Slow Cooker Clam Chowder

8 Servings
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 7 hours 30 minutes
Total Time 8 hours

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:

  • 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?

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.

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Slow Cooker Clam Chowder

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.
Yield 8 Servings
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 7 hours 30 minutes
Total Time 8 hours
Course Soup
Cuisine American
Author Sabrina Snyder


  • 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


  • In a large cast iron skillet on medium high heat cook the bacon until crisp, then remove from the pan.**
  • Add half of the bacon, clams, onion, potatoes, celery, garlic, water, Kosher salt, black pepper and thyme into the slow cooker and stir.
  • Cook on low for 7 hours and refrigerate the remaining bacon for serving with the soup.
  • In a measuring cup add the half and half with the cornstarch and whisk together.
  • Add in the half and half mixture to the slow cooker and stir.
  • Cook on high for 30 minutes.
  • Serve with the remainder of the bacon sprinkled over the top.***


  • * 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.


Calories: 256kcal | Carbohydrates: 15g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Cholesterol: 41mg | Sodium: 525mg | Potassium: 531mg | Fiber: 2g | Vitamin A: 270IU | Vitamin C: 11.8mg | Calcium: 101mg | Iron: 3mg
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

About the Author: Sabrina Snyder

Sabrina is a professionally trained Private Chef of over 10 years with ServSafe Manager certification in food safety. She creates all the recipes here on Dinner, then Dessert, fueled in no small part by her love for bacon.

Sabrina Snyder is a professionally trained personal and private chef of over 10 years who is the creator and developer of all the recipes on Dinner, then Dessert.

She is also the author of the cookbook Dinner, then Dessert – Satisfying Meals Using Only 3, 5 or 7 Ingredients, published by Harper Collins.

She started Dinner, then Dessert as a business in her office as a lunch service for her coworkers who admired her lunches before going to culinary school and becoming a full time personal chef and private chef.

As a personal chef Sabrina would cook for families one day a week and cook their entire week of dinners. All grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning was done along with instructions on reheating. As a private chef she cooked for private parties and cooked in family homes in the evenings for families on a nightly basis after working as a personal chef during the day.

Sabrina has been certified as a ServSafe Manager since 2007 and was a longstanding member of the USPCA Personal Chef Association including being on the board of the Washington DC Chapter of Chefs in the US Personal Chef Association when they won Chapter of the year.

As a member of the community of food website creators Sabrina Snyder has spoken at many conferences regarding her experiences as a food writer including the Indulge Food Conference, Everything Food Conference, Haven Food Conference and IACP Annual Food Professionals Conference.

Sabrina lives with her family in sunny California.

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  1. We love this soup ( and I’m not a seafood lover)! We add a little sour cream and cheddar cheese along with the bacon to serve.

  2. I just made this chowder. It’s absolutely delicious, and I will definitely make it again. I added a little bit of corn, just for added texture. Thank you for sharing.

  3. Made it! Left out the bacon bc the gf said bacon doesn’t belong in wasnt going to argue with her.
    It came out pretty good for my first attempt. I got a little impatient and slow cooked 6.5 then added the rest and went on high for 30 mins.
    It could be a little bit thicker but all in all, it was a good attempt for my first ever chowder from scratch. I appreciate the help!
    *I will probably add the clam base next time

  4. Just got a slow cooker. Started with a basic beef stew and now I am going to make this chowder. Bacon makes everything better!
    I did not notice how much water to put in for the initial 7 hour cook. Im good at messing things up so im going to look at this recipe again.

    Thanks for the great recipe, hope it comes out great!

  5. I don’t care for the aftertaste of corn starch, so I always thicken any gravy, stews, or soups with potato flakes. Everyone looks at me like I’m crazy, until they try it.