Slow Cooker Clam Chowder

This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here.

Slow Cooker Clam Chowder is so easy to make with a deliciously creamy, briny flavor mixed with smoky crispy bits of bacon and rich buttery yukon potatoes.

Slow Cooker Clam Chowder is so easy to make with a deliciously creamy, briny flavor mixed with smoky crispy bits of bacon and rich buttery yukon potatoes.Slow Cooker Clam Chowder

Slow Cooker Clam Chowder is an easy fall soup you’ll enjoy as well as great gameday food you can make for a crowd. We often serve this clam chowder in a bread bowl, but even more often I pile it into a giant bowl and throw a huge handful of oyster crackers on top.

The flavors in the soup scream “hey its not swimsuit weather anymore!” with half and half, bacon, potatoes and clams, but just a small bowl will keep you warm and full for HOURS. We went skiing last winter a lot and one of the few meals I made in our hotel mini kitchen was this soup. After a long day of playing in the snow, you’re going to love this thick, rich bacon filled chowder. Can I just be super bold and say this is the best clam chowder in the world?

The recipe for this clam chowder actually started as a back of the can recipe that I’ve added and subtracted ingredients from over the years. Since then I’ve actually entered this chowder into multiple office contests when I worked in an office and in one local soup challenge. The results, this is an award winning clam chowder recipe! I have the free movie tickets I won to prove it!

The easiest, most amazing Slow Cooker Clam Chowder you'll ever eat!

Tips for making this Slow Cooker Clam Chowder:

MY LATEST VIDEOS
  • Get your bacon nice and crisp but not browned. The browned bacon will add an overcooked flavor to the soup.
  • You can swap out the half and half for milk, you may need to mash some of the potatoes to add thickness to the soup.
  • I’ve also made the Clam Chowder with heavy cream before and it is an indulgent treat!
  • You can top with parsley as I have or chopped chives which add flavor as well as freshness.
  • Want to make this clam chowder even better? My secret flavor boost is Clam Base. It isn’t something people generally keep in their kitchens so I left it as an optional ingredient in the directions, but I always add it!
  • If you don’t want to buy Clam Base you can also buy Clam Juice to replace the water.

What is the difference between New England Clam Chowder and Manhattan Clam Chowder?

MY OTHER RECIPES

Manhattan Clam Chowder uses tomatoes and is often referred to as Manhattan Red Chowder.

Q&A about the vegetables in this Slow Cooker Clam Chowder:

  • I used Yukon potatoes for their rich and buttery texture. You can also use red potatoes.
  • I added celery because I love the added flavor of it and it reminds me of a lobster roll. You can also add carrots.
  • For a huge flavor boost sauté your veggies in the bacon fat before adding (they will look less pretty in the soup).
  • Garlic is a flavor not added to some clam chowders but I find it adds a great flavor to the soup which still tastes like your favorite classic chowder.

Crockpot clam chowder with buttery yukon potatoes is creamy, easy and delicious.

Looking for more Slow Cooker Soups?

Tools used in the making of this Slow Cooker Clam Chowder:
3 Qt. Slow Cooker: The perfect size for side dishes for 10-12 people, this slow cooker is an absolute bargain and a workhorse.
Cast Iron Skillet: If you don’t have a slow cooker with a stovetop friendly insert, this is my most used pan in my kitchen, heavy, keeps heat well and gives the BEST sear ever.
Chopped Clams: I always use this brand and always use pre-chopped. You can also sub baby clams but the texture would be different than a classic clam chowder.
Clam Base: I almost never buy boxes of broth because I keep the beef, chicken and vegetable version of this Better Than Bouillon. Or you can use clam juice in place of the water too if you’d like.

Recipe

Save Recipe

Slow Cooker Clam Chowder

5
  • Yield: 8 Servings
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 7 hours 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 8 hours
  • Course: Soup
  • Cuisine: American
Slow Cooker Clam Chowder is so easy to make with a deliciously creamy, briny flavor mixed with smoky crispy bits of bacon and rich buttery yukon potatoes.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 pound bacon diced
  • 3 cans clams (6.5 ounce, not drained)
  • 1 yellow onion chopped
  • 4 yukon potatoes peeled and diced
  • 2 stalks celery diced
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 cups water *
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 cups half and half
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch

Instructions

Note: click on times in the instructions to start a kitchen timer while cooking.

  1. In a large cast iron skillet on medium high heat cook the bacon until crisp, then remove from the pan.**

  2. Add half of the bacon, clams, onion, potatoes, celery, garlic, water, Kosher salt, black pepper and thyme into the slow cooker and stir.

  3. Cook on low for 7 hours and refrigerate the remaining bacon for serving with the soup.
  4. In a measuring cup add the half and half with the cornstarch and whisk together.
  5. Add in the half and half mixture to the slow cooker and stir.
  6. Cook on high for 30 minutes.

  7. Serve with the remainder of the bacon sprinkled over the top.***

Recipe Notes

  • * I add 1 tablespoon of Clam Base to the water to pump up the clam flavor in the chowder. Totally optional though.
  • ** Truth? When I don't need it to look all pretty, I brown the onions and potatoes in this bacon fat before adding it to the slow cooker.
  • *** You may want to heat the bacon slightly before sprinkling it on top since it will be cold from the refrigerator.

Nutrition Information

Yield: 8 Servings, Amount per serving: calories

All images and text © for Dinner, then Dessert, Inc.

Save Recipe
Slow Cooker Clam Chowder is so easy to make with a deliciously creamy, briny flavor mixed with smoky crispy bits of bacon and rich buttery yukon potatoes. #clamchowder #slowcooker #crockpot #bacon #clams #chowder
Slow Cooker Clam Chowder with a deliciously creamy, briny flavor mixed with smoky crispy bits of bacon and rich buttery yukon potatoes. #clamchowder #slowcooker #crockpot #bacon #clams #chowder

Dinner, then Dessert, Inc. owns the copyright on all images and text and does not allow for its original recipes and pictures to be reproduced anywhere other than at this site unless authorization is given. If you enjoyed the recipe and would like to publish it on your own site, please re-write it in your own words, and link back to my site and recipe page. Read my disclosure and copyright policy. This post may contain affiliate links.

Categories:

Main Dishes Meat & Seafood Pork Recipe Seafood Slow Cooker Soups & Salads

Leave a comment & rating

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Comments

  1. Thanks Sabrina, looks like a great recipe & I will try it out on Friday (clam chowder day?)
    One request…could you please give an aproximation of how many cups/oz is one onion…two stalks celery….four potatoes and so on? I’m an experienced cook & pretty much know the quantities of vegetables I want in a recipe. But my daughter-in-law is not so experienced and has a problem with the quantities unless the recipe states 1 cup, or 3 oz of something.
    This is just a suggestion not a criticism & you are not the only blogger/chef/recipe author that does not state more exact quantities. Just my opinion. Thanks.
    PattiAnn

    1. No worries PattiAnn! I joke that its a good thing that I do minimal sweets because I’m the queen of “oh throw in one of these.”
      Here are some ratios I would stick to:
      1 – 1 1/4 cup diced yellow onion
      1 cup finely diced celery
      2 – 2 1/2 cup chopped potatoes
      2 teaspoons minced garlic

      For the ones with variation, I’d err on the lower amount, but if you find you have a half/quarter cup or so of ingredients left over just go ahead and throw them into the mix.

  2. I want to try this recipe. Just wondering if the clams stay tender and not get rubbery like some I have cooked. Any secrets to share to keep that from happening?
    Thank you , Betsy

  3. My mom used to make fish chowder and added salt pork. Really tasty. I have only made corn chowder in my cooker. I have a new slow cooker but also one from the 70’s that is a regular cooker, has heavy insert for slow cooking and wire basket insert for deep frying.

  4. This was last night’s dinner and it was wonderful!! You were the center of conversation around the dinner table last night. (Was your nose itching?) 🙂 I’m not a big fan of clam chowder and I thought it was really good so that’s gotta say something! I doubled the recipe because a 3 quart crock pot wouldn’t last long around here and I wanted some left over for his lunch. Saving half of the bacon until serving time was ingenous. Nice touch! It really enhanced the flavor! I had a question though – in your notes you mentioned that for added flavor to saute the veggies in the bacon fat. Did you mean the potatoes too? I wasn’t sure so I just did the onions, celery, and garlic. It was 9 degrees when my hub’s walked out to go to work with his thermos chock full of hot clam chowder and a croissant on the side. Who knew that after 30 years of marriage all it took to make my man super happy was a thermos full of Sabrina’s soup on a cold winter day! As always, keep ’em coming! ~C

    Rating: 5
    1. I’m so glad you enjoyed the chowder! You can never go wrong with sautéing in bacon fat 🙂 You can definitely add the potatoes in that process.