How to Make the Paula Deen Clam Chowder Soup Recipe at Home

Clam Chowder is a New England autumn classic. It’s made from nothing more than clams from the harvest, cream, broth, clam juice and potato. This humble working-class stew has become a classic American delicacy beloved by all.

Clam chowder has been around in America in one form or another since the 17th Century. It’s believed to have been originally made by French settlers in North America, looking to make a local version of the classic French seafood soup, Bouillabaisse.

This soup became one of America’s first contributions to world cuisine. Creaminess and strong briny and mineral flavors are a trademark of a good clam chowder.

Paula Deen Clam Chowder Soup Recipe

Paula Deen’s version of clam chowder is a luxurious Southern take on the dish which combines clam chowder with its close cousin, corn chowder. Corn chowder also traces its roots to the Northeast, first appearing in Boston-area cookbooks in 1884.


  • 5 slices bacon, chopped into lardons
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 large onion
  • 2 medium red bliss potatoes
  • 2 stalks celery
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 3 cups low-sodium chicken or seafood broth
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 1/2 cups half-and-half
  • 2 6 1/2-ounce cans chopped clams in clam juice
  • 3 cups frozen corn kernels
  • Chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
  • Bottled hot pepper sauce optional


Dutch Oven or large saucepan


  • In a large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium-low heat, render the bacon lardons. Once the lardons have rendered, when there are tiny pools of fat around them and gathering in the lowest point of the pan, turn up the heat to medium-high and finish frying the bacon.
  • Remove the bacon bits from the pan, being sure to leave as much fat as possible behind. Reserve for later.
  • In the pan, add 2 tablespoons of butter and wait for it to foam out. Once the butter has foamed out, add onion and fry for a minute or two.
  • Once the onion begins to soften and take on color, add the potatoes and celery and sauté them for a few moments.
  • Into the pot, add the thyme and broth. Stir to combine and bring to a boil.
  • Reduce heat again to a simmer. Simmer for 10 minutes or until potatoes have tenderized. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Stir in the half-and-half and corn, bring back briefly to a boil, then add clams and reduce heat one more time to low.
  • Cover with the lid and cook for 20 minutes, tasting periodically as necessary and adjusting seasoning as desired. Use the clam juice in place of salt if the chowder needs to be saltier.
  • Once the chowder has reached the desired thickness, ladle into bowls.
  • Garnish with chopped parsley and/or hot sauce if desired.

Make Sure to Refrigerate

Properly stored in an airtight container, any clam chowder leftovers should be promptly refrigerated once it cools. It can remain in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. If you need to keep it longer than 3-4 days, clam chowder freezes beautifully, and can remain in the freezer for up to 3-4 months without losing flavor.

Every time you heat a cream-based soup, there is the chance of curdling while it’s re-heating. Because of this, make sure that when you’re reheating the soup that you attend to it and stir it while it’s heating. Curdled dairy will not be harmful, but may add an off-putting texture.


Who is Paula Deen?

Restauranteur and TV personality, Paula Deen has a decorated career in the business that started in 1993 with The Lady restaurant in Savannah, GA, her hometown. Bringing her sons into the business, she moved to a new space and reopened as The Lady & Sons Restaurant in 1996.

Over the next decade she opened several more restaurants in Savannah and across the south. The Lady and Sons and Paula Deen’s Creek House are her popular local restaurants in her hometown. She has five locations of her franchised restaurant, Paula Deen’s Family Kitchen, from Florida to as far west as Nashville, TN.

Paula Deen owned two restaurants in Texas and authorized a chain of four branded casino buffets in Missouri and Illinois; all of these had closed or rebranded by 2014 as Dean’s company focused on its native area in the American southeast.

How do I tell if my clam chowder soup has gone bad?

Seafood is not subtle at all when it goes bad. If it has developed a fishy aroma or otherwise off smell, it should be discarded. Should it have an off color, it should be discarded. If there is mold in the dish, it should be discarded.

Bad seafood is extremely dangerous to an eater’s health. Seafood can carry violently debilitating foodborne illnesses and even more so than other meat dishes, if there is any hint or indication that the seafood has turned bad, it should be discarded rather than eaten. Never take your chances with bad seafood.

When did Clam Chowder become popular?

New England clam chowder, the most popular form of clam chowder, is thicker and more creamy than other chowders. It’s usually accompanied by oyster crackers, and its popularity made crackers a popular accompaniment to soup in the United States.

In its original form, clam chowder was a mostly clear soup, a form that remains today, called “Rhode Island clam chowder.” Clear clam chowder was thickened by the addition of crumbled saltine crackers or hardtack (a very difficult-to-chew, nautical biscuit that is often eaten by softening it in coffee or water in order to render it palatable).

In its current form, thickened with milk rather than primarily with bread, clam chowder became a popular dish in the Depression-era New England, where clams were plentiful and cheap. After the Second World War, the popularity of clam chowder spread to the Midwest, buoyed by its heavy use of dairy, a Midwestern staple.

During the postwar era, as increasingly prevalent refrigeration and air transportation made it easier for fish and other seafoods to be shipped inland, clam chowder went from a regional dish to a national one, propelled especially by the Campbell’s Soup company’s popular canned soup options.

When Did Paula Deen Start With Seafood?

Paula Deen started her partnership with Uncle Bubba’s Oyster House in Savannah in the 2000s. She opened the restaurant with her brother, Bubba Hiers. After a successful 14-year run, Uncle Bubba’s closed in 2014, reopening with a major makeover three years later as Paula Deen’s Creek House. Her seafood restaurant has been almost as successful as her primary self-branded restaurant, and she developed many of her seafood recipes there, rather than at The Lady & Sons.

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