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“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

5 from 9 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.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 6
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  • 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.
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5 from 9 votes

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  1. 5 stars
    Delicious! I am pescatarian and do try to limit dairy. I swapped the dairy with canned coconut milk. Very comforting on a snowy day! 

    1. Hi Robin, taken right from WebMD, “Pescatarians have a lot in common with vegetarians. They eat fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds, whole grains, beans, eggs, and dairy, and stay away from meat and poultry.” Just because you don’t do dairy doesn’t mean that pescatarians in general don’t.

  2. 5 stars
    I made this chowder following the author’s instructions to the letter–no alterations. I used Bar Harbor products, thawed wild caught cod, and Allagash White beer.

    AMAZING. My wife said it was better than any clam chowder she’s ever had in a restaurant. Thanks for sharing it.

  3. I am wanting to make this soup for our Thanksgiving Seafood dinner this week! Looks delicious.  We are Pescatarian and this is the first recipe I have found without bacon in it!  I do have a question.  Can it be made a day or two before?  I have read that cooking ahead can make the clams too hard from overcooking?  If that’s the case can I make the base before and just add the clams/ fish the day of.  Thanks for any tips! Going to buy the ingredients today!  I know this is supposed to be for comments about the recipe but didn’t know how else to ask you! :). THANKS so much for your response.  

    1. Hi Lisa! So glad you found this recipe. I haven’t made this recipe in advance, but I think making the base a day in advance would be totally fine, and you could simply add the clams and the fish day of. I don’t see any way that could ruin the soup! So I think you’re safe. Please let me know how it turns out! I can’t wait to hear and I hope it’s a hit!

  4. 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!

    1. 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.