This easy keto clam chowder is loaded with tender clams, smoky bacon, and hearty celery root to stand in for the classic potatoes – all swimming together in a creamy, butter rich broth. We are talking next level soup goals here. For reals.
I was inspired to finally post a keto clam chowder recipe after our recent trip to Connecticut – because while I love living on a tropical island in Honduras, Summer in New England is tough to beat. One of the things we love about New England in summertime is the abundance of fresh cold water seafood like lobster, haddock, mussels, and of course, clams.
Clam chowder is one of Mr. Hungry’s favorite soups, so I knew we couldn’t leave CT without having some. That’s when I realized that while I’ve been making clam chowder at home for years, I’ve never made a keto clam chowder recipe to post here on the website.
Oh the humanity!
Coming up with a delicious keto clam chowder based on my original recipe required only a couple of tweaks. Replacing the typical carb heavy potatoes with a low carb alternative, and thickening it without a flour-based roux to make it gluten-free and low enough in carbohydrates (or at least net carbs) to fit into a keto diet.
I’ll go into more details on how to make a classic New England Clam Chowder keto friendly below.
Keto Clam Chowder FAQ
What can you substitute for potatoes to make New England Clam Chowder keto friendly?
The celery root (aka. celeriac) was an obvious choice as a replacement for potatoes in this keto clam chowder since so many classic clam chowder recipes contain celery along with the potatoes. Adding celery root killed two birds with one stone, and provided just the slightest hint of celery flavor to my soup.
If you can’t find celery root, cauliflower florets would also make a good substitute for the potatoes, as would chopped turnips, rutabaga, or even radishes in a pinch.
What type of clams are the best for keto clam chowder?
Next, let’s talk about the clams you want to use. If the only thing you can get is canned clams from the tuna fish aisle, be aware that the flavor of your chowder is going to be affected. It will still be clam chowder, but frankly not as good. If you’re using canned clams, at least go for the whole baby clams in cans for the best flavor and texture.
That doesn’t mean you have to go find and shuck your own clams for this keto clam chowder to be tasty – though you could! Fortunately, most grocery stores with a seafood section will carry containers of raw, shucked (removed from the shell) clams.
Often they will be in the frozen section, which is where I found the ones I used. I took a photo of the container so you have an idea what to look for, though your store may carry a different brand.
(By the way this post isn’t sponsored by the company below – they don’t know I exist and I wasn’t paid or given product – this is just what I found, bought and used in this low carb clam chowder recipe, so I thought it might be helpful to have a visual.)
Any liquids from your clams, whether you shuck them fresh yourself or purchase them already shucked and chopped, should be saved so that you can add it to the pot to flavor your broth. (See instructions in the recipe card below.) You’re also going to have to purchase bottled clam juice for this recipe – and THAT you CAN get in the tuna fish aisle.
How can you thicken your clam chowder without using flour or a roux?
To thicken this low carb clam chowder, I used mascarpone cheese. Think of it as solid heavy cream – it melted into the broth and gave it the most silky, creamy texture! Still, this isn’t a super thick broth, so if you want it more stew-like you can further thicken this chowder with about 1/4 teaspoon of xanthan gum or arrowroot powder.
If you can’t get mascarpone cheese, you can substitute heavy cream, which will make for a thinner broth, but still delicious. I don’t recommend cream cheese but if you do try it and it works well please let us know in the comments!
Can this clam chowder be turned into a keto seafood chowder?
So glad you asked ha ha – but absolutely the answer is yes. If you aren’t a fan of clams, you can substitute lobster, shrimp, or even salmon or another firm fish as your protein in this creamy keto chowder.
I recommend keeping the clam juice in for that taste of the sea, but if you have an allergy or simply hate it, you can use a vegetable or chicken broth instead – but it will alter the flavor of your keto seafood chowder slightly.
Can this keto chowder be made in an Instant Pot or other Pressure Cooker?
I don’t recommend pressure cooking this chowder because it will make the seafood very tough and the cream based sauce can separate of it comes to a boil or is cooked under high pressure.
You will get the best results making this chowder on the stove top cooking in a sauce pan over medium heat and being sure to give it a good stir often. Don’t let it go over a slow simmer, especially once the dairy and seafood are added.Print
Keto Clam Chowder – Low Carb
- Total Time: 35 minutes
- Yield: 6 servings 1x
This easy keto clam chowder is loaded with tender clams, smoky bacon, and hearty celery root to stand in for the classic potatoes – all swimming together in a creamy, buttery broth.
- 4 slices bacon, chopped
- 1/2 cup chopped onion
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 3 cups peeled and chopped celery root
- 8 ounce bottle of clam juice
- 16 ounces raw chopped clams, reserve any juice
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 8 ounces mascarpone cheese
- 2 tablespoons butter
- Chopped parsley, to garnish
- Cook the bacon in a large sauce pan over medium heat for 2 – 3 minutes, or until lightly browned but not crispy.
- Add the onion, garlic, salt, pepper, and celery root, and saute for 2 – 3 minutes or until fragrant and the onions are turning translucent.
- Add the water and all of the clam juice and simmer on low heat, covered, for 15 – 20 minutes, or until the celery root is tender.
- Add the clams and mascarpone cheese, then stir until the mascarpone has melted and the broth is creamy.
- Simmer on low, uncovered, for 3 minutes, or until the clams are just cooked through. Do not boil.
- Remove from the heat and add the butter, stirring until melted.
- Taste and season with additional salt and pepper if needed.
- Garnish with parsley and serve hot.
Approximate net carbs per bowl = 7g.
To reduce carbs, you can replace the celery root with cauliflower florets or chopped radishes, bringing the net carbs down to around 4g per bowl. Personally I think it tastes best with the celery root, and you can adjust your carbs for the day down somewhere else to make room for it.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 25 minutes
- Category: Keto Soups
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: American
- Serving Size: 1 1/3 cups
- Calories: 332
- Fat: 24g
- Carbohydrates: 9g
- Fiber: 2g
- Protein: 13g
Keywords: keto clam chowder, low carb clam chowder, easy clam chowder, chowder
Erika Demars says
I wish there were more stars to give this recipe. All I can say is SUPER easy and AMAZINGLY tasteful!!!
Mellissa Sevigny says
Wow thanks so much Erika, I really appreciate the feedback!
Rachel King says
This soup looks delicious, I will have to try it.
How many pounds of celeriac do I buy to make 3 cups peeled and cubed?
Mellissa Sevigny says
About 2 pounds (1 very large or two small to medium sized) should give you the 3 cups.
I made this and dang if it didn’t hit the spot- celery root is *such* a good substitute for potatoes here. That said, my soup was basically just a big oil slick on top of melted butter (and maybe fat from the mascarpone?) in addition to being on the thin side, which you warned about and I anticipated. It tasted fine, but it was visually unappealing and required constantly trying to re-stir the fat floating on top back in. Next time, I think it’d be worthwhile to try pulling some of the broth and celery root and blending it together along with the butter both to add some body from the pureed root and to emulsify the butter into the soup, and then adding it back to the pot and finishing with the clams.
I’d also recommend adding some aromatics- a bay leaf and some chopped fresh thyme do wonders.
Try adding xanthan gum into the soup, then stir it around, and it will thicken up quick but add a little at a time until desired thickness. Thank
Made this recipe but exchanged celery root for low carb rutabaga. Recipe is delicious and comforting. Thanks!
Denise Freitas says
It is cold in South Georgia, so this was just the thing for our supper tonight. I didn’t have celery root or mascarpone so I subbed Caulifower & cream cheese. It was delicious. I so appreciate that you include the actual serving size along with your nution info. MANY Keto recipe developers do not and their serving sizes are ridiculously small. BTW your cookbook, Keto for Life was my intro to this lifestyle. I’m Dow 90 lbs. Have 40 to go, but I’m off BP, cholesterol & daily anti-inflammatory meds. My doctor is very pleased with me and supports me 100%.
Amazing! Thank you for this fantastic recipe! I did use chicken broth instead of water. This clam chowder is so good and the celery root taste like potato’s. This is a great recipe to anyone!!!! Sooo good I will definitely make again :)
CHERYL WHITNEY says
I don’t have the moscarpone and so I’m going to use the heavy cream…. what amount of cream should I use. I couldn’t find a measurement. :-) Can’t wait to make this!!!
Kathy D. says
I made this recipe last night. Took the advise of another comment and added Chicken broth instead of water. Since I didn’t have mascarpone….I used 1 cup heavy whipping cream mixed with one package of Hollandaise sauce mix. I used canned clams and added about a teaspoon and a half of Penzy’s Seafood base. I also chopped some carrots (because I need color) and chopped some radishes and parsnips to add to the mix. This was delicious! Husband did not realize that it did not have potatoes in it.
Mellissa Sevigny says
While your changes sound tasty, what your describing would contain quite a bit of carbs. Just fine if you aren’t trying to maintain ketosis, but if you are on keto then be sure to track the carbs in your changes so you don’t get kicked out of ketosis.
Todd Thomas says
I used heavy cream instead of water with the marscapone. Beyond words!
I made this recipe last night with a few tweaks– chicken bone broth for the water, both the additional and the reserved clam juice, and used rutabaga in place of the celery root since I live in a rural setting and couldn’t find that or jicama or turnips at the grocery store– and it turned out amazing! It was the first time I’d ever tried a rutabaga OR used mascarpone so I wasn’t sure how it was gonna turn out, but I have to say it was mahvelous, dahling! Thanks for the recipe, Melissa! This one’s a keeper!
Straightforward recipe without a long grocery list of items.
However, would it hurt to cook the bacon and onion at the same time? No matter how much I stirred after adding the onion, the onion seemed to always be on top of the bacon, not in the bacon grease where it could turn translucent.
Thank you for a low-carb alternative to ‘authentic’ chowder!
Have made fish and seafood cersions of this and also subbed kohlrabi or cubed summer white turnips or could use daikon radish as well. Could also use regular swede or turnip/ rutabaga.
This was really really really great! My husband said that it’s better than “normal” clam chowder and I agree. What I modified, I used 6 cans of clams and their juice in addition to the 8oz bottle of clam juice. I added a bit of thyme. I used beef broth instead of water. I didn’t have garlic so I used a shallot. I love the recipes on this website, Thank you!
Deb Walker says
So Happy to find this recipe!! Clam chowder is one of my biggest Keto downfalls and I’m so excited to try it. I did find the mascarpone cheese but not the celery root at my store. Can I use the celery bottoms? Or radishes? What’s the best on hand thing to sub? Thanks!!!
Mellissa Sevigny says
You can use radishes for sure, slightly different flavor and less of a starchy feel but they will work as a sub for the celery root!
Holy smokes, this was so good with the mascarpone! I added some leeks.
Jon Rueter says
Wow, oh wow was this delicious!! Tastes incredible, would never even know it’s not the full carb version, that’s how good the celery root works in this recipe. Mellissa, it’s a real IBIH night- had the chowder with HOP bread garlic toasts and peach and blueberry slab pie for dessert. What a feast, thank you!!!
Mellissa Sevigny says
Sounds like an awesome night Jon – so thrilled you enjoyed all of these recipes!!!
April Prevost says
Excellent. Easy. Delicious. Thank you! Being limited to what I have on hand because of all the drama in the world, I did have to make some subs. Cream cheese for mascarpone, and radishes for celery root. I always keep things like cans of baby clams in the pantry (thank goodness during these times!), and this is definitely going to be on our regular rotation now :) It went perfect with the ribeye we had last night! Thanks for all you do! Looking forward to your new book!
This is wonderful! I will definately be making this again.
This is amazing! I have made this multiple times and have used the celery root each time. I really like the added flavor it gives to the broth. Sometimes its hard to find so when I do find it at a reasonable price, I buy extra, clean and prepare it and freeze it in the recipe portion. I have found that the finished soup also freezes just fine. I freeze it in single portion sizes so I can have this wonderful treat anytime I want. I did substitute homemade chicken bone broth for the water in the recipe and I think it added some depth of flavor. Great recipe!
The clam chowder was so amazing. I love the mascarpone idea, well, because I love mascarpone! I haven’t commented previously (sorry!), but I have loved your recipes. So glad you share them.
Kimberly trobia says
my daughter has a dairy allergy. what would u reccomend to thicken this? I made a chicken pot pie stew and bought almond milk creamer thinking I was sooooo smart. it was good but I was like why is this sweet? bahahaha Oh bc its CREAMER! duh.
I was wondering what the cubed veg is in the picture?
Mellissa Sevigny says
This is really an excellent recipe! I will definitely make it again, but this time I will add some thyme (just needs that little bit of herb).
Love your blog and your wonderful recipes. This one looks yummy. I normally comment after I make something but am thinking of making this with summer turnips or radishes which are currently in season here in Nova Scotia, celery root is a little harder to find. I have had good success with using steamed / boiled radishes and white summer turnips as a sub for potatoes in „fauxtatoe „salad to good feviews from low carbers and normies alike. Now thinking of expanding thenrepertoire to something like this.