Can You Freeze Clam Chowder?

Clam chowder is a delicious and hearty meal with a variety of flavorful ingredients. A typical clam chowder includes shellfish, milk, cream, cheese and many vegetables, so it is therefore a filling and diverse meal with lots of texture and taste.

Clam chowder was popularized by New England residents and quickly spread throughout the United States. Its inclusion of seafood with a hearty helping of soup and broth made it a delicious dish that we love to enjoy.

Generally speaking, when we cook clam chowder, we make enough to feed the whole neighborhood. It is easier to make it in large batches instead of serving just one, so that we can enjoy it for a few days and warm up our friends and family.

When properly stored and kept, cooked clam chowder can last for up to 4 days in your refrigerator. This is great for keeping it longer after cooking, or if you want an extra dish the following day.

If you are anything like us, then you hate wasting food. It is one of our biggest pet peeves when we forget about a meal in the refrigerator and end up having to throw it in the trash because it is way past its use by date.

We would never want to throw away a delicious homemade clam chowder, but it’s too rich and creamy to eat every day until it’s gone.

With any food, you have to make sure that if you are not going to eat it straight away, then you have to save it and refrigerate for later use.

Like all types of food, it will need to be stored correctly to ensure that it does not go bad and that you can enjoy your chowder risk free. Most any food can be frozen to maintain its shelf life and clam chowder is no different. Yes, that is right, you can freeze clam chowder.

A typical clam chowder consists of clams, potatoes, onions, butter and milk. Although it includes both dairy and seafood, this dish can be freezed for later consumption.

However the overall fresh flavors and texture may be compromised by freezing, so when thawing you must ensure that you stir the dish thoroughly.

How to freeze clam chowder

Freezing clam chowder can maintain its longevity. As soon as you know that you will not immediately use all of your clam chowder, you should prepare to freeze the leftovers. You do not want to leave it for a few days and then decide to freeze it.

Once your clam chowder is cooked to perfection, remove it from the heat and allow it to cool throughout the dish. This can take anywhere from 20 minutes to a half hour.

A quick and easy way of cooling your chowder so that it does not spoil is to immerse the bowl into a pot of cold water. You can stir the chowder thoroughly to let it cool fast and get it straight into the freezer.

Next, we recommend that you pour your clam chowder into a sealable freezer bag or airtight container. You must ensure that the chowder is chilled all of the way through before freezing as the temperature change may promote bacterial growth and can therefore make you sick upon consumption.

Our best tip is to always label your food in the freezer with the date you made it. This way you can ensure you are eating it in a timely manner, and you know exactly what’s what in your freezer.

It is also much easier to freeze in separate freezer bags that each have a serving in. This way you know how many bags to defrost ready to serve up for your whole family.

Frozen clam chowder can be eaten up to 2 to 4 months after cooking. We recommend that you do not leave it that long as the ingredients and composure of the chowder can lessen over time.

How to thaw clam chowder

It is relatively quick and easy to thaw frozen clam chowder. First, take the freezer bags or airtight containers out of your freezer and either place them in the sink or a large bowl filled with hot water. This will begin to defrost the chowder in between 5 or 10 minutes.

Some people prefer to defrost their clam chowder in the refrigerator until it is ready to reheat.

Once you start to notice the chowder thawing, and you can break it into chunks, you can remove the chowder from the bag. Next, you may pour the contents into a saucepan for heating. Try to maintain the saucepan on a medium to high heat for the best results.

You will most likely need to keep stirring the clam chowder as the ingredients can curdle or separate. It may be necessary to add some water or milk to the pan in case your chowder has lost a little of its consistency during freezing and defrosting.

Our advice is to cover the clam chowder and bring to boil for one minute. Once it is reheated all of the way through, you can serve it up and enjoy!

Factors to consider before freezing heavy cream

You must have enough freezer space to comfortably fit an ice cube tray, or a baking tray if you opt to freeze quenelles of whipped cream.

Do not forget to create an air gap at the top of the heavy cream container to accommodate for the cream expanding when it freezes.

Do not forget to measure the size of the cubes your ice-cube tray makes are before filling with heavy cream. If your ice-cube tray cubes are 2tbsp in volume, 2 cubes = ¼ cup, 4 cubes = ½ cup, 6 cubes = ¾ cup and 8 cubes = 1 cup.

Do not refreeze heavy cream once it has thawed out. This is because allowing the heavy cream to come to room temperature allows bacteria to grow, which can be harmful when refrozen. This is what we recommend freezing the heavy cream in smaller portions.

The fat molecules in heavy cream are surrounded by a protein membrane. In cold temperatures, butterfat crystals can form inside of the protein membrane and can rupture it.

As the cream warms up, the butterfat begins to seep out of the membrane and this may need redistributing through stirring.

How to tell if clam chowder has gone bad

If you find your clam chowder in the refrigerator or freezer and cannot remember how long it has been there, there are a few ways to tell if your chowder has gone bad.

The first way is to check the scent. If there is a strong odor, then you should discard the chowder in the trash. Similarly, if there are signs of mold or discoloration, then it is best not to eat it.

Now you can freeze and thaw your best clam chowder recipe, and enjoy a dish of your favorite hearty soup in a matter of minutes.


Hi there! My name is Caroline Stevens, and I am an American mom of three wonderful children. I started this blog to help everyday families be more sustainable and save money by preventing food waste. I currently live in Wisconsin, and enjoy crafting, cooking at home, and traveling. I have a degree in art and previously worked in the restaurant business.