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Easy Manhattan Clam Chowder

This Easy Manhattan Clam Chowder is full of clams, potatoes, vegetables, and bacon in a tasty tomato broth. It's a hearty and comforting soup that's perfect for chilly days!
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time40 mins
Total Time50 mins
Servings: 4 large bowls (or 6 smaller bowls)
Calories: 456kcal
Author: Michelle / Now Cook This!


  • 8 ounces bacon, chopped into ½-inch pieces
  • 2 cups diced onion
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 1 cup diced carrots
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, optional
  • ½ cup dry sherry
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 (8-ounce) bottle clam juice
  • 4 cups beef broth or stock, I use 4 cups water mixed with 4 teaspoons of roasted beef base, such as Better Than Bouillon
  • 2 (14.5-ounce) cans diced tomatoes
  • 3 cups peeled and diced potatoes, about ½-inch pieces
  • 4 (6.5-ounce) cans chopped clams, drained
  • salt and pepper, to taste


  • In a large pot (I recommend a 5-quart pot or larger) over medium heat, cook the bacon, stirring occasionally, until crisp, about 5 minutes. Remove and discard all but 2 tablespoons of the bacon grease from the pot.
  • Add the onions, celery, carrots, thyme, and parsley to the pot. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables have begun to soften, about 5 minutes.
  • Add the garlic and red pepper flakes (if using); cook, stirring constantly, for one minute.
  • Add the sherry; use a wooden spoon to scrape (deglaze) all the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Cook for one minute to allow the sherry to reduce a bit.
  • Stir in the tomato paste; cook, stirring, for one more minute.
  • Add the clam juice, beef broth, diced tomatoes, and potatoes; increase the heat and bring to a boil.
  • Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, until the potatoes and vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes.
  • Stir in the clams; gently simmer (don't boil) just until they are heated through (this will keep them from becoming tough and chewy).
  • Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed.

Recipe Notes

  • Delicious today, but even better tomorrow (I often make mine the day before)!
  • Excellent topped with oyster crackers, chopped fresh parsley, and a little extra bacon (after the bacon cooks, I put some aside for garnish).
  • I love the rich and savory flavor of beef broth or stock in this chowder, but you can also use chicken, vegetable, or seafood broth or stock.
  • Instead of bottled clam juice, you can use 1 cup of the juice from the canned clams (or you can use all of the juice from the cans if you don't want to throw any away).
  • Use a dry sherry that you would drink (rather than cooking wine). 
  • The sherry adds great flavor, but you can leave it out if you don't cook with alcohol. The chowder will still be yummy!
  • I like to use waxier potatoes like Yukon gold, white, or red since they tend to keep their shape better (but russets are fine too if that's what you've got).
  • Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 3 to 4 days.
  • You can freeze it for up to 2 months, but the potatoes might be slightly mushy when it is reheated.
  • Estimated calories shown are based on 4 servings.
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