Slow Cooker Clam Chowder

Slow Cooker Clam Chowder is so easy to make with a deliciously creamy, briny flavor mixed with smoky crispy bits of bacon and rich buttery yukon potatoes.

Slow Cooker Clam Chowder is so easy to make with a deliciously creamy, briny flavor mixed with smoky crispy bits of bacon and rich buttery yukon potatoes.
Slow Cooker Clam Chowder

Slow Cooker Clam Chowder is an easy fall soup you’ll enjoy as well as great gameday food you can make for a crowd. We often serve this clam chowder in a bread bowl, but even more often I pile it into a giant bowl and throw a huge handful of oyster crackers on top.

The flavors in the soup scream “hey its not swimsuit weather anymore!” with half and half, bacon, potatoes and clams, but just a small bowl will keep you warm and full for HOURS. We went skiing last winter a lot and one of the few meals I made in our hotel mini kitchen was this soup. After a long day of playing in the snow, you’re going to love this thick, rich bacon filled chowder. Can I just be super bold and say this is the best clam chowder in the world?

The recipe for this clam chowder actually started as a back of the can recipe that I’ve added and subtracted ingredients from over the years. Since then I’ve actually entered this chowder into multiple office contests when I worked in an office and in one local soup challenge. The results, this is an award winning clam chowder recipe! I have the free movie tickets I won to prove it!

The easiest, most amazing Slow Cooker Clam Chowder you'll ever eat!

Tips for making this Slow Cooker Clam Chowder:

  • Get your bacon nice and crisp but not browned. The browned bacon will add an overcooked flavor to the soup.
  • You can swap out the half and half for milk, you may need to mash some of the potatoes to add thickness to the soup.
  • I’ve also made the Clam Chowder with heavy cream before and it is an indulgent treat!
  • You can top with parsley as I have or chopped chives which add flavor as well as freshness.
  • Want to make this clam chowder even better? My secret flavor boost is Clam Base. It isn’t something people generally keep in their kitchens so I left it as an optional ingredient in the directions, but I always add it!
  • If you don’t want to buy Clam Base you can also buy Clam Juice to replace the water.

What is the difference between New England Clam Chowder and Manhattan Clam Chowder?

Manhattan Clam Chowder uses tomatoes and is often referred to as Manhattan Red Chowder.

Q&A about the vegetables in this Slow Cooker Clam Chowder:

  • I used Yukon potatoes for their rich and buttery texture. You can also use red potatoes.
  • I added celery because I love the added flavor of it and it reminds me of a lobster roll. You can also add carrots.
  • For a huge flavor boost sauté your veggies in the bacon fat before adding (they will look less pretty in the soup).
  • Garlic is a flavor not added to some clam chowders but I find it adds a great flavor to the soup which still tastes like your favorite classic chowder.

Crockpot clam chowder with buttery yukon potatoes is creamy, easy and delicious.

Looking for more Slow Cooker Soups?

Tools used in the making of this Slow Cooker Clam Chowder:
3 Qt. Slow Cooker: The perfect size for side dishes for 10-12 people, this slow cooker is an absolute bargain and a workhorse.
Cast Iron Skillet: If you don’t have a slow cooker with a stovetop friendly insert, this is my most used pan in my kitchen, heavy, keeps heat well and gives the BEST sear ever.
Chopped Clams: I always use this brand and always use pre-chopped. You can also sub baby clams but the texture would be different than a classic clam chowder.
Clam Base: I almost never buy boxes of broth because I keep the beef, chicken and vegetable version of this Better Than Bouillon. Or you can use clam juice in place of the water too if you’d like.

Slow Cooker Clam Chowder is so easy to make with a deliciously creamy, briny flavor mixed with smoky crispy bits of bacon and rich buttery yukon potatoes.
4.91 from 10 votes

Slow Cooker Clam Chowder

Slow Cooker Clam Chowder is so easy to make with a deliciously creamy, briny flavor mixed with smoky crispy bits of bacon and rich buttery yukon potatoes.
Course Soup
Cuisine American
Keyword Slow Cooker Clam Chowder
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 7 hours 30 minutes
Total Time 8 hours
Servings 8 Servings
Calories 256 kcal
Author Sabrina Snyder


  • 1/2 pound bacon diced
  • 3 cans clams (6.5 ounce, not drained)
  • 1 yellow onion chopped
  • 4 yukon potatoes peeled and diced
  • 2 stalks celery diced
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 cups water *
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 cups half and half
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch


  1. In a large cast iron skillet on medium high heat cook the bacon until crisp, then remove from the pan.**

  2. Add half of the bacon, clams, onion, potatoes, celery, garlic, water, Kosher salt, black pepper and thyme into the slow cooker and stir.

  3. Cook on low for 7 hours and refrigerate the remaining bacon for serving with the soup.

  4. In a measuring cup add the half and half with the cornstarch and whisk together.
  5. Add in the half and half mixture to the slow cooker and stir.
  6. Cook on high for 30 minutes.

  7. Serve with the remainder of the bacon sprinkled over the top.***

Recipe Notes

  • * I add 1 tablespoon of Clam Base to the water to pump up the clam flavor in the chowder. Totally optional though.
  • ** Truth? When I don't need it to look all pretty, I brown the onions and potatoes in this bacon fat before adding it to the slow cooker.
  • *** You may want to heat the bacon slightly before sprinkling it on top since it will be cold from the refrigerator.
Nutrition Facts
Slow Cooker Clam Chowder
Amount Per Serving
Calories 256 Calories from Fat 162
% Daily Value*
Fat 18g28%
Saturated Fat 8g50%
Cholesterol 41mg14%
Sodium 525mg23%
Potassium 531mg15%
Carbohydrates 15g5%
Fiber 2g8%
Protein 7g14%
Vitamin A 270IU5%
Vitamin C 11.8mg14%
Calcium 101mg10%
Iron 3mg17%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Slow Cooker Clam Chowder is so easy to make with a deliciously creamy, briny flavor mixed with smoky crispy bits of bacon and rich buttery yukon potatoes. #clamchowder #slowcooker #crockpot #bacon #clams #chowder
Slow Cooker Clam Chowder with a deliciously creamy, briny flavor mixed with smoky crispy bits of bacon and rich buttery yukon potatoes. #clamchowder #slowcooker #crockpot #bacon #clams #chowder

About the Author: Sabrina Snyder

Sabrina is a professionally trained Private Chef of over 10 years with ServSafe Manager certification in food safety. She creates all the recipes here on Dinner, then Dessert, fueled in no small part by her love for bacon.

Dinner, then Dessert, Inc. owns the copyright on all images and text and does not allow for its original recipes and pictures to be reproduced anywhere other than at this site unless authorization is given. If you enjoyed the recipe and would like to publish it on your own site, please re-write it in your own words, and link back to my site and recipe page. Read my disclosure and copyright policy. This post may contain affiliate links.


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  1. I made this for Christmas and it was so delicious. My daughter said it was the best best soup I had ever made and asked me to please make it every Christmas. I make a bunch of soups and appetizers in crockpots on Christmas every year and make sure they are ready at lunchtime and then leave them on warm til 8 so folks can get food as they stop by. I was a little nervous to leave this one on warm so long with the half and half but it was fine. Next year I will need to double since we ran out at dinner time. Thanks for a great recipe!

  2. Im looking to make this for Christmas Eve ( along with many more fish dishes) we are 11 people. would I need to double the recipe? If so do I cook for the same amount of time?

    1. I don’t think you need to double it, unless you want leftovers. I would just increase it by 25% and that should give you enough. It may need an additional 30 minutes of cook time with the increased amount. Just make sure to use a slow cooker that’s big enough and it’s not overfilled. Good luck!

  3. I’m planning on trying this recipe when it cools off a little more because it looks delicious. I’m a fan of very thick chowdah, so I am planning on using heavy whipping cream instead of half and half. Do you know if adding more corn starch would also help thicken it?

  4. This was very tasty chowder, the thyme and sauteing the vegetables in bacon fat really put it over the top. Our local Walmart didn’t have clam juice so I just stuck with water + canned clam juice, still delicious but next time I will definitely try using twice as many cans for the extra clams and juice to see what I’m missing.

    I poured in the juice from the clams at the beginning but waited to mix in the clams themselves until the chowder was done because they’re already cooked in the can and just need to be warmed, and I tripled the cornstarch for a more chowder-like consistency. Also didn’t have 7 hours to cook this but 3.5 hours on high was perfect for my slow cooker.

  5. I’m an old guy and not very creative when it comes to cooking. That makes me a recipe cooker. Until this recipe, I had never had a clam chowder that I really enjoyed enough to make it again or buy it often – until this recipe. It probably sounds silly. However. when my wife tasted this recipe she said, “Don’t ever buy clam chowder again, make it instead”. The only deviation from your recipe I made was I bought heavy cream instead, by mistake. I have stuck with it ever since. Also, I increased all the ingredients by 50% to fill the crockpot. I have been making this every 10 days or so for several months. I thank you, my wife thanks you and company thas come to dinner and had it thank you.

    1. Oh my gosh, you are the sweetest!! Thank you for your kind words. I’m so happy that you love the recipe so much.

  6. Very tasty soup but very watery even after adding 4 Tablespoons of Cornstarch. It was very much a soup not a Chowder. I guess being from New England we know our Chowder.

  7. Great recipe my family and everyone I cook for loves it. Even my husband who hates everything. I had no thyme so I used oregano which worked great. The second time I made it I added more clams , made the potatoes easier and just bought diced canned ones. I used clam juice instead of water which made the flavor even better. I added the veggies my family likes and a can of cream celery. I used a quart of half and half to make more and did a simple rue with butter and flour to thicken it up. I just decided to make it less work. Still a great recipe so thank you.

    1. I’ve not tested it so if you decide to try, I’d love to know how it turns out. You can always substitute milk with a tablespoon of melted butter for each cup of half and half.

  8. I substitute cream of celery soup in place of fresh celery and in place of cornstarch. If it needs thickening I add a bit of Parmesan cheese

  9. This was sooooo DELICIOUS!! It was so EASY to make and my husband couldn’t stop talking about how good it was. I told my mother about it and she can’t wait to make it. Everything turned out Perfect! The potatoes were perfect! I will be making this ALOT!

  10. 2 TSP of cornstarch didn’t thicken the soup so I added quite a bit more. The cook time was about half what the recipe says. All in all, a nice, tasty soup.

  11. Quick question: what if I were to omit the bacon? I’m currently avoiding all meats except seafood, but this recipe sounds delicious! Thanks in advance!

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