This warm and comforting Instant Pot clam chowder is reminiscent of classic New England clam chowder. It is creamy, hearty, and packed with flavor and fresh clams. Plus, it's so simple and easy to make too - it takes under 40 minutes!
THE BEST INSTANT POT CLAM CHOWDER
Whether you're having a cookout, are on the beach, or cozying up at home, anytime is a good time for a delicious bowl of clam chowder.
And this rich and flavorful clam chowder recipe checks all of the right boxes.
Each spoonful is loaded with flavor and texture. You get a bite of tender clams, hearty potatoes, crunchy croutons, and crispy bacon bits, all in a creamy and velvety soup.
Now, this Instant Pot clam chowder is a lighter take on the New England clam chowder, but it is still just as indulgent and satisfying.
And the best part is the fact that making clam chowder Instant Pot style - that's how my family refers to it anyway - is way easier to make than traditional clam chowder. Just like with this Instant Pot corn chowder!
In fact, you can make enough to feed the whole family in less than 40 minutes! And, honestly, that's why this recipe is one of our favorite easy dinner recipes to make on busy nights.
As you'll see below, most of what you'll need for this clam chowder are common kitchen ingredients.
And if you don't have what you need on hand, you should easily be able to find it at your local grocery store.
Here's everything you'll need:
- 1 - 1.5 Lbs. Clams
- ½ Cup Diced Bacon
- 2 Tbsp. Unsalted Butter
- 1 Garlic Clove, chopped
- 1 Onion, diced
- 2 Tbsp. All-Purpose Flour
- 1 Cup Milk
- 3 Cups Fish Stock
- 1 Bay Leaf
- 1 Tbsp. Dried Thyme
- 4 Small Potatoes, diced
- ½ Cup Heavy Cream
- 1 Cup Croutons
- Salt and Pepper
- Cilantro Leaves
Now, you will need quite a few ingredients, but they are all essential to create the best homemade clam chowder you'll ever have!
By the way, you can use a lot of these same ingredients to make this easy and delicious chicken fricassee for your next meal.
TIPS FOR CHOOSING CLAMS
Before anything else, it's important to make sure you're starting with live clams - not dead ones. And if you've never bought clams before, they should:
Be slightly open.
Smell ocean fresh.
& if you lightly tap on them they should close.
For more in depth information on buying fresh clams, check out this article!
Also, keep that in mind that you will have to soak your clams to clean them before starting - as you'll want to get any sand out of them - so give yourself enough time to do that too.
HOW TO MAKE INSTANT POT CLAM CHOWDER
Again, this instant pot clam chowder recipe is super quick and easy to make.
It'll only take about 40 minutes max – and more than half of that is just waiting for the chowder to cook. And since everything cooks in the instant pot, you cut down on clean-up time too!
Now, let's "dive" into this clam chowder recipe.
STEP 1: CLEAN THE CLAMS
The first thing you'll want to do is give the clams a quick rinse and soak them in a big bowl of cold salted water for around 2 hours. And you'll need 1 tablespoon of salt per cup of cold water.
Oh, and make sure to reserve one cup of clam water for later.
Then when the clams are done soaking, scrub off any dirt outside the shells with a stiff brush, and your clams are ready to go.
Can I use Canned Clams To Make This Instant Pot Clam Chowder?
Yes, you can.
If you'd like to use canned clams for this clam chowder recipe you'll want to use around a ½ cup of them.
Also, just so you know, you'll want to add the juice from the cans as well.
Now, as far as when to add them into your Instant Pot, you'll want to add them towards the end of the cooking process - just as you would if you used fresh ones. However, since canned clams are already cooked, they will not need to be cooked as long.
STEP 2: COOK THE CHOWDER
Now, set the instant pot to "sauté," add in the diced bacon, and let it cook until it is crispy and bright red in color.
Then, take the bacon out of the pot and transfer it to a plate lined with paper towels to drain any excess fat.
Next, with the sauté mode still on, add your butter, diced onion, and chopped garlic to the instant pot and cook for around 5 minutes until the onion is translucent. And make sure to stir everything a few times while cooking.
Then add the flour to the pot, followed by the milk, and mix them with the butter until the ingredients are thoroughly combined, and the butter mixture has dissolved.
After that, add 1 cup of the clam water we saved earlier, along with the fish stock, potatoes, bay leaf, and thyme. Bring everything to a boil, and then cover the instant pot.
To finish up, cook at low pressure for 20 minutes, then slowly release the steam when it's done cooking.
And to release the steam, turn the knob from the sealed to the venting position - make sure to use an oven mitt. Keep the knob open until the steam has stopped flowing and the floating valve has dropped.
STEP 3: FINISH AND SERVE
Once your instant pot has released all the steam, add the clams.
Then return the instant pot to sauté mode, bring everything to a boil, and cook at a boil for 5 minutes - until the clams open up
And your clam chowder is ready to serve! Ladle the soup into four bowls and finish each with 2 tablespoons of heavy cream, a handful of croutons, and some fresh cilantro leaves.
HOW TO STORE CLAM CHOWDER
This instant pot clam chowder makes about 4 bowls - just enough for a hearty family dinner, so you likely won't have any leftovers. But if you want more, you can easily double or triple this recipe!
And if you do end up with extras, you can store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
Then to reheat, the best way is to put a saucepan on your stovetop over medium-low heat, and heat the soup up until it reaches your desired temperature.
WRAPPING IT ALL UP
Whenever you're craving something warm, comforting, and flavorful, this quick and easy pressure cooker clam chowder recipe will definitely hit the spot.
It is a restaurant-quality meal that everyone will love, and it is perfect for any time of the year!
My family can't get enough of it during summer cookouts and throughout the cold winter months, and I hope you enjoy this instant pot clam chowder as much as my family and I do.
If you make it, be sure to let me know how it went in the comments below!
MORE INSTANT POT RECIPES
If you liked how quick and easy this instant pot recipe was, we have a few more on the blog that I think you'll like too.
Try making one of these next:
- Instant Pot Paella
- Instant Pot Sausage and Peppers
- Instant Pot Coconut Rice
- Instant Pot Sushi Rice
- Instant Pot Potato Salad
- Instant Pot Corn On The Cob
- Instant Pot Split Pea Soup
Instant Pot Clam Chowder In 40 Minutes
This warm and comforting instant pot clam chowder is reminiscent of classic New England clam chowder. It is creamy, hearty, and packed with flavor and fresh clams. And it is simple to make and takes under 40 minutes!
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 30 minutes
- Total Time: 40 minutes
- Yield: 4 servings 1x
- Category: Dinner
- Method: Instant Pot
- Cuisine: Seafood
1 - 1.5 Lbs. Clams (or ½ cup canned clams and the juice)
½ Cup Diced Bacon
2 Tbsp. Unsalted Butter
1 Garlic Clove, chopped
1 Onion, diced
2 Tbsp. All-Purpose Flour
1 Cup Milk
3 Cups Fish Stock
1 Bay Leaf
1 Tbsp. Dried Thyme
4 Small Potatoes, diced
½ Cup Heavy Cream
1 Cup Croutons
Salt and Pepper
- Place the clams in a big bowl with water and salt (around 2 hours before starting to cook the chowder). Save 1 cup of water for later.
- Start the instant pot in “Sauté” and add the diced bacon. Let it cook until it’s crispy and bright red, remove from the pot and drain excess fat on a paper towel-lined plate..
- Add the butter, onion and garlic and sauté until the onion is translucent (around 5 minutes).
- Add the flour and milk, mix with the butter and stir until everything is combined and the flour and butter mixture has dissolved completely.
- Add 1 cup of the clams water, the fish stock, potatoes, bay leaf and thyme.
- Bring to a boil and cover the instant pot. Cook at low pressure for 20 minutes, and slowly release the steam afterwards.
- Once it’s safe to open, add the salt, pepper, and the clams and return to the “sauté” setting.
- Once it’s boiling, let it boil for another 5 minutes.
- Serve in four bowls and finish each with 2 tablespoons of heavy cream, a handful of croutons, and some fresh cilantro leaves.
*If using canned clams just add them in at the end of the cooking process.
- Serving Size: 1 serving
- Calories: 533
- Fat: 28
- Carbohydrates: 26
- Fiber: 1
- Protein: 41
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