March 3, 2024
Is clam chowder gluten-free? In this comprehensive guide, we explore the world of gluten-free clam chowder, including recipes, brands, and how to make it at home.


Given the rising popularity of gluten-free diets, it’s not uncommon for people to avoid dishes that once gave them comfort. For clam chowder lovers, the question of whether this delicious seafood soup contains gluten is reasonable. This article aims to provide a definitive guide to clam chowder’s gluten-free status, including the ingredients to avoid, how to make it at home, and suitable brands to purchase.

The Ultimate Guide to Clam Chowder: Gluten-Free Edition

Clam chowder is a type of soup typically made of clams, potatoes, celery, onions, and cream, seasoned with salt, pepper, and bay leaves. These ingredients are generally gluten-free. The main ingredient in clam chowder that may contain gluten is the soup base. Many canned and boxed soup bases contain gluten in the form of wheat flour or barley flavoring.

When choosing a clam chowder for a gluten-free diet, look for labels that specifically state “gluten-free” or make your own from gluten-free soup base or clam juice.

Exploring the Gluten-Free World of Clam Chowder

Clam chowder is prepared differently across the country. From the creamy New England clam chowder to the red tomato-based Manhattan-style soup, each has different regional ingredients. While it’s rare to find wheat flour added to the soup, regional variations like Manhattan clam chowder often include added gluten-containing ingredients like crackers, which should be avoided for anyone requiring a gluten-free diet.

When ordering or purchasing clam chowder, always ask the server/baker for the ingredients to find out if the soup is free of gluten.

Clam Chowder and Gluten Sensitivity: What You Need to Know

For those with gluten sensitivity or celiac disease, eating clam chowder that contains gluten can cause severe discomfort. Gluten sensitivity is a condition in which the gluten protein triggers an adverse reaction in the person’s digestive system. Symptoms include bloating, abdominal pain, constipation or diarrhea, and headaches.

When consuming clam chowder as a gluten-sensitive individual, it’s crucial to make proper inquiries about the recipe originated. They should inquire about the ingredients used to make the soup base or ask about the presence of hidden gluten-containing ingredients like wheat crackers.

A Comprehensive List of Gluten-Free Clam Chowder Recipes

The best way to enjoy clam chowder on a gluten-free diet is to make it yourself. It’s relatively easy to make with gluten-free soup base or clam juice in place of traditional soup or canned soup base.

There are numerous gluten-free clam chowder recipes out there, from the traditional New England clam chowder to unique variations like sweet potato clam chowder or bacon clam chowder. When making gluten-free clam chowder, substitute ingredients such as cream and gluten-free flour, instead of traditional flour, and avoid utilizing crackers or bread crumbs as a thickener.

Reviewing the Best Gluten-Free Clam Chowder Brands

Several brands produce gluten-free clam chowder. Some of the popular brands to try out include Campbell’s Chunky New England Clam Chowder and Bar Harbor Maine Clam Chowder. Although, there are other brands and local delis or bakeshops too. It’s essential to ask about the ingredients and recipes used to make the soup before making a purchase.

How to Make Gluten-Free Clam Chowder from Scratch

Making gluten-free clam chowder at home isn’t complicated. The key is to substitute traditional soup base and flour with gluten-free alternatives. Here are the steps for making gluten-free clam chowder from scratch;


  • ΒΌ cup unsalted butter
  • 4 chopped green onions
  • 2 peeled, chopped garlic cloves
  • 3 chopped celery stalks and 6 peeled potatoes
  • 2 cans clam juice
  • 3 cans chopped clams
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon gluten-free flour
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Bay leaves


  • Melt butter over medium heat and cook the green onions until they’re softened.
  • Add garlic cloves and stir for 60 seconds.
  • Put celery and potatoes and stir again for about five minutes.
  • Add gluten-free flour, stir, and cook for 2 minutes.
  • Add clam juice, sliced clams, and bay leaves.
  • Simmer on low heat for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Add salt and pepper seasoning.
  • Add heavy cream and stir frequently.
  • Remove bay leaves and serve.


Eating gluten-free clam chowder is achievable. The crucial factor is to ask about the ingredients that make up the soup or make it yourself using gluten-free substitutes. With the guide presented above, you can comfortably enjoy clam chowder without worrying about adverse reactions.

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