Slow Cooker Manhattan-Style Clam Chowder

Manhattan Style Clam Chowder in bowl
Diana Rattray
Prep: 8 mins
Cook: 8 hrs
Total: 8 hrs 8 mins
Servings: 4 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
484 Calories
9g Fat
52g Carbs
49g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 484
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 9g 11%
Saturated Fat 2g 11%
Cholesterol 115mg 38%
Sodium 2910mg 127%
Total Carbohydrate 52g 19%
Dietary Fiber 9g 32%
Total Sugars 11g
Protein 49g
Vitamin C 79mg 397%
Calcium 274mg 21%
Iron 8mg 44%
Potassium 2430mg 52%
*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, diced

  • 1 cup onion, chopped

  • 2 carrots, peeled and thinly sliced

  • 3 ribs celery, with leaves, thinly sliced

  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, or 1 teaspoon dried

  • 1 (28-ounce) can tomatoes

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

  • Dash freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 bay leaf

  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme

  • 3 medium red-skinned potatoes, diced

  • 2 to 3 (6- or 7-ounce) cans minced clams, undrained

  • 1 (8-ounce) bottle clam juice

  • 1 tablespoon flour

  • 1 tablespoon butter, or bacon drippings, optional

  • Freshly chopped parsley, for garnish

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

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

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

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

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

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

  7. Serve 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.