Manhattan Clam Chowder
For being a relatively picky eater when I was a kid, I was surprisingly not turned off by fish. In fact, New England clam chowder was one of my favorite soups, right behind cream of mushroom. I’m certainly not going to claim that I had some sort of advanced palate (far from it); if you put any sort of creamy soup in front of me, I would drink it right up. My grandma always had cans of both New England and Manhattan clam chowder in her pantry. If I was offered Manhattan clam chowder, I would run for the hills, screaming my picky little head off. Fish wasn’t an issue, but oh boy, do not try to serve me soup with chunks of tomato in it. Sure, I loved tomato soup, but it was smooth. I didn’t want chunks of tomato. Feeding kids is awesome, huh? I’m pretty sure karma is going to eat me alive.
A couple of weeks ago, my Chief Culinary Consultant mentioned that I hadn’t made soup in awhile, so I asked him for some ideas, and one of them was Manhattan clam chowder. Every part of me wanted to scream, “Nooooo! No chunky tomatoes in soup!”… but, I acted like a grown-up and happily made the pot of soup, thinking that perhaps my aversion could have corrected itself in the last 25 years. Turns out, it had, because I was totally stunned when I took my first spoonful. It was amazing, and so flavorful! In fact, now I think I might actually like this better than the New England version. Crazy!
I’ve found that for most soups to develop a real depth of flavor, they require quite a bit of cooking time. Not so in this case. I was surprised that this could be prepped, cooked, and ready to eat in just over an hour. Most of that time was spent chopping up the vegetables, so if you did that ahead of time and stored them in the fridge, you could have this on the table in well under an hour, which makes it a fantastic weeknight meal option.
Not only am I thrilled that I found a new recipe for a fantastic pot of soup, but I feel like a bonafide adult for not picking out the chunks of tomato.
One year ago: Peanut Butter-Banana Bread with Chocolate Chips and Oreo Cheesecake Bars
Two years ago: Fig Cookie Bars and Cherry Coke Float Cupcakes
Three years ago: Banana Cupcakes with Vanilla Pastry Cream
Six years ago: Chewy Chocolate-White Chocolate Chunk Cookies
Manhattan Clam Chowder
- 4 ounces (113.4 g) thick-cut bacon, about 3 slices, cut into ¼-inch pieces
- 1 large yellow onion, diced small
- 1 small red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and diced small
- 1 medium carrot, diced small
- 1 stalk celery, diced small
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ cup (120 ml) dry white wine
- 24 ounces (680.39 ml) bottled clam juice
- 5 (6.5-ounce) (184.27 g) cans chopped clams, juice drained and reserved
- 1½ pounds (680.39 g) Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into ¼-inch dice
- 1 bay leaf
- 28 ounce (793.79 g) can diced tomatoes
- Salt and ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley leaves, chopped
- In a large pot or 7¼-quart Dutch oven, fry the bacon over medium-low heat until the fat renders and the bacon crisps, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the onion, pepper, carrot and celery, reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook until softened, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and oregano and sauté for 1 minute.
- Add the wine and increase the heat to high. Boil the wine until it reduces by half, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add the 3 bottles of clam juice, the reserved canned clam juices, the potatoes, and bay leaf. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer until the potatoes are almost tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Using a wooden spoon, smash some of the potatoes against the side of the pot, then simmer for 5 more minutes.
- Add the diced tomatoes (along with their juice), bring back to a simmer, and cook for 5 minutes. Remove the pot from heat, stir in the canned clams and season with salt and pepper to taste; discard the bay leaf. (Chowder can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 2 days. Warm over low heat until hot.) Stir in parsley and serve immediately.
Did you make this recipe?
Leave a review below, then snap a picture and tag @thebrowneyedbaker on Instagram so I can see it!
Absolutely wonderful Manhattan Style Clam Chowder. I’ve made this recipe many times. Always a huge hit – even for Boston Chowdah lovers. Follow the recipe as is. Delicious!! @thebrowneyedbaker
I made this minus the green pepper. Loved it. Got some feedback my son the chef and referred to my dad’s old recipe. Made it again. Used two cans whole tomatoes, one less bottle of clam juice and added thyme…still no peppers. Loved it even more.
Just want to tell you that I have never made clam chowder and Manhattan was never my choice. But, I must say that this is by far the best Manhattan Clam Chowder I have ever had. Just love it!!! Thank you so much!
I love your Manhattan clam chowder soup thank you very much for posting the recipe. I did however make one at addition to it because I’m trying to eat more vegetables, I added in chopped kale, and it was just as yummy as your version.
Your nutritional information states based on one serving, however you do not state anywhere what size a serving is, i.e. 1 cup or 1.5 cups etc.
I took a chance…and I love it! I usually use salt pork and I never added cream before, but it is a great addition. I added one envelope of St. Ours Clam Broth instead of bottled juice and one large can of SeaWatch(sams club)chopped clams. a pinch of bay leaf powder. great chowder!
I modified to MEATLESS and added a couple of things but LOVED this dish. I made it yesterday and had to take out the bacon for Lent so I used olive oil in the beginning since I didn’t have the bacon fat to sit with the softening vegetables. I added more of the vegetables (because I am a huge vegetable person), added a bay leaf and took out the white wine. I paired it with a rosemary and sea salt bread from Fresh Market which was amazing. Awesome meal, highly recommend!!!
First time making Manhattan style and it did not disappoint. Super tasty. Looking forward to the leftovers! Admittedly, I was hesitant to use that many potatoes and clams, but I stuck with it and it’s the perfect amount.
This sounds dee-lish. Can this chowder be cooked in a crock pot?
Hi Monique, Since there aren’t any long simmering periods in this recipe, I’m not sure at which point you would want to add the ingredients to the crock pot.
i made this last month. it was good but honestly not a go to recipe for manhatten clam chowder . was good but not amazing.
Was amazing 🍜 soup……you you for sharing
Are we missing Step 3?
Sorry, the step numbers were mislabeled… nothing missing.
Do you have to use pork bacon? Or can you omit bacon? I am no longer eating pork do to health reason.
Hi Lois, You can omit it. Enjoy the soup!
Thanks for the great recipe. I just tried this over the weekend and all guests like it.
I made this today! It was wonderful. Thank you for sharing this!
Perfect for the winter!
just made the manhattan clam chowder and it was excellent.
my husband loved it! thanks
This looks so delicious! Now let’s hope I can get my hands on some clam juice ;)
Ooooh…as soon as I saw this I knew it was going on my “to make” list! It’s been forever since I’ve had clam chowder. Not sure why, because I love it! Wonderful photos! Pinning now!
I made this for dinner tonight. Instead of clam juice, I used the broth of a seafood boil I had yesterday. I kept everything else to the recipe.
Everyone has had two bowls full and most are groaning contentedly on the couch.
I will definitely be making this fantastic chowder many more times.
Looks delicious! And you can be really proud for trying something new!
Just a note to say how much I love your recipes. Every one I’ve tried has been great. Out here in California we rarely see any clam chowder except the creamy kind. I truly love French bouillabaisse (?sp?) so I will try this with scallops, shrimp, and a pinch of saffron. Might even try to locate a fish stock instead of all clam as I can’t deal with the house smelling of fish exoskeletons and bones. Thank you for all your lovely posts. The weekly and yearly wrap-up is so useful, too.
Made your chowder for dinner last night ~ YUM! As you said, lot of chopping, but so easy to put together. Looking forward to left overs. Thinking I’ll freeze some of the extra, too.
As soon as I find clam juice I will cook this!
It looks delicious!
Can I buy real clams? I have the best fish store just down the hill. What do I do about using or adjusting the bottled and reserve clam juice?
I can’t wait to try this.
Hi Kathy, Yes, you can make this using real clams. There is a version using real clams on Cook’s Illustrated; it calls for 8 pounds medium-sized hard-shell clams, such as cherrystones, washed and scrubbed clean. You would follow this procedure:
Bring 4 cups of water to a boil in large stockpot or Dutch oven. Add the clams and cover with a tight-fitting lid. Cook for 5 minutes, uncover, and stir with a wooden spoon. Quickly cover the pot and steam until the clams just open, 2 to 4 minutes. Transfer the clams to a large bowl; cool slightly. Open the clams with a paring knife, holding the clams over a bowl to catch any juices. With the knife, sever the muscle that attaches the clambelly to the shell and transfer the meat to the cutting board. Discard the shells. Cut the clams into 1/2-inch dice; set aside. Pour the clam broth into a 2-quart Pyrex measuring cup, holding back the last few tablespoons of broth in case of sediment; set the clam broth aside. (you should have 5 cups; if not, add water to make this amount.
You would add it in the same place as the recipe above, and instead of using 3 bottles of clam juice, you would use only 1. Hope that helps!
What an awesome looking chowder. I have never had chowder and I probably never will (vege). I doubt it would be the same without the seafood hehe.
Manhattan clam chowder: the ONLY clam chowder for me (I’m seriously running for the hills if I have to eat the creamy seafood stuff). ;) Ever since I was a kid I’ve only liked this kind, and boy, this looks delish! Maybe it has something to do with clamming in Long Island as a kid, who knows?
Quick and tasty and beautiful! Yum – nice suggestion :)
Ooo – YUM-MEEE! I am definitely going to try this! I’ve never even heard of Manhattan Clam Chowder – call me a hillbilly if you must (I’m from Arkansas)!
I have been on the hunt for a Manhattan Clam Chowder recipe – this looks perfect!
This looks very delicious.Where can we get a clam juice?
Hi Shobelyn, I got it at the regular grocery store – it was on the same shelf as the canned tuna, the canned clams, etc.
Just thinking about canned clams and wondering if there were brands that were better than others.
Hi Michele, At my grocery store, there was only one brand (I think it was Bumblebee?), so that’s what I bought.
I love clam chowder in all its different varieties! Thanks for sharing this!!
This soup looks amazing! Perfect for a cold day.
I also like to have corn in my chowders. In fact, I have sometimes used some frozen mixed vegetables in addition to the potatoes and onions. I don’t use bell peppers, but that is just my taste. Great recipe, with lots of clams!
I am all about comforting soups this time of year. This looks fantastic!!
Besides Greek Lemon Chicken Soup, Manhattan-style Clam Chowder is my favorite soup! This looks like a fantastic recipe, thanks for taking the plunge. :-)
THIS chowder looks amazing. I have never made it or the New England but they are both on my list! Thanks.
Afraid I have never got on with clams or fish of any kind! I can handle chunks though so I’m not toooo fussy right?!
That was so me as a kid too! I loved NE Clam Chowder and would never go near a chunk of tomato. I am going to make a pot of this soup this weekend. And yes karma will find you!! My sister was a super picket eater as a child and now she has a son who is the same.
Would water or broth work instead of wine?
Hi Marci, Yes! I would recommend chicken (or seafood) broth.
I have a child who has the same aversion to chunks of tomatoes. Do you think crushed tomatoes would work in this? Thanks.
Hi Susan, I think if you used crushed tomatoes you would end up with too much of a tomato sauce consistency to your soup. I would recommend draining the juice into the pot, and then dumping the diced tomatoes onto a cutting board and mincing them up so they’re tiny.
Whenever possible, I use petite diced tomatoes in my soups. I’m also averse to chunky tomatoes, so I highly recommend making this swap! :)
Funny, my Husband doesn’t like clams and is not a fan of clam chowder, but Manhattan Clam Chowder is his favorite soup next to chicken noodle. I think I am going to surprise him and make your soup. Thank you for sharing.
I think I will be making this today! Sounds so tasty for this cold winter,even in sunny Florida!
A hearty bowl of soup that’s done in little over an hour? That so works for me!
I would love a big bowl of this! Perfect for this time of year!