Keto Instant Pot Clam Chowder (dairy-free, potato-free, Whole30)
A classic, comfort food soup gets a low-carb makeover with some added veggies that will fool you into thinking they’re heavy cream and potatoes! This Keto Instant Pot Clam Chowder is dairy-free, potato-free, and Whole30-friendly!
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This veggie-filled keto clam chowder is a perfect meal prep recipe, makes great leftovers, and loves to be packed in a Thermos food jar and sent as a school or work lunch. When I make this full recipe as-written, it feeds our family of 4 at least twice — and there’s usually a couple of extra servings to send to work with my husband for lunch!
Did you look at the title of this recipe and think, “Nope. No way. You can’t have clam chowder without dairy, carbs, and potatoes!”
Actually, you can.
Maybe you even noticed the white chunks in the photo and thought, “See? I knew there were potatoes in this keto clam chowder recipe!”
I promise I’m not lying. There really aren’t potatoes in this recipe. 🙂
And, according to my family and the friends who’ve eaten this low-carb clam chowder, you can’t even tell there’s no potatoes.
So… what exactly is masquerading as a potato in this recipe??
Celeriac — My Favorite Potato Doppelganger!
Celeriac is an ugly veggie, but it’s way lower in carbs than potatoes, allowing you to stick to your keto or low-carb or Trim Healthy Mama lifestyle and still enjoy what is normally an insanely carb-heavy soup.
Not only does celeriac have nearly half the net carbs of potatoes (7g in 100g of celeriac vs. 15g in 100g of potatoes), it’s also lower in calories and higher several in essential vitamins and minerals.
For instance, 100g of potatoes contains 1.9mcg (2% RDA) of Vitamin K, while the same amount of celeriac contains 41mcg (51% RDA)!
Celeriac contains more calcium, phosphorus, zinc, manganese, and selenium than potatoes, too!
(Potatoes are still higher in Vitamin C, folate, and potassium, so don’t totally hate on the potatoes.) 😉
Celeriac is a lifesaver for those who can’t have potatoes due to nightshade sensitivity or intolerance.
I also use celeriac as a potato doppelganger in these recipes (and no one’s the wiser!):
- Instant Pot Vegetable Beef Stew (paleo, Whole30, keto)
- Classic No-Tato Salad
- Instant Pot Zuppa Toscana (low-carb, potato-free, dairy-free)
Can I use potatoes instead?
Sure, go for it! I eat plenty of taters myself!
Luckily, potatoes and celeriac have very similar textures when raw, so their cook time in the Instant Pot is exactly the same!
If you go with potatoes, just be aware that this recipe will no longer fall in keto/low-carb/THM territory.
I’m all about including as much veggie variety in my life as possible, so I always opt for the celeriac. Even though I’m not keto/low-carb!
How to make Instant Pot Clam Chowder dairy-free??
Normally, clam chowder is made with lots and lots of dairy — specifically heavy cream and butter.
Again, I’m no dairy-hater and enjoy tons of cheese, butter, raw milk, and grass-fed cream on the regular…
But I also know that finding dairy-free recipes can be a challenge, especially for people like me who don’t want to simply replace cream with canned coconut milk. (Important note: I do NOT think coconut milk would be a good sub in this recipe! Gross!)
Thanks to another of my favorite stand-ins — cauliflower “cream” — this Keto Instant Pot Clam Chowder still tastes like the classic comfort food you love without heavy cream!
You can make cauliflower “cream” ahead of time, like during your meal prepping, and add it to the clam chowder when you’re ready. Here is my easy method for making cauliflower “cream” in your Instant Pot in just 2 minutes, plus 5 genius ways to use it!
If you’re not making the cauli-cream in advance, then you’ll make it as part of this recipe. Either way is totally fine!
How To Make Keto Instant Pot Clam Chowder
The best part is first — BACON!
Press the Saute button on your Instant Pot and add 8 ounces of nitrate-free, sugar-free bacon, chopped into pieces. Cook the bacon until almost crisp. Remove it to a paper towel-lined plate to drain.
While the bacon cooks, you can prep the other veggies: peel and dice the celeriac and onion. Set them aside to make the cauliflower “cream”.
No need to wash out the Instant Pot, even though it will probably have some bacon grease in it. That’s just going to infuse this clam chowder with even more delicious bacon goodness!
Add the frozen cauliflower to the Instant Pot along with 4 cups of chicken bone broth. Put the lid on the Instant Pot, seal the vent, and press the Manual button. Pressure cook the cauliflower for 2 minutes, manually release pressure, and use a slotted spoon to transfer the cooked cauliflower to a blender or food processor — leaving the broth in the Instant Pot.
Add the diced celeriac and onion to the broth along with 16 ounces of bottled clam juice, salt, pepper, cayenne (optional), and dried thyme. (<– I get the Bar Harbor brand of clam juice for the best price from Thrive Market!)
Place the lid back on your Instant Pot, seal the vent, and press the Manual button again. Pressure cook for 5 minutes and manually release pressure.
Now, simply add the remaining ingredients right into the Instant Pot — the cooked bacon, cauliflower “cream”, and chopped clams. (<– I get the Bar Harbor brand of chopped clams from Thrive Market. I no longer recommend Trader Joe’s clams because they aren’t certified gluten-free.)
Stir it all together and it’s ready to serve!
Here’s the full recipe for nourishing Keto Instant Pot Clam Chowder.
Keto Instant Pot Clam Chowder (dairy-free, potato-free, Whole30)
A classic, comfort food soup gets a low-carb makeover with some added veggies that will fool you into thinking they're heavy cream and potatoes! This Keto Instant Pot Clam Chowder is dairy-free, potato-free, and Whole30-friendly!
- 8ouncesnitrate-free baconchopped
- 1quartchicken bone broth
- 2poundsfrozen cauliflower florets
- 1-1/2cupsdiced onion
- 4 to 5cupsceleriac rootpeeled and diced into 1/4" cubes
- 1tablespoonsaltor more to taste
- 1teaspoonwhole dried thyme
- 1teaspoonblack pepper
- 1/4teaspooncayenne pepperoptional
- 16ouncesbottled clam juice
- 46.5-ounce cans chopped clamsrinsed
- Dice the onions, and peel and dice the celeriac.
- Press the Sauté button. Add chopped bacon and cook until almost crisp, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain.
Next, add the bone broth and 2 pounds of frozen cauliflower to the Instant Pot.
- Cover, lock the lid in place, and seal the vent.
- Press Manual and pressure cook on high for 3 minutes. When it beeps, manually release the pressure.
- Using a slotted spoon, transfer the cooked cauliflower along with the garlic to a high speed blender or food processor. (The broth stays in the pot.)
- Pulse or blend until completely smooth. Set aside.
Add the diced onion and celeriac, salt, thyme, pepper, cayenne (if using), and clam juice to the broth in the pot.
- Cover, lock the lid, and seal the vent.
- Press Manual and adjust the time to 5 minutes. When it beeps, manually release pressure.
Add the cooked bacon, the cauliflower "cream", and chopped clams which have been rinsed in a fine mesh sieve. Stir everything together.
Taste and adjust seasonings, if necessary. Serve and enjoy!
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Have you been avoiding clam chowder because of the dairy, flour, or potatoes? How would you like to try this Keto Instant Pot Clam Chowder?
This recipe was originally published in February 2017 and updated with an improved recipe, added tips, and new photos in November 2018.