You can make this rich, creamy Instant Pot clam chowder recipe in about 30 minutes. This comforting soup recipe makes a warm chowder that is full of tender potatoes, carrots, and celery and loaded with sweet pieces of clams. It will become one of your family’s favorite instant pot soups.

clam chowder in a bowl with crackers and bacon on top

This creamy clam chowder recipe is made with heavy whipping cream, broth, potatoes, garlic, and thyme. Using a pressure cooker makes it easy to blend the soft ingredients into a smooth, warm bowl of chowder.

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Why you will love this recipe

  • This creamy chowder is an easy recipe to prepare with a few basic pantry ingredients and some veggies on a busy night.
  • This Instant Pot creamy clam chowder recipe is easy to prepare with a few basic pantry ingredients and some veggies on a busy night.
  • Using an instant pot recipe, you can prepare your chowder in a fraction of the time.
  • For this recipe, use clams that are canned, not fresh. First, it will save you a good bit of money, and second, it’s easy. Just open the can, and pour in your clams.
  • You can make this chowder creamy and smooth or chunky, whichever you prefer. It’s easy to do after the chowder is made with an emersion blender.
  • Everyone can customize their toppings, from simple crackers and bacon or spicy jalapenos and cheddar cheese.

🛒 Ingredient notes

This is such an easy instant pot clam chowder. Keep cans of clams and a jar of clam juice on hand for a quick dinner of comfort food.

ingredients to make clam chowder
  • Clams: canned clams are best for this chowder. You can buy minced clams but if they only have whole, then give them a good chopping before you put them in the pressure cooker. Another bonus is that canned clams are inexpensive compared to fresh clams. It’s easy to just open the can.
  • Garlic: be sure to use fresh minced garlic for the best flavor.
  • Clam juice: if you have trouble finding it in your grocery store, it is usually on the top shelf above the canned tuna.
  • Potatos: I like to peel the potatoes, so pieces of potato skin do not float around in the chowder. However, if you like a really chunky chowder, then leaving the skins on is perfectly fine. It is best to use russet potatoes or red potatoes for this recipe.
  • Heavy cream: It is important to not put the heavy whipping cream in the instant pot during the pressure cooking process. This will be added after pressure cooking.

See the recipe card for a complete list and quantities.

🔪 Instructions

Prep the ingredients

  • In the first step, peel potatos and cut them into 1/2 inch cubes. Let them sit in a bowl of water, so they do not turn brown.
  • Peel carrots and cut them into small cubes
  • Chop celery stalks into small pieces the same size as your carrots.
  • Peel and mince garlic gloves
  • Open the can of clams and drain the liquid into the 6 qt Instant Pot pan. Set the clams aside.
veggies for clam chowder in an instant pot cooked and uncooked

1. Place cubed potatoes, onion, celery, carrots, garlic, bottled clam juice, chicken broth, thyme, bay leaf, salt, and black pepper in the 6-quart electric pressure cooker.

 2. Lock lid; close pressure-release valve. Adjust to pressure-cook to high pressure for 15 minutes. Quick release pressure.

bowl of flour and cream and pouring it in clam chowder in instant pot

3. Whisk flour and heavy whipping cream in a bowl until smooth.

4. Select the saute button and adjust for low heat. Stir in the flour and cream mixture.

finished clam chowder in instant pot and immersion blender

5. Cook on sautee mode string until slightly thickened, 6-8 minutes. Stir in clams; heat through.

6. If you like a thick chowder, remove 1/2 of the chowder from the instant pot pan, and then using your immersion blender, blend the chowder in the instant pot until creamy. Add the other half of the chowder back to the pot and stir.

Hint: I like to use an immersion blender with at least 1000W like this YISSVIC Hand Immersion Blender.

🔀 Substitutions

If you prefer a lower-fat lite clam chowder, you could substitute the whipping cream for half n half or whole milk.

What to serve with instant pot clam chowder

Check out some great ideas on what to serve with clam chowder. There are side dishes, loaves of bread, salads, and even desserts to complete your meal. 

menu items to go with clam chowder, bread, salads

Tips and Storage Information

Manhattan instant pot clam chowder vs. instant pot New England clam chowder?

New England clam chowder is cream or broth-based and has potatoes and onions in it. Manhattan clam chowder is made with a tomato base and no cream. 

What are the three types of clam chowder?

 New England is known for white clam chowder, which includes milk or cream,

Manhattan is the red clam chowder, which includes tomatoes. Rhode Island’s is a clear clam chowder, which omits both tomatoes and cream.

Storage: How long can clam chowder last in the fridge?

When properly stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator, clam chowder is good for 3-5 days.

How can you thicken chowder?

Add 2 tablespoons of cornstarch to 1/2 cup of milk in a jar with a lid. Shake well, then pour the mixture into the chowder. Over high heat, continue string until the chowder comes to a boil.

clam chowder in a bowl with crackers and bacon on top

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clam chowder in a bowl with crackers and bacon on top
5 from 3 ratings

Rich and Creamy Instant Pot Clam Chowder Recipe

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
saute: 7 minutes
Total Time: 37 minutes
Servings: 12 servings
You can make this rich creamy Instant Pot clam chowder recipe in about 30 minutes. This recipe makes a comforting warm chowder that is full of tender potatoes, carrots, and celery, and loaded with sweet pieces of clams.

Note: Be sure to read through the recipe’s post for tips and details about this recipe.

Ingredients
 

  • 4 potatoes, medium, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes (about 5 cups)
  • 1 onion, medium, diced
  • 3 celery stalks, chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 8oz clam juice, bottled
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 6 1/2 oz clams, minced
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream

Instructions
 

Prep Ingredients

  • The first step, peel potatos and cut them into 1/2 inch cubes. Let them sit in a bowl of water so they do not turn brown.
  • Peel carrots and cut into small cubes
  • Chop celery stalks into small pieces the same size as your carrots are.
  • Peel and mince garlic gloves
  • Open the can of clams and drain the liquid into the 6 qt Instant Pot pan. Set the clams aside.

Cooking

  • Place cubed potatoes, onion, celery, carrots, garlic, bottled clam juice, chicken broth, thyme, bay leaf, salt, and black pepper in the 6-quart electric pressure cooker.
  • Lock lid; close pressure-release valve. Adjust to pressure-cook to high pressure for 15 minutes. Quick release pressure.
  • Whisk flour and heavy whipping cream in a bowl until smooth.
  • Select the saute button and adjust for low heat. Stir in the flour and cream mixture.
  • Cook on sautee mode string until slightly thickened, 6-8 minutes. Stir in clams; heat through.
  • If you like a thick chowder then remove 1/2 of the chowder from the instant pot pan and then using your immersion blender, blend the chowder in the instant pot until creamy. Add the other half of the chowder back in to to the pot and stir.

Notes

  • Clams: canned clams are best for this chowder. If you can buy minced clams but if they only have whole then give them a good chopping before you put them in the pressure cooker. Another bonus is, canned clams are inexpensive compared to fresh clams and all you have to do is open the can.
  • Garlic: be sure to use fresh minced garlic for the best flavor.
  • Clam juice: if you have trouble finding it in your grocery store, it is usually on the top shelf above the canned tuna.
  • Potatos: I like to peel the potatoes so pieces of potato skin do not float around in the chowder. However, if you like a really chunky chowder then leaving the skins on is perfectly fine. It is best to use russet potatoes or red potatoes for this recipe.
Serving Suggestions
Set out a combination of toppings and let everyone choose what to add to their bowl of chowder for their own taste. This chowder would also be wonderful served in a bread bowl for a filling meal.
  • Oyster crackers
  • Crispy bacon bits
  • Shredded cheddar cheese
  • Chopped Cowboy Candy (Sweet & Spicy Jalapenos)
  • Shake on some hot sauce
  • Crispy fried onions (the kind that comes in a can)
  • Diced onions
  • Chopped fresh parsley
  • Saltine crackers
  • Chopped green onions
Serving: 1g, Calories: 205kcal, Carbohydrates: 31g, Protein: 5g, Fat: 8g, Saturated Fat: 5g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 2g, Cholesterol: 27mg, Sodium: 391mg, Potassium: 564mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 2g, Vitamin A: 2005IU, Vitamin C: 31mg, Calcium: 113mg, Iron: 2mg
Cuisine: American
Course: Soup
Author: Gina Dickson

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Update Notes: This post was originally published in 2015 but was republished with new photos, step-by-step instructions, and tips in August 2022.