New England Clam Chowder Pressure Cooker Recipe
OK, if you use fresh clams it’s 5 more minutes but who wouldn’t want a chowder from scratch in under half an hour?  You saute’ the bacon and onions for 5 minutes, pressure cook the veggies for 5 minutes, add the cream and clams and simmer for just 5 minutes more.  Wow!  This recipe was so fast and delicious that it is now on my “what to serve if we have guests for lunch” rotation. Once you try it you will never be able to enjoy anyone else’s clam chowder!

Here’s how to prepare the clams and save their “juice”:

  • Fresh Calms– Prepare your pressure cooker by putting in one cup of water, and the steamer basket.  Clean the shells of the clams, then place them in the steamer basket.   Close and lock the lid of the pressure cooker and turn the heat to high. When the pan reaches pressure, lower the flame to minimum heat and count 5 minutes cooking time under pressure. When time is up, release pressure through the valve. Open the clams over the pan (to keep the juice dribbling in there) and set the clam meat aside.  Discard clam shells and unopened clams – the liquid at the bottom of your pan is the clam juice!
  • Frozen Clams – If they are frozen in their open shells, follow the instructions for fresh clams, above.  If they are un-shelled simply let them defrost in your refrigerator overnight or immediately in your sink by running cold water over the unopened package.   Then, put a strainer over a bowl and carefully open the package over the strainer.  Strain the clams.  The liquid in the bowl is your clam juice.
  • Canned or Jarred Clams – Put a strainer over a bowl, pour the contents of the can or jar into the strainer.  The liquid in the bowl is your clam juice.
Because this recipe has been ported to the pressure cooker, there will be some variations from the original – such as thickening with a roux – to compensate for the fact that this recipe will not be simmering in an uncovered pot.
Pressure Cooker Accessories Pr. Cook Time Pr. Level Open
3 L or larger none 5 min. High(2) Normal

4.9 from 19 reviews
Pressure Cooker Recipe: New England Clam Chowder
Nutritional Information
(per serving)
  • Serves: 4 to 6
  • Serving size: 4 servings
  • Calories: 359.9
  • TOTAL Fat: 11.9g
  • TOTAL Carbs: 32.8g
  • Sugar Carbs: 8.4g
  • Sodium: 328.8
  • Fiber Carbs: 2.7g
  • Protein: 27.6g
  • Cholesterol: 86.3g
Recipe type: pressure cooker
Cuisine: America
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
  • 12-24 fresh clams (or 11 oz. or 300g strained frozen or canned clams)
  • 2 cups Clam Juice (see instructions to make your own, above)
  • 1 cup, smoked and cured bacon (or pancetta) cubed
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • ½ cup (125ml) tarty white wine
  • 2 Medium Potatoes, cubed skin on
  • 1 Bay Laurel Leaf
  • 1 Sprig Thyme
  • 1 pinch, Cayenne pepper (or red pepper flakes)
  • 1 cup (250ml) milk
  • 1 cup (250ml) cream
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  1. Prepare the clams and make your own clam juice as detailed, above.
  2. In the cold pressure cooker, with the top off, add the bacon and turn on the heat at a low flame. When the bacon releases it's fat and it begins to sizzle, add the onion, salt and pepper and raise the heat to medium.
  3. When the onions have softened, add the wine and scrape all of the brown delicious bits off the bottom of the pan to incorporate into your sauce.
  4. Let the wine evaporate almost completely and then add the diced potatoes, clam juice (if you do not have 2 cups of juice, compensate the rest with water), Bay Leaf, Thyme, and Cayenne Pepper.
  5. Close and lock the lid of the pressure cooker.
  6. For electric pressure cookers: Cook for 5 minutes at high pressure.
    For stove top pressure cookers: Turn the heat up to high and when the cooker indicates it has reached high pressure, lower to the heat to maintain it and begin counting 5 minutes pressure cooking time.
  7. When time is up, open the cooker by releasing the pressure.
  8. While the potaoes are pressure cooking, make a roux to thicken the chowder by blending equal amounts of butter and flour over low heat and stirring constantly with a small wooden spoon until they are both well blended.
  9. To the open pressure cooker add the clam meat, cream, milk and roux.
  10. Stir well, and simmer all of the ingredients in the pressure cooker, with the top off, at medium-low heat for 5 minutes.
  11. Serve garnished with soup crackers or inside a bread bowl.

pressure cooker clam chowder step-by-step photos in fissler pressure cooker

New England Clam Chowder Pressure Cooker Recipe


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  1. OMG! Running out to buy clams, pronto!

    Tammy :D

  2. Wow! This is the best looking chowder yet! Happy as a clam to have found this quick and easy recipe! Be making this for the rainy days of November! Cheers!

  3. I look forward to trying this; I’m a New Englander and a real Chowdah hound! (I do take slight issue with the roux, though; that’s an Outlander thing. ;-) ) Those little snail shells are the cutest crackers I’ve ever seen! Where did you get them?

  4. I used the roux so that there would a good balance of creaminess coming from the potatoes, the cream and the roux without being too heavy. I would love to hear about your version!

    I tried EVERYWHERE to find authentic oyster crackers but they just don’t exist here, in Italy. I found a “party snack” tray with pretzels, peanuts, and those. In the end they turned out much better – in terms of color or flavor – than the traditional oyster crackers!

    So, in short, I don’t know if you can find them in New England!



  5. I made this for dinner tonight for 2 clam chowder lovers, and it was a big hit. Thank you!

  6. Hi Laura, just wanted to say so far I’ve made your coconut fish curry and this clam chowder (first time I’ve ever tasted it let alone made it) and they have both been absolutely delicious! Thanks for your recipes.


    Adelaide, south Australia

    1. What.. no chowders down under?!? So glad you enjoyed the recipes! Please leave me a note to let me know the others you try.



  7. I will use this recipe. I am wondering if using pressure cooker keeps the clams from getting tough?

  8. Wow…..wonderful…I’m going to try your technique. :-)


  9. Oh my goodness! Just made this… I have never made chowder before. It was easy, fast, and AMAZINGLY tasty!! Thanks!

  10. SO delicious! The recipe called for smoked and cured bacon or pancetta which I didn’t have, so I just chopped and cooked regular bacon. Next time I will make those pieces much smaller.

    Also, for the roux, I don’t know how big the “small pan” in the pictures is, but on the spoon it looks like a lot – but you’re only mixing a tablespoon of each. When I made it, I worried I had done something wrong because I had so little, and the picture looks like a lot, but it came out perfectly.

    I had people (who are self-proclaimed fans of clam chowder) tell me this was the best clam chowder they have ever had! It was my first time ever making it, and I will certainly be making it again.

  11. I have made this recipe 5 or 6 times in the past couple of years. I love it so, so much. My picky 7 year old daughter gobbles this up and my husband tells me it is the best chowder he has ever tasted. I serve with crusty baguette for dipping. So easy, delicious, and satisfying!

  12. Hi Laura, I want to try this clam chowder recipe. What brand is the soup crackers on the soup in the last photo? If they are homemade, would you share the recipe? Thanks!

    1. I live in Italy and these crackers are one type of cracker in the “party snack pack” sold at Eurospin – they were so cute I HAD to use them for the photo!

      Why not use “original” (plain) goldfish crackers for a similar on-theme effect?



  13. I don’t understand when the directions call for heating the onions on low along with the bacon. Where I don’t have that capability, can I do that step on the stove before using the pressure cooker. I am a true Cape Cod Showdah fanatic.

    1. If you’re using an electric pressure cooker, you can also use the keep-warm setting. If you don’t have either of those, yes you can use another pan – the goal here is to melt the fat off the bacon and use that to saute’ the onions. You can do that part any way you like! : )



  14. I am new to pressure cooking and just bought an Instant Pot (IP-DUO60 model) . If I wanted to use fresh clams, how would I translate this step to suit the instant pot – “Close and lock the lid of the pressure cooker and turn the heat to high. When the pan reaches pressure, lower the flame to minimum heat and count 5 minutes cooking time under pressure.”

    How would I “lower the flame to minimum heat”?

    1. Just punch-in the cooking time, the other instructions are for stovetop pressure cookers. : )



  15. Thanks. Now a different problem — one of our guests does not eat meat. Any suggestions to compensatef or eliminating the bacon?

    1. One of your guests should not deter an ingredient if the rest of your guests eat meat.
      Usually those who don’t eat meat, don’t eat seafood.
      Prepare a separate dish for your one guest who does not eat meat and let them wish they could eat with everyone else.
      If they eat fish, fix them a nice fillet of fish.
      If they don’t, fix some nice steamed veggies and add a fresh loaf of bread for all to share. : )

    2. I’m a year late to this question but, if your guest eats seafood then just use olive oil to sauté instead of bacon grease. As a host, you absolutely should accommodate your guests, I don’t think that making them “wish” they ate meat is a nice thing to do, sounds vindictive.

      As I mentioned, I sautéed with olive oil and I cooked the bacon in another pan on the side and chopped it up to use as toppings. It was really good and everyone was accommodated! :)

  16. Hi Laura,
    This is one of those left-over pages that still advises the cold-water release (in the fresh clams section). I know you now advise against it.
    I won’t use that depressurization method, but I certainly intend to try this quick recipe!

    1. Thanks for catching that Stuart, I have updated the recipe introduction to release pressure normally, instead.



  17. You can use what are called water crackers or lavash crackers. Almost any cracker made with just flour water basically are best. Matzo crackers are probably easy to find at the grocer.

  18. Do you use heavy whipping cream for the cream?

    1. The recipe calls for heavy cream – but as I Fortuna mentioned you can sub it with whatever you like. Personally, when I make a chowder I don’t try to make them “fat free” – if you’re going to go for it, go for it (as long as it is once in a while and not every day ; )!



  19. Coincidently, I made a fish stew last night with pork back bacon, mussels and clams in the shell, shrimp and cod. I always use heavy cream for my fish stews and chowders. You can use half and half which also comes in fat free. I like cream because less is necessary and the taste is richer.
    BTW, it was hubby’s first fish stew. He was very apprehensive until he tried it. Now, he loves it and wants me to make more soon.
    He is very picky but I have introduced him to new foods he loves. : )

  20. cannot wait to try your clam chowder. and I love your site. I just bought a pressure cooker xl and have loved using it so far. always nice to find other ways to use it.

  21. Hi! How do I make this on the instant pot? I’m new to pressure cook and I’m a little confused by step 7 & beginning of step 8? Could you please explain the steps to me for an instant pot? Thank you!!

  22. 7. When time is up, open the cooker by releasing the pressure.

    This is quick release in the IP manual:
    “Slide the steam release handle to the “Venting” position to let out steam until the float
    valve drops down.” From the IP Smart manual.

    8. While the potaoes are pressure cooking, make a roux to thicken the chowder by blending equal amounts of butter and flour over low heat and stirring constantly with a small wooden spoon until they are both well blended.

    You do this is a separate saucepan while you are waiting for step 6. to complete.

    1. Thank you so miuch Greg!! Makes more sense now :)

  23. Hello!

    I’m interested in this recipe, and I’m wondering how many people this recipe serves, I have a dinner party for 12 and I’d like to know if I have to scale this recipe up.

    Also, with a 6qt Instant Pot, would I be able to scale this recipe up at all?

    1. You can totally scale up the recipe because, basically, you’re just pressure cooking potatoes. This recipe serves six. You can quadruple this recipe and still fit under the 2/3 line on your 6qt because you’re really just pressure cooking about 2 cups of liquid and 2 cups of potatoes and the 2/3 full max of your pressure cooker is actually 16 cups!



      1. Thanks for the reply!

      2. I made this tonight and I would say that if you’re going to do more than double this, you’ll need to finish the recipe in a larger pot on the stove. I doubled it and it just “fit” in the pot (see picture attached.) I have the 6-qt IP-DUO model.

        To be fair, I did use a bit more than two cups of pork (1/2 and 1/2 bacon and salt pork)… because, bacon.

        A great adaptation of this recipe, though. Too many chowder recipes try to go for “spoon standing” thick (and wind up tasting like white gravy as a result) – this one was properly chowdah-like.

  24. Omg! I made this tonight and it was SO GOOD! My husband didn’t want me to make it because he had never had a good homemade clam chowder, and I had never made it before…but I went for it and he went back for fourths! The picture is of his bowl with shrimp and bacon on top :)

    I did use sherry instead of white wine, used almond milk instead of dairy milk, used 3T butter/flour roux, and started it with olive oil instead of bacon because I’m Pescatarian.

    Thank you for posting!!

    1. YUM! Love the shrimp garnish on the chowder. Congratulations on the success! Give the hip fish curry a shot, too. You’ll really like it. : )



  25. Very good chowder. I also add diced celery to mine.

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