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Manhattan Clam Chowder

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A clam chowder without cream?  Yes, please!   Our savory Manhattan Clam Chowder has a brothy tomato base, lots of clams, veggies and seasonings.  This is an easy chowder made with chopped canned clams but if you have access to fresh clams by all means, go for it!  

Overhead photo of a bowl of chowder

This chowder will take about twenty minutes to prep and another thirty minutes to cook. You can easily work this chowder into your weekday menu routine. Serve it with a warm, crusty, nutritious multi-grain bread and enjoy!

Calories/Fat in New England Clam Chowder Vs. Manhattan Clam Chowder:

I know there is a bit of controversy over the Manhattan clam chowder and some folks even refuse to acknowledge it as clam chowder. This chowder is healthy, nutritious and diet-friendly.

Soup pot of manhattan clam chowder

There is a big difference between the two chowders. New England clam chowder is a cream-based chowder and potatoes are the main vegetable. Flour is the usual thickening agent for the chowder also. Manhattan clam chowder is a broth-based chowder with a variety of vegetables, including tomatoes. And there isn’t any thickening agent in Manhattan Clam Chowder.

There is also a huge difference in the calorie/fat content of the two chowders. In a classic New England clam chowder, there are 316 calories and 16 grams of fat per serving. For our Manhattan clam chowder, a serving has 250 calories and 3 grams of fat.

Bowl of chowder in foreground, red napkin and bread in background

What Ingredients are used to make Manhattan Clam Chowder?

With its base of clam juice, chicken broth, white wine and tomatoes the soup also has a bit of a smoky flavor from crisply cooked bacon. The vegetables include onions, garlic, celery, carrots and small cubes of potatoes. The chowder has a ton of chopped clams and the Old Bay seasoning is a perfect blend of spices complementing the soup.

Be sure to scroll to the bottom of this post for the full recipe and instructions.

How To Make Manhattan Clam Chowder with Fresh Clams:

To use fresh clams, steam 5 pounds of clams in 2 cups of water until they open. Let cool and remove the clams, discard the shells and chop the clams.  Use the clam broth as directed in the recipe. 

Off the heat, add the clams to the hot chowder and let it rest for 5 minutes.  Do not boil the chowder after you add the clams. Over-cooking the clams will result in tough, chewy clams

bowl of chowder with bread being dipped

Serve this Manhattan clam chowder with a warm, multi-grain bread and a crisp salad and you have a quick and nutritious one-pot dinner!

Another great seafood-based chowder that you have to try is our wild Alaskan smoked salmon chowder. It has a cream base and it is thickened with flour in the same way our New England clam chowder gets thickened.

If you’re looking for a healthier chowder like this Manhattan clam chowder then you might want to try our vegetable chowder with seared scallops. It has a light healthy broth and it is topped with sweet, delicate scallops.


  • Chicken Cauliflower Soup: Roasting brings out the subtle sweetness of the cauliflower as the florets become lightly caramelized.  Purred in a blender; then adding a bit of cream gives this soup a thick bisque-like goodness.
  • Split Pea and Ham Soup: Homemade Split Pea and Ham Soup is a classic, comforting soup, perfect for the cold winter weather. Thick with heart-healthy split peas, chunks of smoky ham and lots of nutritious vegetables.
  • Chicken Noodle Soup: Chicken noodle soup is so comforting not only when you are down with the flu but anytime. It is healthy and nourishing full of chicken chunks, vegetables and thick noodles in a flavorful chicken broth.


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Overhead photo of a bowl of chowder

Manhattan Clam Chowder

Manhattan Clam Chowder is a brothy, low calorie chowder packed with chopped clams and vegetables.
5 from 4 votes
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Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Servings: 8 to 10 servings
Calories: 250kcal
Author: Pat Nyswonger


  • 4 thick-cut smoky bacon diced
  • 1 large yellow onion finely chopped
  • 3-4 garlic cloves grated or minced
  • 2 carrots cut into 1/4-inch cubes
  • 1 8- inch celery stalk sliced 1/4-inch thick
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 3 bottles 8 oz each of clam juice
  • 3 large Yukon Gold Potatoes peeled and cut into cubes
  • 1 28- oz can diced tomatoes
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • Red pepper flakes to taste
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 3 dried bay leaves
  • 4 cans 6 oz. each chopped clams with their liquid (See Notes)
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley for garnish


  • In a Dutch oven or large soup pot set over medium-high heat, add the diced bacon and cook until crisp.  Reduce the heat to medium and add the onions, garlic, carrots and celery. Sauté the vegetables for 3-5 minutes.
  • Pour in the wine and cook for 1 minute to burn off the alcohol; then add the clam juice, potatoes, tomatoes, tomato paste, Old Bay, peppers, dried thyme and bay leaves.  Bring to a boil; then reduce to low and simmer for 10 minutes.  
  • Stir in the chopped clams and their liquid and cook on low heat for 5 minutes.  

To Serve:

  • Ladle into soup bowls and garnish with chopped parsley.


  • To use fresh clams, steam 5 pounds of clams in 2 cups of water until they open. let cool and remove clams, discard shells and chop clams.  Use the clam broth as directed in recipe.  Off the heat, add the clams to the hot chowder and let rest for 5 minutes.  Over-cooking the clams will result in tough, chewy clams.
  • 1 pint of shucked fresh clams with their liquid may be chopped and substituted for canned clams.
  • This chowder is gluten-free, and low-calorie


Serving: 1-1/2 Cups | Calories: 250kcal | Carbohydrates: 35g | Protein: 17g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 34mg | Sodium: 872mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 6g

Pat Nyswonger

Pat is a wife, mom of four adult children, and grandmother to seventeen beautiful children. She is a self-taught home cook and loves creating delicious meals for her family and friends. Her kitchen is the hub of activity in her home, and she loves to entertain.

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5 from 4 votes (4 ratings without comment)
Recipe Rating

Ann Marie Palmer

Monday 22nd of August 2022

Can this be frozen? If so, for how long. Thanks

Pat Nyswonger

Monday 22nd of August 2022

Hi, Ann Marie....yes it can be frozen, place it in an airtight,freezable container; thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating. Thanks for your feedback.

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