Slow Cooker New England Clam Chowder

I had made New England clam chowder once before in the crock sometime last year. I wanted to give it another try since I not only hadn’t been blogging at the time – doing it again would allow me to take picture and share it, but also so I could make some adjustments.

The recipe I used the first time was very basic and quite frankly a total cheater recipe. I hadn’t thought much about that at the time, but looking back I realize just how much of a fake recipe that was. It called for canned everything. I kid you not. I don’t complain about prepackaged ingredients if it’s a few per recipe, but that one called for canned soup, canned cream of this and that. You’d certainly expect the outcome to be at least relatively flavorful since you’re using items that a company has already prepared for you, and it was but it still wasn’t homemade. I get satisfaction out of knowing I can make something myself. I’m not talking milk a cow and make my own cream, or anything along those lines… just making something with a little bit more love. The other downside to that early recipe was the lack of thickness. Clam chowder or at least the New England variety is suppose to be thick and creamy. The other clam chowder some may be familiar with is Manhattan clam chowder, that is not as thick and calls for tomatoes among other things. They have few similarities and in the overall picture are drastically different.

I decided to poke around and get an idea for what recipes were calling for so I could decide my plan of action. Lots of potatoes, veggies and other wonderful flavorings. In the end, this variety not only was much thicker and creamier but it was also mostly much more from scratch… outside of me catching the clams, growing the veggies, making my cream etc. Sure it’s store bought items but they didn’t all come from cans which made me happy. I only share recipes I think are worth sharing and that I think someone else may love but believe me when I say, this is a winner in the world of clam chowder. If you are a fan of it, you should definitely try this easy slow cooker recipe. It’s thick and creamy just like New England clam chowder should be and has an wonderful flavor. Not one part is too over powering, everything works just right with eachother.

And for those with cats, if you don’t normally have kitchen visitors while cooking… you will while making this. Normally my cat (the one of two that we actually see) doesn’t hang out a ton with me in the kitchen but he was stalking my ingredients the entire time… begging for a taste. It was rather comical. He didn’t even care when our one year old was trying to give him hugs.

 

Yield: Makes roughly 6 good sized portions.

Cook Time: 5-10 hours

Slow Cooker New England Clam Chowder

Ingredients:

4 1/2 C potatoes
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp garlic
1 C onion
1/2 C celery
*4: 6oz cans clams (see notes)
*1: 8oz bottle clam juice (see notes)
1 tsp salt
1/2 - 1 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp thyme
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes, optional
1/4 C flour
3 1/4 C half and half
5-6 slices of bacon
1/2 tbsp bacon grease

Directions:

Prepare veggies: peel and chop potatoes into small bite site pieces - add to crock. Chop onion, slice celery down the center lengthwise and then chop into small pieces, and finally mince 1 teaspoon worth of garlic. Take 5-6 slices of bacon, if you are using fatty bacon slice off the ends if they are extremely fatty and discard. Cut up bacon slices into small pieces by either slicing lengthwise in half or into thirds and then into small pieces.

Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a large skillet. Carefully add garlic, onion and celery. Sprinkle with thyme and red pepper flakes (if using). Cook, stirring frequently until heated through and very tender. The onions will be translucent and shiny. Transfer veggies to crock.

Drain clams (2 if using canned juice, 4 if using bottled juice). Add clams and clam juice. Stir contents well. Add flour, salt and pepper. Give another quick stir. Cover and cook on low for 10 hours or high for 5 hours. When 30 minutes remain, stir in half & half.

While that begins to warm and cook, heat up the large skillet again. Add in bacon pieces. Do not leave bacon unattended for any reason! Bacon can go from undercooked, to cooked to overcooked in a hurry. Depending on your bacon and the sizes of your pieces the timing will vary. At first cook with the bacon spread throughout the pan. When it begins to cook and produce more liquid grease, pull bacon pieces together in a small bunch. This will allow the grease to heat and cook the bacon better - or at least that's how I feel. Toss and stir until it almost looks done then remove from the pan with a slotted spoon. Remove 1/2 tbsp bacon grease. Reserve a small portion of cooked bacon pieces (1 1/2 slices worth) for topping chowder later. Toss remaining larger portion of bacon pieces into crock and 1/2 tbsp bacon grease. Stir well. Replace lid and let cook.

Divide among bowls serving warm and sprinkling with bacon.

*Use 2 cans of clams drained and 2 undrained or 4 cans of clams drained and 1: 8oz bottle of clam juice.

*created in a 6-quart slow cooker on high

Recipe source: My Recipes

*This recipe has been slightly adjusted from the original to assure better results. Please be sure to follow the recipe accordingly. Also, if this is your first time making this or any other slow cooker recipe, I recommend being home while it cooks so you can monitor it and guarantee desired results. 


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58 Responses to “Slow Cooker New England Clam Chowder”

  1. #
    1
    Stylish Cuisine — November 28, 2010 at 1:04 am

    I found you on foodgazing.com. Now that the weather has turned colder, I’ve been looking for a good New England Clam Chowder recipe, and this one looks great. I like my chowder nice and thick and creamy and I love that it can be made in a crock pot. Thanks for sharing the recipe.

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    Steven — November 28, 2010 at 6:14 am

    Boy, really looks like super tasty chowder! My eight kitties might act just like yours did too, thanks.

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    naomi — November 28, 2010 at 10:56 pm

    This looks delicious! Perfectly rich and savory!

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    Danae (The Busty Baker) — November 29, 2010 at 11:00 am

    lol love the pics of the cat! I’m not much of a clam chowder fan (or anything seafood related) but I could definitely make this for Boyfriend cause he loves it!

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    dropfood — December 1, 2010 at 8:23 pm

    Your recipe was posted.

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    Sophia — December 14, 2010 at 1:29 pm

    Thank goodness for crock pots. They make cooking so easy! I love your dish. It looks delicious!

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    Trisha K. — December 29, 2010 at 11:59 am

    I’ve been scouring the internet looking for a good New England Clam Chowder crock pot recipe. Yours fits the bill! I’m going to try this on New Year’s Eve.

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    DCCox23 — August 28, 2011 at 10:13 am

    Great recipe!
    I used Valida Onion, Yukon Gold Potatoes and probably an extra slice of bacon or two… Can’t go wrong with too much bacon.
    The juice from the cans of clams is a good call.

    Thanks Rachel!

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    Sasa D. — October 28, 2011 at 7:42 am

    It was a hit!
    Made this last night and just wanted to say tasty, tasty. I am a born and raised New England girl so….yes, I am picky about my NE Clam Chowdah! Anyway, I followed the recipe but added a chunck of butter (about 1/4 cup) creamy good…used a tad more bacon grease too!
    Thanks – everyone should give this a try! Can’t go wrong.

    • Rachel — October 28th, 2011 @ 5:50 pm

      Thank you for coming back to let me know you tried it and liked it. I love hearing that! And more bacon grease is always good thing! :)

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    ashleigh — November 11, 2011 at 6:15 am

    This looks delicious! I am going to make it tomorrow. I love clam chowdah and I’m very picky. I’ve looked at a lot of different recipes and this looks the best. By far… I will let you know how I make out. :)

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    Kathy — December 22, 2011 at 9:40 pm

    I’ve been looking for a crock pot recipe for clam chowder that is thick and creamy. I’ll be making this for our Christmas Eve dinner. I’ll let you know how it turns out. Thanks for posting this recipe!

    • Rachel — December 23rd, 2011 @ 9:27 am

      I hope you enjoy it! Have a wonderful Christmas. :)

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    big jon — January 17, 2012 at 5:32 pm

    trying this tonight! thanks for the recipe

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    Martin — February 1, 2012 at 11:17 pm

    just in time for the New England Patriots Super Bowl Game ! can’t wait to try this on Sunday.

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    Betsy Conroy — March 3, 2012 at 7:34 pm

    I just made this for my family…. Excellent…. a keeper in my book….

    • Rachel — March 4th, 2012 @ 2:17 pm

      So glad to hear you enjoyed it! Thanks for letting me know. :)

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    David — March 5, 2012 at 11:35 pm

    Made this today, taste was very good, but result was very thin – not watery, but not thick like New Englad Clam Chowder should be.
    Also, had a few left over peeled, deveined and fully cooked shrimp. Cut them up and added them to the chowder and let heat for about 15 minutes – Excellent.

    Will make again, but did I do something that it did not thicken? Followed the recipe exactly with the exception of the added shrimp.

    • Rachel — March 6th, 2012 @ 8:06 am

      So glad you enjoyed it. Sorry it didn’t thicken up like you would have liked. I can’t be sure why that is. In the future you could always add more potatoes and mash some of them or add double flour as that’s used as a thickening agent.

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    Whitney — March 15, 2012 at 10:54 am

    I had the same problem with mine turning out thin… i’m not sure why. I followed the recipe to a t. We are having it tonight for or dinner party and i’m sorta freaking out! I think I will try adding butter and maybe flour. it almost looks like the half and half seperated?

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    Shaun — March 15, 2012 at 5:32 pm

    Delicious clam chowder. Think and delicious, I used hickory salt instead of bacon and bacon grease, and it was soooo good.

    I also ran our of half and half (I only had a pint) so I put in about 1/4 cup of cream and hoped for the best. So maybe only using 2.4 cups of liquid is the trick to the thick?

    Thank you for a “keeper” recipe :)

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    celeste blaauw — March 18, 2012 at 3:42 pm

    Awesome recipe> I substituted fresh mussels and used the stock from the steaming for the liquid.
    Yummy!!!

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    Elizabeth Lutz — April 26, 2012 at 8:49 pm

    I have been dying to make a good clam chowder. I am all for a thick soup with lots of good chunks of vegetables. I found this recipe and decided to try it and I LOVE IT! I usually add a little bit more potato and about 1 teaspoon worth of bacon grease, gives it a nice touch! I have made this twice for myself, once for my parents, and am making it tomorrow for my boyfriend! Thanks for the recipe!!!!

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    Idaho moe — June 9, 2012 at 10:35 pm

    gonna try this tomorrow. looks yummy

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    Joy Caccia — July 23, 2012 at 6:56 pm

    Cant wait to try sounds great may add abit more flour do like it thick & more bacon can never have too much of that!! I am a soup maker & like u they r made with love & yes homemade not from any cans!! Lol lol. But I usually only get 1/2 cups because my Son eats all the rest while I’m not looking. Lol

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    Jaya — September 26, 2012 at 11:21 pm

    Made this tonight. Fantastic! Really really thick and creamy. I was in a hurry, so I turned my crockpot up high and it was done in less than 5 hours. Needed a good stir now and then too, as it actually got to bubbling (which I did not want it to do). Added some Old Bay. My husband and I loved it, the two-year-old, not so much, but that’s his M.O. these days. Thanks!

    • Rachel — September 27th, 2012 @ 7:45 am

      So glad to hear you liked it! :)

  23. #
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    Angie — September 30, 2012 at 11:37 am

    This is currently in my crock pot! I can’t wait! The recipe was easy to follow. I scoured the web for a crockpot version. So glad I found you!

    • Rachel — September 30th, 2012 @ 12:34 pm

      I hope you enjoy it! :)

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    Susie — October 7, 2012 at 2:29 pm

    Making this right now, smells divine!!!

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    Randy — November 2, 2012 at 1:52 pm

    I am a bit confused – do I also add the potatoes at the beginning of the crock pot cycle. I see a number of these recipes and some add water, and some say add milk/cream/flower near the end of the cooking cycle. I just want it to be crystal clear when we add what to the crock pot. Please let me know – thanks.

    • Rachel — November 2nd, 2012 @ 7:18 pm

      Yes, as stated in the directions, the potatoes are added to the slow cooker first. No water is called for in my recipe.

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    leepatk — December 23, 2012 at 10:01 am

    how long do you cook it in the crock pot?

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    Christi Gronowski — February 2, 2013 at 8:09 am

    I am going to make this for the Superbowl tomorrow. My crockpot is pretty large…im thinking maybe i need to double the recipe?? Does this recipe fill up your crockpot? I just want to make sure i have enough for our guests.
    Thanks!! Looks easy and so so good!!

    • Rachel — February 2nd, 2013 @ 9:25 am

      This was created in a 6quart slow cooker, with some head room. If you have one large enough to double then you certainly could try that.

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    Rebecca — February 9, 2013 at 4:07 am

    I made this yesterday. Followed recipe exactly but it curdled.

    • Rachel — February 9th, 2013 @ 8:16 am

      Unfortunately I can’t be sure what went wrong since I wasn’t there to see your process. It could be as simple as your slow cooker running hotter than mine or cooking too long. I tested this recipe on high for 5 hours without issue.

  29. #
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    Aubrey — February 14, 2013 at 3:12 pm

    I am a new cook, & im kinda confused about how much clam you were saying to add… to explain it in newbie talk… LOL, this looks great! cant wait to try it :)

    • Rachel — February 14th, 2013 @ 3:50 pm

      An explanation is listed within the notes section of the recipe.

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    Aubrey — February 14, 2013 at 4:25 pm

    Oops, SOrry!

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    keith — February 24, 2013 at 9:35 pm

    I would like to make this for a dinner party of 10. Can i just double everything?

    • Rachel — February 25th, 2013 @ 7:38 am

      This was created in a 6-quart but would likely work in a 5-quart as well, as written. So, if you have a slow cooker large enough, you could certainly try it.

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    Jen — February 26, 2013 at 4:15 pm

    Thank you so much for this amazing recipe! I made it today and it turned out so thick and creamy! It has the best flavor! I will be making this soup often :-)

    • Rachel — February 27th, 2013 @ 9:28 am

      So glad you enjoyed it. :)

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    Jen — February 27, 2013 at 10:24 am

    I forgot to mention this was my first time ever making soup of any kind! My success says alot about how amazing this recipe is! Super informative and easy to follow! Can’t wait to try more of your recipes! Thanks again!

    • Rachel — February 27th, 2013 @ 12:30 pm

      Please keep me posted on any recipes you try! I hope you enjoy them. :)

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    michelle kosa — May 28, 2013 at 7:47 am

    I made this recipe yesterday and followed it to the t It came out delicious and it was my first time making new England clam chowder,this one is a keeper!

    • Rachel — May 28th, 2013 @ 8:31 am

      So glad to hear you enjoyed it!

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    Lee Pearce — May 29, 2013 at 12:47 pm

    Woundering if there was any nutritional value for this recipie?

    • Rachel — May 29th, 2013 @ 2:25 pm

      I don’t personally calculate nutritional information but there are plenty of free online calculators if you are interested in doing so.

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    Desirae — August 16, 2013 at 2:55 pm

    I made this yesterday for dinner. I had to add a little bit of flour at the end to try to thicken it and I think I added too much because it tasted like gravy lol. And it also burned in my crock pot before I added the half and half and I was watching it very closely

    • Rachel — August 16th, 2013 @ 3:42 pm

      Definitely sounds like too much flour was added or something else may have been missing, in addition to your slow cooker possibly running hotter than mine – they can do that.

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    Meaghan — November 14, 2013 at 1:51 pm

    Made this recipe this morning and let it cook on the “high” setting of my crockpot for 5 hours. I had to stir it a few times during cooking because the soup was beginning to stick to the sides and burn so I would recommend being home when making this… But it was FANTASTIC! I followed the recipe exactly except I added a 1/4 cup of unsalted butter for added creaminess. It was the best clam chowder I’ve ever had!

    • Rachel — November 14th, 2013 @ 6:50 pm

      So glad to hear you enjoyed it! :)

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    Janet — November 22, 2013 at 3:31 pm

    Do you add the bacon to the crock after you add the half and half towards the end? Or after you add the veggies?

    • Rachel — November 24th, 2013 @ 11:25 am

      The recipe states at the end to add a portion of the bacon and bacon grease in the slow cooker and the rest is reserved for topping. Enjoy!

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    Chloe — August 8, 2014 at 10:53 pm

    For several years now, clam chowder has been the only type of canned soup I have been willing to eat…. I make all other soups fresh! But, I have always been disappointed in the size and amount of clams – even in the higher end canned brands. I love having control of the ingredients in my food and I have always wanted to learn how to make clam chowder! That’s where this recipe comes into my life :) No more canned Clam Chowder in this house! We’re smitten!

    • Rachel — August 9th, 2014 @ 8:13 am

      So glad to hear it! :)

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