Slow Cooker Manhattan-Style Clam Chowder

Manhattan Style Clam Chowder in bowl
Diana Rattray
  • Total: 8 hrs 8 mins
  • Prep: 8 mins
  • Cook: 8 hrs
  • Yield: 4 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
601 Calories
17g Fat
90g Carbs
23g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 servings
Amount per serving
Calories 601
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 17g 22%
Saturated Fat 5g 23%
Cholesterol 28mg 9%
Sodium 1746mg 76%
Total Carbohydrate 90g 33%
Dietary Fiber 13g 48%
Protein 23g
Calcium 265mg 20%
*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 slow cooker clam chowder, made with tomatoes instead of milk, is a Manhattan-style version. The bacon and extra clam juice make this chowder flavorful, and the slow cooker makes it easy. Using canned clams and canned tomatoes, you can make this chowder any time of the year with ingredients from your pantry. It is simple to put it together in the morning and have ready for dinner.

If you were to quickly put together Manhattan-style clam chowder, you would want it to sit for a while for the flavors to blend. Using the slow cooker allows that to happen while it cooks.

Even if you are a native New Englander, you will enjoy this tomato-based chowder. Both preparations are delicious. This one is especially nice if you are trying to avoid dairy. If you prefer the creamier New England-style clam chowder, try this slow cooker clam chowder or this stove top version.


  • 2 ounces bacon (about 2 thick strips, sliced and diced)
  • 1 cup onion (chopped)
  • 2 carrots (thinly sliced)
  • 3 ribs celery (with leaves, thinly sliced)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley (or 1 teaspoon dried)
  • 1 28-ounce can tomatoes (broken up, undrained)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 dash black pepper (freshly ground)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 3 medium red-skinned potatoes (diced)
  • 2 or 3 6-to-7-ounce cans minced clams (undrained)
  • 1 8-ounce bottle clam juice
  • Optional: 1 tablespoon flour blended with 1 tablespoon melted butter or bacon drippings
  • Garnish: fresh chopped parsley

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Fry or bake diced bacon until crispy; drain it and transfer it to 3 1/2-quart or larger slow cooker.

  3. Add remaining ingredients to the slow cooker pot. Stir to blend.

  4. Cover and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours.

  5. If a thicker soup is desired, add the optional flour and butter mixture about 30 minutes before the soup is done.

  6. If desired, garnish servings with fresh chopped parsley.

  7. Serve the clam chowder hot with saltines or oyster crackers. 

Tips and Variations

Using the slow cooker allows you to ensure you aren't boiling the clams, which can make them tough.

Other methods to thicken the chowder include smashing some of the potatoes. This releases their starch as a thickener. You could also crush a few white crackers and add them to the pot in the last 30 minutes of cooking. This would thicken similarly to adding flour and butter.

For a low-carb option, use celery root instead of potatoes. Peel and dice it to add to the pot as you would the potatoes.

Storage and Leftovers

Refrigerate any leftover chowder. It gets better as it sits, so it will be good when reheated for lunch at home or at work. Give it a zap in the microwave or gently reheat it on the stovetop. You can freeze individual portions to enjoy later.


Manhattan-style clam chowder was popularized by Delmonico's restaurant in Manhattan in the 1800s. This notable establishment introduced many of today's concepts of fine dining, including selecting dishes from a menu. Delmonico's is also credited with creating eggs Benedict, baked Alaska, and lobster Newburg.

Today, many people either love or hate Manhattan-style clam chowder. If you are planning to serve it as the soup course for a dinner party, you might want to check with your guests as to their preferences.