Taste Of Cape Cod: Clam Chowder, More Varieties Than You Thought

When someone says they want a cup of clam chowder, you probably imagine a creamy base with potatoes and clams so think it can hold a spoon upright in the mug.

Did you now there are more varies of clam chowder than there are states in New England?

According to one source, there are 8 different basic varieties, including our favorite Cape Cod Clam Chowder. You’d be hard pressed to find one of these ‘other’ varieties served on Cape, but it’s worth noting that there are other varieties served up in kitchens across the country.

For the sake of simplicity, we will break it down to the 3 bases for each chowder: Clear, Tomato and Cream. From these three basis, contemporary soups and chowders evolved.

Courtesy of CapeCodRestaurants.com

Clear based chowders are most often found in the Carolina’s. Its base includes the basic ingredients like potatoes, clams and green onions with plenty of pepper and hot sauce.

Rhode Island clam chowder also has a clear broth base. You can find it served in parts of Connecticut, as well which is made with clam broth, bacon, onions, celery, plenty of potatoes and fresh herbs.

Manhattan Clam Chowder

Tomato based chowders often come from a Portuguese heritage and is also referred to as Manhattan chowder. In addition to the traditional tomato base, you will often find other vegetables like carrots, celery and peppers.  

There is a second style of tomato based clam chowder you’ll find in southern states like Florida. This version is very spicy with a history leading back to specific types of hot peppers only grown in Spain.

New England Clam Chowder

Cream based chowder, also considered Cape Cod clam chowder is made from milk, butter, potatoes, salt pork, onion, and clams. It has a rich consistency and is often the only chowder served across the Cape and Islands.


What’s your favorite? Tell me: [email protected] 

About Cat Wilson

Cat Wilson is "That Girl" on Cape Country 104 – a Cape Cod native and longtime Cape radio personality. She is a passionate supporter of Military and Veteran causes on the Cape and also hosts local music spotlight program, “The Cheap Seats” on Ocean 104.7.

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