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Classic Manhattan Clam Chowder

Ellen Silverman

Yield: Yields about 3-1/2 quarts.

Servings: seven.

This chowder is a great change of pace from the creamy New England version. With its base of stock and tomatoes, rather than roux and cream, it’s lighter and a bit healthier. It’s still a chowder, though, because it has bacon and potatoes. We use canned clams because we make 5 gallons at a time, but I highly recommend fresh for this recipe.

This recipe is excerpted from Mother’s Best.


  • 2 strips bacon, finely diced (chill for 10 minutes in the freezer to make it easier to cut; about 1/4 cup)
  • 2 Tbs. vegetable oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, finely diced (1-1/2 cups)
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and finely diced (about 3/4 cup)
  • 2 ribs celery, finely diced (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1 leek, white part only, thinly sliced into half-moons and washed (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1 medium green bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and finely diced (about 1 cup)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced (1 tsp.)
  • 1 (14.5-oz.) can diced tomatoes, with juice
  • 1 (10.75-oz.) can tomato purée
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 tsp. chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 lb. russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice (about 3 cups)
  • 3-1/2 cups Fish Stock or 2 (14-oz.) cans clam juice
  • 2 (10-oz.) cans baby clams in juice
  • 1-1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 5 dashes Tabasco sauce, or to taste
  • 3 dashes Worcestershire sauce, or to taste


  • Place a medium (6- to 8-quart), heavy soup pot over medium-high heat. When hot, add the bacon. When it starts to brown in spots, lower the heat to medium and continue to cook until most of the fat has been rendered and the bacon is almost crisp, about 4 minutes.Add the vegetable oil, onions, carrots, celery, leeks, and green bell peppers. Sauté, stirring occasionally, until very soft, 10 to 15 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for another 2 minutes.Add the diced and puréed tomatoes, bay leaf, thyme, and potatoes.Add the stock or clam juice to the pot. Stir to mix well. Bring to a boil over high heat, and then lower the heat to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until the potatoes are fork-tender.

    Add the clams with their juice and season with the salt and pepper. Add the Tabasco and Worcestershire. Bring back to a simmer for several minutes.

    Ladle into bowls and serve with crusty bread or crackers.


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Reviews (7 reviews)

  • Scrapple | 08/06/2021

    Terrible recipe. Horrid even. Never use russets in chowder. You already have an onion but you want to add a leek? Drop the bell pepper. (You do know what a CHOWDER is, don't you?) And adding Worcesterhire is an abomination. This recipe is no more classic than what a 5 year old might throw in a pot. Classic might be Yukons or Reds, Onion, Celery, Carrots, Bacon, Clams, Clam juice, Diced Romas. Remember what K.I.S.S. stands for? Chowders are the epitome of simple.

  • dynamwebz | 07/05/2019

    It's all good except for the shortcuts of using canned clams and bottled clam juice or fish stock. Eech!. Expected better from Fine Cooking! Buy fresh clams. Boil for a few minutes until they open. Any clams will do. Quahogs, steamers, whatever. remove to sink. let cool. remove clams. toss shells back in the boiling water and cook for 15 minutes. discard shells. Now you have real clam juice and real clams for the chowder. Don't bring back to a simmer for several minutes after adding clams. That will make the clams TOUGH.

  • TimPa | 04/20/2019

    Great Manhattan Clam Chowder recipe, easy to make!
    I used two (14-oz.) cans of clam juice instead of fish stock. Also add en extra can of baby clams for a total of three cans.
    My family loved the flavor and appreciated the extra clams!
    Father said it was the best Manhattan clam chowder!

  • user-6892250 | 07/27/2017

    Have been looking for a really good version of Manhattan Clam Chowder for a while now. This is it! Everyone loved it!

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