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Last Updated on April 11, 2022

Are you looking for a simple dairy free clam chowder recipe that will be at the top of the list of your favorite recipes? Other recipes can try to get close to this soup, but none will. There is a strong flavor of clams, but not too strong. Just perfect. This is one of my favorite healthy dinners that everyone in the family loves. Eating dairy free isn’t a struggle at all with this delicious healthy clam chowder.

Bowl of Dairy Free Clam chowder topped with fresh thyme

Easy Dairy Free Chowder

This really is a great recipe. If you’re a fan of soup and flavor, this seafood chowder is where it’s at. I think that the addition of the chicken broth adds a ton of great flavor. Bone broth is best, but chicken broth is a good option, too.

What can I add to bland clam chowder?

If your bowl of dairy free soup needs a little bit of a flavor boost, there are actually quite a few ingredients that you can add. Since this recipe is dairy free, you can opt for adding in almond milk or coconut milk instead. Full fat coconut milk is a great way to add a hint of coconut flavor without going over the top.Cashew milk is another great option or you can add in a tad bit of cashew cream or even coconut cream as well. I know that a lot of people like to add potatoes to give a boost of flavor. Chopped potatoes are great to go with the rest of the texture of the soup and you can choose between russet potatoes, white potatoes, or any other type of potatoes that you want.

What are the different types of clam chowder recipes?

The great thing about making clam chowder is that there are different recipes to choose from. Keep in mind that the various types of clam chowder are not all dairy free or gluten free so it’s important for you to pay attention to the ingredients before making it. If I can find a simple way to tweak them all, I will and then I’ll share those recipes with you so that you can make them easily at home. Why stop with just one soup when you can eat and enjoy more!

New England Clam Chowder

Any New England clam chowder recipe is not going to be dairy free. It’s a creamy clam chowder that is typically white in color and will either use fresh clams or canned clams in the mixture. This is the traditional clam chowder that most people eat and enjoy. You’ll often find New England style clam chowder at most restaurants on the menu.

Manhattan Clam Chowder

This type of clam chowder is one that is typically red in coloring and has more of a tomato based approach. It’s a thinner soup overall. This soup is one that has more of a broth texture and isn’t as thick as New England style clam chowder.

Paleo Clam Chowder

Eating paleo clam chowder can happen but you do have to be pretty particular about the ingredients that you add in. Using a mixture of chicken broth and making it gluten free is key. (Just so you know, this dairy free clam chowder recipe is paleo and gluten free!) As long as you leave items that are carb-heavy like white potatoes or other foods items that you can’t eat on the paleo diet, you can easily make a delicious clam chowder that won’t wreck your diet or eating habits.

Ingredients needed to make dairy free clam chowder

Ingredients to make dairy-free clam chowder on a counter top

If you’re ready to make one of the most delicious recipes, ever, it’s time to gather up the simple ingredients to get started.

  • 1 small head cauliflower, cored
  • and roughly chopped
  • 6 strips bacon, diced
  • 1⁄2 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 2 cups Chicken Bone Broth
  • 1 tablespoon tapioca flour
  • 1 pound chopped clams with broth
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • fresh or dried thyme leaves, for garnish

How To Make Dairy Free Clam Chowder

Chopped cauliflower in a large pot for dairy free clam chowder

1. Place the chopped cauliflower in a large pot and cover it with water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and cook for 10 minutes, until completely softened.

sautéed onions, celery and bacon in a large pot

2. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan over medium-high heat, sauté the bacon, onion, and celery until the onion is translucent, 3 to 5 minutes.

draining cooked cauliflower in a colander

3. Drain the cooked cauliflower. Place in a blender with broth and tapioca flour and blend until completely smooth.

pureed cauliflower in a blender

4. Add the puréed cauliflower to the saucepan with the bacon along with the clams, vinegar, bay leaf, thyme leaves, salt, and pepper. Stir well and cook for 20 minutes over medium heat.

Ingredients for clam chowder in a large pan boiling

5. Remove from the heat, garnish with fresh or dried thyme leaves, and serve.

Are you looking for a simple dairy free clam chowder recipe that will be at the top of the list of your favorite recipes? Other recipes can try to get close to this soup, but none will. There is a strong flavor of clams, but not too strong. Just perfect. This is one of my favorite healthy dinners that everyone in the family loves. Eating dairy free isn't a struggle at all with this delicious healthy clam chowder.

Tips for Making Gluten free clam chowder

The best part about this dairy free clam chowder is that it’s really easy to make. In fact, from start to finish, this simple soup will take you less than 30 minutes of time. But just because this recipe is simple doesn’t mean that you don’t need a few recipe notes and tips to help! Save your bacon fat. Use all those leftover bacon bits and bacon fat to cook up the onion and celery. This gives a nice glaze and flavor that the onion and other ingredients wouldn’t normally have. Bacon grease is one of my favorite greases to use because it adds so much flavor to every recipe possible. If I can cook up with bacon grease and fat, I’m going to! Add in all the bacon! It might sound like I’m a bit bacon crazy at this point but there is a reason. There is a ton of flavor in bacon that can really bring out the flavors. Don’t skimp on the bacon – add it all in there! Cook in a dutch oven. I’m a big fan of this recipe because of the cooking method but making this in your dutch oven is amazing as well. The added flavor and the ability to serve this recipe hot are key to each and every bite. Just make sure that you’re stirring occasionally so that the recipe doesn’t burn in the pot. Add garlic. If you’re a fan of garlic, add garlic! There is room in this recipe to add more yummy food items and ingredients! If you’re the cook, do what you want!

Can I use other liquids in this dairy free clam chowder?

You can. As long as you’re keeping those liquids dairy free, you can add in other options all that you want. I think that adding in vegetable broth would be a great option as well as any type of liquid that is dairy free, too. Think coconut milk, cashew milk, chicken stock – just to know a few. There are fewer health benefits when you’re using things like chicken stock, but sometimes you just have to use what you have to use. I also think that adding in a bit of clam juice adds a lot of great flavors, too!

Can I use canned clams for this recipe?

Like most recipes, I think that fresh clams taste better but if all you have is canned clams, use them up! (use that clam juice, too!) You’ll also have to be sure to cook fresh clams ahead of time for this recipe, too as you don’t want to add them in raw! When it comes to clams, there is a little bit of a texture and taste difference between fresh and canned so keep that in mind when making this recipe.

Can I add potatoes to my dairy free clam chowder recipe?

If you want to add potatoes, cook them until they’re done all the way. They should be fork tender when they’re done and ready. Once you put in potatoes this soup, the nutrition facts of the recipe are going to change. This will also change the carb count of the recipe, too so keep that in mind. Anytime that you add in anything, make sure that whoever is eating it doesn’t have food intolerances to what you’re adding in. It’s just an easy way to verify that a recipe is safe for everyone to eat and enjoy. Why serve a recipe that isn’t enjoyable by all?

What foods go well with clam chowder soup?

Dairy free clam chowder is really quite a hearty meal all on its own but there are a few ingredients and side dishes that you can add to it. If you eat carbs, gluten free bread rolls are always a win. If you don’t eat carbs, this is where you can add some heartiness to this recipe by adding in russet potatoes, more bacon, more cauliflower florets, and even more bacon bits right on top. You can also use a refrigerated can of bread as well to make something fast in the oven. For a lighter side option, I always think that a simple side salad is perfect, too! Just add a small bowl of greens and a light dressing and it will pair perfectly with a piping hot bowl of soup! Talk about a fast and easy dinner that won’t have everyone feeling bogged down and sluggish.

Do you add toppings to dairy free clam chowder?

Yep, if you want to! Keep the toppings dairy free and add them on! A little bit of coconut cream made from coconut milk sounds pretty amazing. The same goes for cashew cream as well. Adding chopped up bacon bits on top or even a handful of raw cashews is the perfect way to add some extra crunch as well. When you cook bacon, just cook up some extra and save it as the topping. (easy peasy, right?!) Recipes like clam chowder give such huge leniency for what you can add because so many ingredients go perfectly with it! Don’t forget to add in a bay leaf or two for flavor!

What is the best way to serve clam chowder?

Clam chowder is best when you can serve hot and ready! That first bowl of clam chowder will have you wanting more, I can promise you that. If you’re able to make a gluten free bread bowl, that would be an awesome way to serve it!

Can clam chowder be frozen?

You can actually serve clam chowder so this makes a great way to meal plan ahead. I wouldn’t freeze any of the heavy cream or ingredients like that if you’re wanting to add as that can be made fresh later and added on. My freezer pro tip for you is to freeze the leftovers in individual portions. This is a simple way for you to unthaw and reheat a small portion without having to do it all. Because we all know that once you unthaw it once, you can’t be putting it back in the freezer to freeze again!

How do you store leftover clam chowder recipes?

As long as you keep it stored in an airtight container and keep it in the fridge, your leftover chowder should be good for up to 3-4 days. Any longer than that and you’re going to want to put it into the freezer for later. One simple tip that I’ve learned with it comes to saving leftovers is that I like to save them in portions so that they’re easier to eat. This is great for days that I’m working and the kids are going to have leftovers. I’ll save one serving of the chowder in a container and then let the kids know that it’s there and how to reheat it properly. This makes for less stress, an easier dinner, and a fast way to feed those bellies when they’re hungry.

Can you eat clam chowder cold?

I highly recommend that you warm it back up when you’re eating leftovers. The flavor at just the right temperature is perfection. Plus, for food safety, it needs to be reheated to 165 degrees as you don’t want to take any risks.

Can you make chowder a day ahead?

Absolutely. In fact, this is a great idea. If you’re wanting to have some healthy recipes on hand for family and friends, making it a day in advance is a great dinner method to do. Then, when it’s time to warm up the recipe, you can put it back on the stove low and slow or warm it up in the microwave. Both are great options and both are super simple to do.

How do you clean clams for clam chowder?

Let’s just be clear about making this recipe. I’m not going to dive into how to clean clams in this blog post! There’s a process to it, but I’m all about ease. This is why I buy clams already cleaned, cooked, and ready to go. Or, in a pinch, I’ll use canned clams. Fresh clams are delicious but someone else needs to clean and cook them for me! Thankfully there are a lot of great seafood locations and restaurants that will help out and do that entire process.

Are canned clams cooked?

They are. The clams that are in the can are already cooked and ready to use. This means that you can add them to the recipe and not have to worry about a thing!

Should I rinse canned clams to get rid of clam juice?

Nope, not at all! In fact, you’ll see that this recipe calls for using the clams and the clam broth so don’t wash away any of that goodness.

Final thoughts regarding homemade chowder

dairy free clam chowder in a bowl
Yield: 10 servings

Dairy Free Clam Chowder

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes

This clam chowder recipe is made with cauliflower and savory bacon for a low-carb, keto, and Whole30 friendly soup. It's a creamy, delicious chowder that's ready in 45 minutes.

Ingredients

  • 1 small head cauliflower, cored and roughly chopped
  • 6 strips bacon, diced
  • 1⁄2 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 2 cups Chicken Bone Broth
  • 1 tablespoon tapioca flour
  • 1 pound chopped clams with broth
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • fresh or dried thyme leaves, for garnish

Instructions

1. Place the chopped cauliflower in a large pot and cover it with water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and cook for 10 minutes, until completely softened.

2. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan over medium-high heat, sauté the bacon, onion, and celery until the onion is translucent, 3 to 5 minutes.

3. Drain the cooked cauliflower. Place in a blender with broth and tapioca flour and blend until completely smooth.

4. Add the puréed cauliflower to the saucepan with the bacon along with the clams, vinegar, bay leaf, thyme leaves, salt, and pepper. Stir well and cook for 20 minutes over medium heat.

5. Remove from the heat, garnish with fresh or dried thyme leaves, and serve.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

10

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 129Total Fat: 4gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 38mgSodium: 909mgCarbohydrates: 6gFiber: 1gSugar: 1gProtein: 17g

Did you make this recipe?

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I’m a fan of all types of recipes, soups, and meals. When I go to restaurants, I eat things and then specifically wonder if I can make them at home myself. Call it the cook in me, but I’m genuinely curious. This is how a lot of my recipes come to fruition. I find something that I like, and then I figure out how to make it in a way that myself and my family can eat. What I love about this easy recipe is it’s a great flavor. The cauliflower florets paired with the bacon and other simple ingredients make it fun and easy to eat. I love being able to make a recipe and know that it’s a home run, right from the gate. Since everyone in my family has different tastes that they love, I work hard to find ingredients that we can all eat and enjoy. From the bacon to the option to add in white potatoes, I really love the versatility of this dish. Have fun creating and adding in potatoes, more bacon, and anything else that you want. Because ultimately, while you’re making a batch of this to feed your family, each bowl can be tweaked as well to find that individual flavor and taste. Let me know what part of this recipe you like the best and if it’s a hit with your family. We tend to eat it just about as quickly as I put it down on the table!

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2 Comments

  1. thanks for the dairy free chowder recipe. it is so much easier on my tummy since become lactose postpartum. It’s super tasty and well balanced too

  2. Oh wow, this sounds amazing . . . I love all the cauliflower you put in there! Have pinned to make next week, when allegedly we are getting one more blast of cold.