Lighter Instant Pot Clam Chowder is a fresh and filling version of the creamy soup you love, with a herb-flavored clear broth, crunchy celery, and tender potatoes.
I first started making clam chowder in my Instant Pot when developing recipes for the Electric Pressure Cooking Cookbook.
This version is a lighter, refreshing take on traditional New England clam chowder. It has a delicate clear broth, fresh herbs and vegetables, and plenty of meaty clams.
It’s great on its own with oyster crackers and bread, and it would also make a great side dish for a lighter spring or summer meal.
How to Make Lighter Clam Chowder in the Instant Pot
The first step to making this light and flavorful clam chowder is to sauté onion, garlic, and celery in a bit of butter. The butter both adds flavor and helps prevent excessive foaming when you’re pressure cooking. This is especially important at higher altitudes.
You can substitute the butter with olive oil if you prefer.
I make this chowder with low-sodium chicken broth. If you have the time, making your own stock is easy with an Instant Pot.
You could also use homemade (or store-bought) seafood stock or vegetable broth if you prefer. If you’re using store-bought broth, I always recommend buying low-sodium so you can control the saltiness of your dish.
Can I Double or Halve the Recipe?
You can double the recipe, though we recommend using an 8-quart pressure cooker to ensure there’s enough space. You can easily halve the recipe without any changes to the cooking steps or times.
What to Serve with Instant Pot Clam Chowder
You can serve this chowder as a first course, a side dish, or an entree for a light lunch or dinner. On the side, I like to serve cornbread made in the Instant Pot or in the oven using our cheesy recipe from Barbara Bakes.
More Instant Pot Chowder Recipes
Here are some of our other favorite chowder recipes to make in an Instant Pot / electric pressure cooker:
- Poblano Corn Chowder is a bit spicy, a bit sweet, and totally creamy.
- Instant Pot Corn Chowder is a perfect light and refreshing soup to enjoy on a warm summer night.
- Pressure Cooker Pumpkin Chicken Chowder is a creamy and hearty chowder recipe perfect for the fall.
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- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 2 celery ribs, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 large red potatoes, diced into ½-inch pieces
- 4 cans (6.5 oz, each) chopped clams with juice
- 2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
- 3 sprigs fresh thyme
- 2 bay leaves
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Chopped parsley and oyster crackers, for serving
- Select Sauté and add butter to the pressure cooking pot. When the butter is melted, add onion, celery, and garlic. Cook stirring occasionally for about 3 minutes.
- Add potatoes, clams with juice, broth, thyme, bay leaves, salt, and pepper to the pressure cooking pot.
- Lock the lid in place. Select High Pressure and 3 minutes cook time.
- When the cook time ends, use a quick pressure release. When the valve drops, carefully remove the lid. Remove and discard the bay leaves and thyme.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve topped with chopped parsley and oyster crackers, if desired.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 284Total Fat: 4gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 43mgSodium: 1008mgCarbohydrates: 42gFiber: 3gSugar: 8gProtein: 20g
Nutrition information is calculated by Nutritionix and may not always be accurate.
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