Portuguese-Style Clam Chowder

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Portuguese-Style Clam Chowder is in a class all of it’s own.

We just love the cream-based New England Clam Chowder, but we also really love tomato-based clam chowder. and this Portuguese-Style Clam Chowder is incredible.

The flavors are bold, but yet so incredibly comforting. This is a chowder you’ll want to make again and again.

Portuguese-Style Clam Chowder in a large bowl


This recipe is a Massachusetts classic originating with the thriving Portuguese community in the region.

Sautéing the tomato paste in the olive oil for 5 minutes really concentrates the tomato flavor and adds such depth.

Building the flavor profile with smoked paprika, thyme and oregano is just amazing.

Tomato paste being sautéed in a Dutch oven for Portuguese-Style Clam Chowder

Fresh fennel adds a wonderful depth to the chowder as well.

Fennel is one of our most favorite aromatics to cooks with and it works so perfectly in this Portugueses-Style Clam Chowder.

A fennel bulb for Portuguese-Style Clam Chowder


Linguica sausage is so flavorful and can be found in specialty food markets, or online.   If you can’t find it, smoked chorizo is a great option, since they are both  a little spicy and very similar.

The nutty Madeira wine adds a beautiful depth to the chowder, as does the fennel and smoked paprika.

Rainwater Madeira is found in most well-stocked liquor stores. If you can’t find it, you can substitute a nice port, or marsala wine (not sweet), or dry sherry.

A bottle of Madeira wine for Portuguese Clam Chowder

Bring the sauce, with the roasted tomatoes, herbs, sausage and fennel to simmer.

The smell is amazing and only takes about 15 minutes until the fennel is nice and tender.

This Portuguese-Style Clam Chowder is so heart-warming.

Sauce simmering for Portuguese-Style Clam Chowder


You can make the chowder up to this point, and then save for a couple days before serving.

Add the clams and finish just before serving.

It only takes the clams 7 minutes to open up in the simmering broth, then you’re ready to eat. Be sure to discard any clams that don’t open.

Clams opening in a stew of Portuguese-Style Clam Chowder

This Portuguese-Style Clam Chowder will warm you to the bones.  And it doesn’t take a long time to prepare at all.

If you love this chowder, you’ll probably love these amazing recipes, too:

In the meantime, make this amazing Portuguese-Style Clam Chowder! A Loon favorite for sure!  125% Loon Approved

So good!

A large bowl of Portuguese-Style Clam Chowder

Portuguese-Style Clam Chowder in a large bowl

Portuguese-Style Clam Chowder

This Portuguese-Style Clam Chowder is just brimming with flavor. So hearty and will warm you to the bone. If you are serving to a group, make the broth ahead and then add the clams and finish just before serving. Amazing flavor!
Print Pin Rate
Course: Chowder
Cuisine: Portuguese / Seafood
Keyword: Clams
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 326kcal


  • 5 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, divided 3 for sauteing and 2 for finishing
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 sprigs fresh oregano or 1 1/2 tsp dried
  • 2 14.5 oz cans fire-roasted tomatoes, plus 2 cans' worth of water
  • 1 lb cooked (or smoked) linguca sausage, or chorizo sliced into 1/2" pieces
  • 1 buls fresh fennel core removed and cut into 1/2-inch-thick dice
  • 48 cockles or littleneck clams scrubbed thoroughly to remove any grit
  • 3 tbsp Madeira either Rainwater or Verdelho style
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar


  • Heat 3 tablespoons of the olive oil in a heavy pot over medium-high heat.
  • Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring for 5 minutes.
  • Add the paprika, thyme, and oregano and cook until toasted and aromatic, about 1 minute.
  • Add the canned tomatoes, water, sausage, and fennel and bring to a simmer and cook until fennel is tender, about 15 minutes. (if making ahead of time, remove from the heat and refrigerate until ready to finish. Reheat gently before proceeding).
  • Add the clams and increase the heat to high.
  • Simmer vigorously until the clams open, 7 to 10 minutes.
  • Discard any clams that don't open.
  • Stir in the Madeira and vinegar.
  • Divide among 4 bowls and drizzle remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil over the top. Serve at once!


Calories: 326kcal
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