One of my favorite soups! Japanese clam chowder is very similar to a classic clam chowder. The main difference is in the texture of the soup – it’s silkier and lighter.

Japanese clam chowder

I heart clam chowder.. A creamy soup with clams, bacon and potatoes always hits the spot when I’m craving comfort food.

But I must admit to being picky when it comes to the texture. A good clam chowder shouldn’t be too thick or starchy otherwise it takes on the consistency of school glue.

Plus, I don’t enjoy feeling full after three spoonfuls since I hate leaving food on my plate (or bowl in this case). To me, a good clam chowder is hearty but also light, just like this one! The potatoes and bacon bits are the comforting part of this dish while the broth is much lighter than the classic version. I’m using a mixture of dashi, white wine and whipped cream.

I know it sounds weird but oh boy, it’s so delicious!

What you get is just as satisfying as the classic New England clam chowder but without the heaviness.

It’s a win win situation!

The fact that you don’t need fresh clams for this recipe means it’s easy and accessible for everyone to make as well. The use of dashi punches up the briny taste of this soup which is why it’s called Japanese clam chowder instead of just plain clam chowder.

chowder ingredients

Ingredients for Japanese Clam Chowder

  • Bacon: 3 slices, finely chopped. This is to add smokiness and saltiness to the broth.
  • Onion: Medium size, finely chopped. Chopped onions are great infusing sweetness and absorbing flavor.
  • Potato: 2 medium size russet or Yukon Gold. I personally prefer Yukon Gold for their natural sweetness and sturdy texture.
  • White wine: There are no preferences here, just pick one you enjoy drinking!
  • Baby clams: Canned is the way to go since we will also be using the liquid.
  • Whipped cream: Using whipped cream makes the broth lighter and gives it a silky texture.
  • Dashi: You can make it from scratch or use the powdered version.
  • Scallions: Used as a topping to add a nice crunch and a refreshing taste.
onions and bacon

How to Make Japanese Clam Chowder

  1. Fry bacon in a pot. Cook it until it’s almost crispy.
  2. Cook onions. Add them to the pot and saute until they are clear.
  3. Add liquids. Throw in the wine, water, and dashi and bring the pot to a boil. Save the clam juice for later.
  4. Cook the potatoes. Add them, cover and simmer for 25 minutes.
  5. Add clam juice. Stir and cook for 3 minutes.
  6. Stir in whipped cream. Turn the heat off and add the whipped cream. Stir until it blends into the soup.
  7. Season and garnish. Do a taste test and add salt and pepper if needed. Serve in bowls and top with scallions.
potatoes and broth

We gobbled up the whole pot throughout the evening, dipping hand torn pieces of fresh baguette into it while intensely watching the entire season finale of Breaking Bad, back to back to back.

I spent the whole evening curled up on the sofa with my hubby and a purring kitty between us. Good tv, good company and good food. This is my idea of happiness ♥

What to Serve with Japanese Clam Chowder

I always recommend serving a hearty soup with a side of warm French baguette and some butter. Nothing beats that if you ask me. But if you would like to serve this clam chowder as an appetizer, here are some easy main dishes to add to your menu:

chowder simmering clam chowder

Did you like this Japanese Clam Chowder Recipe? Are there changes you made that you would like to share? Share your tips and recommendations in the comments section below!


Japanese Clam Chowder

clam chowder

Find all the flavors of a classic clam chowder without the heavy creamy broth. This one is light but just as satisfying!

  • Author: Caroline Phelps
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 35 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 4 people 1x
  • Category: Soups
  • Method: Boiling
  • Cuisine: Japanese


  • 3 slices bacon
  • 1 medium onion (finely chopped)
  • 2 potatoes (peeled and cut into bite size cubes)
  • 1 1/2 cup white wine
  • 10 ounce can whole baby clams with juice
  • 3/4 cup whipped cream
  • 1 cup dashi broth
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 stalks scallions (finely chopped)
  • salt and pepper (to taste)


  1. In a large pot over medium/high heat, add bacon and cook until almost crispy (about 3 minutes).
  2. Add onions and cook for 4 minutes, until onions are translucent.
  3. Add white wine, water and dashi and bring to a boil.
  4. Add potatoes, lower heat, cover and simmer for 25 minutes.
  5. Add clams and juice from the can, stir and simmer for 3 minutes.
  6. Turn off the heat, add whipped cream and butter, stir until the broth isn’t bubbly anymore.
  7. Season with salt and pepper and top with scallions. Serve.


This Japanese clam chowder will keep refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 2 days.

Keywords: Appetizer, side, dairy

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