Instant Pot Clam Chowder Recipe

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Today on The Instant Pot Table, I’m sharing this delicious Instant Pot Clam Chowder recipe. Clam chowder is a healthy and tasty recipe and one you can enjoy on a cold day or in the summer months. Clams are super healthy and this fantastic seafood chowder will want you wanting more.

This clam chowder Instant Pot recipe is packed with flavorful ingredients like potatoes and clams, and it comes together in just minutes thanks to the Instant Pot.

Clam Chowder is easy to customize to your liking – add more or less spice, use different types of potatoes, or swap out the clams for a different type of seafood.

This Instant Pot clam chowder recipe is sure to be a hit with the whole family.

Instant Pot Clam Chowder Recipe

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What Is Clam Chowder?

Clam chowder is a creamy soup that typically includes clams, potatoes, onions, and bacon. It’s commonly found in New England. and has variations like Manhattan clam chowder which includes tomatoes and Rhode Island clam chowder which is clear instead of creamy.

Clam chowder is creamy in texture and is full of protein, a chowder often contains milk, cream or roux which gives thickness to the dish. This recipe uses cornstarch and milk to create this creamy clam chowder.

What Does Clam Chowder Taste Like?

Clam chowder is a great seafood chowder to try. Unlike some shellfish, clams are not as fishy and so this Instant Pot chowder recipe is more subtle than other seafood options.

Clam chowder tastes creamy, savory, and slightly salty thanks to the bacon and clams

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What Is The Difference Between Soup And Chowder?

Soups are dishes made from liquids such as water, chicken, vegetable or beef stock. Soups are combined with different ingredients whereas a chowder is a much more thicker, creamier style soup or stew type recipe.

The word chowder traditionally comes from the Latin word caldeia, which meant a place for warming things.

In the past vegetables and stewed fish was cooked in a cooking pot or cauldron which is how this method of cooking became known as chowder.

Is Clam Chowder Keto?

This Instant Pot clam chowder recipe can easily be made keto-friendly by swapping out the potatoes for cauliflower and using a low carb milk alternative like almond or coconut milk.

New England Clam Chowder Vs Manhatten Clam Chowder

New England clam chowder is made with a creamy base, clams, potatoes and bacon. Manhattan clam chowder includes tomatoes and is not as thick in texture as New England clam chowder.

If you’re looking for something creamy, without tomatoes then I’d recommend New England Clam Chowder over Manhatten chowder.

What Kind Of Clams Can I Use In Instant Pot Clam Chowder?

I used canned clams in this clam chowder Instant Pot recipe, but you can also use fresh or frozen clams.

If using fresh or frozen clams, make sure to clean and remove any sandy grit from the clams before adding them to your Instant Pot.

Is This A New England Clam Chowder Recipe?

This Instant Pot clam chowder recipe is not a traditional New England clam chowder as it does not include any tomatoes.

This clam chowder soup recipe is more of a classic clam chowder that you can find on the East Coast.

Why You’ll Love This Healthy Clam Chowder Recipe

Not only is this Instant Pot clam chowder recipe delicious, but it’s also healthy.

Clams are a great source of protein and provide essential vitamins and minerals like iron, zinc, vitamin B12, and omega-3 fatty acids.

This Instant Pot Clam Chowder is also made with other healthy ingredients like onion, potatoes, and milk.

Instant Pot Clam Chowder Ingredients

  • 4 6 1/2 oz Cans chopped clams; juice drained
  • 2 Tbsp Olive oil
  • 1/2 Large White onion, diced
  • 4 tbsp Cornstarch
  • 6 Medium russet potatoes, cubed.
  • 3 Cups water
  • 4 Cups half & half milk
  • 1.5 Tbsp salt
  • 1 Cup chopped bacon
  • 1 tbsp Freshly ground black pepper
  • Pinch of fresh parsley
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How To Make Instant Pot Clam Chowder

To make this Instant Pot clam chowder, start by cooking bacon in the Instant Pot using the sauté function. Then add in onion, celery, garlic, potatoes, bay leaves and thy

Step One: Saute The Bacon

Turn your Instant Pot onto sauté mode. Once your pot becomes hot, add the olive oil. Add diced onion. Next, add bacon bits. Stir and cook for about three minutes. Then turn off the saute function.

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Step Two: Add Your Canned Clams

Add the canned clams and cornstarch to the bacon bits and diced onion. Mix well.

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Step Three: Add Diced Potatoes

Add the diced potatoes, salt, freshly ground cracked pepper, water and half-and-half. Stir well

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Step Four: Pressure Cook Your Clam Chowder

Close your pressure cooker lid, set the pressure valve to closed and pressure cook in your Instant Pot at high pressure for 3 Minutes.

Step Five: Perform A Quick Release

Once your Instant Pot is done cooking, do a quick release by bringing the valve toward you and opening the pressure. Once the Instant Pot has released its pressure open the lid carefully and stir with a wooden spoon.

Step Six: Saute For 10 Minutes

To make the best clam chowder you’ll need to hit the saute setting again and stir occasionally for 10 minutes. This will reduce the liquid and thicken your half-and-half making the best clam chowder soup.

Add more salt and pepper to taste.

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Step Seven: Garnish And Serve

Pour your delicious soup chowder into a soup bowl or a bread bowl and top with fresh parsley.

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Can Instant Pot Clam Chowder Be Made Ahead Of Time?

Yes, this Instant Pot clam chowder can be made ahead of time as it can be stored before eating.

How Long Can Clam Chowder Last?

Clam Chowder can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. Simply reheat on the stove before serving.

Can Instant Pot Clam Chowder Be Frozen?

Yes, this Instant Pot clam chowder can be frozen for up to 2 months. It makes a great soup cuisine fresh or reheated. Make sure to let your Instant Pot clam chowder cool completely before freezing in an airtight container.

Can I Use Bacon Fat In This Recipe?

Yes, you can use bacon fat instead of olive oil. You may have to cook the diced onion in the Instant Pot for slightly longer if using bacon fat.

What Do I Do With The Clam Juice?

You can choose to add the clam juice from the canned clams into your Instant Pot. Clam juice has a strong, briny taste and can add additional flavor to your Instant Pot clam chowder.

Can Instant Pot Clam Chowder Be Made Without Half & Half?

Yes, you can substitute the half-and-half in this Instant Pot clam chowder recipe with milk or heavy cream for a lighter version.

Can I Use Pre-cooked Crispy Bacon Bits In Clam Chowder?

Yes, you can use pre-cooked crispy bacon bits in this Instant Pot clam chowder recipe. Simply add the bacon bits in during the last five minutes of cooking to heat them up and let the flavors combine with the soup.

It’s okay to use either crispy bacon or uncooked bacon as both will cook in the Instant Pot during the pressure cooking process.

Can This Clam Chowder Instant Pot Recipe Be Made With Milk Instead Of Half-And-Half?

Yes, this Instant Pot clam chowder can be made with whole milk instead of half and half, however, it won’t be quite as creamy. If you want you could use whole milk and heavy cream instead of half and half.

Do I Have To Use Russet Potatoes In Clam Chowder?

No, russet potatoes can be substituted with any type of white potatoes such as Yukon Gold potatoes, Red potatoes or baby potatoes.

You can also leave the skin on baby potatoes for added color and nutrition. Baby potatoes are a great substitute as they add additional texture. Just be sure to dice them into small cubes before adding them to your Instant Pot.

Can I Make Instant Pot Clam Chowder Without Bacon?

Yes, you can make this Instant Pot clam chowder without bacon. Simply leave out the bacon and increase the amount of olive oil used when cooking the diced onion.

Can I Make Instant Pot Clam Chowder With White Wine?

Yes, you can make Instant Pot clam chowder with white wine. Simply add 1/4 cup of white wine when cooking the diced onion and continue with the recipe as directed. The white wine will add a nice depth of flavor to your Instant Pot clam chowder.

How To Thicken Clam Chowder?

If your Instant Pot clam chowder is not thick enough, you can use a slurry mixture of cornstarch and water to thicken the soup. Mix 1 tablespoon cornstarch with 1 tablespoon water until it forms a paste and add to the pressure cooker clam chowder while stirring. Let cook for an additional 2-3 minutes or until desired thickness is reached.

Why Is There No Chicken Broth In Clam Chowder Instant Pot Recipe?

Clam chowder is sometimes made with chicken broth, however in this clam chowder recipe we opted to use water. You can certainly substitute with chicken broth if desired.

Can You Eat Clam Chowder While Pregnant?

It is safe to eat Instant Pot clam chowder while pregnant?

As long as it is cooked to the proper temperature and all ingredients are fresh. It is recommended to avoid consuming raw or undercooked seafood while pregnant.

Can Dogs Have Clam Chowder?

It is not recommended to give Instant Pot clam chowder to dogs as it may contain ingredients that are harmful or potentially toxic to them such as onions, garlic, and bacon. It is best to consult with your veterinarian before giving any human food to your pets.

Can Instant Pot Clam Chowder Be Made In The Slow Cooker?

Yes, you can also make Instant Pot clam chowder in the slow cooker. Cook the bacon and diced onion on the stovetop before adding them to your slow cooker with all of the other ingredients. Cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 3-4 hours.

How To Spice Up Clam Chowder?

To spice up Instant Pot clam chowder, try adding 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes to the soup. You can also add a pinch of smoked paprika for added smoky flavor. For additional heat, top with crushed red pepper before serving.

Can Instant Pot Clam Chowder Be Frozen?

Yield: 6

Instant Pot Clam Chowder

Prep Time 3 minutes
Cook Time 13 minutes
Total Time 16 minutes


  • 4 6 1/2 oz cans chopped clams; juice drained
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 large white onion, diced
  • 4 tbsp cornstarch
  • 6 medium russet potatoes, cubed (pealed optional – I did for this recipe)
  • 3 cups water
  • salt and black pepper to taste
  • 4 cups half & half milk
  • 1.5 tbsp salt
  • 1 tbsp pepper

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 638Total Fat: 24gSaturated Fat: 12gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 139mgSodium: 3469mgCarbohydrates: 63gFiber: 5gSugar: 14gProtein: 41g

Did you make this recipe?

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What To Serve With Clam Chowder?

Some delicious sides to serve with Instant Pot clam chowder recipe include crusty bread, a salad, or steamed broccoli.

You might also want to serve this delicious soup chowder with saltine crackers or oyster crackers or top your chowder with shredded cheddar cheese or dried thyme. Enjoy!

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Can I Make This Into An Instant Pot Fish Chowder

Yes, you can make Instant Pot fish chowder using this same recipe. Simply use a white fish such as cod or haddock in place of the clams and follow the rest of the recipe as directed.

Make This Into An Instant Pot Seafood Chowder

You could also add shrimp to your recipe to make an Instant Pot Seafood chowder for added protein and flavor.


Enjoy This Clam Chowder Instant Pot Recipe

This clam chowder recipe is a great comforting soup to enjoy all year round. It’s perfect for chilly winter nights and also makes a delicious summer meal served with a side salad. Enjoy!

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