Carl’s Keto Clam Chowda


Carl's Keto Clam Chowda

Carl’s Keto Clam Chowda!

I was born and raised in New England, so I’m no newcomer to clam chowder. In fact, I grew up (and still live) right near the ocean. Good New England clam chowder is seldom seen in keto circles, mostly because of two ingredients: flour or starch, and diced potatoes. Now, I’ve already made several recipes thickened with xanthan gum, and it works great as a thickener. I’ve also just made a great cauliflower mash to substitute for potatoes at Thanksgiving. So, I decided to give it a go and make what turned out to be the best chowder – keto or not – I’ve ever tasted.

One key step is to dice the cauliflower, and remove any little crumbles. That means you end up trimming a lot of the floret part away and sticking with the parts that hold together. Another step I take is to roast the cauliflower in olive oil. This brings out the sweetness of the cauliflower, a nice contrast to the rich and salty chowder. A couple other secret weapons: bacon, butter, and fresh tarragon. OMG.

The secret to good chowder is a rich clam flavor. You don’t get that with clam juice right out of the can. You have to reduce it. The more reduce it the more flavor you get. My recipe calls for a quart or a liter of clam juice reduced to 1/3 volume, but you could easily start with 2 liters and reduce it to 1/6th volume. You might have to watch out for it being too salty at some point, so there’s a sweet spot. Mine came out great with 1 liter.

You can garnish it with parsley, tarragon, pork rind crumbs, or just eat and enjoy!

Print Recipe
Carl's Keto Clam Chowda
This hearty clam chowder fills the void for chowder lovers everywhere.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
  1. Preheat oven to 300 F. Chop cauliflower into small pieces, discarding the small crumbly florets. Try to use mostly the stem parts. Any is fine, so long as it holds together and doesn't crumble. Place into a roasting pan or cast-iron skillet, toss in 3 tablespoons of olive oil, and bake at 300 F for 15-20 minutes, or until the bottoms are a little brown and caramelized.
  2. While cauliflower is roasting, pour clam juice into a large saucepan and start reducing on high heat. If you have canned clams, pour the juice in, setting the clams themselves aside.
  3. Wash and chop the celery stalks into small pieces, and add them to the clam juice.
  4. Chop up the bacon and tarragon into bite size pieces and add it to the clam juice along with the onion powder and bay leaves.
  5. Take the cauliflower out of the oven when done, and allow to rest
  6. When the clam juice has reduced to 1/3 volume, add the clams, butter, cauliflower, and heavy cream and bring to a boil for 30 seconds, then remove from heat to cool for 15 minutes.
  7. Remove bay leaves. Mix 1 tsp of xanthan gum with 1 tsp of olive oil and stir into the chowder. Bring to a rolling boil for 30 seconds or until thick, stirring constantly. Add fresh cracked black pepper to taste.
  8. Remove from heat. Serve immediately!

28 Responses to “Carl’s Keto Clam Chowda

  • Sharon Peters
    8 years ago

    Whoa! Just, Whoa! It sounds great. It’s simple. And it looks totally seductive. Thanks for this, Carl!

  • Carl – I made a version of this yesterday!

    I’ve never liked potatoes in mine, so I left out the cauliflower. Tarragon smelled so much like fennel that I used Italian spices instead.

    Xantham gum thickening is brilliant.

    Turned out a little sweet, but intensely flavorful. I’m looking forward to trying again.

  • Melissa White
    7 years ago

    This was delicious! I used chicken stock as well, because I didn’t have that much clam juice, subbed garlic powder for the onion powder, and cooked this in our #instantpot for 45 min. Delicious!!!

  • This is one of the best keto recipes we’ve tried so far. A big hit with my husband! Thanks so much for sharing. The tarragon definitely sets it apart!

  • Holy Delish!!! Amazing! Thanks for sharing!! Is there somewhere on your site that shows the nutrition facts and ingredient facts?

  • OMG!!! The best clam chowda ever!

  • iamse7en
    7 years ago

    Any keto friendly substitutes for xanthan gum? Maybe some other type of thickener?

  • Thank you SO much!

  • What is the carb count, please?

  • Amy Hankins
    6 years ago

    This recipe is awesome! My entire family loved it including the teens. Keep the great recipes coming!

    I added a bit of smoked red salmon.

  • Holy Cow this was SO GOOD! I chopped up a whole onion (instead of onion powder) and threw it in during the celery stage, and added a pinch of garlic powder as well. Also clam juice from two cans didn’t quite make a liter so added chicken broth to top it off. YUMMERS!! My husband doesn’t even like soup, but has requested this again!

  • This was great!! I loved the tarragon!! I also added some chicken stock because I was short on clam juice. I will add this to my regular keto menus.

  • This is one of my fave keto recipes I’ve made and will definitely add this into my rotation. I was short on clam juice and used chicken stock. Love the tarragon!!

  • Looks amazing! My husband doesn’t do cauliflower, so would it work if I steamed and puréed the cauliflower to use as a thicker ( instead of the gum) and added more clams?

  • What are your thoughts on rutabaga to replace the potatoes? I’m not a fan of cauliflower. Is rutebega still too high in carbs. I’m getting mixed replies.

  • Linda Dunn
    6 years ago

    What is the carb count?

  • John in Victoria
    6 years ago

    Not bad, I made it today. I would change it abit. Only add the clams on the last part with the xanthan gum as they get over cooked if you add them in the step mentioned above. As for the xanthan gum, not needed or use only half a tsp at most as it adds a weird gummy texture to a pretty good clam chowda Frenchie..

  • John in Victoria
    6 years ago

    One other thing to note, the cauliflower cannot be cooked in 15 minutes at 300f, you need more like 500f to 550f to get that kinda cooked in the pic look under 15 to 20 min and stir them halfway through cooking (and watch them). Also, tarragon dried worked fine. It’s not a spice used often so just get a .15cent bag at the bulk section because you’ll toss old “fresh” tarragon if you buy a whole bunch for this recipe. I would even suggest skipping on the xanthan gum altogether as this makes a decent soup on its own (slightly thickened).

  • Fantastic! I’ve been on a keto diet for some time and was craving clam chowder. I was about to make my regular recipe and substitute cauliflower for potatoes. So glad I tried this instead! Reducing the clam juice is great. And I cooked my bacon w the roasting cauliflower. I live in the desert Southwest, so I have fresh cauliflower in my garden. Harvested, rinsed, chopped and roasted. I had to use dried tarragon, and was out of bay leaf, but added a tsp of crushed red pepper and used fresh chopped onion instead of powder. I’ll be making this regularly.?

  • does anyone have the carb count on this recipe? I love clam chowder but wasn’t sure how ‘loaded’ it was with carbs. this is the only info I can find on clams. I have a large can of sea clams in broth but doesn’t list the carbs?

    Calories in Steamed or Boiled Clams 1 cup (8 large clams, 12 medium clams, 15 small clams)
    Calories 137.6
    Total Fat 1.8 g
    Saturated Fat 0.2 g
    Polyunsaturated Fat 0.5 g
    Monounsaturated Fat 0.1 g
    Cholesterol 63.2 mg
    Sodium 708.2 mg
    Potassium 525.6 mg
    Total Carbohydrate 4.8 g
    Dietary Fiber 0.0 g
    Sugars 0.0 g
    Protein 23.7 g

  • Holy crap, that was awesome! Thanks for the recipe!! ??????

  • Ryan Frost
    5 years ago

    Gonna make this for the superbowl tomorrow. Wondering how many the standard recipe typically feeds, so I can modify appropriately. Thanks for the recipe!

  • If I use fresh clams when should I add them to soup

  • Julie Scott
    5 years ago

    Love this recipe, have made it a few times and will be making it often! Is there any where I can find the nutrition facts?

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