Easy Slow Cooker Clam Chowder


Creamy clam chowder with simple ingredients and very little prep. This tastes so good, and the slow cooker does all the work for you, leaving plenty of time to do other things.

This is one of my favorite recipes to take on vacations. I also make ravioli lasagna and pulled pork when we are traveling, and I can bring my slow cooker.

clam chowder in slow cooker with spoon in it

Why this works

  • If you are looking for an easy dinner idea that leaves you with plenty of time to relax this weekend, or make a busy weeknight less stressful, then this semi-homemade clam chowder might be exactly what you’re looking for!
  • This has all the elements of a succeessful clam chowder but with a few short cuts. It turns out ultra creamy and decadent. You won’t even know you added anything cannned!
  • I find that this is the best clam chowder soup recipe out there. If I keep the flavor milder, even the pickiest member of my family enjoys this wonderful dinner dish.
ingredients for clam chowder on table, with text overlay

What is the difference betwwen Manhattan and New England Clam Chowder.

  • New England clam chowder consists of a hearty broth with potatoes, onions, celery and including clams. It’s thick and creamy. (This recipe is New England style).
  • Manthattan clam chowder is tomato based with no cream.

How to make clam chowder in a slow cooker

This easy crockpot recipe is a godsend- just throw in your ingredients in the cooker and let it do all of the work for you.

ingredients for clam chowder neatly organized in slow cooker

Ingredients

  • Cream of Potato Soup – you won’t even taste this after you add the other ingredients
  • Milk – use whole milk for an extra cream soup
  • Cream cheese – this thickens the soup, I prefer Philadelphia brand for it melts the best.
  • Minced clams (canned) –  add the clam juice from cans to the soup for more flavor
  • White onion – finely minced for this doesn’t have a long time to break down large chunks of onion.
  • Bacon – sliced, cooked and drained
  • Dried Leaf Thyme – optional, but in my opinion this is what makes it taste restaurant quality.
  • Freshly ground black pepper
clam chowder mixture before cooking

How long do I cook?

  • The slow cooker should be set on low heat setting for 4-5 hours.
  • I like to stir this recipe occasionally during for it’s a thicker soup and can start to stick to the edges.
clam chowder in slow cooker, done cooking

Can I use an instant pot instead?

Instant Pot slow cooker clam chowder is also an excellent choice if you’re in a hurry, but I find that the flavors don’t melt together the same way they do if you use the crockpot to cook your New England clam chowder.

scoop of chowder coming from slow cooker

Ways to serve

  • Serve your slow cooker clam chowder in a bowl with saltine crackers or oyster crackers.
  • For a restaurant style, top your chowder with a pat of butter and a sprinkle of paprika.
  • Warm sourdough bread and butter is a great side for chowder.
  • For an extra special touch, you can serve the soup in a bread bowl. Just carve a circle out the middle of a small round loaf of sourdough bread. Make sure not to cut too deep- you don’t want your chowder leaking out the bottom of the bowl! Place the bread bowl on a plate with the circle next to the bowl. Add your preferred toppings and serve. Who needs a seafood restaurant when your homemade clam chowder looks this good?
clam chowder in white bowl with oyster crackers on top

Recipe FAQs

Do I add the clam juice from the can to clam chowder?

If you want a strong clam flavor, do add some of the juice. I would add about a half-cup. If you add too much, the clam chowder may become thin.

How long does clam chowder last in the fridge.

Since clams have a short shelf life, do not store it longer than 3 days to be on the safe side.

Can I freeze clam chowder?

Cream and potaotes do no freeze well, so it’s better to refrigerate and eat within a few days.

Do I have to add the bacon to clam chowder?

No! The bacon can be omitted if needed for lent; this chowder still has plenty of flavor without it.

close up of bowl of clam chowder

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scoop of chowder coming from slow cooker

Easy Slow Cooker Clam Chowder

The easiest clam chowder you can make and it doesn’t skimp on flavor. Don’t let the canned goods fool you, the flavor tastes just as good as a restaurant.

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Course: Soup

Cuisine: American

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 4 hours

Total Time: 4 hours 15 minutes

Servings: 5

Calories: 461kcal

Instructions:

  • Add everything into the slow cooker.

  • Stir. Don’t worry about the cream cheese mixing in, it will melt as the slow cooker heats up.

  • Cover and cook on LOW for 4-5 hours. Stir occasionally so the soup doesn’t scorch. This is a thicker soup and can tend to stick to the edges.

  • Serve with crackers and sourdough bread if desired.

  • Enjoy!

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Recipe Notes:

Should I add the clam juice to my clam chowder?
If you love a strong clam flavor in your clam chowder, yes! Adding clam juice is okay to do and will give your chowder a great clam flavor. Only add about a half cup for it can make the chowder too thin if too much is added.
Can I omit the bacon for lent?
Yes, this chowder has plenty of flavor without the bacon.
How to do I store clam chowder?
Store in the fridge for up to three days. Clam chowder doesn’t freeze well with for cream and potatoes aren’t the best after freezing.

Nutrition:

Calories: 461kcal | Carbohydrates: 21g | Protein: 14g | Fat: 36g | Saturated Fat: 17g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 12g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 94mg | Sodium: 1217mg | Potassium: 449mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 933IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 210mg | Iron: 1mg





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