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Manhattan Clam Chowder

I typically serve this Manhattan clam chowder with a tossed salad and hot rolls. It's easy to make and tastes wonderful on a cold winter evening. My family has enjoyed this recipe for over 30 years. —Joan Hopewell, Columbus, New Jersey
  • Total Time
    Prep: 10 min. Cook: 40 min.
  • Makes
    8 servings (about 2 quarts)

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 2/3 cup chopped celery
  • 2 teaspoons minced green pepper
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 cups hot water
  • 1 cup cubed peeled potatoes
  • 1 can (28 ounces) diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 2 cans (6-1/2 ounces each) minced clams, undrained
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • Dash cayenne pepper
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh parsley

Directions

  • In a large saucepan, heat butter over low heat. Add onion, celery, green pepper and garlic; cook, stirring frequently, for 20 minutes. Add water and potatoes; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, covered, until potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes.
  • Add tomatoes, clams, salt, thyme, pepper and cayenne; heat through. Stir in parsley. Serve immediately.

Manhattan Clam Chowder Tips

What's the difference between New England and Manhattan clam chowder?

You can tell these two types of soup apart by the cream. Manhattan clam chowder does not contain cream, while New England clam chowder does. Manhattan uses a tomato base instead and typically calls for more vegetables compared to the New England version.

What is the origin of Manhattan clam chowder?

Manhattan clam chowder originated from a soup cookbook published in 1934 by Virginia Elliot and Robert Jones, long after New England clam chowder was born. When Manhattan chowder came to be, many were in an uproar for it competing with the New England original. A Maine legislator even introduced a bill that outlawed the use of tomatoes in any clam chowder recipe! Today, both New England and Manhattan chowders are loved, but there is still a healthy competition between the two.

Can you make this recipe in a Crock-Pot?

With some slight alternations, you can make Manhattan clam chowder in a Crock-Pot or Instant Pot on the slow cooker setting. Check out the directions for our slow-cooker Manhattan clam chowder recipe.

Can you make this recipe with fresh clams?

Yes, you can use fresh clams for this recipe by steaming and mincing the clams before making the chowder. To steam, place clams in a covered stockpot with a cup and a half of water. Cook for about 8-10 minutes on medium-high, or until shells pop open. Remove shells from stockpot and scoop clam meat out. Mince clam meat and voila! Your clams are ready.

How long does homemade Manhattan clam chowder last in the fridge?

Manhattan clam chowder can last between 1-2 days in the refrigerator. Also, keep in mind if you shuck fresh clams, they will last for 1-2 days as well. If you'd like to enjoy your chowder for longer, you can also freeze it. We recommending freezing this recipe for up to 3 months in an airtight freezer container. Get more tips with our complete guide for how to freeze soup.
Nutrition Facts
1 cup: 91 calories, 3g fat (2g saturated fat), 15mg cholesterol, 652mg sodium, 13g carbohydrate (5g sugars, 3g fiber), 5g protein.

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Reviews

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Average Rating:
  • James
    Nov 2, 2020

    Sorry Taste of Home, but this is without a doubt the worst Manhattan clam chowder I've ever tasted, let alone made. I was wary when I saw in the list of ingredients the use of two cups of water. I immediately thought that it would water the flavor down (no pun intended). So I added two cups of clam juice instead. Even with that, the flavor was distinctly NON-CLAMMY. At least not nearly as intense as I prefer. This recipe was a lot more like Rhode Island clam chowder. Light, with just a hint of clams. A proper Manhattan clam chowder has a deep red color, spanish onions instead of yellow, and perhaps some bacon (my preference.). I was born in Massachusetts and raised in New York, so I know my chowders! Oh well, it was edible (with a few tablespoons of hot sauce added), and a bad chowder is better than no chowder!

  • Kenneth
    Jul 5, 2020

    Made for Independence day picnic. I used fresh clams, and used 2 cans of clamato Juice added to the water. Great taste. Pot was empty in less than 15 minutes. Not a drop left in pan, or guest's bowls. Saving in my loose leaf binder.

  • DuckyD
    Oct 23, 2017

    Good soup! I followed the recipe exactly.

  • paizley
    Jul 22, 2015

    Glad to see no bacon. The butter definitely makes up for that. I subbed sage and bay for the thyme, replaced potatoes with red bell pepper and added a bit of Old Bay seasoning (I am from Maryland, btw). It was very delicious. Table side, served it with crusty bread and home-made hot sauce. Thanks for sharing!!!

  • Leehigh69
    Jan 12, 2015

    Easy to make, flavor great, family loved it. I doubled the recipe for 8 people. 2 servings for each , each served with bread and salad. Chowder all gone, I will make this again,, the family loved it!,,

  • cathydec
    Nov 8, 2013

    will make it again everyone loved it Thank you

  • billallison
    Feb 22, 2013

    Manhattan clam chowder is rare find in stores or restaurants in my hometown and vicinity when I do find it I love it. But this recipe is better than any where I have found dinning out. Try it if your a fan of this style of chowder.

  • vickyfoland
    Aug 18, 2009

    This recipe was very good. I put it in the crock pot and let it simmer all day. It was a little watery. I think next time if I use the crock pot, I will use half the amount of water.