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.

Slow Cooker New England Clam Chowder

Classic New England clam chowder made even easier in the slow cooker. A comforting meal the entire family will love!
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time5 hours
Course: Soup
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Slow cooker
Servings: 6


  • 4 1/2 C potatoes
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp garlic minced
  • 1 C yellow onion chopped
  • 1/2 C celery chopped
  • 4: 6 oz clams see notes
  • 8 oz clam juice see notes
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 - 1 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes optional
  • 1/4 C all purpose flour
  • 3 1/4 C half and half
  • 5-6 slices bacon
  • 1/2 Tbsp bacon grease optional


  • Prepare onion, celery and garlic. Heat olive oil in a large skillet. Add vegetables, cooking over medium heat until onion is translucent. Add garlic and, thyme and optional red pepper flakes, cooking for an additional 1-2 minutes or until fragrant. Transfer to the bowl of a 6 quart slow cooker. 
  • Peel and chop potatoes into small bite sized pieces. Add to the slow cooker along with clams, juice and seasonings. Stir to combine. Cover and begin cooking on high for 5 hours or low for 10. 
  • Meanwhile, cook bacon in a large skillet over medium heat. Remove 1/2 Tb bacon grease, transfering to the slow cooker, if desired. Chop bacon, reserving a small portion for topping chowder later. Toss remaining larger portion of chopped bacon to the slow cooker. Return lid and continue to cook. 
  • When 30 minutes remain in the cook time, add flour to half & half, whisking well until smooth. Add to the slow cooker, stirring wel lto combine. Replace lid and continue to cook until thickened. 
  • 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.
*tested in a 6-quart slow cooker on high
An original recipe from Baked by Rachel

*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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142 Responses to “Slow Cooker New England Clam Chowder”

  1. #
    Rhonda Slates — November 22, 2015 at 2:00 pm

    When ddddoyouadd the potatoes? I added them with the clams.

    • #
      Rachel — November 23, 2015 at 7:22 am

      They should be added with everything else in the beginning. I hope you enjoyed it! :)

  2. #
    NancyK — December 3, 2015 at 3:56 pm

    Probably a stupid question, but add clam juice in the beginning right?
    Making it tomorrow night and Hubby is picky about soup. Don’t want to screw this up.!!!!

    • #
      Rachel — December 3, 2015 at 4:43 pm

      Correct, add it in with everything else in the beginning. I hope everyone enjoys it! :)

  3. #
    Sherrie Carel — December 27, 2015 at 3:45 pm

    This chowder is absolutely wonderful. I made it according to directions with the exception of using celery. I plan on making this many more times. Bon Appetit!

    • #
      Rachel — December 28, 2015 at 7:34 am

      So glad to hear you enjoyed it! Thanks for sharing, Sherrie!

  4. #
    Rebecca — January 7, 2016 at 12:26 am

    I seen someone cook their chowder in a pressure cooker. Since I didn’t have one, I questioned them on other preparation. I googled their answer ‘slow cooker’ and here I am! When I used clams before, they were tough, and I threw them in the last minute. Question I have, is, Are the clams get tender? Thanks for your answer.

    • #
      Rachel — January 7, 2016 at 7:50 am

      Pressure cookers and slow cookers aren’t the same and recipes designed for one machine can not be used as is for the other. As far as your tough clam issue goes, that’s typically from over cooking but I’ve never experienced that with this recipe. Good luck!

  5. #
    Lauri — February 26, 2016 at 4:05 pm

    this looks SO good! trying it today, one you not add the half and half until the last 30 min? it seems as though more liquid is needed for cooking it 5 hours? thanks.

    • #
      Rachel — February 27, 2016 at 8:23 am

      Correct, it is added at the end of the cook cycle. There should be plenty of liquid to cover the potatoes and other ingredients prior to that.

  6. #
    Amyo6 — June 12, 2016 at 4:26 pm

    This is just what I was looking for… unfortunately I am not able to copy into my recipe software (yummy soup). sigh

    • #
      Rachel — June 14, 2016 at 8:40 am

      Copy/pasting of recipes is disabled to reduce the amount of copyright theft. There is a free print option or it can be typed out by hand. Enjoy! :)

  7. #
    Ally — September 20, 2016 at 12:52 am

    Wow! I wound up chowing down two HUGE bowls so fast that now I feel sick, but it was worth it! Haha, Yum. I added some extra clam juice, some “matchstick” carrots (those thinly sliced ones that are used in salads), and some green onions because I ran out of regular onion. Oh, and an extra can of clams! This will definitely become a staple in my household when the colder weather hits in a couple months. So easy and so delicious! Thanks!

    • #
      Rachel — September 20, 2016 at 7:39 am

      So glad to hear you enjoyed it, Ally! Thanks so much for sharing! :)

  8. #
    mae — October 10, 2016 at 11:45 am

    Why do you not have a print button? I would like to print this and take it home so I can make it.

    • #
      Rachel — October 10, 2016 at 12:27 pm

      There is a print button within the recipe section.

  9. #
    Jerry — November 12, 2016 at 8:31 pm

    Been looking for a good thick recipe for a long time with no luck, your’s sounds good. Trying it next week.

    • #
      Rachel — November 14, 2016 at 7:13 am

      Enjoy! :)

  10. #
    Paula — November 20, 2016 at 7:22 am

    My family is coming for dinner today, I will let you know how it turned out!

    • #
      Rachel — November 20, 2016 at 8:07 am

      I hope everyone enjoys it! :)

  11. #
    Paula — November 21, 2016 at 10:00 am

    Thank you Rachel the recipe for your Clam chowder was s hit!

    • #
      Rachel — November 21, 2016 at 10:27 am

      So glad to hear everyone enjoyed it! :)

  12. #
    Lily — January 26, 2017 at 1:46 am

    I am new to cooking, but have enjoyed making meals from scratch lately. Would it be feasible to make this recipe from non-canned clam meat? Or would that not work? Or would that be rediculously expensive? Just curious. Looks delicious and I can’t wait to try this recipe!

    • #
      Rachel — January 26, 2017 at 7:12 am

      For the amount of clam meat you would need, I wouldn’t recommend it. Not only would it be time consuming, but it would become rather expensive.

  13. #
    Jeanne Ferrari -Amas — October 23, 2017 at 9:08 pm

    Thank you so much for this recipe-delicious!!! I will make it often-thank you!!

    • #
      Rachel — October 26, 2017 at 6:53 am

      So glad you enjoyed it, Jeanne! :)

  14. #
    Janie — November 3, 2017 at 9:51 pm

    Hi, this was an amazing recipe. My family loved it. I ended up doing a large sweet white onion, and cooked them until they were slightly brown before transferring them to the slow cooker. J also used 4 cans of clams undrained and the bottle of clam juice. It was perfect.

    • #
      Rachel — November 4, 2017 at 2:07 pm

      So glad everyone enjoyed it!

  15. #
    Genevieve — November 11, 2017 at 10:12 pm

    Hi! Found this recipe via Yummly and I really want to try it, but was curious how much extra room (if any) you had in your 6 quart slow cooker? Mine is only a 5 quart so I want to adjust (if necessary) before I start prepping, especially because I have a tendency to throw in extra veggies.

    • #
      Rachel — November 13, 2017 at 7:51 am

      I’d recommend holding off on adding additional veggies until you see how much room you have. Good luck! :)

  16. #
    P.J. — January 5, 2018 at 6:04 pm

    I had been looking for a good slow cooker chowder recipe and came across this via Pinterest. I tweaked things ever-so-slightly (more clams, some shallots instead of all onion) and … yes! This is such a keeper. Great recipe. Perfect thickness. Thanks so much!

    • #
      Rachel — January 9, 2018 at 9:49 am

      So glad you enjoyed it! :)

  17. #
    Joyce — March 31, 2018 at 1:29 pm

    Is there a difference in taste between using the liquid from canned clams and separate clam juice? I want to duplicate some fabulous clam chowder I had at a small bakery off the NW coast of Oregon. The owner said she used only broth and cream for the liquid, and this recipe looks like a great chance for repeating that creamy fresh flavor. I have trouble patiently stirring and monitoring cream soups on the stove, so I love being able to use the slow cooker.

    • #
      Rachel — April 2, 2018 at 6:58 am

      Either should be fine to use.

  18. #
    Joyce — April 7, 2018 at 10:22 pm

    Just have to tell you that my husband said this was as good as what we recently sampled along the coast of Oregon . . .and we live in Indiana! I doubled the recipe for his surprise birthday party and got raves from all. My tweaks were to use half as many potatoes (preferring a higher clam to potato ratio); add shredded carrots, 1 bay leaf, and dried parsley; and to omit thyme (didn’t have any) and red pepper (didn’t want any). Thanks so much! I had never tried making homemade clam chowder.

    • #
      Rachel — April 19, 2018 at 9:24 am

      So glad you both enjoyed it, Joyce! Thanks for sharing :)

  19. #
    Corine — July 22, 2018 at 6:03 pm

    Can chicken broth be added in place of the extra clam juice.

    • #
      Rachel — July 31, 2018 at 8:18 am

      Absolutely. Just keep in mind that this will alter the overall flavor a bit, but you can certainly substitute as needed or desired.

  20. #
    Lendo — September 30, 2018 at 8:07 am

    I added crab meat and it was great.

    • #
      Rachel — October 17, 2018 at 7:07 am

      So glad you enjoyed it!

  21. #
    Luisa — November 11, 2018 at 11:28 am

    What is the protocol for freezing the leftovers and thawing to eat later?

    • #
      Rachel — November 12, 2018 at 7:36 am

      Typically you want to be cautious freezing anything with a lot of dairy. It should be fine, just be aware that the consistency may change a bit when reheating.

  22. #
    Valerie Valentine — December 7, 2018 at 8:46 pm

    My husband loves clam chowder and I thought I would make this for him. I followed the recipe and it was absolutely wonderful. Would absolutely make it again. Thank you!

    • #
      Rachel — December 10, 2018 at 7:01 am

      So glad you both enjoyed it!

  23. #
    Joanne lilac — January 28, 2019 at 9:44 am

    Hi one thing I want to be sure about half and half milk I’m confuse is it heavy cream ???? I ‘ve try many time not come out good the way I want thicken so please let me know before I start thanks

    • #
      Rachel — January 30, 2019 at 7:14 am

      Half and half is in between milk and heavy cream. It has less fat than cream and more than milk. You could absolutely use heavy cream instead for a richer flavor though.

  24. #
    Sarah C — March 11, 2019 at 1:29 am

    Just made a lovely batch of this, but used a whole Costco can of undrained chopped clams and eliminated the extra 8 oz. clam juice. It was killer! Filled the whole crockpot! Thank you for a really good recipe!

    • #
      Rachel — March 11, 2019 at 7:09 am

      So glad you enjoyed it, Sarah!

  25. #
    Tracy McDonald — April 29, 2019 at 1:43 pm

    could I add shrimp to this??…if so when….they are frozen

    • #
      Rachel — May 8, 2019 at 6:29 am

      Frozen food should never be added to a slow cooker. If you plan to add shrimp, add fresh or fully thawed shrimp in the last 30 minutes of cooking.

  26. #
    don — January 16, 2021 at 2:18 am

    awsome dish!!! ,wonder how it would be with bay scallops

    • #
      Rachel — January 19, 2021 at 6:29 am

      So glad you enjoyed it!

  27. #
    Jenn — October 3, 2021 at 3:52 pm

    Absolutely delicious! I doubled the recipe and used fresh razor clams we dug up ourselves. I also used heavy whipping cream instead of half & half because I love the rich thickness of the heavy whipping cream. Thanks so much for this delicious recipe!!

    • #
      Rachel — October 10, 2021 at 1:19 pm

      So glad you enjoyed it!

  28. #
    RYAN JAMES NYMAN — December 22, 2022 at 10:10 am

    Hello, at what temperature should this be at? High, low ?

    • #
      Rachel — December 22, 2022 at 10:25 am

      The instructions give you an option for both high and low, depending on when you need it done by.

  29. #
    Ross — April 17, 2023 at 1:36 pm

    I cooked onion and celery in bacon grease with seasoning and garlic
    flavour went through whole soup delicious

    • #
      Rachel — April 21, 2023 at 11:33 am

      So glad you enjoyed it!

  30. #
    Gina — May 29, 2023 at 9:07 pm

    This chowder is ridiculously good. My family told me it was better than a restaurant’s! I do have one regret. They kept eating it all weekend and I barely got any. Lmao.

    • #
      Rachel — May 31, 2023 at 7:39 am

      So glad everyone enjoyed it! I guess you’ll have to make another batch so you can have some! :)

  31. #
    Steve — November 9, 2023 at 4:45 pm

    I wanted to make clam chowder a few years ago and came across this recipe. There is not a lot to the recipe, but man is it SO GOOD. I make it a few times a year every year. Thank you for sharing this with us all :)

    • #
      Rachel — November 13, 2023 at 7:03 am

      So glad you’ve enjoyed it, Steve! Thanks for sharing!

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