Creamy Clam Chowder

This creamy and delicious chowder features fresh clams from Aichi Prefecture, home to Nagoya, Japan’s fourth most populated city behind Tokyo, Osaka and Yokohama.  Loaded with clams,potatoes, bacon, and veggies, this satisfying chowder is one of my favorites!

Creamy Clam Chowder features fresh clams from Aichi Prefecture in Japan.  Aichi is part of the Tokai (東海) region of Japan, also known as the breadbasket of Japan.  Tokai translates to Eastern Sea, and Aichi is home to Mikawa Bay, that opens on the Pacific Ocean.  Seafood from Mikawa Bay is famous around Japan and the clams are a favorite around the country.

In Japan you can find small black clams called Asari that are usually used in miso soup or pickled and served with rice.  Larger clams are known as Hamaguri and considered a delicacy.

Creamy Clam Chowder is loved in Japan and features some lovely ingredients from around the country – fresh potatoes, cream and milk from Hokkaido, onions from Awaji Island, and of course clams from Aichi or Kumamoto prefectures.

When cooking with milk and cream, the most important thing to remember is not to let the soup boil once the milk or cream has been added.  Boiling will curdle the milk and ruin your chowder.  Simmer the chowder to heat it up, but do not let it boil.

I usually flavor clam chowder with sea salt and fresh black pepper and then sprinkle a little ground thyme on top.  Chopped scallions, parsley, tarragon, or chervil also make great toppers. You can use paprika to give it some color. Japanese herbs such as mitsuba and shiso can be used as well to give your chowder a more authentic Japanese taste.

Along with Hiroshima Oyster Stew, this is one of my favorite seafood chowders.

Creamy Clam Chowder

This creamy and delicious chowder is loaded with clams, potatoes, bacon, celery, and onions.  The soup is made with milk, fresh cream and plenty of herbs and spices.  You can use whole clams or frozen clams to make this recipe.  See the notes, below, for instructions on how to clean and shuck your clams.

20 mins 75 mins Serves 8
PREP 20 mins
COOKING 75 mins
YIELD Serves 8


  • 1/2 lb finely chopped clams
  • 1 1/2 cups clam juice
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup cream
  • 2 diced potatoes
  • 1 diced onion
  • 1 diced celery stalk
  • 1/2 lb chopped bacon
  • 2 TBSP flour
  • 1/2 tsp dried ground thyme
  • 1 tsp fresh sea salt (or 1/2 tsp table salt)
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper


  • In a stockpot or a large saucepan, sauté the bacon, onion and celery over medium high heat for 5 minutes.

  • Turn down to medium and add the flour.  Continue to sauté for 2 more minutes.

  • Stir in the milk and clam juice.  Heat and stir for 3 minutes until the mixture is hot.  Do not boil.

  • Add the potatoes.  Heat up for two more minutes.  Do not boil.

  • Add the cream along with the salt and pepper. Heat up for two more minutes.  Do not boil.

  • Stir in the clams and thyme.  Heat for two more minutes.  Cover and turn to low.

  • Simmer for 45-60 minutes until potatoes are cooked through.  Stir occasionally while cooking.

  • Serve.


  • Nobody likes sandy clams.  To get the grit out, soak your clams in salt water.  The clams will spit out the dirt and grit.
  • When using fresh clams, shuck 2 lbs of clams to get 1/2 lb of meat.  Save the clam juice.  You can also use frozen or canned clams and save the juice.


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