Best Light Clam Chowder Recipe (with Tapioca)

Light & creamy clam chowder recipe with tapioca pearls. 


Why We Love it:

Although I am s seafood enthusiast, I find it difficult to adjust to the taste of clams. Maybe, if it wasn’t for that clam salad (with badly cleaned clams) I ate as a child, todays story would have looked a bit different.

A month ago my husband decided to try and reintroduce clams in our weekly menu. He brought a pack of frozen New Zealand clams from the local food store and delicately put them in the freezer. Now, as I do not like food wastage, these clams had to be made into something (#cheekyhusband). When I started searching on the web, clam chowder recipes kept coming up. Unfortunately, all these recipes seemed too heavy for our taste preferences. So, how can you make a creamy version that is light and gluten-free? Short answer – Tapioca pearls (or flour). I was in for an experiment – and it turned out just as expected light and super delicious.



Best Light Clam Chowder with Tapioca

Light and creamy, this healthy version of a traditional clam chowder recipe is rich in flavor and super delicious. 
CourseMain Course, Soup
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Soak Tapioca 1 hour
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 8 servings


  • 250 g fresh/canned clams, cleaned
  • 1 large onion, gold
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • 1 large carrot, sliced
  • 2 skinless potatoes, medium
  • 4 tbsp olive oil, extra virgin
  • 4-6 cups cold water
  • 2 tbsp parsley, chopped
  • 4 tbsp white tapioca pearls
  • bunch of fresh thyme


  • Chop onions, pepper and carrot and sauté in olive oil until soft.
  • Add the peeled and chopped potatoes and add to the other vegetables.
  • Let vegetables sit together for 10 min.; add a cup of water to prevent veggies from burning if needed.
  • Add the (remaining) water + herbs and spices and bring to a boil.
  • In a separate pan add a tbsp. of olive oil and the cleaned (fresh) clams. Once sautéed, puree with food processor of choice and add to the veggie mix.
  • Before removing from stovetop (10-15 minutes), add tapioca* and stir until pearls become translucent and dissolve in soup.

Recipe Notes

CLAMS: For this recipe I used frozen clams (cleaned and washed). Some recipes (like this one) call for canned clams and claim they do the trick.
TAPIOCA PEARLS: Cooking with tapioca pearls requires a bit of preparation. Most tapioca pearls need to be soaked in cold water before we add them to the meal. Best advice is to follow instructions on the tapioca box. 
CREAMIER: Water can be reduced/increased according to creaminess preferences.

Did you make this recipe?

Share on INSTAGRAM and tag it #shinelittlehouse. I’d love to hear how it turned out for you!

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