50% off Strength programs


free nutrition masterclass

Paleo Clam Chowder | StupidEasyPaleo.com

Easy Clam Chowder (New England Style)

Paleo Clam Chowder is a warming, nourishing soup that’s my new favorite.

This creamy, dreamy Paleo Clam Chowder recipe will knock your socks off! It's dairy-free, and the broth is loaded with hidden veggies FTW!| StupidEasyPaleo.com

Very often, my friends will ask, “Steph, do you have a recipe for X?” and that’s exactly what happened to inspire this soup.

Truth be told, I haven’t had clam chowder for years. It’s not exactly something I see often here on menus in ol’ San Diego.

And that sort of pains my New England heart..I was born in Massachusetts and lived there until age 24.

So when Kate asked if I had a recipe for Paleo Clam Chowder, my first reply was, “No, but I’m gonna make one.”

And it came out so good!

This creamy, dreamy Paleo Clam Chowder recipe will knock your socks off! It's dairy-free, and the broth is loaded with hidden veggies FTW!| StupidEasyPaleo.com

How to Make Dairy-Free Clam Chowder

The secret to a rich, creamy broth isn’t the addition of a dairy-free milk as you’d suspect. Yes, this recipe uses coconut milk to finish it off, but I needed a way to bulk out the broth to make it heartier. If you absolutely can’t use ghee, then leave it out for a 100% dairy-free version.

That’s when I remembered my Creamy Leek Soup that has a cauliflower base. It’s flavorful, creamy, and dead simple to make.

I ended up adapting that soup – without leeks – to create the Paleo Clam Chowder base, and it’s a winner.

The flavor-fest continues with a traditional mirepoix of celery, onion, and carrot.

What’s in New England Clam Chowder?

Sure, traditional New England clam chowder doesn’t usually contain carrot, but I’m always looking for ways to sneak in extra color and nutrition.

Then, you’ll add potatoes – see the note at the bottom if you can’t eat potatoes – clams, and the coconut milk.

Fish sauce is included in this Paleo Clam Chowder for its savory, umami flavor. In fact, I put it in almost all my soups and stews even if there’s no seafood in them.

You can’t taste the fish sauce at all. Just trust me, and don’t make the mistake of smelling the bottle. (Wink.)

Remember to drain the clams from their liquid but save the liquid. Don’t let it run down the drain! The clam liquid also boosts the flavor of the soup broth.

I think this Paleo Clam Chowder would be great topped with some crispy bacon, but that’s just me.

This creamy, dreamy Paleo Clam Chowder recipe will knock your socks off! It's dairy-free, and the broth is loaded with hidden veggies FTW!| StupidEasyPaleo.com

Paleo Clam Chowder | StupidEasyPaleo.com

Paleo Clam Chowder Recipe (New England Style)

Course: Soup
Cuisine: Dairy-Free, Fish, Gluten-Free, Paleo, Whole30
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Servings: 6
Calories: 204 kcal

This creamy, dreamy Paleo Clam Chowder recipe will knock your socks off! It's dairy-free, and the broth is loaded with hidden veggies!



  • 2 tbsp ghee
  • 1/2 small cauliflower chopped into florets (about 3 cups florets)
  • 1 medium onion diced
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 2 small carrots diced
  • 1 stalk celery diced
  • 2 medium white potatoes diced
  • 20 oz clams (two 10 oz cans)
  • 1 tsp fish sauce
  • 1 cup coconut milk full-fat
  • Sea salt and black pepper to taste


  1. In a Dutch oven or large pot, combine 1 tbsp of the ghee, the cauliflower, half the onion, and the broth. Bring to a boil and cook until the cauliflower is tender, ~10 minutes. Carefully remove to a blender and purée until you get a thick liquid. Set aside.
  2. In the same (now empty) Dutch oven over medium heat, add 1 tbsp ghee, the other half of the onion, carrot and celery, pinch of salt and pepper. Cook and stir until the veggies soften but don’t really brown, about 10 min.
  3. Add the potato, clam JUICE (save clams off to side until later), and 2 cups of the cauliflower “soup” from earlier. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer until the potatoes are soft, about 10 minutes.
  4. Stir in the clams, fish sauce, and coconut milk, stirring to combine and warming everything through. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. If you find the broth is too thick for your liking, you can add a little extra chicken broth to thin it out. I prefer mine on the thick side, but hey, you get to steer the boat in your kitchen.

Recipe Notes

If you don't eat potatoes, you can use cauliflower florets instead. 

Nutrition Facts
Paleo Clam Chowder Recipe (New England Style)
Amount Per Serving
Calories 204 Calories from Fat 126
% Daily Value*
Fat 14g22%
Saturated Fat 11g55%
Cholesterol 17mg6%
Sodium 484mg20%
Potassium 544mg16%
Carbohydrates 14g5%
Fiber 3g12%
Sugar 3g3%
Protein 5g10%
Vitamin A 3470IU69%
Vitamin C 20.1mg24%
Calcium 49mg5%
Iron 3mg17%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Pin this Paleo Clam Chowder Recipe for later!

dairy free clam chowder in a bowl


Love this recipe? Leave a rating and comment below!

Share this post

52 Responses

  1. I made this last night for dinner and this was delicious! I made a few modifications – 1) Added 1/2 cooked potato to the cauliflower puree to make it even creamier. (so my kid wouldn’t taste the cauliflower 🙂 and 2) I added fresh clams along with the calm juice and canned clams- it made the soup nice and clammy! I substituted homemade almond milk for the base because my kid is not a coconut fan (yet) but next time I make it for just my husband I will use coconut- which I surmise will make it even creamier… Love your recipes- they are always a hit in our home!

      1. The recipe already calls for cauliflower. How much extra is needed to replace the potatoes? Thanks.

    1. I have made this recipe several times now and love it. As I am the only person to eat it, do you think it could be frozen in portions?

  2. What would you do to adjust this recipe to use cauliflower rice instead of florets? That’s all I have on hand and I’d love to make this tonight!

  3. I’m writing this with a belly full of clam chowder. It was so good! No one in my house thought it was dairy-free.

  4. Wow! Just. Wow!!!!! This is simple and delicious! I only used sweet potatoes but it’s the BEST paleo new england clam chowder I have tried! Even my non-paleo dinner guest asked for the recipe! Thanks!

  5. Wow! I have to say that I’m from Boston and have a non paleo husband who loves clam chowder so I was a bit nervous making this for dinner last night. He loved it! It was awesome! Thank you so much for the recipe. I did add some bacon and used sweet potatoes as I don’t eat night shades.

  6. Wow! This was my first attempt at making clam chowder, and I gave your recipe a try… so good! My fiancé says this is his new favourite soup! I thought I had bought 2 cans of clams, but could only find one in the pantry, so added a can of smoked mussels (drained), and about half a can of smoked oysters as well. Pretty sure we won’t be buying the canned stuff again – never really did like it, but my fiancé did.. not anymore..lol

  7. Oh my, so delicious!!! I am so glad I found this recipe. It’s amazing and I know it won’t hurt my tummy. Does it freeze well?

    1. Hey Tovah…I haven’t tried freezing it…you could give it a shot and see what happens 🙂

    2. Yes! It freezes very well. Currently eating it at my desk, I made it three weeks ago and froze in 16 ounce mason jars. I thaw overnight in the refrigerator and reheat in the microwave, tastes exactly the same!

  8. This soup is beyond amazing!!! I totally agree that the crispy bacon of top just makes it pure perfection.?

  9. I loved this recipe…I also added some large shrimp to make it a seafood chowder….used water instead of chicken stock …loved it

    1. I think it got deleted in our recipe transfer. You can use cauliflower instead of potato.

  10. Just wondering what to do with the leftover cauliflower mixture. It only calls for 2 cups of it and I had more.

  11. This recipe is crack. Just thought you should know. “Good” doesn’t cover it, sorry. I personally leave the potatoes out and load cauliflower in its place and I have never bought so many cans of clams in my life!!! It’s ridiculous! I have to have extras on hand because when I want this chowder, I will HAVE this chowder! Frozen cauliflower, which I also now buy in ludicrous amounts, saves me some work and I can’t find any fish sauce that I want so I’ve just bought some anchovies to try next time, since that’s what that stuff is made of. And all this creamy goodness is guilt-free. Just had it for lunch and I’m mulling a repeat performance for dinner!!! See? Crack.

  12. This is precisely what this expat NYer was looking for, and it’s indistinguishable from its inspiration. I added a few bay leaves. It really is amazing how cauliflower works. And it works out to less than $3 a serving!

      1. I also added a bay leaf and used diced turnip bulbs instead of potatoes to make it paleo. I love the way you present your recipes; Thank you. Enjoying the soup at our house!!

  13. I’m not Paleo, but I my family is dairy and gluten free and my daughter is a pescatarian so chowder has been a struggle. I’ve tried lots of recipes and this one is my far the closest to what I want. Great job. I have made some adjustments to share. First, one of the things I miss about the chowders I used to have was the taste of bacon in the background. I found I could get the same taste by sauteing the onions in ghee with a tsp of liquid smoke for a minute before adding the cauliflower and broth. Yum.

    1. Glad you were able to make it your own. I have to say that in all my years growing up in New England I never had clam chowder with bacon in it…but maybe now I’ll have to start 😉

  14. Do you think this would work with chicken bone broth or would that disrupt the flavor profile? I’d love to try this with a bit more protein!

  15. Everyone in my family are their whole bowl and several had seconds! This is the best clam chowder I’ve ever eaten and I’m thrilled it’s Paleo and Whole 30 approved! Thank you for a wonderful recipe.

  16. I don’t see your note that says what to do if we can’t have potatoes. I’d like to know your suggestion. Thank you.

Steph Gaudreau

Hi, I'm Steph Gaudreau (CISSN, NASM-CPT)!

Nutrition and fitness coach for women, Lord of the Rings nerd, and depending on who you ask, crazy cat lady. My mission is to help you fuel for more: bigger muscles, strength, energy, and possibilities. We’ll do it with my signature blend of science, strategy…and a little bit of sass.


Build muscle, strength & power AND take all the guesswork out of your workout with this 3x weekly written-for-you dumbbell strength program.


Strength Nutrition Unlocked

For athletic women 40+ who want to get stronger, build muscle, boost energy, and perform better. Implement evidence-backed strategies to fuel, train, and recover smarter with the support & accountability you need.

free workout program