Food / Main Dishes / Pescetarian / Soups, Stews + Chili

Best Clam Chowder { With Beer }

“I make the best seafood chowder!” He bellowed excitedly with smiling blue eyes.

“Really? What do you do?” I asked, having never braved a from-scratch chowder myself.

“I put a fillet of whatever white fish I’ve got in a baking dish, dump a can of clam chowder on top, and then pour a beer over it; then I bake it for about half an hour.”

I laughed as my internal sad trumpet went off.

That was Uncle Marc. Someone who found great pleasure in even the simplest things; someone who didn’t have much, but gave you everything.

A year ago today, he passed away suddenly.

Because of the age difference between him and my mum, I made him a proud uncle at the age of 11.

This was the first time he met me, and the way he looks at me in this photo is the way he looked at all of his nieces and nephews for the rest of his life.

He was the uncle who showed up to Sunday brunch at a quaint restaurant wearing a trench coat; he was the uncle that came up to you at Christmas, beer in hand, and smacked you on the shoulder yelling, “Hey, Merry KissMyAss!“; his hearty laughter filled the room, and it was damn contagious. He had a hard exterior with a most gentle core.

We’ve had many conversations about food. We’re a family that enjoys cooking, and we like to think we’re good at it; when he wasn’t banging on his drums or riding his motorcycle, he was likely in his kitchen making a monster pot of chili.

Or dumping a can of fish over more fish.

I wanted to give my uncle a nod by taking his idea of “the best seafood chowder” and creating a spin-off of sorts. I think he would have enjoyed a bowl of this good stuff — complete with a cold pint.

Cheers, bro ♡

Easy Clam Chowder { With Beer } | Killing Thyme

The Best { Damn } Clam Chowder.

I used a fillet of white fish (cod) and beer, along with a hearty medley of smoked kipper snacks, celery, carrots, onions, potatoes, and clams. This soup is hella creamy, and hella hearty. I used smoked kipper snacks to replace the bacon since this is a pescetarian recipe, but feel free to sub-in bacon if that’s your jam. Also, I find that dried thyme does something special to soup while it’s cooking. So I went with dried thyme throughout the cooking process and garnished it with the fresh stuff.

Easy Clam Chowder { With Beer } | Killing Thyme

Easy Clam Chowder { With Beer } | Killing Thyme

Is there a dish out there that reminds you of someone you’ve lost? What is it? Do you make it often?

If you make this recipe, please snap a pic and tag me on Instagram @killing__thyme! I love hearing from you <3

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5 from 6 votes

Best Clam Chowder

This pescetarian-friendly clam chowder brings smoked kipper snacks, cod, clams, potatoes, and veggies to a creamy broth for a belly-warming soup that'll fill you to the brim.
Course Entree or Side, Main Course, Soup
Cuisine Comfort Food, Pescetarian
Prep Time 20 minutes
Servings 6
Author Killing Thyme


  • 1 TSBP olive oil
  • 3 oz smoked kipper snacks, drained and roughly chopped (*See notes) found in canned fish ailes
  • 1 TBSP all purpose flour
  • 10 oz white fish fillet, like cod or halibut, cut into bite-sized cubes
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 2 ribs of celery, finely chopped approx. 3/4 cup
  • 1 large carrot, finely chopped approx. 3/4 cup
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 2 russet potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 cup wheat beer; a pilsner or lager will also work
  • 8 oz clam juice
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • Cracked black pepper
  • 2 cups half and half cream, divided
  • 2 TBSP corn starch
  • 2 10 oz cans of clams, undrained

Optional Garnishes.

  • Oyster crackers
  • Smoked paprika
  • Fresh thyme


  • Heat oil in a stock pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add smoked kipper snacks and sauté for approx. 2 minutes. In the meantime, cut your fish fillets into bite-sized cubes and place into a bowl; sprinkle with all purpose flour and toss to coat. Add the fish to the pot, along with a splash of the vegetable broth. Simmer for approx. 3-5 minutes, or until fish looks opaque.
  • Add the garlic, celery, onion, and carrot, and stir. Simmer until tender, approx. five minutes.
  • Stir in the cubed potatoes, vegetable broth, beer, clam juice, dried thyme, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer and simmer, uncovered, for 15-20 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.
  • In a small bowl, thoroughly mix 2 TBSP of corn starch with 1 cup half-and-half cream. Gradually stir it into the soup. Bring to a boil and simmer for 1-2 minutes or until thickened, stirring often. If you'd like the soup to be thicker, mix a TBSP of corn starch with 1/4 cup cold water, and gradually add to the simmering soup to thicken further.
  • Finally, stir in the clams with their juice, and the remaining half-and-half; heat through, but don't bring to a boil. Season with salt and pepper. Stir, and taste. Season further if needed. 
  • Serve, and garnish with oyster crackers, smoked paprika, and fresh thyme.


*If you're not pescetarian and want to use bacon, bring roughly chopped bacon to the pot in place of the kipper snacks and cook them until lightly crisped, then remove the bacon and set aside on a paper towel. Continue on with the rest of the steps, and stir the bacon in at the end with the clams.


  • Hannah
    May 19, 2020 at 12:50 pm

    I’m sorry to hear about your uncle. It’s hard to lose the people you love. I lost my aunt a few days ago, and I actually found this recipe because I wanted to make clam chowder for my uncle. We cooked some clams Belgian style with some beer and let’s just say cherry stones are better off in a chowder. So I wanted to use the uneaten clams in a chowder. Anyway, I wish you the best. Thanks for the recipe. I hope it helps cheer him up a little.

    • Killing Thyme
      May 20, 2020 at 5:01 pm

      Hannah, this is such a sweet comment. Thank you so much <3
      I'm terribly sorry for the loss of your Aunt. I hope the chowder is a hit and comforts your Uncle in the way that food does. I wish you the best as well! I hope you pop by again. Sending hugs your way. xo

  • Creamy Crab Bisque | Killing Thyme
    April 2, 2018 at 10:38 am

    […] crab is actually okay to use in bisques and chowders; just make sure it’s REAL crab meat—and say goodbye to the ultimate flavor power brought to […]

  • […] an insufficient amount of time, but sure enough, the cod (pictured above) that I infused for my homemade clam chowder was wonderfully smokey; it tasted as if it had spent hours in an outdoor […]

  • Terri
    January 27, 2018 at 11:08 am

    I’m so sorry about your uncle Marc – it brought tears to my eyes because I recently lost my uncle Leonard and they sound sooo much alike! :) He was about the same age when I made him an uncle. And although I love the sound of your clam chowder, I’d love to try your Uncle Marc’s. I bet it was awesome!

    • Killing Thyme
      February 1, 2018 at 12:54 pm

      I’m so sorry about your Uncle Leonard, Terri <3 It's so tough, losing the ones we love. We know it'll eventually happen, but gosh. There's never a way to be prepared. It really puts things into perspective.
      And you're right, I really need to try the chowder HIS way one of these days. It's probably great. I'm no food snob — canned creamed soups are a guilty pleasure of mine. Haha.

  • Chef Markus Mueller | Earth, Food, and Fire
    January 26, 2018 at 9:39 pm

    5 stars
    Delicious looking chowder Dana! I love seafood chowder but never make it at home for some reason, I’ll have to do something about that. Plus who doesn’t like a good beer with a hearty bowl of soup!

    • Killing Thyme
      February 1, 2018 at 12:49 pm

      Thanks, Markus! Indeed you must do something about that ;) I can’t believe I waited as long as I did to make this one. It won’t disappoint! And if it does, I’ll owe you a beer.

  • Charlotte
    January 26, 2018 at 5:02 pm

    I LOVE clam chowder so I need to give this one a try! Also love that you included the crackers with it, those are a must-have.

    • Killing Thyme
      February 1, 2018 at 12:48 pm

      I hope you love it!

  • Katherine Hachworthy
    January 26, 2018 at 12:23 pm

    5 stars
    I love how close you where to your uncle and how you think and remembers him. He must be really a good man. The recipe and how you make this seafood chowder is not just delicious but also special!

    • Killing Thyme
      February 1, 2018 at 12:48 pm

      Thanks, Katherine. He was a fabulous dude. This recipe will forever be special — maybe I need to rename it to something along the lines of “Uncle Marc’s Chowder”.

  • Tiffany
    January 26, 2018 at 12:16 pm

    5 stars
    Your uncle sounds like such a fun guy! I bet he is super impressed and proud that you have carried on his tradition in this soup. I love that you added kipper as well…so great and loaded with healthy omegas! It looks absolutely delicious!

    • Killing Thyme
      February 1, 2018 at 12:47 pm

      Thanks, Tiffany! He was a howl. And heck yes on the kipper! I’m so glad someone recognized the ingredient, haha. I was only recently introduced to kipper and I looooove it. Delicious, smokey, and like you said — super healthy!

  • Teri Stephens
    January 26, 2018 at 12:15 pm

    5 stars
    I have never tried making my own chowder. I know, I know, I should be ashamed. But this recipe just might get me. Wonderful post.

    • Killing Thyme
      February 1, 2018 at 12:46 pm

      Nah Teri, I was the same! Never made my own chowder until this one. I hope you enjoy this is you do make it. I’m so happy I got around to it, because it was much better than I could have ever imagined. Super thick and cozy!

  • Jessica
    January 26, 2018 at 12:11 pm

    Your story about your uncle is so touching; I love recipes inspired by family :) this chowder sounds just divine, warm and cozy and perfect with a beer. Cheers!

    • Killing Thyme
      February 1, 2018 at 12:44 pm

      Thanks, Jess! This beer-y chowder really was the bomb.
      Recipes inspired by family are everything <3 We're looking to build a house right now, and the most important thing to me is that the kitchen it open to the family room and is a big space for family and friends to congregate. There's something about everyone being in the kitchen, eating, laughing, drinking, that fills my heart and soul with ALL the feelgoods.

  • Kim/The Finer Cookie
    January 26, 2018 at 12:07 pm

    5 stars
    Clam Chowder was always my go to choice when my family went to a restaurant. It remains my favourite, but I never make it myself. I wonder why? You’ve inspired me. The recipe looks great.

    • Killing Thyme
      February 1, 2018 at 12:42 pm

      I was the same for the longest time, Kim. I always got so excited when it was on the menu at a restaurant, but never bothered to make it myself until this recipe. I’ll definitely be making it more!

  • Emma @ Supper in the Suburbs
    January 26, 2018 at 11:29 am

    Uncle Marc sounds like my kind of guy! I’m sure you’ve got tonnes of happy memories with him and he’ll certainly live on in your heart. This recipe also sounds LUSH! I’m sure the chowder out of a can tasted ok but this is something else :) I’m sure he’d have been proud!

    • Killing Thyme
      February 1, 2018 at 12:40 pm

      He was definitely awesome, Emma. Thanks for the comment. <3
      I totally loved the canned chowder growing up, but oh gosh. What a game changer when you make it from scratch. I guess that goes with most soups!

  • Katie Doyle
    January 26, 2018 at 11:11 am

    I absolutely loved reading about your connection to this soup through your Uncle. He sounds like a man who truly loved life! And I appreciate anyone who encourages adding beer to your food :)

    • Killing Thyme
      February 1, 2018 at 12:39 pm

      Thanks so much, Katie. He really did love life, and everyone in it! I’m so with you. Beer instead of wine forever, please! Haha.

  • Jo Vanderwolf
    January 26, 2018 at 10:46 am

    5 stars
    That made me tear up – your uncle sounded like a great man. So sorry for your loss.
    As for the soup – ooooh. my. gosh. Yes. Aaaaaall the yes. Imma need some of this.

    • Killing Thyme
      February 1, 2018 at 12:38 pm

      Thanks, Jo <3

      If you do make this soup, let me know. I'm definitely proud of it. SUCH good chowder!


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