This Manhattan clam chowder is clams simmered with bacon, vegetables and potatoes in a savory tomato broth. A hearty soup that’s easy to make and perfect when served as an appetizer or main course option.

When I’m looking to serve a pot of piping hot soup on a cold night, I whip up a batch of hamburger soup, cabbage soup or this Manhattan style red clam chowder.

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Manhattan clam chowder with tomatoes, potatoes, vegetables and bacon.

If you’re a seafood lover, you’ll adore this Manhattan clam chowder. It’s loaded with clams, veggies and potatoes, and is a lighter way to get your clam chowder fix as opposed to the creamy New England version.

How do you make Manhattan clam chowder?

This recipe starts with bacon, which cooks in the pot until it’s crispy and browned. The bacon is removed from the pan, and the vegetables cook in the leftover bacon fat. The next step is to add tomato paste, clam juice, broth, potatoes and seasonings. The soup simmers until the potatoes are tender, then tomatoes and clams are stirred into the pot. Add the bacon back to the pot, along with some chopped parsley, then serve and enjoy!

Bacon cooked in a pot.

Tips for the perfect Manhattan clam chowder

  • I use canned clams because they’re super convenient and give this soup great flavor. If you prefer to use fresh clams, you can use 36 cherry stone or little neck clams. Place the scrubbed clams in the pot after the potatoes are tender, and simmer for 5-7 minutes or until the clams have opened up.
  • This soup stays fresh in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. You can also freeze your chowder for up to 2 months. Store the frozen chowder in an airtight container in the freezer, then thaw overnight and reheat on the stove top.
  • Serve this soup as an appetizer with oyster crackers on top, or offer it as a main course option with garlic bread and a green salad on the side.

Potatoes, vegetables, herbs and tomato paste in a soup pot.

What is the difference between Manhattan and New England clam chowder?

Manhattan clam chowder has many of the same flavor components of the New England version, such as clams, clam juice, onion, celery, bacon and seasonings. The major difference between the two is that Manhattan chowder has a tomato based broth and more vegetables. New England chowder has a creamy soup base without any tomato products involved.

Clam chowder variations

This is a fairly traditional red clam chowder recipe, but you can add other ingredients to customize this dish to your tastes.

  • Meat: Instead of bacon, try salt pork, pancetta or even diced cubed ham.
  • Vegetables: Try adding green bell peppers or corn to add more nutrition to the dish.
  • Seafood: You can turn this into a seafood chowder by adding shrimp, mussels, crab or fish.

A pot of broth topped with tomatoes and baby clams.

Slow cooker clam chowder

This dish can easily be adapted to the slow cooker. Follow the first 4 steps of the recipe, then transfer the cooked vegetables to a crock pot, along with the tomato paste, seasonings, clam juice, broth and potatoes. Cook on low for 4 hours or high for 2 hours, until the potatoes are tender. Stir in the clams and tomatoes and cook for an additional 20 minutes. Stir in the bacon and parsley, then serve.

A bowl of Manhattan clam chowder topped with crackers, bacon and parsley.

Once you try this chowder, you’ll find it on your regular dinner rotation. It’s an unexpected meal that’s a total crowd pleaser!


Manhattan Clam Chowder

4.96 from 88 votes

Manhattan Clam Chowder

AuthorSara Welch
Manhattan clam chowder with tomatoes, potatoes, vegetables and bacon.
This Manhattan clam chowder is clams simmered with bacon, vegetables and potatoes in a savory tomato broth. A hearty soup that's easy to make and perfect when served as an appetizer or main course option.
Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time45 minutes
Total Time1 hour 5 minutes
Course Soup
Cuisine American
Serves 6


  • 6 slices bacon chopped
  • 1/2 cup onion diced
  • 2 carrots peeled, quartered and sliced
  • 1/2 cup celery sliced
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 pound Russet potatoes peeled and diced into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 2 8 ounce bottles clam juice
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 28 ounce can diced tomatoes do not drain
  • 10 ounce can whole baby clams drained
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • oyster crackers and cooked bacon for serving optional


  • Heat a large pot over medium heat. Add the bacon and cook, stirring occasionally, until crisp.
  • Remove the bacon from the pot and drain on paper towels.
  • Add the onions, carrots and celery to the pan. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 6-8 minutes or until vegetables are tender.
  • Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds.
  • Place the tomato paste, thyme, bay leaf, clam juice, broth and potatoes in the pot. Stir to combine. Bring to a simmer.
  • Cook for 10-15 minutes or until potatoes are tender.
  • Stir in the tomatoes and baby clams. Season the soup with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Simmer for 5 more minutes. Stir in the reserved bacon. Top with chopped parsley. Add oyster crackers and more bacon if desired, then serve.


Calories: 244kcal | Carbohydrates: 35g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 15mg | Sodium: 761mg | Potassium: 699mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 3807IU | Vitamin C: 16mg | Calcium: 39mg | Iron: 2mg

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4.96 from 88 votes (64 ratings without comment)

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Recipe Rating


  1. 4 stars
    Very good! Made it on stove-top. My bacon was center-cut and I had just five slices, so had to add some olive oil to the pot to sautee the aromatics in. Subbed yellow potatoes for the russets as that’s what I had; left the peels on for more nutrition and texture. If I’d had some corn, would have added it for more color. Next time I’ll add the tomatoes earlier so their acidity mellows a bit; they taste a bit too raw for my liking. Imagine this soup will taste better tomorrow!

  2. 4 stars
    One little opinion. The canned tomatoes need time to cook the canned tomatoes taste out of them. I add them while veggies are still firm to allow more cooking time, or I peel fresh from my garden tomatoes.

  3. I saw someone else post about this, but can’t find a reply. Are you supposed to discard the bacon fat before adding in the onion, celery…?

  4. 5 stars
    Wow Sara, you have done it again. I turn to your recipes like I would have called my mom for her “how to cook this and that” recipes. So many of your recipes take me right back home with my grandmother and mom. I never knew making Manhattan Clam chowder was this easy. Forget the canned soups! I loved the fresh flavor and the added flavor the bacon gave the chowder.

  5. 4 stars
    I grew up on the Jersey shore where this soup is prevalent in seafood restaurants and always loved it! Oddly, I have never made it home made so I decided to try this recipe hoping that it would taste exactly like I remembered it. I followed the instructions and ingredients exactly, and after cooking it 5 minutes longer to completely cook the diced tomatoes, I tasted it. This recipe is a variation of the traditional soup, and I would suggest a few edits if someone is looking to make the traditional version. Next time I will substitute the chicken broth with clam broth. I will also decrease the amount of diced tomatoes and add some fresh clams to give it more clam flavor. Lastly, I would add fresh thyme in lieu of the dried and add another bay leaf. I will update my review after I try this recipe with my suggestions. Bon Appetite!

  6. Delicious chowder, I used clamato instead of chicken broth a tsp of old bay seasoning and extra can of whole clams for some extra flavor – turned out fantastic !!

  7. WoW! Great recipe. My first chowder blending, and threw in a cup of dry red wine, at the end.
    I don’t like clams, I was making this for my dad. Yet honestily, it’s soooooo good!

  8. 5 stars
    I forget to rate your recipe I’m sorry it is definitely 5 stars to bad you don’t have a 10 stars cause it’s just that good.

  9. 5 stars
    Can this recipe be cooked in the Instant Pot instead of stove top? If so what if any changes do I need to do? Thank you so much for the recipes and for all the tips and help me to learn the basics of the Instant Pot I have a Instant Pot Pro 6 qt and I want to try and cook every meal I can so I will learn to be comfortable and a lot more knowledgeable of my Instant Pot. Thank you again I thoroughly enjoy reading on your site and I am glad I find your site 🙂

    1. I have never tried this recipe in the Instant Pot, but my estimate would be 15-20 minutes on manual high pressure with a manual pressure release.

  10. 5 stars
    Made this recipe for my wife and I. Came out terrific. We relocated from New England to Georgia and miss these types of dishes. This recipe was easy to understand and follow, and tasted great! Thanks!

  11. If i double this recipe would you double every which would be 20 oz clams and 56 ounce tomatoes. Also i work from home so instead of slow cooker can i cook for 4 hours in dutch oven onstove ir would potatoes get mushy

    1. Yes you’d double everything. If you’re working from home I wouldn’t cook it as long, I’d try to keep the cook time as similar to the recipe as possible as the stove top is a more powerful heat source compared to a slow cooker.