Tips for Making an Award-Winning Clam Chowder

By: Rachelle Lucas


Guess where you'll find the world's best tasting clam chowder? It's not New England, but right here in Cedar Key, Fla.!

Three-time winner of the Great Chowder Cookoff in Newport, R.I., Chef Eric Jungklaus certainly has some clam-tastic bragging rights for beating out the "big boys" of New England as well as several international contenders in this culinary contest.

Inspired by his brother Tony, Chef Eric Jungklaus created the recipe to be a memorable signature dish for their local Cedar Key eatery, Tony's Seafood Restaurant.

While he wouldn't give us the exact recipe, he did let us know that he uses a proprietary blend of spices along with butter, cream and bacon. Isn't everything delicious made with butter, cream and bacon?

Here are Chef Jungklaus' recommendations for making the perfect clam chowder:


Basic ingredients for a chowder base:
Flour, Butter, Celery, Onion, Vegetable Stock, Salt & Pepper

Substitute CLAM JUICE for vegetable stock.
Sautee celery and onion in separate pan, then add to base.

Basic ingredients to finish your chowder:
Chopped Clams, Celery, Potatoes, Wine, Bacon, Whole Milk, Carrots, Onions

To give a thicker, heartier texture and flavor ...
Use red onions & red potatoes.
Try Hardwood Smoked Bacon.
Chop bacon and pan cook until golden brown.
Add some of the bacon pan drippings to your chowder.
Use half-n-half and heavy cream instead of plain milk.
Avoid carrots

Typical Chowder Seasonings:
Bay leaf, hot sauce, dill weed, black pepper & salt

Chopped Garlic will give your chowder a kick.
Butter adds flavor, color and a little sweetness.
Try some dry spice blends: Parsley flakes, black pepper, white pepper, green and red pepper, red pepper flakes
Key: Whisk dry spice blend into half-n-half before adding to chowder.

Cooking Instructions:
Most people heat chowder on a stove in a sauce pan.

Dust off your crock pot! When your recipe is complete, give the chowder’s flavors an hour or more to all come together.

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1 comment
Glenys December 17, 2014 9:29 AM
Quaint little place, could imagine this is a model of old florida before the high rise condos etc. tonys clam chowder absolutely the best we have ever tasted, would love the in Ontario so no threat.

VISIT FLORIDA replies: Hi, Glenys! Alas, Tony's Seafood Restaurant declines to share the recipe for its famous clam chowder with all who inquire, including no less a culinary entity than Bon Appetit magazine! But if you use Chef Jungklaus' tips in the article above, you will be able to approximate it. And isn't it more fun to come up with you own particular take on this classic? If you are craving a taste of the original, however, you can order it online at Those fortunate to live within hailing distance of a Publix grocery store will find it on the shelves there.