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Instant Pot Clam Chowder

Instant Pot Clam Chowder

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!
5 from 10 votes
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Course: Soup
Cuisine: American
Keyword: instant pot clam chowder, clam chowder, New England clam chowder
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 6
Calories: 375kcal
Author: Rika Livingston


  •  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
  • 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!



Note: For softer potatoes, you can set to manual for "5 minutes" instead of 4 minutes then after the cooking cycle finished, you can do a quick release.
You can purchase canned clams at any grocers. In this recipe, I used Bumble Bee Snow's Chopped Clams, 6.5 oz can, around $1.67 each at Walmart or Amazon Fresh, $1.79 at Target, or about $3.29 at Ralph's. 
Bacon and clam juice contain sodium, so if you're not sure how salty you want it to be or are watching your sodium intake you can always add salt later.  In my opinion, it's better to start with less salt as you can always adjust it later.


Nutrition Facts
Instant Pot Clam Chowder
Amount Per Serving
Calories 375 Calories from Fat 288
% Daily Value*
Fat 32g49%
Saturated Fat 20g125%
Cholesterol 115mg38%
Sodium 266mg12%
Potassium 480mg14%
Carbohydrates 20g7%
Fiber 3g13%
Sugar 3g3%
Protein 4g8%
Vitamin A 1301IU26%
Vitamin C 19mg23%
Calcium 77mg8%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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