The 10 Best Canned Clam Chowder Reviews in 2020
Once you try clam chowder, there's no going back. The silky-smooth cream trickling down your throat, and the aftertaste of clams always has us craving for seconds.
But what if you could taste the chowder without having to cook it? Canned clam chowders bring the taste in a pocket-sized can, ready to use whenever you need it. But not all chowder is made the same.
Fortunately, we found the top 10 best canned clam chowders available in the market. Take a look at these, and don't forget to check out the buying instructions at the end.
What Is Canned Clam Chowder?
Chowder is a type of special soup with crackers, biscuits, and potatoes suspended in cream and milk. There are loads of varieties of chowder, including seafood and vegetable-based chowder.
Clam chowder (or, more specifically, New England Chowder) is a special type of chowder employing clams. Not all clam chowder is NE chowder, but many people prefer the NE taste. And if you're trying your first bowl of chowder, NE will be a great flavor to start with.
Now, why exactly should you buy canned chowder? Well, clam chowder isn't something you can buy from stores. It's usually something you prepper. It requires a lot of ingredients such as cream and potatoes and takes trial and error.
However, when chowder is canned, it can be preserved for longer and eaten within a few days of opening. Canning is by far the best method of preserving chowder, but the taste can go flat. Which is why some NE chowders come in condensed suspensions, where you can add fresh cream yourself.
You may prefer canned products if you're living in a trailer or an apartment and can't afford refrigeration. You'll be needing at least a microwave or a stove to reheat the chowder.
Quick Comparison: Top 10 Best Canned Clam Chowder on the Market
1. Campbell's Chunky New England Clam Chowder Soup Microwavable Bowl
If you want to experience the natural taste of clam chowder, then this might be the one for you. This New England clam chowder soup from Campbell is made with zero artificial flavorings.
The Classic New England taste comes from the starchy potatoes and succulent clams used in the chowder. The chowder itself is mostly made from butter and buttermilk. The taste is closer to seafood, though it's a bit salty, due to the use of salty butter.
It is a pack of 8 15.25 ounce bowls, and each bowl is microwave-safe. It means the metal won't seep chemicals into your food as it reheats.
Campbell's New England clam chowder is chunky and highly nutritious, with a total of 300 calories per container. It's high in protein and sodium but low on cholesterol, ensuring a healthier lifestyle.
2. Tony’s Clam Chowder 3X World Champion
The Tony's New England-style Clam Chowder features a rich, creamy flavor in a 51-ounce can. It will make up to 3 quarts of chowder :
Tony's chowder contains both clam and clam juice, allowing for a rich clam flavor. A hint of bacon and a spice blend is also present. Like most clam chowders, this can also use a lot of salt, but the taste is more balanced than salty.
One thing you should know about Tony's chowder is that it's not instant chowder. That is, you need to cook the contents on the stove. The instructions say to add 4 cups of half and a half and 2 of heavy cream.
So you'll need to cook this chowder and buy your cream and a half and half. The actual ingredients inside the can are condensed and somewhat suspended in water.
However, since you add your flavor and cream, you can change the taste up a bit. And the taste won't go flat, as is the case with most canned products.
3. Progresso Soup, Rich & Hearty, New England Clam Chowder Soup
The Progresso Soup is a hearty and gluten-free NE chowder soup. It's made from starchy potatoes and uses zero artificial flavors or food coloring.
What sets the Progresso Clam Chowder Soup aside is that it's more health-oriented. The can contain about 1.5 g saturated fat and is 100% gluten-free. There is also an absence of MSG, which is known to be controversial for its adverse reactions.
However, Progresso still contains soy. It mostly uses natural ingredients such as dried potatoes and parsley, but it also uses modified food starch as a thickener.
Each container can make up to 2 servings. The can isn't microwave-safe – it's recommended to empty the contents in a bowl before heating in the microwave.
This can is ready-to-serve and requires no extra ingredients. The primary suspension used in this chowder is cream and butter, creating a smooth and creamy texture.
4. Chincoteague Seafood New England Clam Chowder
The Chincoteague Clam Chowder tastes just like natural seafood and doesn't use any artificial flavors. It is to keep the taste as close to the real thing as possible.
To begin with, this is a 12-pack 15-ounce clam chowder can with no MSG and no preservatives. MSG (also known as Chinese Salt) is known to cause adverse reactions in the long run.
The contents of this can are condensed, so you'll need to heat and mix it with heavy cream yourself. It uses real sea clams and sea clam juice, along with potatoes, a natural wheat flour thickener, and lots of natural flavors.
Soybean oil is also used in this clam chowder. Because of this, you may not want to eat it if you have soy allergies.
Chincoteague's Clam Chowder is a wholesome filling choice for cold afternoons.
5. Clam Chowder - Sea Fare Pacific
If you want to experience a classic clam chowder from the Oregon coast, then consider the Sea Fare Pacific Chowder. It's made from all-natural ingredients rich in Omega-3 and a smooth texture.
This clam chowder has a classic taste as it's loaded with tender sea clams, red potatoes, carrots, and dried celery. It also contains anchovy fish, which is what makes this chowder so unique.
This peculiar "canned" clam chowder isn't canned. It comes in a pouch, but it's airtight, so it's similar to using a can. It makes an instant meal great for use in apartments and trailers.
That is a pack of four 9 ounce pouches, with a total of 270 calories per pouch. It's high in nutrients, being particularly rich in proteins and Vitamins A and C.
What's best is that this chowder is gluten and soy-free. That makes it healthier and more suitable for people with soy allergies. It's one of the few soy-free clam chowders we could find.
6. Bar Harbor Soup Chowder Clam New Eng
Clam Chowder is a staple diet in Eastern US states. It was originated in the state of Maine on the eastern Atlantic shore. Bar Harbor soup chowder is made of seafood in the Gulf of Maine with a fresh taste.
Bar Harbor only uses hand-store clams to retain its authenticity; you shouldn't any doubt about the taste of the soup. This company has a deep history in providing fresh and quality chowder to the customers.
No preservatives are used in packing to maintain overall quality. There is no use of taste enhancer substances like that of MSG. It serves a great starter for dinning in cities in these states. The family gathers around the table with the best Bar Harbor Soup recipe in their hand, telling stories and sharing their ideas.
Bar Harbor clam chowder is sliced into small batches to suit customer's needs. These canned clam chowders are formed with sustainably harvested seafood. You can add extra ingredients depending on the recipe you want to prepare. More creamy and dense, milk can be added to it. It has a strong concentrated texture, all because of fresh juicy clam's quality.
7. Progresso Traditional, New England Clam Chowder Soup
Progresso chowder is best for people with health concerns. This New England version of clam chowder has 100 calories per serving made from wholesome ingredients, Progresso chowder has celery, potatoes, and carrots.
It is free from all harmful ingredients, like preservative and flavor enhancers. If you are sensitive to gluten, then this clam chowder is for you. The main feature of this product is that it is ready to cook. It takes only five mints to prepare your soup. Some people like it cold, but if you want to enjoy it in the cold nights, you can cook it.
The flavor of this New England clam chowder is hearty and classic. The container comes with two servings, meaning you can enjoy extra quantity. You can also use a microwave oven to warm it.
Due to the use of extra healthy ingredients, the nutritious value of chowder is much higher than others. The amount of clam used per unit is more than normal soup. The quality gives it the richest taste possible. It stuffing is why Progresso is popular not only with common customers but also with the restaurants.
8. Bear Creek Soup Mix, Clam Chowder
The ingredient of Bear Creek soup has been blend to perfection to offer traditional chowder flavor. Offered in more than 14 flavors and weight variations, you can choose from many options as per your taste. There additional chunks of potatoes and healthy vegetables to enhance the taste of the soup.
Like many other clam chowders, Bear Creek is easy to cook. You can add milk or cream for enhancing the texture and taste of the soup. You can prepare a healthy meal for yourself and your family.
Preparing it is simple than ever. 8 cup of water is recommended per one serving. In the restaurant, ground beef, chicken, and other seafood are also added to make a delicious recipe. Customers love the taste of more than anything else about this soup.
Made out fresh seafood clams with high standards of production, Bear Creek Soup has the best taste it can offer. You can easily prepare a meal for the entire family in one go.
9. Clam Chowder - Sea Fare Pacific, 4 pack
Despite the popularity of clam chowder in the Eastern part of the USA, Sea Fare Pacific harvest its clams on the pacific shores of Oregon. This chowder is made of wild-caught clam and fish. In a common home in the state of Oregon, chowder is a staple diet. A family gather around a fire and share their stories with enjoying clam soups.
It is a mixture of all-natural ingredients. Red potatoes and fresh clams made the basics of this recipe. Moreover, if you are gluten sensitive and want to enjoy the soup, go for Sea Fare Pacific clam chowder. Because it is made with a gluten-free formula for smooth consumption.
The quantity of clams per serving is satisfying enough to curb your appetite. With the addition of milk and cream, you can make it tastier.
Besides taste, this clam chowder is rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acid helps in fighting in-body inflammation, weight-loss, and many other health benefits. Sea Fare Pacific chowder comes in a ready-made microwavable pouch.
The overall production standard revolves around nature and sustainability. With close collaboration among companies and local fishers, this chowder has all wild features and taste.
10. Skippers Clam Chowder
Skipper is famous for its physical restaurants, where they offer a variety of see food and chowder. But the good news is they now sell their famous clam chowder online. Skipper's chowder is best known for its celery flavor and red potatoes. This clam chowder is free of all chemicals and gluten. You can always add another layer of taste through milk and creams.
The chowder is packed in no-BPA material, which poses no long-term health risk. All the necessary ingredients are fresh and natural. Every piece of clam is hand-picked and wildly caught. It makes the soup taste pretty solid. Skipper is a popular restaurant chain in many US states. Therefore there is an already established customer base.
You can eat chowder directly from the packing. But if you want it warm and spicy, then it takes no time to prepare it. You can instantly prepare it and can also use a microwave oven to warm it.
Things You Need To Consider Before Buying Canned Clam Chowder
It isn't much you can consider, as most of your experience will depend on the taste of the chowder. And you can't guess the taste before buying it. However, there are other aspects, such as cooking time, type of chowder, and condensation.
Have a look at what you should consider before buying canned chowder:
Type Of Chowder
The type will affect the taste. If you're a frequent chowder-consumer, you'd already know which flavor to buy. However, if you're new or want to try something new, there are few flavors you can try.
The New England recipe is the most common. It mixes whole clams with potatoes and herbs and uses either a milk or cream base. A lot of them tend to use butter too. For deepening on the brand, the chowder can taste creamy, salty, or spicy.
Manhattan clam chowder is typically made from a clear broth and employs the taste of tomatoes. It has a red color and is considered by many as the polar opposite of New England chowder.
Rhode Island chowder is similar in preparation to New England chowder. Except it uses a clear broth thickened by potatoes, clams, and onions.
Condensed or Ready-To-Serve?
Some chowder cans come "condensed." What this means is that the chowder has little to no broth or suspension, and consists of only the thicker ingredients. This chowder must be cooked on a stovetop with additional ingredients, such as cream and milk. The cream and milk help to make the broth thin. The best part about this type of chowder is that you can choose how thick or thin you want it.
Read-to-serve chowder requires no additional ingredients. The cream and milk base is present in the chowder. All you need to do is heat it in a stove or microwave. This type of chowder can take some additional thinning by adding more cream. But essentially, thickening the chowder can be challenging.
While it will be hard to guess the taste based on the ingredients, you should watch out for some factors. Take a close look at the nutritional information. Since clam chowder uses a lot of milk and cream, it should be high in fat. Cholesterol levels shouldn't be too high (300 mg is the recommended max if you don't have heart problems.
There are a few ingredients to be wary of: soy, MSG, gluten, and artificial flavors. Soy is a primary component in most NE chowders. But some chowders may find a way around that.
Artificial flavors strip the chowder of its natural essence. These can taste far from the actual chowder. Look for chowder that uses real parsley, celery, and herbs. If you're looking for a gluten-free solution, you will come across Modified Food Starch, which is completely fine.
Can Size And Packages
Lastly, you should look at the size and capacity of the can. Typically, a one-serving can is about 15 ounces. That's about 1 pound. It's better to buy the food in a pack of 8 to 12 cans, in case you plan on eating chowder long-term.
If you're not very fond of chowder and just starting to get used to the taste, try a two-pack or double-serving can. Condensed clam chowder cans can usually make 3 to 4 quarts, depending on the size.
Common Problems Associated With Using Canned Clam Chowder
What's New England-style clam chowder?
New England clam chowder is the most common eating type of clam chowder. It uses a milk and cream base (usually heavy cream) along with potatoes and clams. It usually has a sober salty taste with a hint of a few other spices.
My clam chowder is too thin
It could be due to over thinning during the cooking process. If you're using condensed chowder, then try reducing the amount of cream and milk by 1 cup and see the difference. If you're using ready-to-serve chowder, you might want to try a different brand. It is not suggested to try and evaporate some of the water. A lot of it is oils, and the flavor will just become too concentrated.
Should I bring my chowder to a boil?
Cooking instructions on chowder always say not to boil. It is because, as you boil, the water evaporates and tends to leave the flavor behind. It will saturate the flavor, which may make the chowder too salty or spicy. Most cans say to heat until you see the first bubble than turn off the heat.
Canning is a great way to package the goodness of creamy clam chowder. It's portable, preserved, and is a great low-budget option.
We reviewed the best five clam chowders and saw how each one of them is suited for a certain range of people. You'll find that only a few of them will be suited to you, depending on taste and allergies.
So be sure to read the buying guide and try out some of our recommendations. Bon appetite!