Making clam chowder from scratch is easier than you think! This Instant Pot Clam Chowder recipe is a restaurant-quality soup that you can make at home with basic pantry ingredients. It's one of the best chowder recipes ever! Serve it with homemade baguette croutons or oyster crackers, so scrumptious!
This Instant Pot Clam Chowder only requires 4 minutes of cooking time at high pressure. It's quick and easy to prepare but is still so flavorful! This recipe works with any electric pressure cooker, such as an Instant Pot or Ninja Foodi.
If you are looking for the best instant pot soup recipes to add to your collection, this is it! It's definitely the best instant pot soup recipe that gives a great taste yet will help you get a quick dinner on your table. Anyone in your family will love this comforting soup!
Creamy Chowder without Cornstarch or Flour:
It's also a creamy Instant Pot Clam chowder that is thickened without flour or cornstarch.
Now, let's talk more about the ingredients and how to make this Instant Pot Clam Chowder.
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Ingredients Used in this New England Clam Chowder Recipe:
To make this clam chowder, you will need bacon, chopped clams, Yukon gold potatoes, celery, thyme, garlic, onion, bay leaf, heavy cream, butter, and black pepper.
Clams. I used canned chopped clams with juice. If you have access to fresh clams, such as little neck or cherry stone clams, feel free to use them instead!
If you decide to use fresh clams, here's how to make your own clam juice:
- Bring 8 pounds of scrubbed clams and 4 cups of water to a boil in a large pot over high heat. Then cook the clams until they are just open, for about 8-10 minutes.
- Once the clams are cooked, transfer the clams to a flat surface such as a baking sheet to let them cool slightly before pulling the meat out from shells.
- Discard the shells and unopened clams.
- Chop clams into bite-size pieces and set aside.
- Strain the clam juice through a fine-mesh. You only need about 500 ml to make this recipe.
Cream. I used heavy cream to add creaminess to the soup. You can also use half n half or milk or a combination of both as a replacement ingredient if you wish.
How to Make Clam Chowder in an Instant Pot
The preparation and cooking process is pretty simple. It's a flavorful, and easy dump-and-go meal with just a handful of ingredients and minimal effort involved.
- First, you need to separate the clam meat from the juice (we are going to use the juice to make a delicious broth along with the other ingredients in an instant pot). Next, add the meat only after we finish cooking the broth at high pressure.
- Second, dice the celery and onions, and cube the potatoes. You can peel the Yukon gold potatoes or leave them unpeeled. If you want to use Russets, I highly recommend peeling them.
- Make the soup base! This is a very important process to add flavors to the soup. First, you need to turn on the "Saute" button then cook the bacon for about 5 minutes. After that, sweat the onion for 4 minutes. Add celery and continue cooking for 4 minutes, then add garlic and stir for 30 seconds.
- Cook at high pressure. Now it's time to add the other ingredients, except the heavy cream and chopped clams, and set it to "4 minutes" on manual.
- Once the cooking process is completed, wait for about 4 minutes, then do a quick release (please follow the user manual to do this safely).
- Press the "saute" button and adjust to a low setting, stir in the heavy cream and chopped clam. Adjust seasoning with additional salt/pepper if needed and according to your liking.
Canned clams are fully cooked, should only be heated briefly, just before they are served to be eaten to avoid developing that dreaded rubbery texture.
Please remember that clam chowder will thicken as it stands. Therefore, adding a thickening agent such as cornstarch may not be needed.
Storing leftover soup:
Properly stored cooked clam chowder will last for 3-4 days in the fridge. Just be sure to let the soup cool completely and put in an airtight container before you transfer it to a fridge.
Soup with cream and potatoes doesn't hold well in the freezer. They tend to take on a grainy texture and separate when defrosted and reheated. However, if you can't finish and must freeze the soup, try this tip: Split the soup into batches and only add cream before serving.
Instant Pot Clam Chowder
- A 6-qt. Instant Pot or other electric pressure cooker, such as Ninja Foodi
- 4 cans (6.5 oz each) chopped clams , (separate the meat from juices)
- 4 pieces thick bacon, (chopped)
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1½ cups chopped onion
- 1 cup chopped celery
- 1 tsp minced garlic
- ¼ tsp dried thyme
- ¼ tsp black pepper, (add more according to your liking)
- 1 pound Yukon gold potatoes , (peeled and cubed about ½ inch each)
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 cups heavy cream
- ¼ tsp sea salt, (less or more salt according to your liking)
- Separate the clams from the juice. Make sure that you have 500 ml of clam juice, add a bit of chicken broth if necessary. Set aside.
Pre-Cook the Soup Base:
- Press the “Sauté” function key. Select a temperature with the “Adjust” key for “Normal”. When Instant Pot reaches the given working temperature, it displays “Hot” and you can start sautéing.Add the bacon and cook for 5 minutes. Stirring occasionally.
- Add butter, and onion. Cook for 4 minutes, be sure to keep stirring and scraping the bottom of the pot to prevent sticking and burning.
- Add celery and continue cooking for 4 minutes. Keep stirring and scraping.
- Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Keep stirring and scraping. Press "Keep Warm/Cancel" to stop cooking or follow the manufacturer's guide for turning off.
Cook at High Pressure:
- Add thyme, black pepper, potatoes, bay leaf, clam juice (500 ml), and salt (optional, you can always add salt later if needed). Keep scraping the bottom of the pot to prevent sticking and burning. Put the lid on, sealed, and set to manual for "4 minutes". *please see notes*After the cooking cycle finished, wait for 4 minutes then carefully move the Venting Knob from Sealing Position to Venting Position to quickly release the pressure.
Add Heavy Cream and Chopped Clams:
- Press the "saute" button and adjust to a low setting. Add heavy cream and chopped clams. Stir to combine and reheat the clams. Adjust seasoning with salt/pepper if needed. Turn off the "Saute" button to prevent the soup from boiling.
- Remember that the soup will thicken as it stands, no thickening agent necessary. However, If you think the broth is too thin for your liking, feel free to mix in a corn starch mixture (1 tbsp cornstarch + 1 tbsp water) as you wish.
- Transfer the soup to a bowl, serve with oyster crackers or croutons. Enjoy!