Low-Carb Clam Chowder

Bowl of New England Clam Chowder
Alexandra Grablewski/Digital Vision/Getty Images
  • Prep Time
    15 min
  • Cook Time
    10 min
  • Total Time
    25 min
  • Yield
    6 servings

When I was growing up in New England, chowders were thin soups made without thickeners, not the sometimes-gloppy affairs you see now. However, I will admit that even I like the broth to have a little bit of "substance". Before I went low-carb, I would use about 2 Tablespoons of flour in a recipe like this (not the half-cup you often see). Now I sometimes use low-carb thickeners such as guar gum, xanthan gum, or others. More information about low-carb thickeners However, 2 tablespoons of flour only adds 14 grams of carb to the whole recipe, so depending on your own carb tolerance, that might be fine.


  • 3 pieces of thick-sliced bacon
  • 1 medium onion, chopped small
  • 2 medium celery stalks, chopped in small pieces
  •  2 cloves of garlic, pressed or minced
  • ¼ teaspoon of black pepper
  • ¾ teaspoon of Old Bay Seasoning (1 teaspoon if you like your soup a little spicier)
  • OR ½ teaspoon of celery salt and a pinch of cayenne pepper
  • Flour or low-carb thickener - see introductory note
  • ¾ cup of heavy cream
  • ¾ cup of unsweetened soymilk (if you don't eat soy, you can use milk, half and half, or even water)
  • 1 cup of clam juice
  • 3 cups of chopped cauliflower
  • 2 6½ oz cans of chopped clams or 1 10 oz can of whole baby clams
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme or 1 tablespoon fresh thyme
  • 2 tablespoons of minced fresh parsley


1. Chop the bacon into small cubes and cook it until crisp. I cook it right in the soup pot. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon, and pour off all but a tablespoon of the rendered fat.

2. Fry the onion and celery until they start to soften. Add the garlic and spices except the thyme. Stir and cook for about a minute. If you have decided to use flour to thicken, add it now, and stir for another 1 to 2 minutes.

Count one extra gram of carbohydrate per serving for every tablespoon of flour you use.

3. Add the liquids and stir. Add the low-carb thickener at this point if you are using it. I like to add it slowly by shaking it through a strainer and whisking it in so it doesn't clump. Stop a little before it's the way you like it because it will keep thickening as the mixture continues to heat. Turn the heat off when the mixture begins to simmer.

4. Steam, boil, or microwave the cauliflower just until fork-tender. Drain.

5. Add the clams, thyme, cauliflower, bacon, and parsley. Heat again until the soup is just at a simmer.

Makes 6 servings.

Nutritional Information: Each serving has 6 grams of effective carbohydrate plus 2 grams of fiber (not including low-carb thickener), 12 grams of protein, and 226 calories. If you use half and half instead of soy milk, add 30 calories and one gram of carbohydrate.

For using milk, see Carb Counts in Milk and Milk Substitutes.

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