The Best Clam Chowder Side Dishes

Which side dishes work best with clam chowder? A hearty, thick chowder calls for bread to dip, so a quick cheese bread, drop biscuits, or corn fritters are ideal. Serve an eggy salmon on rye to echo the seafood theme. Fresh vegetables add texture and color: enjoy sautéed fennel and tomato, or crispy arugula and pear, celery and mushroom, and Waldorf coleslaw salads.

A traditional New England clam chowder is comfort food at its best. Whether you want a wholesome starch or zingy salad, this list of the 12 best sides for clam chowder has the answer.

Zucchini And Cheddar Bread

A loaf of soft, cheesy bread is a delicious side for any soup, especially chunky chowder. Dunk pieces in the soup or toast slices with butter. Here’s how to make this quick loaf.

Begin by preheating your oven to a moderate 350⁰F (180⁰C) and greasing a standard loaf tin.

In a large mixing bowl, mix 3½ cups of flour, four teaspoons of baking powder, one teaspoon of salt, and ½ teaspoon of baking soda.

Add a cup of grated zucchini, ⅓ cup grated strong Cheddar cheese, two tablespoons of sliced scallions, three tablespoons of fresh parsley, and one tablespoon of fresh dill. Toss to coat in the flour.

In a separate bowl, whisk two eggs, a cup of buttermilk, and four tablespoons of melted butter.

Combine the wet and dry ingredients gently, without beating. The batter will be pebbly.

Bake for an hour. Allow the bread to cool before slicing.

Drop Biscuits

Tender, savory biscuits are ideal for dipping in soup to absorb the creamy goodness. Making drop biscuits is easy, as there is no kneading, rolling, or cutting. This recipe takes about 15 minutes in total.

Your first step is preheating the oven to really hot, around 475⁰F (250⁰C).

Whisk together two cups of flour, one tablespoon of baking powder, and ½ teaspoon of salt.

Now mix the wet ingredients: ⅔ cup of milk and ⅓ cup of vegetable oil.

Combine your wet biscuit ingredients with your dry ingredients and stir only until the ingredients are combined. Do not beat – the batter will be very thick and sticky.

Drop teaspoon-sized scoops of batter onto an ungreased baking sheet, allowing for spreading.

Bake for eight minutes.

Serve piping hot.

Smoked Salmon and Egg Sandwiches

Soup and sandwiches make a classic combination. This delicious Danish sandwich echoes the seafood theme and turns a soup into a hearty meal. Here’s what to do.

Start by laying out four thin slices of dark rye bread. Spread them generously with soft butter.

Lay a large slice of smoked salmon on each piece of bread.

Top the salmon with firmly scrambled eggs, about five tablespoons in total.

Sprinkle with fresh dill.

Corn Fritters

Corn and chowder have complementary flavors, so these sweet fritters are perfect for snacking on with soup or dipping into clam chowder. They also only have four ingredients – so easy.

Break one egg into a mixing bowl.

Then, drain the liquid from a can of corn, keeping three tablespoons to add to the egg. Reserve the rest.

Tip the corn into the bowl, add a cup of self-raising flour and stir until the mixture is damp. Add corn liquid if necessary to thin the batter.

Meanwhile, heat a skillet with a dash of oil.

Fry teaspoonfuls of batter until golden brown.

Eat the fritters hot.

Fennel And Tomato Sautée

A warm vegetable adds color and a vitamin kick to a creamy chowder. The fennel has a gorgeous aniseed flavor, making this a refreshing side.

Your first step is to trim and slice four fennel bulbs into fine vertical strips.

Then, heat a dash of olive oil and gently sautée the fennel, stirring often.

Once the fennel is tender-crisp, add four peeled and chopped tomatoes and season with salt and pepper.

Simmer the vegetables for five minutes, stirring gently.

Remove from the heat and stir through 1½ tablespoons of fresh dill.

This dish is good warm, or at room temperature.

Arugula And Pear Salad

Peppery arugula and crisp pear are dressed with a sweet, fruity dressing. This tongue-tingling salad makes a lovely contrast to the warmth and richness of clam chowder. Here’s how you make it.

Start by making the salad dressing. In a blender, combine ⅓ cup of fig preserves, ¼ cup of olive oil, and three tablespoons of white balsamic vinegar. Season with salt and pepper.

Make the salad by shredding six cups of arugula, slicing two pears, crumbling in ½ cup of blue cheese, and scattering over ½ cup of toasted pecans.

Dress the salad and serve immediately.

Celery And Mushroom Salad

A cool, crunchy salad is a great textural contrast with the thick, creamy soup, especially with its tangy vinaigrette dressing to cut through the richness. This salad needs to chill for two hours, so factor that into your planning.

Begin with a bunch of table celery, which you need to trim and chop. Add a punnet of finely sliced mushrooms and place the vegetables in a bowl in the fridge to chill.

Meanwhile, place one jar of pimiento slices (drained), two sliced shallots, two tablespoons of fresh parsley, ¼ cup of red wine vinegar, and two teaspoons of grainy mustard in a food processor and blitz.

With the food processor running, slowly add ½ cup of olive oil. Then stir in the juice of a lemon.

Pour the dressing over the celery and mushrooms.

Cover and chill the salad for two hours before serving.

Waldorf Coleslaw

Combining two famous salads, this crispy, crunchy salad gives you the best of both. This fruit and vegetable-packed side balances the seafood soup and makes a completely balanced meal that’s popular with kids.

To make your Waldorf Coleslaw, shred one small cabbage and place it in a salad bowl.

Chop four scallions, two sticks of celery, one green pepper, and one tart apple and add them to the bowl, along with ½ cup of sultanas or golden raisins.

Next, make the dressing with a tablespoon of wine vinegar, two teaspoons of French mustard, 1/6 cup of olive oil, salt, and pepper.

Dress the salad and put it in the fridge to chill for two hours.

Just before serving, add ½ cup of mayonnaise or sour cream and ½ cup of chopped walnuts. Toss and serve.

Best Wine Pairings For Clam Chowder

Seafood traditionally pairs with white wine. You’ll need a wine with some acidity to cut through the creamy richness of chowder, like a well-oaked Chardonnay, Riesling, or Sauvignon Blanc with citrus undertones.

A sweet, fruity wine will flatter the saltiness of clams – a French Viognier or Alsatian Pinot Gris fits the bill. For the same reason, sherry is also great with clam chowder.

If you’re having a tomato-based chowder, choose an oaked red wine, like a dry Argentinian Malbec, fruit-forward Merlot, or a medium-bodied Pinot Noir.

Beer pairs well with clam chowder as well. Go for a stout, Irish brown, or lager, as they are smooth and strong enough for a voluptuous chowder.

Best Garnish Pairings For Clam Chowder

Clam chowder contains seafood, vegetables, potatoes, and often cream, so garnishes must be bright and tasty.

Here are garnishes we recommend:

  • Oyster crackers
  • Bacon bits
  • Snipped chives
  • Chopped celery leaves
  • A sprig of fresh thyme
  • Diced scallions
  • Grated Cheddar cheese
  • A drizzle of sherry.