Clam Chowder Bread Bowl


Do you sometimes long for the sea? Can you imagine yourself in the Nantucket of Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick, sipping hearty stews as you gaze out on the lashing ocean tides? Do you just like clams?

If the answer to those questions was yes, then you are in luck. In this article, we will break down how to make New England Style Clam Chowder…in a bread bowl.

You read that right. What started in the minds of Panera Bread Company executives has become a nationwide phenomenon, and epicureans everywhere want to get their hands on a bread bowl. So why not combine this new American icon with a classic from the days of yore, the humble clam chowder?

Read on for the scoop on this clam chowder sourdough bread bowl recipe.

clam chowder bread bowl

Clam Chowder Bread Bowl

If you don’t have the time or don’t feel confident in your cooking, you can use a premade stock like Mo’s Clam Chowder Base. With this nifty invention, you simply add a flavored powder to water to infuse it with the flavors of the real thing--it’ll taste just as good as Red Lobster clam chowder!
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 40 mins
Course Appetizer
Cuisine English
Servings 4
Calories 834 kcal


  • 4 dozen Clams (preferably littleneck)
  • 3-4 Strips of bacon
  • 1 Large yellow onion
  • Salt
  • 1 lb Potatoes (Yukon gold)
  • 3 Tbsp Flour
  • 1 cup Heavy cream
  • 1 cup Whole milk
  • 2 Tbsp Thyme
  • 3 Bay leaves
  • Tbsp White wine vinegar
  • Hot sauce
  • 6 Bread bowls


  • First, prepare your ingredients. Scrub the clams thoroughly to remove any sediment or dirt. Next, cut the bacon into lardons, about ½ inch in size. Then dice the Yukon gold potatoes into ½ inch pieces. Chop the onion.
  • Preheat the oven to 300. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • In a large pot, place the clams and 1 cup of water. Bring the water to a boil over high heat, cooking for about 6 minutes. Remove any clams that have opened and continue cooking until all remaining clams have opened; after ten minutes, discard any clams that have not yet opened. Drain the pot and reserve the clam liquid.
  • Remove the clam meat from the shells. Discard the shells and chop the clams.
  • In the same pot, add the bacon and cook over medium heat until they have rendered plenty of fat. Add the onions and salt, and then cook, stirring frequently, for about 7 minutes. The onions will be done when they are soft but not browned.
  • Add the diced potatoes and cook for about five minutes, until the potatoes are slightly tender.
  • Make a roux. Add flour to the pan, stirring thoroughly to combine with onions, bacon, and potatoes. Once the flour gets integrated, add the clam liquid gradually (doing so too fast will break the roux), whisking thoroughly.
  • Add in the milk, cream, thyme, and bay leaves. Bring to a boil over high heat, then lower to medium and keep at a simmer, between 10 and 15 minutes.
  • When the chowder has about 5 minutes remaining, place the bread bowls on the lined baking sheet and cook for five minutes, or until warmed through.
  • Add clams. Add hot sauce, white wine vinegar, salt, and pepper to taste.
  • Remove bread bowls from the oven and allow them to cool until safe to handle.
  • Conservatively ladle chowder into bowls and serve.
Keyword clam chowder bread bowl, red lobster, sourdough bread bowl

Tips and Tricks / FAQs

Although this clam chowder bread bowl might seem a bit daunting, there’s no need to fear. Here are a few tips and tricks to help you achieve the most maritime bread bowl experience possible.

Do I have to do all those steps?

While this process is rather involved, it will ensure you get the best, freshest-tasting clam chowder possible. 

If you don’t have the time or don’t feel confident in your cooking, you can use a premade stock like Mo’s Clam Chowder Base. With this nifty invention, you simply add a flavored powder to water to infuse it with the flavors of the real thing–it’ll taste just as good as Red Lobster clam chowder!

Depending on your area, you might be able to find Mo’s. In that case, you can give a quick internet search for “clam base near me” to find a comparable premade clam chowder base.

By the same token, if you don’t have access to fresh clams, you can use canned clams for this recipe. They won’t taste nearly as good, but they are an option in a pinch.

Are there other ways of making clam chowder?

If New England clam chowder isn’t your thing, there are other options. Hatteras clam chowder, which comes from the Outer Banks of North Carolina, does not contain milk or cream, owing to the historically low cow population in the area. If you don’t have a taste for dairy (or if it bothers your stomach, you could make the Hatteras recipe instead. 

clam chowder bread bowl

Be warned, though: that clam chowder will be much more watery, which may make it break through the skin of the bread bowl that much faster.

Are there alternatives to bacon?

Whether you avoid bacon due to health concerns, lifestyle choices, or dietary restrictions, you still have some wiggle room in this recipe. 

If you can eat animal products, we recommend using a few tablespoons of lard (or beef tallow if you don’t eat pork). If you avoid animal products altogether, we suggest using a meat alternative, such as Beyond Sausage. Finally, you can substitute the bacon with a few tablespoons of butter, though the effect will be much different.

clam chowder bread bowl
Beyond Sausage
clam chowder bread bowl_ The Lard
The Lard

How long is clam chowder good for?

Given the heavy dairy content in New England clam chowder, it can go in the fridge for between three and five days. If it develops an off smell, it’s time to toss it.

Where do I get bread bowls near me?

Since clam chowder takes plenty of effort, we haven’t included the instructions for making a bread bowl from scratch. Instead, you can purchase bread bowls from a local store or bakery. You could also skulk around Panera to see if they have leftovers, though you might not get the coveted bowl.

Nutrition Information of Clam Chowder Bread Bowl

Serving size: One clam chowder bread bowl

Calories: 834

Total fat: 18.9

Saturated fat: 7.1

Carbohydrates: 134

Dietary fiber: 7.5 grams

Sugar: 12.3 grams

Protein: 33 grams

Cholesterol: 45 milligrams

Sodium: 1768 milligrams

Final thoughts

Avast, land-lubber! Now that you’re done with this recipe, it’s time to prove your chowder chops–so get into the kitchen and start cooking!

Join the Conversation

  1. Darrell A. says:

    This was great I didn’t change a thing

  2. What an excellent recipe!

  3. nancyfintak says:

    All I can say is “WOW” This is an awesome dish

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