Clam Chowder is a rich and hearty soup packed with tender potatoes and juicy lumps of clam swimming in a pool of thick cream and luscious soup. It’s indulgent, filling, and incredibly easy to make, making it the perfect comfort food.
There are several types of chowder – but all of them are oh so yummy. You’ve got the Rhode Island version with a clear broth, the tomato-based chowder from New York, and my favorite – the New England or Boston Clam Chowder.
Regardless of its type, clam chowder always tastes so much better when paired with the perfect side dish. And since this thick soup is packed with so much flavor and texture, there are a plethora of sides that go oh so well with it. Can’t decide what to pick? Well, we are here to help.
What to Eat With Clam Chowder – 14 Tasty Side Dishes
1. Bread Rolls
Clam chowder served in a bowl of bread is always a fantastic idea. But, if you want to keep things simple, serve some soft and buttery bread rolls on the side. Dunk these little guys in your steaming hot chowder and let it absorb all that creamy goodness.
These light, fluffy dinner rolls are best served right out of the oven and topped with a thin layer of buttery goodness.
2. Oyster Crackers
Or, instead of soft dinner rolls, how about some crisp and savory oyster crackers? This combination of thick and tender soup and crunchy crackers is a well-loved classic.
When it comes to clam chowder, you can never go wrong with pairing it with a simple salad. Clam chowder is so rich and indulgent, you’ll want something light to balance it out.
So, whether it’s a tangy vinegar-based coleslaw, a colorful kale salad with goat cheese, a classic caesar salad with lots of crunchy croutons, a simple spinach salad with a blueberry vinaigrette, a sweet and savory carrot salad, or a refreshing summer corn salad, it will surely complement the wonderful flavors of clam chowder.
4. Roasted Veggies
As we’ve mentioned, a rich and hearty clam chowder needs a light side dish to balance it out – and veggies are a great way to do just that. Their flavors are subtle so you won’t have to worry about them overpowering the main dish.
Roast your vegetables to give them a nice char and caramelized flavor. You can use your favorite veggies, but carrots, asparagus, beets, and turnips are especially appropriate for roasting because they’ve got a nice crunch. Tomatoes, fennel, mushrooms, and artichokes also make fantastic choices.
5. Corn on the Cob
And while we’re on the subject of simple pairings, here’s another one: clam chowder and corn on the cob. Apart from going really well with chowder, corn on the cob is also easy to prepare. You can either grill it, bake it, roast it, boil it, or here’s a new one – microwave it.
Adding flavor to the sweet, juicy, and nutritious corn is also very simple. Just add butter and salt! Some basil will do wonders as well.
6. French Fries
Clam chowder has potatoes, so it only makes sense that it tastes great with even more potatoes! Cut your spuds into thin slices to make incredibly crispy fries that add a nice crunch to your meal. I love a combination of textures when putting together the perfect meal.
Bacon makes everything better, and clam chowder is no exception. Picture this: a hot bowl of juicy clams, tender potatoes, creamy broth, topped with smoky and savory chunks of bacon. Now, that sounds like perfection to me.
8. Cornmeal Pancakes
Here’s another soft and tender side that pairs perfectly with this creamy soup. Make cornmeal pancakes infused with pumpkin puree for a nice sweet side dish that balances out the richness of clam chowder. Oh, and did I mention, it’s completely gluten-free.
9. Mussels Mariniere
Turn your dinner into a complete seafood feast by serving mussels mariniere! Mussels are chewy and have a mild flavor that pairs perfectly with clams. Together, clams and mussels create a harmony of flavors and textures that will surely satisfy your palate.
10. Bacon-Wrapped Scallops
Speaking of seafood, here’s more: scallops. But not just any ‘ol scallops – bacon-wrapped scallops!
The soft and chewy shellfish is already so flavorful on its own. But when it’s wrapped in a thin and crisp strip of bacon, it becomes even more flavorful. The combination of these two makes one salty and savory side dish that goes fantastic with clam chowder.
11. Clam Fritters
You know what other shellfish tastes great with clam chowder? Why clams, of course! It’s the perfect combination. Turn those bad boys into fritters and fry them to perfection.
Cornbread is sweet, savory, and filling – everything that a bowl of clam chowder needs to reach perfection.
13. Beer-Battered Bread
We already know that bread and clam chowder go well together. You know what else does? A cold glass of beer. Put that bread and beer together, and you’ve got some delicious beer-battered bread!
No matter how filling your meal is, it is just not complete without dessert. End your meal with a rich and decadent dessert to finish off your seafood feast.
I’m thinking some sinful brownies topped with vanilla ice cream and chocolate syrup. A decadent apple cobbler with a cinnamon-sugar crumble topping. Or some sweet and buttery shortbread cookies. The perfect way to end any meal.
But since your main meal is already so rich and creamy, you may opt for something light and refreshing.
In that case, strawberry shortcake hits the spot! Fresh strawberries, crunchy biscuits, topped with homemade whipped cream. It doesn’t get much better than that.
Some of my other favorite desserts to pair with seafood include sorbet, fruit tarts, bananas foster, parfaits, and tiramisu.