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Cooking Whole Clam Chowder With Live Clams We Collected on a Local Beach

Debra Redalia


Larry eating a bowl of fabulous clam chowder we made with live clams we found on a local beach after a storm.

On Friday Larry and I had an amazing experience. We found live clams just lying on a local beach after a storm! Usually you would have to dig these up out of the sand with great effort.

Larry wanted to bring them home and make clam chowder, so we did. The end result was spectacular. It was so delicious and fresh, not at all like canned clam chowder or even restaurant clam chowder, which I don’t like at all. But this was delicious!

Here’s the process we went through, from live clams to chowder.

Here are the live clams in a bowl.


Here we had put them in a skillet and then they began to try to escape.


Here they are steamed through and now cooked.


This is what a clam looks like out of its shell.


Larry chopped the clams into small pieces to put in the chowder.

We followed basic instructions for preparing the clams and used a recipe online for inspiration . But then we made up our own recipe, of course. Now before I give you the recipe, I need to say we don’t eat cream and bacon every day. But occasionally we will eat almost anything. I wanted to give you this as an example of eating directly from nature the foods you can find in your local ecosystem. And it is a wholefood. We ate the whole clam. The clams were free (I should note, Larry has a fishing license, so before you go taking seafood check and see if a license is required in your area).


We had one cup of fresh chopped clams. This made two big bowls of chowder. So adjust the amounts of the ingredients to whatever amount of clams you have.  


Make a mise en place of the following ingredients:

  • 1 cup cleaned and steamed clams, chopped in tiny pieces
  • 2 strips bacon, cut into small pieces
  • 1/2 cup yellow onion, chopped into small pieces
  • 1/2 cup celery, chopped into small pieces
  • 1 cop white potato, peeled and diced
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup half-and-half
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • chopped parsley for garnish



  1. Put a large saucepan on the stove over medium heat.
  2. Add the chopped bacon and cook until slightly brown, not crisp. Pour off about have the fat. Reserve extra fat in case you need to add it back in later.
  3. Add onion and celery to the pan and stir until tender.
  4. Add potato and clam broth to the pan. Pour the broth carefully and stop before you get to the sediment at the bottom of the cup.
  5. Potatoes should be covered with liquid. Add water if necessary to cover.
  6. Add whole milk and half-and-half.
  7. Add butter and clams and stir. Continue to stir and simmer until clams are heated through.
  8. Ladle into bowls and top with chopped parsley.

I can’t tell you anything about storing leftovers because we ate all of it! Yum!