Manhattan Clam Chowder

Manhattan Clam Chowder is a delicious tomato-based clam chowder loaded with clams and vegetables, and served with oyster crackers on top!

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Manhattan Clam Chowder is a delicious tomato-based clam chowder, different from what you are usually served in restaurants! There are almost more clam chowder variations in the US than there are actual US states for some reason. It seems that everyone has their own ideal clam chowder recipe, and it is often hotly contested between different places which one is best.

This recipe makes a delicious and classic Manhattan version; just don’t show it to any New Englanders.

For another great chowder recipe, why not try this recipe for Cauliflower, Corn & Bacon Chowder? Or even try this recipe for Meatball soup?

Manhattan Clam Chowder
Manhattan Clam Chowder

Manhattan Clam Chowder

Considered sacrilegious and evil by some, the Manhattan clam chowder is still a super delicious chowder and a great Friday night meal.

Thanks to the innovation of canned clams, you can enjoy this Manhattan clam chowder whenever you like, without having to live near the seaside to be able to get fresh clams. In fact, this recipe actually relies on the use of the clam juice from the can, which helps to intensify the clam-forward flavor of the chowder and make this recipe way better.

Manhattan Clam Chowder ingredients

Manhattan Clam Chowder Ingredients

Look at the recipe card at the very bottom to make sure you get the right ingredients for this recipe.

  • Bacon
  • White onion
  • Dried thyme
  • Red pepper flakes
  • Garlic
  • Clam juice
  • Chicken broth
  • Russet potatoes
  • Celery
  • Green pepper
  • Carrots
  • Diced tomatoes
  • Can of whole baby clams
  • Salt & pepper

How to Make Manhattan Clam Chowder

  • Sauté the bacon until crisp in a large pot over medium heat
  • Add in the onion and fry until soft and translucent
  • Add in the thyme, garlic, and red pepper flakes, sautéing until fragrant, roughly 2 minutes
  • Add in the clam juice, both potatoes, celery, peppers, and carrots
  • Simmer until all the veggies are tender
  • Add in the tomatoes and clams, simmering for another 10 minutes
  • Season to taste, then top with oyster crackers
Manhattan Clam Chowder in a grey handled bowl

What Makes It a Manhattan Clam Chowder?

The critical difference between Manhattan clam chowder and other varieties is the use of tomatoes instead of milk. Likely originating from Portuguese immigrants, the inclusion of a tomato-based broth makes this much more of a country meal and a little bit more acidic.

Furthermore, most Manhattan clam chowders will tend to have peppers, celery and carrots, whereas other types likely use completely different vegetables.

This version is probably the one that inspires the most ire in other parts of North America – to many people a clam chowder can only be cream-based, and thus the use of tomatoes makes it into a completely different dish.

So, if you make this, make sure not to tell any of your Bostonian friends.

Manhattan Clam Chowder in a white Dutch oven

Could You Use Fresh Clams In This Recipe?

The trouble with a lot of seafood recipes is that they necessarily require easy access to good quality seafood. While you can usually find most fish available all over the world in frozen form, things like clams and other shellfish are a little bit harder.

However, cans of clams filled with clam juice are usually available in specialty sections of most supermarkets, so this recipe should be easy to make.

Of course, if you are lucky enough to live somewhere with easy access to fresh clams, why not just make it with fresh ones?

To make this recipe fresh, simply substitute the same amount of canned baby clams for fresh clams, being sure not to discard any of the salty liquid within their shells. This brine will replace the clam juice in this recipe, and if you don’t use it, you can expect to get a much less intense flavor

Looking for more tasty seafood recipes? Try these out:

Enjoy! And don’t worry, a New England type clam chowder recipe is on the way soon!



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Manhattan Clam Chowder is a delicious tomato-based clam chowder loaded with clams and vegetables, and served with oyster crackers on top!

Manhattan Clam Chowder

Manhattan Clam Chowder is a delicious tomato-based clam chowder loaded with clams and vegetables, and served with oyster crackers on top!
5 from 14 votes
Prep Time
20 minutes
Cook Time
40 minutes
Main Course, Soup
Karlynn Johnston


  • 4 slices bacon diced
  • 1 cup diced white onions
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • pinch red pepper flakes
  • 2 large garlic clove minced
  • 3 cups clam juice
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 3 cups Russet potatoes peeled and diced
  • 1/2 cup diced celery
  • 1/2 cup diced green peppers
  • 1 1/2 cups carrots peeled and diced
  • one 28 ounce can diced tomatoes undrained
  • one 142 gram can whole baby clams drained
  • salt and pepper to taste


  • In a large pot medium heat, sauté the bacon until crisp.
  • Add in the onion and fry until soft and translucent. Add in the thyme, garlic and red pepper flakes, and sauté until fragrant, around 2 minutes,
  • Add in the clam juice, broth, potatoes, celery, peppers, and carrots.
  • Simmer until the vegetables are tender,
  • Add in the tomatoes and the clams. Simmer for another 10-15 minutes.
  • Add salt and pepper to taste.
  • Top with oyster crackers to serve

Nutrition Information

Calories: 158kcal, Carbohydrates: 25g, Protein: 4g, Fat: 5g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 7mg, Sodium: 669mg, Potassium: 519mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 5g, Vitamin A: 4192IU, Vitamin C: 18mg, Calcium: 40mg, Iron: 1mg

All calories and info are based on a third party calculator and are only an estimate. Actual nutritional info will vary with brands used, your measuring methods, portion sizes and more.

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Karlynn Johnston

I’m a busy mom of two, wife & cookbook author who loves creating fast, fresh meals for my little family on the Canadian prairies. Karlynn Facts: I'm allergic to broccoli. I've never met a cocktail that I didn't like. I would rather burn down my house than clean it. Most of all, I love helping YOU get dinner ready because there's nothing more important than connecting with our loved ones around the dinner table!

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