Low Carb Clam Chowder

The quintessential American comfort soup on a wintry New England day! Whether you call it “chowdah” or chowder, whether you are from New England or San Francisco, this delicious creamy chowder packed with fresh clams is tasty and filling. Our low carb version will rival any you find at “Ye Olde Union Oyster House” in Boston or on Pier 39 in San Francisco! How is that for a boast?

Cook with Plenty of Clam Juice!

On this July 4th, as our nation celebrates Independence Day, foodies need to remember that the Battle of Bunker Hill was actually fought for “chowder,” or at least by those who dined on the clam-laden soup. Daniel Webster, a true patriot, was a regular consumer. Herman Melville, the author of “Moby Dick,” devoted an entire chapter to clam chowder!

Years ago, Chris came across a wonderful clam chowder recipe. It was rich in potatoes, full of minced clams, and with a flavor of bacon that delighted the taste buds. It became a staple of our diet. It froze well and warmed many a cold wintry day when we lived in Pittsburgh. But, the potatoes are gone with our new low-carb lifestyle. Adjustments have been made and we offer the recipe below as a tasty alternative to the original.

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Bacon, minced clams with plenty of juice, a stick of butter, and heavy cream are the basic ingredients to make our clam chowder. Seasonings consist of “Old Bay,” Worcestershire sauce, celery salt, and our signature sherry for a full flavor. We garnish with bacon crumbles and smoked paprika for added flavor and presentation.

If we had to pick a key ingredient it would be the actual clam juice. We found 51 ounce cans of minced clams that are loaded with tasty natural clam juice. The tiny sardine size cans will also work, but make sure you get all of the juice from each and recognize that this will be an expensive soup using little cans. Our local Costco has 51 ounce cans of minced clams and juice that work perfectly. They are even at a reasonable price! Fresh clams would be wonderful, but not needed for a soup. Save those for steaming and dunked in butter!

Cooking Tips

Sauté at least 3/4 pound a regular thin-cut bacon that has been pre-chopped in the bottom of your stock pot. Make sure it is crispy, since it will soften when it is added back into the finished soup. Save some for your garnish. Most importantly, leave the bacon fat in the bottom of the pot to cook your celery and onion. That is where all the flavor comes from!

In our original recipe, we added all of the clam juice next and actually cooked the diced potatoes in the juice until partly softened. We do the same with our low-carb version. Cook the riced cauliflower in the clam juice until softened. The cauliflower replaces the potato as a thickener. Some recipes call for making a puree of the cooked cauliflower. We prefer to have some texture in each bite.

Make sure you taste the soup after adding the seasonings to make sure it is perfectly salted. You can also add a little hot sauce. We would recommend serving your soup with Cholula on the table so you can add heat, as needed.

A Hearty, Creamy, TLC Chowder!

Our final tips would be to cook the clams and reserved bacon at the end for only 3 minutes before serving. Otherwise, your clams will become tough. Your soup will thicken after you add the clams. However, if you like a thicker chowder you can add some cream cheese at the end. The soup will also thicken as it cools.

Garnish with Smoked Paprika and Bacon Crumbles!

Whether you are celebrating Independence day, or the 150th year anniversary of Canada (Canada Day was July 1st), or just ready for a Tasty Low Carb clam chowder, give this recipe a try. You will be amazed how delicious a low-carb chowder can be and how the taste improves each day.

Low Carb Clam Chowder
4.67 from 9 votes

Clam chowder with plenty of bacon and no potatoes - thick, tasty, and low carb!

Course Soup, Appetizers & Sides
Cuisine American
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 8
Calories 534 kcal
Author Joan and Chris


  • 3/4 pound bacon chopped
  • 16 ounces cauliflower riced
  • 51 ounces clams chopped
  • 1 large onion chopped
  • 4 stalks celery chopped
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 32 ounces heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoons Old Bay seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon celery salt
  • 1/3 cup sherry
  • smoked paprika to taste
  • sea salt to taste
  • pepper to taste


  1. Sauté chopped bacon over medium heat in a large stock pot until crisp. Set aside to drain on paper towels. Leave bacon fat in pan.

  2. Add chopped onions and celery and cook in bacon fat for 5 minutes until softened.

  3. Stir in the cauliflower rice and with the celery and onion for about 10 minutes. Add the clam juice from a 51 ounce can of minced clams, bring to a boil, and cook until cauliflower is softened.

  4. Stir in the heavy cream and then season with Old Bay, Worcestershire sauce, sherry, salt, pepper, and celery salt. Bring to boil and cook for another 10 minutes.

  5. Add the butter and allow to melt while soup is boiling. Stir in the clams and reserved bacon for 3 minutes - the soup will thicken.

  6. Serve with some reserved bacon and a sprinkle of smoked paprika on top.

Recipe Notes

If your soup does not thicken you can add 6 ounces of cream cheese after the clams.

Nutrition Facts
Low Carb Clam Chowder
Amount Per Serving
Calories 534 Calories from Fat 427
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 47.4g 73%
Saturated Fat 27.3g 137%
Cholesterol 169mg 56%
Sodium 1128mg 47%
Potassium 310mg 9%
Total Carbohydrates 8.5g 3%
Dietary Fiber 1.2g 5%
Sugars 1.6g
Protein 15.2g 30%
Vitamin A 50%
Vitamin C 31%
Calcium 5%
Iron 6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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