Photo shows a bowl of clam chowder soup on a table with empty bowls, some potatoes, carrots and celery nearby.

Oh, the clams. They add so much flavor! Not that you couldn’t make this soup sans clams for a really, truly frugal meal, adding chicken broth in the clam broth’s place.

Transforming potato soup into clam chowder made a world of difference in serving it to my husband, and balanced out the high-carb nature of a soup made from potatoes.

Not to say its macronutrient ratios are perfect, but it’s a delicious indulgence.

To give you a cost breakdown, here’s what the amount I make for my little family of four looks like (and we have leftovers):

  • Celery: $.10 (1 bunch usually costs $.99)
  • Carrot: $.10
  • Onion: $.25
  • Potatoes: $.50
  • Butter: $.50-75
  • Milk $1.00
  • Canned clams (Bumblebee minced clams at HEB): $1.67-$3.34

Total: $5.79

Should we address the fact that clams aren’t actually a frugal protein?

If you’re on the quest for a super-duper frugal recipe, I suggest making this simply potato soup, subbing chicken broth for the clam broth, and serving a cheaper protein on the side (unless you’re of the persuasions hat the milk in this soup adds enough protein on its own).

But the fact is, as clam chowder goes, this is as frugal as it gets.

My kids love it when I serve this easy clam chowder recipe with homemade gluten-free biscuits

Try the recipe yourself!

Print

Easy Clam Chowder Recipe

If you love a hearty soup like clam chowder, this simple and gluten-free recipe is for you!

  • Author: Elise

Ingredients

Scale
  • 2 (6.5 ounce) cans minced clams
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 12 stalks celery. chopped
  • 12 carrots, chopped
  • 34 potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 1 quart of milk
  • 2Tablespoons cornstarch
  • Salt and pepper

Instructions

  1. Melt butter in skillet, add onions and celery, and sauté over medium-low heat until crisp-tender
  2. Drain juice from clams into skillet, add potatoes and carrots, and cover
  3. Steam vegetables until just tender
  4. Add 3 cups of milk, and gently heat mixture back up until steaming, but not boiling
  5. Combine cornstarch with the remaining cup of milk and add to soup mixture to thicken
  6. Season with salt and pepper
  7. Stir in clams just before serving
  8. Enjoy!

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3 Comments

  1. This is a delicious easy recipe. Loved the idea of steaming the vegetables in the clam broth. I did substitute olive oil for butter and sauteed vegetables in olive oil and added a teaspoon of homemade “Old Bay” and a splash of vermouth to make up for loss of butter taste.
    Thank you so much for your website, I love all your gluten free recipes and ideas. Also love all the frugal tips.

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