In the mood for clam chowder? We found the best option at the grocery store.

By Maddy Sweitzer-Lammé
Updated September 09, 2020
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Credit: Maddy Sweitzer-Lammé

Clam chowder, especially the canned stuff, is pretty divisive. It can get weird fast, and the flavor isn’t always on point. But for those who love it, it’s a comforting, creamy soul warming soup that is ready in just a few minutes. Maybe because it’s so divisive, there aren’t a ton of brands making it. I only found 4 types that are widely available, but I tasted them all and I’m here to tell you which one is the best.

Best Overall

Bar Harbor New England Clam Chowder

bar-harbor-clam-chowder
Credit: Walmart

Walmart

Another condensed soup, which instructs you to add milk or water to your desired consistency. I added just a bit of milk, but I think water would be just as good. There’s plenty of creaminess from the potatoes, but it’s not overwhelming and doesn’t coat your tongue. The clams are nicely cooked and have a good flavor, but the chowder isn’t overly fishy. This is the one that I would pick to pair with a sandwich for lunch.

Runner-Up

Campbell’s Condensed New England Clam Chowder

campbells-clam-chowder
Credit: Walmart

Walmart

This soup is condensed and the instructions say to thin it out with a can’s worth of milk, which I did. Once it’s heated, it comes together nicely but the condensed soup was not very appealing. I found the potatoes in this soup to be not quite tender enough, so they had sort of a sandy, mouth-coating texture. The flavor was a good balance of potato and clams, and the clam pieces were pretty small, which kept them from tasting chewy.

Not Our Favorites

Progresso Traditional New England Clam Chowder

progresso-clam-chowder
Credit: Walmart

Walmart

My least favorite. This one was not concentrated, so it’s ready straight out of the jar. The flavor was overwhelmingly fishy, and the potatoes also seemed overcooked. The chunks of clam were large and very chewy, which had an overwhelming texture on the palate, and the soup itself was overwhelmingly creamy. I would definitely not eat this again.

Campbell’s Homestyle Clam Chowder

homestyle-clam-chowder
Credit: Walmart

Walmart

I guess in this case, homestyle just means…chunky? This was another pass. The creamy liquid that the potatoes and clam chunks are swimming in was kind of… chunky? It was somehow not quite combined enough, which was very unappealing. The flavor was slightly metallic, and the potatoes were overpowering.