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Quick Pantry Manhattan Clam Chowder

Main Dish, soup
Source: America's Test Kitchen
Serving size: Serves 8


  • 5 cans clams (6 1/2 ounces each), chopped, juice drained and reserved
  • 2 slices thick-cut bacon (about 2 ounces), cut into 1/4-inch pieces
  • 1 large Spanish onion, chopped small
  • 1 small red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and chopped small
  • 1 medium carrot, chopped small
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped small
  • 4 medium garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • 3 (8-ounce) bottles clam juice
  • 1 ¼ pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 1 large bay leaf
  • 2 (14.5-ounce) cans diced tomatoes
  • Salt and ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley leaves, chopped


  • This variation uses a total of three bottle of clam juice. two bottles are used to supplement the juice from the canned clams in place of broth from fresh clams. This soup will hold for two days. Reheat over a low flame, being sure not to boil the chowder, which will toughen the clams.
  • 1
  • Fry the bacon in the empty pot over medium-low heat until the fat renders and the bacon crisps, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the onion, pepper, carrot, and celery, reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook until softened, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and oregano and saute until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  • 2
  • Add the wine and raise heat to high. Boil the wine until it reduces by half, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the reserved canned clam juices, 3 bottles clam juice, potatoes, and bay leaf. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer until the potatoes are almost tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Using a wooden spoon, smash a few potatoes against the side of the pot. Simmer to release potato starch, about 2 minutes.
  • 3
  • Add the tomatoes, bring back to a simmer, and cook for 5 minutes. Off heat, stir in the reserved chopped clams and season with salt and pepper to taste; discard the bay leaf. (Chowder can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 2 days. Warm over low heat until hot.) Stir in parsley and ladle the chowder into individual bowls. Serve immediately.


  • For a quick clam chowder recipe that tasted like the sea, with tomatoes in the background, we used canned clams and bottled clam juice, which we would use as the base for our chowder. We found that just 2 ounces of bacon lent the perfect smoke flavor to the chowder—subtle and not overwhelming. Medium-starch Yukon Gold potatoes gave the soup substance, releasing starch into the clam broth, thus providing some thickening power. For our Manhattan clam chowder recipe, we settled on diced tomatoes, which floated in the soup and didn’t overwhelm it with a tomatoey presence.


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