Rhody Recipe: Fall Clam Chowder with Rhode Island Sugar Pumpkins

This creamy soup takes advantage of autumn harvests


Nothing says “fall” quite like pumpkin-flavored treats. And while sweets tend to take the cake (no pun intended) when it comes to these spiced goodies, savory dishes starring this beloved gourd deserve room on the table, too. Enter pumpkin clam chowder!

Creamy pumpkin is mixed with warm, earthy autumn spices and seasonal vegetables for a fall soup recipe that is extra comforting and warm. Not only is this dish seasonally fitting but also offers an Ocean State nod when using fresh, local clam

Rhode Island has no shortage of pumpkin patches to find the perfect gourd for carving, but when it comes to cooking, what’s out on the field isn’t always the most ideal for eating. For best results, watch for sugar pumpkins, which are smaller, sweeter, and less fibrous. Here’s a handful of spots to find them:


Dame Farm & Orchards, Johnston

Goodwin Brothers Farm Stand,
North Smithfield

Old Orchard Farm, Manville

Salisbury Farm, Johnston

Spring Hill Sugar House, Richmond

Sweet Berry Farm, Middletown




• 5 strips of bacon, pork, or turkey

• 1 large onion, peeled and chopped

• 3 stalks celery, chopped

• 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced or pressed

• ⅛ tsp ground nutmeg

• ⅛ tsp ground cloves

• ¼ tsp ground cinnamon

• ½ tsp ground ginger

• ¼ cup all purpose flour

• 4 6.5 oz cans of chopped clams, reserving 

• 2 cups of liquid

• 2 8 oz jars of clam juice

• 1 15 oz can of organic pumpkin puree

• 1½ pounds yellow or red potatoes, scrubbed
• and cut into ½-inch cubes

• 1 cup chopped sugar pumpkin or butternut squash

• 1 bay leaf

• 1 cup heavy cream or coconut cream

• 1 Tbsp minced parsley

• 1 tsp table salt, plus more according to taste

• Fresh cracked pepper

OPTIONAL: 1-2 pounds of fresh clams


1. Open the canned clams and drain and reserve their liquid in a separate container.

2. Heat a large dutch oven or stock pot over medium-high heat. Add the bacon strips and cook until crispy on both sides, about 5 minutes. Remove bacon from the pot and set aside.

3. Toss in the chopped onion and celery. Cook until the onion is translucent, around 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

4. Toss in the garlic, nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon, and ginger. Stir well and cook for 30 seconds before adding the four and cooking an additional 30 seconds, stirring the entire time.

5. Pour in the clam juice (the reserved canned juice and jars of juice should amount to 4-5 cups), and mix in the pumpkin puree. Bring the mixture to a light boil before adding the chopped potatoes and pumpkin or squash to the pot, along with the bay leaf. Cook for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes and pumpkin are just fork tender.

6. If using fresh clams, add them to the pot, stir well and place the lid on. Allow to cook for 5-10 minutes, until all of the clams have fully opened.  

7. Toss in the reserved chopped canned clams, cream, and parsley. Add your pepper and salt – don’t skip this step; salt is very important in this recipe. Start with 1 tsp, and add more to your preference.

8. Chop up the reserved bacon and sprinkle it over the top of each bowl. Serve with a side of bread, and enjoy!

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