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