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 mins
Cook Time5 hrs
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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134 Responses to “Slow Cooker New England Clam Chowder”

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

    I found you on 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.

  2. #
    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.

  3. #
    naomi — November 28, 2010 at 10:56 pm

    This looks delicious! Perfectly rich and savory!

  4. #
    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!

  5. #
    dropfood — December 1, 2010 at 8:23 pm

    Your recipe was posted.

  6. #
    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!

  7. #
    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.

  8. #
    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!

  9. #
    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 28, 2011 at 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! :)

  10. #
    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. :)

  11. #
    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 23, 2011 at 9:27 am

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

  12. #
    big jon — January 17, 2012 at 5:32 pm

    trying this tonight! thanks for the recipe

  13. #
    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.

  14. #
    Betsy Conroy — March 3, 2012 at 7:34 pm

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

    • #
      Rachel — March 4, 2012 at 2:17 pm

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

  15. #
    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 6, 2012 at 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.

  16. #
    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?

  17. #
    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 :)

  18. #
    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.

  19. #
    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!!!!

  20. #
    Idaho moe — June 9, 2012 at 10:35 pm

    gonna try this tomorrow. looks yummy

  21. #
    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

  22. #
    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 27, 2012 at 7:45 am

      So glad to hear you liked it! :)

  23. #
    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 30, 2012 at 12:34 pm

      I hope you enjoy it! :)

  24. #
    Susie — October 7, 2012 at 2:29 pm

    Making this right now, smells divine!!!

  25. #
    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 2, 2012 at 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.

  26. #
    leepatk — December 23, 2012 at 10:01 am

    how long do you cook it in the crock pot?

  27. #
    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 2, 2013 at 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.

  28. #
    Rebecca — February 9, 2013 at 4:07 am

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

    • #
      Rachel — February 9, 2013 at 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. #
    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 14, 2013 at 3:50 pm

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

  30. #
    Aubrey — February 14, 2013 at 4:25 pm

    Oops, SOrry!

  31. #
    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 25, 2013 at 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.

  32. #
    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 27, 2013 at 9:28 am

      So glad you enjoyed it. :)

  33. #
    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 27, 2013 at 12:30 pm

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

  34. #
    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 28, 2013 at 8:31 am

      So glad to hear you enjoyed it!

  35. #
    Lee Pearce — May 29, 2013 at 12:47 pm

    Woundering if there was any nutritional value for this recipie?

    • #
      Rachel — May 29, 2013 at 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.

  36. #
    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 16, 2013 at 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.

  37. #
    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 14, 2013 at 6:50 pm

      So glad to hear you enjoyed it! :)

  38. #
    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 24, 2013 at 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!

  39. #
    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 9, 2014 at 8:13 am

      So glad to hear it! :)

  40. #
    doug — October 8, 2014 at 9:16 pm

    Absolutely the best!!!! I am not a very good cook and this turned out fantastic. First time using this recipe and made 2 crock pots…it was the best. I had the neighbors and kids loving it.

    • #
      Rachel — October 9, 2014 at 7:53 am

      So glad to hear everyone enjoyed it! :)

  41. #
    Holly — October 24, 2014 at 4:11 pm

    Do you add any water to crock? Doesn’t seem like enough liquid to cook the potatoes. Making right now.

    • #
      Rachel — October 25, 2014 at 7:41 am

      No water is added. If your slow cooker does not cook too hot, you can add the heavy cream earlier or a portion of it. Alternately, additional clam juice may be used.

  42. #
    karenza — December 14, 2014 at 10:46 pm

    What is the nutritional information for this recipe?


    • #
      Rachel — December 15, 2014 at 7:10 am

      That is not information I supply on my site. There are free online calculators you can use to determine that information.

  43. #
    Catherine — December 25, 2014 at 3:10 pm

    Wonderful recipe! I made this yesterday for Christmas Eve dinner and got rave reviews. The only change I made was to increase the amount of clams used to 6 cans for a “clammier” soup. This is now my go-to recipe for New England Clam Chowder! I can’t wait to check out the rest of your site.

    • #
      Rachel — December 26, 2014 at 8:52 am

      So glad you enjoyed it! :)

  44. #
    Amber — January 14, 2015 at 2:13 am

    This was awesome! I haven’t had clam chowder since I found out I am allergic to milk.The only modifications I made were coconut milk for the half-and-half and garlic powder because I was out of fresh garlic. It was a little heavy on the clams for me, so I might use 3 cans of clams next time

    • #
      Rachel — January 14, 2015 at 7:36 am

      So glad you enjoyed it!

  45. #
    Rg — January 27, 2015 at 1:54 am

    Hi Rachel,

    You said that it doesn’t fill the crock pot up all the way and that leaves “head room”. I take it that you can’t double the recipe, but can you fit in another 1/2 of the recipe? And you said you can serve 6 hefty bowls of it, and i’m having a super bowl party so thinking that’s really 12 bowls to go along with all of my other foods. Thanks!

    • #
      Rachel — January 27, 2015 at 8:59 am

      Please keep in mind that this recipe was shared well over 4 years ago, so I can’t elaborate too much on any details that aren’t mentioned within the post. So long as you have a large enough slow cooker, I imagine you should be able to add at least another 1/2 batch. Good luck and I hope you enjoy it!

  46. #
    AD — February 16, 2015 at 7:24 pm

    I made this last night and it was probably the best clam chowder I have ever had…it was a hit! Thank you for sharing!

    • #
      Rachel — February 17, 2015 at 7:19 am

      So glad you enjoyed it! :)

  47. #
    patty — February 23, 2015 at 7:39 pm

    This turned out PERFECT! Made it first time for company, doubled the recipe and it was a huge hit. I only drained one can of clams, as worried not enough fluid to cook potatoes. Worked great!

    Recipe in rotation!

    • #
      Rachel — February 24, 2015 at 7:54 am

      So glad you enjoyed it! Thanks for sharing :)

  48. #
    alison — July 7, 2015 at 1:54 pm

    I am curious to where I can find the clam juice. Is it difficult to find in a regular grocery store if I don’t live in the northeast? I’d love to try this recipe!

    • #
      Rachel — July 8, 2015 at 7:52 am

      I would check either near the other stocks and broths or by the canned fish. If all else fails, it is available online. Good luck!!

  49. #
    kerri — November 10, 2015 at 11:47 pm

    this was amazing!!! best clam chowder ever! I just shared your recipe with a bunch of my friends after advertising how delicious this is! I was all in on the bacon and grease, used fresh thyme and extra everything so I could have lunch leftovers tomorrow!!

    • #
      Rachel — November 11, 2015 at 7:31 am

      So glad to hear you enjoyed it, Kerri! Thanks so much for sharing.

  50. #
    Elaine — November 20, 2015 at 12:06 am

    Hi! This looks amazing!

    Do we add the bacon when we first add the potatoes, veggies and clams and those begin to warm and cook? Or do we add the bacon after we have added the 3 and 1/4 cups of half and half once 30 min remain?

    Thank you!

    • #
      Rachel — November 20, 2015 at 7:49 am

      Either or will work fine.

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