The Ingredients You Can Use To Thicken Your Clam Chowder

Clam chowder is an American classic, a hearty soup with many recipe variations that are prepared throughout the country. All chowders have one common thread that binds them together — a texture that is both creamy and rich. However, there are some people that think New England clam chowder is the exception and its texture should be on the thinner side. All other chowder versions should be so thick that it doesn't slide off the spoon (via Foodsguy). Take a look at the real difference between Manhattan and New England chowder if you're undecided.  

Despite these simple differences, the texture of clam chowder is a matter of personal preference. Once a big batch of chowder is made and stored in the fridge, it will soon become watery due to the fact that the fats harden as the soup cools down. This problem has a simple solution — it needs to be stirred as it's re-heated in order to break down the congealed fats. But what ingredients should be used for those that like their clam chowder even thicker?

Starches can help thicken clam chowder

It's recommended to add more fat or more starch to the clam chowder, using ingredients such as cornstarch, flour, crackers, potatoes, or heavy cream (via Foodsguy). Adding cornstarch results in very thick clam chowders. The most common way to add cornstarch is to first mix it with cream and then slowly pour the mixture into the soup while stirring. Flour, on the other hand, is first made into a roux by mixing it with a fat such as oil, butter, or bacon grease. The mixture is cooked over low heat, and once golden, it's stirred into the soup (per eHow). 

Potatoes are also a good option as they're typically peeled, washed, cut into chunks, and added to the soup in order to release the starch that will thicken it. One of the best and easiest ways to thicken your watery chowder is to add crackers. Try oyster crackers, which are a known accompaniment to clam chowder. Just crush and stir them into the chowder while it's cooking. And if adding starch is not an option for you, there's always heavy cream that helps create a creamy clam chowder recipe. Adding it to the dish will result in a rich texture without the need to add other starches.