Woodman’s Quick and Easy Clam Chowder

By Yankee Magazine

Apr 19 2021


Woodman’s Easy Clam Chowder Recipe

Photo Credit : Aimee Tucker

In a season 5 episode of Weekends with Yankee, co-host Amy Traverso visits Essex, Massachusetts,  for a visit with Steve Woodman of Woodman’s of Essex, known as the birthplace of the fried clam. During their visit, Steve reveals the secret to the perfect fried clam, and they cook up another Woodman’s classic, New England clam chowder made with just four ingredients – potatoes, onions, clams, and milk.

Woodman’s makes its clam chowder in 30-gallon batches, but in a 1997 food feature, we modified Steve Woodman’s recipe for home use. Take special care not to overcook the clams. It can happen in seconds, and the meat will be rubbery rather than tender.


Makes 2 quarts base, 8 to 10 servings, depending on how much dairy you use.


4 cups diced potatoes (4 medium-large)
1 chopped onion
3 cups minced clams, with their juices
1 to 2 cups milk or cream (depending on desired richness)
salt to taste


Put potatoes and onions in a heavy, nonreactive pot with just enough water to cover. Bring to a boil, then lower heat so liquid just simmers.

Cook until potatoes are tender, 12 to 15 minutes, then add minced clams and bring to boil a second time. Boil for 1 to 2 minutes only, just enough to cook clams but not enough to make them rubbery. Remove pan from heat at once and let the mixture ripen for 20 minutes or so.

Return pan to low heat and add milk or cream. Cook just until chowder is hot. Do not let it boil. Taste and adjust salt. Serve in heated bowls with pats of butter on top.