Keto Clam Chowder

4.7 Stars (15 Reviews) 21 Comments

Ready in less than 30 minutes, low carb clam chowder makes a healthy and filling meal for the entire family. It features clams, celery, chicken broth and a surprise – red bell pepper. And, yes, this recipe doesn’t have any high-carb potatoes perfect for the keto diet!

When the days get short and the temperatures drop I love making keto soups: chicken soup, keto chili, low carb taco soup and this clam chowder recipe to just a name few.

Is clam chowder keto?

No! As it is traditionally made, clam chowder is not keto.

You will find traditional clam chowder, such as New England clam chowder to be full of carbs from the flour (used as a thickener) and potatoes.

I’ve got good news!

With our clam chowder recipe, we have taken out the carbs while still maintaining the heartiness of this soup. This low carb chowder recipe replaces the high carb potatoes with low carb ingredients, including daikon radish – which acts like a potato in this recipe, similar to how we did in our turkey and chicken soups.

If you can’t get a hold of a daikon radish, just omit it. You could try regular radishes if you wanted or I have even seen some recipes with turnips. One cup of daikon radish has 2.9 grams net carbs.

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Clam Chowder Soup Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup finely diced onion
  • 3 celery stalks, sliced
  • 1/4 cup diced red bell pepper
  • 1 teaspoon arrowroot powder
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 6.5 oz canned clams with clam juice
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup daikon radish, optional
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 slices cooked, crispy bacon

Keto Clam Chowder Directions

  • Keto Clam Chowder
  • Why I love this keto clam chowder

    a hearty bowl of clam chowder next to cooked bacon and celery

    There are a number of ingredients to replace when making a clam chowder keto.

    You got to say “No!” to potatoes.

    Loaded with tender clams, vegetables, and cream broth, this keto clam chowder is a hearty and rich meal you will quickly fall in love with.

    This low carb clam chowder recipe comes with a twist: we’ve given it a keto makeover, requiring no potatoes! In place of the potatoes, you have an option of using a daikon radish, which is the “keto potato”. It looks like a potato and has a similar texture.

    Flour becomes arrowroot powder

    This keto seafood soup is easy to make and doesn’t require any fancy ingredients. However you will need some arrowroot powder to replace the traditional wheat flour. Arrowroot helps thicken up the broth and is (of course) gluten free.

    The tenderness of celery and onion along with the creaminess of chicken broth and whipping cream will melt in your mouth. A burst of delicious flavors will explode on your taste buds. The slight brininess and underlying creaminess with the tenderness of the clams is the perfect thing. And if you add some daikon radish, the high carb potatoes will not be missed! The reds, greens and whites of this delicious soup make for an Instagram-perfect picture.

    Top this creamy soup with crispy bacon and serve with some keto crackers or a fresh batch of keto rolls.

    scooping up a spoonful of chowder

    What is New England clam chowder?

    Normally, New England clam chowders have clams, celery, onions, flour, cream and potatoes.

    Some recipes also call for salted pork. To replace the flour, we use arrowroot powder which is a keto friendly thickener for soup. To replace the potatoes, we use daikon radish, but you can omit that all together too.

    Some people will use celery root to replace the potato in keto chowder. You can use celery root as well if your grocery store carries it. Another popular vegetable in keto clam chowder is cauliflower. Cauliflower can also replace the potato in this chowder soup.

    This keto soup recipe does have carrot for color and flavor. We only use 1/4 cup of carrots for the entire soup, so they don’t add too many carbs overall.

    Manhattan clam chowder is made with clams, simmered with bacon, vegetables and potatoes in a tomato broth.

    clam chowder in a bowl topped with parsley and bacon

    How many carbs are in clams?

    For a 100 gram (3.5 oz. clams serving), there are only 5 grams of carbs. One 6.5 oz. can of clams has 8 grams total carbs.

    Other than being low in carb, clams are high in protein and they are also a rich source of vitamins, minerals and omega-3 fatty acids.

    Imagine enjoying a hearty, warm soup on a cold winter evening without counting the carbs in each spoon! Amazing, right?

    crispy bacon on top of a chunky clam chowder in a bowl

    Can I use frozen or fresh clams instead of canned?


    You can use frozen clams instead of canned ones in this low carb clam chowder recipe. They might have a different taste, but the overall flavor will still be fantastic.

    You might also find some seafood departments have fresh clam available, but often you will have to clean and prepare the clams, which is an additional step in this process.

    Arrowroot powder for thickener

    Arrowroot powder is used to thicken most low carb soups.

    Once you have prepared the soup, add the arrowroot powder. Heat the soup at a low temperature so that it doesn’t form clumps. It is odorless and has a neutral flavor, making it the perfect option as a thickener. The best thing about arrowroot powder is that it also freezes well. So, you can make this keto chowder soup ahead and store it in the freezer and enjoy it the next day as well.

    For extra creamy clam chowder, consider adding some cream cheese to your soup.

    dipping a keto bread roll into a bowl of soup

    Keto Clam Chowder: FAQS

    Is restaurant clam chowder keto friendly?

    The safe answer is 'no'. Most clam chowders have flour and high carb vegetables like potatoes, so unless the restaurant declares it is a 'keto' or a 'low-carb' clam chowder, it is likely not.

    Can I add cauliflower rice to keto clam chowder?

    Yes, cauliflower is a wonderful addition to clam chowder and is of course low in net carbs.

    Can we use xanthan gum in place of the arrowroot?

    Yes, I would use 1/2 – 1 teaspoon of xanthan gum and remove the arrowroot.

    Can I cook this recipe in an Instant Pot?

    Yes! I have added Instant Pot instructions to the main recipe!

    Can I make clam chowder dairy free?

    I would try coconut oil in place of the butter, and either coconut cream, coconut milk or other nut milk (almond milk) in place of the heavy whipping cream.

    Nutritional information & Macros

    Nutrition Information

    Keto Clam Chowder

    Servings: 4

    Amount Per Serving
    Calories 204
    Fat 17.6g
    Protein 6.9g
    Total Carbs 6.9g
    Net Carbs 6.2g

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    1. Hi I don’t have arrowroot powder at the moment and would love to make this today. Can I use regular cornstarch?? And how much. Or do I just omit it and add cream cheese. How much of cream cheese?? Thank you

    2. What about Clear Clam Chowder Like Narragaset clam chowder using cubed jicama instead of potatoes?

    3. 1 pound shucked clams 11.99 5 LB can 2.40 each can use bacon bits with onions and 3 cups water instead of chicken stock
      3 cups clam juice 2.71 12 ounce 2.01
      3 cups chicken stock 2.00 16 ounce 1.8
      1/4 cup butter 1.20 16 ounce 0.3
      2 onions, diced 3.97 5 lb bag 0.27
      2 large stalks celery, chopped, with leaves 2.38 for two stalks 2.38
      1 (15 ounce) can fingerling potatoes, drained and quartered 3.49 5 lb potatoes 0.48
      3 tablespoons of dill weed 2.00 6 ounce 0.12
      2 tablespoons black pepper 2.00 8 ounce 0.06
      1 teaspoon salt 1 b sea salt 3.00 0.08
      1 pinch cayenne pepper 2.00 8 ounce 0.04
      1/4 Cup chopped parsley 0.69 bunch 0.05
      2 drops hot pepper sauce 2.00 8 ounce bottle 0.03
      7.62 $1.81 sell @ $9.43/4 servings
      Total x+0.25 $2.36 each

    4. you will notice there is no milk as Cows did not exist in American until 1700. Hence most Native Americans are lactose intolerant.

    5. My figures might be off but I could get whole clams(Cohaugs) from Metro Lobster in Cranston Rhode Island.

    6. This Keto Clam Chowder is absolutely the best clam chowder recipe I have ever tried. It is so creamy and has just the right amount of kick! My husband and I love seafood, so this will be a recipe we use over and over again!

    7. We had some frozen leftover from the Washington coast! We cleaned up the “food” and diced it up. This was so special, because the clams we used we got with my now late father. It was just a special memory and it went well with this recipe.

      1. Sally, thank you for sharing this story. I have a number of recipes that remind me of departed loved ones and they are always special.

    8. I think this recipe turned out good.. I was hoping for a thicker chowder. I am not sure if I missed a step or what.

      1. I’m glad you liked the recipe. To make the clam chowder thicker, you can try adding 1/2 teaspoon of arrowroot powder. That is my keto thickener of choice.

    9. I used the little red radishes and cut them in half and omitted the arrowroot since I didn’t have on hand. I’ve been low carb for 5 years so thinner soups aren’t a bother for me. I also just threw the diced, cooked bacon into the soup for the simmer, versus sprinkling on top at the end. The flavor profile of this clam chowder is DELICIOUS. 5 star keeper. This is the first recipe I’ve tried of yours, Annie, and now I’m super curious and excited to try more. Thank you!

    10. I grew up in New England and have really strong opinions about chowder and this one was surprisingly good!

      I added cream cheese to mine when it was almost done because I wasn’t able to get heavy cream at the store so I wanted it creamier. I felt like it was a bit too peppery also. I normally don’t add salt and pepper as directed just in case but wasn’t paying attention this time. I think that’s my only complaint but it’s an easy fix! A little less salt and pepper, and each person can always add more to their liking.

      My super picky eater husband went back for seconds so it’s a win for us! Love your recipes!

    11. This looks great… however… growing up in Massachusetts, summers spent on the coast of R.I. near Narragansett, no clam Chowder EVER is made with chicken broth!!!
      Clam Juice is the right liquid!!! Bottled Clam Juice!!!

      Thickening the Chowder is not standard… I grew up eating the clam Chowder & learned to make it without thickener.

      Google it… just not done.

      Using Daikon Radish is a unique substitute… wiil need to give it a try!

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