What is Hatteras Clam Chowder?

Clear Hatteras clam chowder with vegetables and herbs and a piece of bread on a rustic table

What is Hatteras clam chowder?

What is Hatteras clam chowder and how is it different from New England and Manhattan clam chowders? While clam chowder may have originated in Brittany, France before becoming a staple in New England then New York, other regions around the world have their own spin on clam chowder. This dates back at least a century when people just scrounged up whatever staples they could find in the ground before we had apps that could deliver packaged groceries and ready-to-eat chowder to us. (By the way, you might not have a Chowder Bucket near you but if you’ve got a hankering for some chowder delivery, you should use my link to get $7 off your first order at delivery.com!)


Hatteras clam chowder is made on the Outer Banks of North Carolina, on Hatteras Island. It’s the easternmost point of the archipelago jutting into the Atlantic Ocean and one of the larger islands of the Outer Banks. Hatteras clam chowder is also called Outer Banks Clam Chowder for this reason. The narrow islands and islets surrounded by beaches on both sides are dotted with picturesque lighthouses and peaceful beaches that are totally nothing like the lovable filth of Coney Island’s beach back home. You’d think you were in New England rather than North Carolina with some of those views!


But just like its New England counterpart, Hatteras clam chowder is based on the staples of clams, bacon (salt pork back in the day), potatoes, and onions but with some vegetables thrown in. Carrots and celery are typically found in Hatteras clam chowder along with fresh littleneck or cherrystone clams. Back home, I have to rely on whatever the guy in the clam van finds by the gas station across from the University Heights Bridge!


Sometimes other vegetables are put in Hatteras clam chowder which makes it the perfect cross between Manhattan and New England clam chowders if you want heartiness but also some veggie goodness without tomatoes. Hatteras clam chowder is also dairy-free in that it relies on lots and LOTS of clam juice as both the base and to give it body. This makes it a much lighter soup and also good for people who want some chowder-y deliciousness but have a dairy intolerance.


That clear clam broth is what makes Hatteras clam chowder distinctive from the other types of chowder out there. Traditional Hatteras clam chowder also often has a few dashes of Tabasco sauce in it, which would make for some interesting and fiery capabilities while chugging it on the bus!