“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

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.
5 from 9 votes
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 6
Author: Dana Sandonato


  • 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.