clam chowder sides

What To Serve With Clam Chowder?

Clam chowder is a Northeastern delicacy that many of us replicate at home. Try it on a winter day or a sunny beach visit, and it will not disappoint. To make your meal more worthwhile, finding a good side dish is very important.

Do you know what to eat with clam chowder? If the answer is no, you will surely find out after reading this article.

What Is Clam Chowder?

Clam chowder refers to a creamy soup in North America that contains clams. Other ingredients include salt, potatoes, milk or cream, and onions. This soup is usually served on its own or with crackers or oyster crackers.

Although the dish is considered Northeastern, particularly famous in the New England region of the United States, you can find variations across the country. The New England clam chowder is also called white clam chowder, which contains dairy and is very creamy and dense. 

The Manhattan or red clam chowder includes tomatoes and no dairy, while the Rhode Island clam chowder contains no dairy or tomatoes.

In the beginning, clam chowder was thick due to the use of bread or crackers and not milk. There are records for white clam chowder and Manhattan clam chowder from the mid-1800s to the early 1900s. These days you might also see a Long Island clam chowder, which mixes both tomatoes and dairy, giving it a creamy red consistency.

You can find clam chowder in most seafood restaurants in the Northeast, but you can also find it canned or frozen. Newer variations might also include bacon in the soup, making the flavor more smoky and sweet.

Nutrition Facts

One cup of New England clam chowder prepared with milk (248 g) has the following nutritional content (*):

  • 151 calories
  • 212 g water
  • 8.08 g protein
  • 5.03 g fat
  • 18.7 g carbohydrate
  • 0.744 g fiber
  • 6.6 g sugar
  • 176 mg calcium
  • 3.05 mg iron
  • 32.2 mg magnesium
  • 446 mg phosphorus
  • 466 mg potassium
  • 682 mg sodium
  • 5.21 mg vitamin C
  • 94.2 µg vitamin A
  • 17.4 mg cholesterol

Clam chowder is comfort food for many, but it can be high in sodium and carbohydrates. To make your soup healthier, try using low-fat milk and less salt. In any case, the clam chowder is also high in phosphorus and potassium. Furthermore, there is a difference between chowder and soup.

What Goes Well With Clam Chowder

Below are some clam chowder side dishes that you can serve at any time!

#1. Jalapeño Biscuits

These jalapeño biscuits are truly unique, and you will always remember their flavor. Add cheddar cheese if you want these biscuits to stand out more.


  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 ½ tablespoons jalapeños, seeded and chopped
  • ⅓ cup buttermilk or milk and 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • Pepper to taste

Follow these steps to prepare your jalapeño biscuits: 

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 °F.
  2. Add the flour, baking powder, garlic powder, and salt to a large bowl.
  3. Slowly add the butter onto the flour mixture, whisking as you do it.
  4. Stir in the jalapeños and mix some more.
  5. Season with pepper and slowly stir in the buttermilk until you make one smooth ball of dough.
  6. Flour a surface and roll your dough a few times. Make 10 to 12 rounds of dough using a cookie cutter or knife.
  7. Place the rounds onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  8. Bake your biscuits for 15 to 20 minutes or until the top turns golden.
  9. Serve your jalapeño biscuits warm on the side of your clam chowder.

#2. Citrus Coleslaw with Peanuts

Coleslaw is always a good side dish to any creamy soup. In this case, having some citrus and crunch makes your meal much tastier.


  • One bag of coleslaw mix or 1 cup of shredded cabbage and ½ cup of shredded carrots
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 1 cup golden raisins
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 orange
  • 1 tablespoon fresh cilantro
  • ½ cup roasted peanuts
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Follow these steps to prepare your citrus coleslaw with peanuts:

  1. Wash, clean, and drain your coleslaw mix. Set it aside in a large bowl.
  2. Wash and chop your red onion, and add it to the bowl.
  3. Mix the mayonnaise, lemon juice, garlic powder, salt, and pepper in a small bowl.
  4. Peel your orange and chop it into small pieces. Transfer them to the bowl with the cabbage.
  5. Slowly add the mayo vinaigrette onto the coleslaw mix. Toss well.
  6. Add the peanuts and toss again.
  7. Finish off by adding the cilantro and tossing everything well.
  8. Cover the bowl and place the coleslaw in the fridge. Cool down for one hour and serve cold.

Tip: you can store your citrus coleslaw with peanuts in the fridge for two days.

#3. Roasted Zucchini and Tomato Casserole 

When you want a hearty dish that brings you comfort, this roasted zucchini and tomato casserole is a perfect choice. You can add more vegetables to make it as filling as you want.


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 zucchini, chopped
  • 2 ½ cups cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • ½ cup fresh parmesan cheese
  • ½ teaspoon oregano
  • 2 tablespoons breadcrumbs
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Follow these steps to prepare your roasted zucchini and tomato casserole:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 °F.
  2. Wash, clean, and chop your vegetables, and set them aside in a large bowl.
  3. Add the olive oil, garlic, oregano, salt, and pepper to the bowl. Toss well.
  4. Grease a baking dish.
  5. Transfer the vegetable mix to the dish and add the breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese. Toss well.
  6. Roast your vegetables for 30 minutes or until the cheese turns golden and the vegetables soften.
  7. Serve your roasted zucchini and tomato casserole warm on the side of your favorite clam chowder.

#4. Bacon Pasta Salad

Pasta salad is always a good treat, but this bacon pasta salad recipe takes it to the next level. You can always omit it if you want, but combined with the clam chowder flavors, and you will not regret it.


  • ½ box elbow pasta
  • ¼ cup cherry tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, chopped
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 4 bacon strips, cooked and in pieces
  • ⅓ teaspoon paprika
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Follow these steps to prepare your bacon pasta salad:

  1. Cook the pasta according to the box instructions. Drain it and set it aside to cool down.
  2. In the meantime, cook the bacon on a skillet until crispy. Transfer it to a plate lined with a paper towel.
  3. Wash and chop your vegetables. Set them aside.
  4. Once your bacon has cooled down, break it into crumbs or smaller pieces.
  5. Mix the mayonnaise, garlic powder, apple cider vinegar, paprika, salt, and pepper in a small bowl.
  6. Add the pasta, tomatoes, celery, red onion, and bacon bits to a large bowl.
  7. Slowly pour the vinaigrette over the pasta and toss well.
  8. Cover the bowl, and place it in the fridge for a minimum of two hours.
  9. Serve your bacon pasta salad cold next to your favorite clam chowder.

#5. Cucumber Salad

For a fresh and unique side dish, you must try this cucumber. You can make it in seconds and complement your dense soup any time.


  • 3 cucumbers, thinly sliced
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • ½ red onion, sliced
  • ½ teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon fresh dill
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Follow these steps to prepare your cucumber salad:

  1. Wash, clean, and slice your vegetables, and place them in a large bowl.
  2. Add the sugar, salt, and pepper. Let your vegetable stand for a few minutes.
  3. Stir in the vinegar, lemon juice, and dill. Toss well.
  4. Serve your cucumber salad fresh on the side of your clam chowder.

Tip: you can keep your cucumber salad for 2 to 3 days in the fridge. For extra flavor, serve it with tzatziki on top.

#6. Spinach Frittata

Who said eggs are only a breakfast food? This spinach frittata is the right choice to add protein and substance to your meal.


  • 3 large eggs
  • ⅓ cup milk
  • ⅔ cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • ⅔ cup shredded parmesan cheese
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 3 cups baby spinach
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • ½ teaspoon oregano
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley
  • Pepper to taste

Follow these steps to prepare your spinach frittata:

  1. Set your oven to broil.
  2. Wash, clean, and chop your vegetables.
  3. Whisk the eggs, milk, oregano, salt, and pepper in a small bowl.
  4. Stir in the tomatoes and the cheese. Whisk everything.
  5. Melt the butter in a large skillet, add the onion and cook it for 3 to 5 minutes.
  6. Stir in the spinach and cook for two minutes.
  7. Pour the egg mixture over the vegetables and cook for 5 minutes until the eggs are set.
  8. Transfer the skillet to the oven and finish cooking for another 5 to 8 minutes.
  9. Remove the skillet from the oven and the frittata. Allow it to cool down.
  10. Serve your spinach frittata warm or cold on the side of your clam chowder.

#7. Shrimp and Grits

While not many would think of serving grits with clam chowder, when you add the shrimp, this dish mixes the best of the South and the North. It is decadent yet delicate too, and perfect for a complement to your seafood soup.


  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup grits
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 ½ cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2 cups shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Follow these steps to prepare your shrimp and grits

  1. Add the water and chicken broth to a saucepan, and bring the liquid to a boil.
  2. Stir in the grits, cumin, salt, and pepper. Cook for 25 to 30 minutes or until all liquid is absorbed.
  3. Turn off the heat and add ⅔ of the butter and cheddar cheese. Mix well.
  4. Add the remainder of the butter to a skillet along with the shrimp. Stir in the garlic and cook for 5 minutes.
  5. Serve your grits in a bowl with shrimp on top and scallions on top.

How Can I Pick The Perfect Clam Chowder Sides?

When it comes to clam chowder, you are not usually supposed to eat it alone. However, knowing chowder accompaniment can be tricky. Each of these recipes works on its own or together.

For something light and fresh that does not overpower your clam chowder, you could try going with a vegetable. You can go with the citrus coleslaw with peanuts for crunch and acidity. Otherwise, the cucumber salad is very fresh and just as tasty.

If you want to try making your clam chowder meal more filling, choose something denser. The bacon pasta salad is refreshing yet satisfying. The shrimp and grits add protein and flavor too.

For all other purposes, why not try something different? The jalapeño biscuits go with more than just soup. The roasted zucchini and tomato casserole can be sweet and savory.

Finally, the spinach frittata is just right for when you want to keep things simple but higher in protein.


Clam chowder does not just have to be an appetizer. You can make your soup much more satisfying with all these recipes. Try them together or separate but enjoy them any time.

*image by PBT/depositphotos

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