Crock Pot 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
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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 is an easy and great-tasting clam chowder for the slow cooker (or crock pot). It's made with potatoes and milk, a little bacon or salt pork, and canned minced clams. Cornstarch makes the chowder thick and satisfying.

Bottled clam juice is the best choice for the liquid, but water or chicken stock may be used instead. If you use salted or low sodium chicken broth in the soup, you might need to cut back on the salt. Add a small portion of the salt and wait until it is nearly done to taste and add more, as needed. 

Once you make this, you'll see how tasty and easy this chowder is. If you take it to a potluck, take several copies of the recipe!

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 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 diced salt pork or bacon and onion until golden brown and then drain. Alternately, if you have a crock pot 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 with the minced or chopped clams.

    Add pork and bacon to slowcooker
    The Spruce Eats / Katarina Zunic 
  5. Add the potatoes and the water, low-sodium chicken broth, or clam juice. Add 2 teaspoons of salt (1 teaspoon if you used broth) 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 vegetables are tender.

    Cover and cook
    The Spruce Eats / Katarina Zunic
  7. During the last hour of cooking, combine 1 cup of the milk or half-and-half with 4 tablespoons of cornstarch.

    Combine milk and half and half
    The Spruce Eats / Katarina Zunic
  8. Add the cornstarch mixture and the remaining milk or half-and-half to the slow cooker and stir to blend. At this point, taste and adjust the seasonings, adding more salt, as needed.

    Add cornstarch
    The Spruce Eats / Katarina Zunic
  9. Top each serving with a sprinkling of chopped fresh parsley and serve with saltines, oyster crackers, biscuits, or crusty French bread.

    Serve
    The Spruce Eats / Katarina Zunic

Variations

  • Add 1/2 cup of chopped celery to the skillet along with the onions.
  • Use less salt pork or bacon to cut fat and calories. Or make the dish with diced lean ham instead.
  • Add a teaspoon of chopped fresh garlic when the onions and bacon are browned and cook for about 1 more minute. 
  • For a richer chowder, use only half-and-half instead of milk.
  • Fry a few extra strips of bacon. Crumble the extra cooked bacon and refrigerate it to use as a garnish for the finished chowder.
  • Instead of chopped fresh parsley, use sliced green onion tops, shredded mild cheese, or chopped chives to garnish each serving.