The Best Hatteras Clam Chowder Recipe

The Best Hatteras Clam Chowder Recipe

Hatteras Clam Chowder is a simple broth-based chowder loaded with redskin potatoes, vegetables and chopped clams perfect for cold winter nights on the Outer Banks of North Carolina.

Two bowls of soup next to a pot of soup

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Folks on the Outer Banks have a love for a unique style of clam chowder.

How many types of clam chowder are there?

There are two types of clam chowder that people typically eat – New England clam chowder, which is cream based, and Manhattan clam chowder, which is broth based using tomatoes instead of cream or milk.

Then there are varieties of clam chowder depending where you live, like Rhode Island and Long Island. Then of course there is North Carolina clam chowder, which is the best in my opinion, because its healthier with no cream and chock loaded with fresh vegetables.

All the recipes you’ll find for Hatteras clam chowder consist of basic ingredients of clams, bacon, onions and potatoes.

Celery and onions being sauteed in pot

Onions and potatoes were simple staples that could be found in residents pantries going back 200 years.

Most folks also had salt pork, or what we call bacon today.

Living on the coastal shoreline, digging up clams was as easy as heading to the beach at low tide. Making Hatteras chowder is a little easier today.

This simple soup is hardy and delicious and is lighter then traditional clam chowders.

If you’re lucky enough to live on the Outer Banks, Littlenecks or Cherrystones are easy to find for this recipe.

Spoonful of Hatteras Clam Chowder

The smaller the clam the more tender and sweet it is and I prefer it chopped in this soup.

Baby clams can also be found at your local grocery store along with bottled and canned clam juice, which you’ll need for this recipe.

Check the tuna fish aisle, seafood counter or juice aisle where you would find lemon juice. The canned juice is not as rich tasting as the bottled clam juice.

Feel free to swap out vegetable broth if you have trouble finding canned or bottled clam juice. The bottled juice is easier to find and normally always stocked at your grocer.

A bowl of soup

How to Make Clam Chowder

Hatteras Clam Chowder is so easy to make in about 30 minutes.

First, you will need to fry some bacon or Pancetta. This is a must step to add that salty flavor to the soup.

Next, saute the onion and celery in the rendered bacon fat, for added flavor. Add in the potatoes.

Finally, add in the clams, broth and clam juice and let this soup simmer for a while until the potatoes are cooked through. A dash of Tabasco adds a bit of heat and tangy to this delicious chowder.

Overhead view of Hatteras clam chowder

More Easy Winter Soup Recipes

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A bowl of soup

Hatteras Clam Chowder

Ali Randall
Hatteras Clam Chowder is a simple broth-based chowder loaded with redskin potatoes, vegetables and chopped clams perfect for cold winter nights on the Outer Banks of North Carolina.
5 from 6 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Course Soup
Cuisine American
Servings 6


  • 8 slices of bacon, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons bacon drippings
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 stalks of celery, chopped
  • 6 redskin potatoes, diced
  • 3 cups canned clam juice or vegetable broth
  • 4 8-ounce bottles clam juice
  • Cracked pepper to taste
  • 1 pint fresh clams with juice, chopped or two 10-ounce cans baby clams, drained
  • Fresh parsley
  • Couple dashes of Tabasco


  • Over medium heat in a soup pot, fry the bacon. After the bacon is crispy remove the pieces to a paper towel to drain. Reserve 2 teaspoons of the bacon dripping and sauté the onion and celery for about 5 minutes.
  • Add the clam juice, potatoes and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until potatoes are tender, about 12 minutes. Add drained clams, a handful of chopped parsley, the cooked bacon,and ground pepper and Tabasco to taste. Simmer for an additional 10 minutes and serve.


Note: Do not add salt to this recipe as the clam juice is salty enough.
This recipe was originally published on February 20, 2015. It was updated November 2019.
Keyword Hatteras Clam Chowder
Hatteras Clam Chowder is a simple broth-based chowder loaded with redskin potatoes, vegetables and chopped clams.

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