Crockpot Clam Chowder

Slow cooker clam chowder

The Spruce Eats / Katarina Zunic

  • Total: 4 hrs 25 mins
  • Prep: 25 mins
  • Cook: 4 hrs
  • Yield: Serves 8
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
434 Calories
25g Fat
23g Carbs
29g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
×
Nutrition Facts
Servings: Serves 8
Amount per serving
Calories 434
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 25g 32%
Saturated Fat 12g 62%
Cholesterol 101mg 34%
Sodium 2125mg 92%
Total Carbohydrate 23g 8%
Dietary Fiber 1g 5%
Protein 29g
Calcium 188mg 14%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

This easy and great-tasting clam chowder cooks in the crockpot in just 4 hours. Made with potatoes, milk, bacon (or salt pork), and canned minced clams, our thick and creamy recipe is satisfying and full of flavor. Clams are a great source of protein at a relatively low caloric cost, as 100 g has 150 calories but 25 grams of protein (one egg has 6 grams), plus several vitamins and minerals.

We use bottled clam juice as the cooking liquid, but water or chicken stock may be used instead. If you use salted or low-sodium chicken broth, go easy on the salt, taste halfway and once the chowder is done add more if needed. 

This creamy soup is a great lunch or dinner on a cold day, and because it's made in the crockpot, it can be transported easily to potlucks. Serve with oyster crackers, saltines, or French bread.

Ingredients

  • 6 ounces salt pork (or bacon, diced)
  • 1 onion (chopped)
  • 4 (6 1/2-ounce) cans minced clams (with juice)
  • 6 to 8 medium potatoes (peeled and cubed)
  • 3 cups water (low-sodium chicken broth or clam juice)
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons salt (or to taste)
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 4 cups half and half cream (or whole milk, divided)
  • 4 tablespoons cornstarch

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for slow cooker clam chowder
    The Spruce Eats / Katarina Zunic
  2. If necessary, chop or slice the clams into bite-sized pieces.

  3. In a skillet, fry the ham or diced bacon and onion until golden brown. Drain and set aside. Alternately, if you have a crockpot that has a sauté feature, fry the bacon right in the crockpot, then drain some of the fat.

    Fry bacon
    The Spruce Eats / Katarina Zunic
  4. Add the pork or bacon and onion to the slow cooker; add the clams and mix well.

    Add pork and bacon to slowcooker
    The Spruce Eats / Katarina Zunic 
  5. Add the cubed potatoes and the water, low-sodium chicken broth, or clam juice. Add 1 teaspoon of salt and the freshly ground black pepper.

    Add potatoes and water
    The Spruce Eats / Katarina Zunic
  6. Cover and cook on HIGH for 3 to 4 hours or until the vegetables are tender.

    Cover and cook
    The Spruce Eats / Katarina Zunic
  7. As the crockpot mixture completes 3 hours of cooking, combine 1 cup of milk or half-and-half with the cornstarch.

    Combine milk and half and half
    The Spruce Eats / Katarina Zunic
  8. Add the cornstarch mixture and the remaining 3 cups of milk or half-and-half to the slow cooker and stir to blend. Taste and adjust the seasonings, adding more salt, if needed. Let the dairy mixture heat up.

    Add cornstarch
    The Spruce Eats / Katarina Zunic
  9. Top each bowl of chowder with a sprinkling of chopped fresh parsley.

    Serve
    The Spruce Eats / Katarina Zunic

Variations and Substitutions

You can add one or more of the following ingredients or use one of our suggested substitutions for different and equally delicious clam chowders:

  • For extra crunch and texture add 1/2 cup of chopped celery to the skillet along with the onions.
  • Add a teaspoon of chopped fresh garlic when the onions and bacon are browned and cook for about 1 more minute. 
  • Use diced lean ham instead of pork or bacon to cut down on calories and sodium.
  • For a richer chowder, use only half-and-half instead of milk.
  • Fry a few extra strips of bacon, refrigerate while the chowder cooks, and crumble them when cold so you can use them as a garnish to top the finished chowder.
  • Use sliced green onion tops, shredded mild cheese, or chopped chives to garnish each serving.