Lightened Up New England Clam Chowder

Healthy Clam Chowder in a white bowl with a spoon and oyster crackers

Warm up with a bowl of healthy New England style Slow Cooker Clam Chowder! Easy to make make in the morning, this crockpot clam chowder is packed with flavor but is made light so you can enjoy it without all the guilt plus packed with veggies, you will be making this chowder regularly!

Healthy Clam Chowder Recipe

I went back and forth over whether or not to really use the word Healthy for this recipe or not, BUT when you look at a typical cup of clam chowder from a restaurant I decided that this version is much better for you so I stuck with healthy…

The best way to probably say it is that this is a lightened up version of the lovable New England Clam Chowder.

This Clam Chowder is filled with all the delicious clams and potato flavor you love but I snuck in more veggies and use milk instead of heavy cream to make it light enough to have as a weeknight dinner!

So traditionally New England Clam Chowder is made with copious amounts of clams, potatoes, bacon, and heavy cream with a few onions and celery cooked in the bacon grease.

So what I did is kept all the delicious clams, added more amounts of veggies, and use milk to lighten it up. The one thing I didn’t take away way the bacon, although I did leave out the extra bacon grease.

bowl full of clam chowder topped with bacon and thyme

Recipe for New England Clam Chowder in the Slow Cooker

Here is the ingredients you will need for this soup:

From the Pantry,

  • 1 can corn
  • salt
  • white pepper
  • pinch red pepper flakes (optional)
  • bay leaves
  • dried thyme
  • cornstarch

From the Grocery,

  • red potatoes
  • minced garlic
  • onion
  • celery
  • 4 cans minced clams
  • 1 bottle clam juice
  • bacon
  • milk
picture of all of the ingredients needed to make crockpot clam chowder

This recipe is pretty easy to dump together in the morning. The most difficult parts are frying up a few slices of bacon and chopping up onions, potatoes, and celery. If you are really short on time you can do these steps the night before and just dump into the crockpot with everything else in the morning!

To start cook the bacon in a skillet until just slightly crispy. Transfer to a paper towel lined plate to drain grease and let cool.

While bacon is cooling add red potatoes, garlic, onion, celery, corn, salt, white pepper, bay leaves, thyme, minced clams, clam juice, and small pinch red pepper flakes (if using) to the crockpot.

Chop the bacon into pieces. Transfer half of the bacon to a container for the fridge to save as a garnish for later. Transfer the other half of the bacon in the chowder.

Cover and cook on low 6-8 hours or high 3-4 hours. About 30 minutes before serving, mix milk and cornstarch together and stir into the crockpot.

Remove bay leaves before serving and garnish each bowl with the reserved bacon.

all of the ingredients laid out in a crockpot for clam chowder
fresh clam chowder in a slow cooker

Some notes on this recipe

The secret ingredient that makes this soup so perfect is the WHITE PEPPER, I urge you to not substitute it. White pepper is available at most grocery stores and has a very different taste than typical black pepper.

If your store doesn’t have it order some off Amazon (affiliate link):

It is also really good in dishes like mashed potatoes and also a key ingredient to dishes like egg drop soup!

Some other things to note,

  • I like to use nitrate free bacon to keep this recipe on the healthy side
  • No need to peel the potatoes, make sure they are clean but the skin of the red potatoes holds so much flavor (and nutrients!)
  • The red pepper flakes are optional and not something you see in every cup of clam chowder but I love adding just a tad to give it extra flavor
  • The soup does thicken as it cools
crockpot full of Clam Chowder with bacon and thyme

Sides for New England Clam Chowder

I like to serve these with rolls, oyster crackers are also a classic option.

Along with a choice of bread I usually like to serve a simple side salad, either a simple house style or Caesar salad usually works perfectly.

If you like this Slow Cooker Recipe you might like my:

ladle full of New England clam chowder
bowl of New England clam chowder with fresh thyme
Slow Cooker Clam Chowder

Slow Cooker Clam Chowder

Yield: 6 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 6 hours
Total Time: 6 hours 15 minutes

a lightened up veggie filled New Engalnd style Clam Chowder made in the crockpot

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds red potatoes, chopped into bite size pieces
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 (14oz) can corn, drained & rinsed
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon white pepper
  • pinch red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 4 (6oz) cans minced clams
  • 1 (8oz) bottle clam juice
  • 6 slices bacon*
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 cups milk

Instructions

  1. In a skillet over medium heat cook bacon until just slightly crispy. Transfer to a paper towel lined plate to drain grease.
  2. While bacon is cooling add red potatoes, garlic, onion, celery, corn, salt, white pepper, bay leaves, thyme, minced clams, clam juice, and small pinch red pepper flakes (if using) to the crockpot.
  3. Chop the bacon into pieces. Transfer half of the bacon to a container for the fridge to save as a garnish for later. Transfer the other half of the bacon in the chowder.
  4. Cover and cook on low 6-8 hours or high 3-4 hours.
  5. About 30 minutes before serving, mix milk and cornstrach together and stir into the crockpot.
  6. Remove bay leaves before serving and garnish each bowl with the reserved bacon. Enjoy.

Notes

Do not drain the clams, add the clams as well as the juice to the crockpot!

*I recommend using a nitrates free bacon if possible

Recommended Products

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 290 Total Fat: 6g Saturated Fat: 2g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 3g Cholesterol: 28mg Sodium: 820mg Carbohydrates: 44g Net Carbohydrates: 0g Fiber: 4g Sugar: 4g Sugar Alcohols: 0g Protein: 15g
Nutritional data is automated, final nutritional information will depend on ingredients used and any changes made.

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Peace & Love

Lauren, The Schmidty Wife

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