Clam chowder is a classic comfort dish. People believe the French, British, or Nova Scotian settlers introduced New England style clam chowder to the United States.
The recipe varies depending on where you are located. In New York, you will find tomato-based clam chowder, clear broth clam chowder in Rhode Island, and then there is the creamy clam chowder found in New England.
Regardless of the broth, you will find potatoes, sometimes bacon, and of course, juicy clams in clam chowder. You can serve clam chowder as a meal or accompany it with a side dish.
17 Side Dishes to Serve With Clam Chowder
Since the clam chowder will be the star of the show, picking a side dish to complement the soup will be easy. There are many options to choose from for simple side dishes, and something that will please everyone.
1. Dinner Rolls
You cannot go wrong with pairing clam chowder and dinner rolls together. You can choose to serve store-bought rolls, or you can go with homemade rolls.
Either way, the dinner rolls will be a great option for soaking up the chowder. Top with some butter before serving. Not one bit of flavor will be left behind.
2. Oyster Crackers
You can substitute the dinner rolls for oyster crackers. This is such a simple side dish and there is no better pair than oyster crackers and soup.
The oyster crackers add a crunch to the creamy soup. You can choose to buy the crackers from the store or make your own from home.
Cornbread is another great substitute for the dinner roll. Cornbread offers a new flavor to the meal. Similar to the rolls, it will absorb the creamy soup and make for a tasty side dish.
There are a variety of ways to prepare cornbread. You can cook it in a skillet or bake it in the oven. Either way, it is an easy option and will not take up too much time to prepare it.
4. Cornmeal Pancakes
If you are looking for a side dish that will mix things up, cornmeal pancakes are a great option. Cornmeal pancakes are light and offer a sweet flavor.
Sweet cornmeal pancakes will complement the savory clam chowder. They only take 30 minutes to prepare and require minimal ingredients. Also, cornmeal pancakes are gluten-free.
5. Thin French Fries
There may be potatoes in clam chowder, but not enough to rule out thin french fries as a side dish. French fries and clam chowder put a spin on fish and chips.
Serving thin french fries rather than thicker cut fries will keep your guests from getting too full on the fries. The chowder acts as a great dipping sauce too.
6. Beer-Battered Bread
Mix things up by serving beer-battered bread along with clam chowder. A glass of beer compliments the hearty soup well, and when you combine it with bread, it is even better.
Only a handful of ingredients are required to make this bread. Once you combine all ingredients, the bread will bake for 30-40 minutes. Serve it warm with your clam chowder.
7. Corn on the Cob
Buttery and crunchy corn on the cob is a simple side dish that pairs well with clam chowder. Corn on the cob is an easy way to incorporate more vegetables into the meal.
You can boil, grill, bake, or roast the corn on the cob. Top it with butter and add garlic or basil to add more flavor.
8. Corn Salad
Instead of corn on the cob, you can choose to whip up corn salad. Corn salad offers fresh, light flavors to go along with your hearty clam chowder.
Sweet corn works best for this salad. Combine tomatoes, cucumbers, and basil with sweet corn. Lastly, top the corn salad with feta and enjoy!
9. Roasted Vegetables
Roasted vegetables are another light side dish that will pair well with clam chowder. You can get creative with the variety of vegetables you choose to use.
Asparagus, carrots, beets, and turnips roast nicely and do not overpower the clam chowder. Simply roast them in the oven with some olive oil or butter and seasoning for 30-40 minutes then serve.
10. Caesar Salad
You can never go wrong with a soup and salad combination. A caesar salad is a light side dish that will complement the rich, hearty clam chowder.
The romaine lettuce and croutons will add a crunch to the meal. You can make homemade caesar dressing to add a twist to the salad.
11. Carrot Salad
Carrot salad is a well-known side dish in France and is becoming a popular side dish here. Not only does it provide lots of color to a meal, but it is also very nutritious.
A food processor will make the prep process of the carrots much easier. Once you slice the carrots, top with a lemon dijon vinaigrette. The longer the carrots have to soak up the dressing, the better.
The best type of coleslaw to serve with clam chowder is vinegar-based. The tangy flavors will add a twist of flavors to the hearty soup.
The red and green cabbage, carrots, and green onions will create a colorful side dish. You can prep the vegetables ahead of time, but wait to mix in the dressing until you are ready to serve it.
13. Mussels Mariniere
Clam chowder gives you a taste of seafood. There is no better way to compliment that taste than by pairing it with more seafood. Mussels Mariniere is a classic French dish.
The dish involves cooking the mussels in white wine. Mussels offer a different seafood experience in comparison to the clams. Paired together, they create a fantastic meal.
Scallops have a chewy texture similar to clams, which will match well with a bowl of clam chowder. You can prepare scallops in a variety of ways.
If you want to add some crunch and even more flavor, wrap the scallops in bacon. This savory side dish will complement the hearty clam chowder.
15. Clam Fritters
If you choose to serve seafood as the side dish, don’t rule out clams as an option. There is no better way to compliment the taste of clams from the soup than with more clams.
Clam fitters will put a spin on the experience of the meal. The clams in the soup will be tender, whereas the clam fritters will offer a crunch.
Bacon goes well with almost anything, especially with a bowl of clam chowder. The hearty flavors of clam chowder pair well with the savory flavor of bacon.
Enjoy the bacon by itself or crumble it on top of the soup. Some people like to add bacon as part of an ingredient to the soup. Serving it as a side dish lets your guest choose how they would like to enjoy it.
Although clam chowder is a hearty soup, if you serve it by itself, it is likely there will be room for dessert. Dessert is the best way to end a meal.
There are plenty of dessert ideas, which means there is something for everyone. You can opt for a simple dessert to save time while preparing the soup.
Clam chowder is a hearty soup that pairs well with many other flavors. This gives you an abundance of side dishes to choose from to complete the meal.
You can choose from savory or sweet depending on what you are craving. Either way, both types of side dishes will allow you to enjoy the juicy clams and tender potatoes that clam chowder has to offer.