This post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Please see the disclosure for more information.
This slow cooker New England clam chowder was much. much better than I ever expected. We both loved it, in fact. So much that I am already ready to make it again. Not only is it packed with clam flavor in a wonderfully creamy broth, it’s easy to make to boot! The perfect bowl of warm happiness on a dreary fall day! Until I can get up northeast for the real deal, this will have to do!
You’ll need 2 cups of clam juice from the canned clams. If you don’t quite get that much juice add a bit of water or better, grab a bottle of clam juice while you’re at the store picking up the clams. You’ll want that clam flavor to be as pronounced as possible.
I used a smoky bacon in this slow cooker New England clam chowder. It adds a nice complexity, complimenting the cream and clams perfectly. It makes me wonder what a clam chowder made with smoked clams would be like! I do suggest that you make sure and not over-cook the bacon. You don’t want it hard and crispy. You want to be able to bite thru it easily.
Slow Cooker New England Clam Chowder
- 6 6 1/2 ounce chopped clams, in clam juice
- ½ pound bacon diced into 1/4 inch strips
- 1 10 1/2 ounce cream of mushroom soup
- 4 medium russet potatoes peeled, cut into small cubes
- 2 stalks celery halved length-wise, diced
- 2 teaspoons garlic minced
- 1 medium onion diced
- 1 ½ teaspoons dried basil
- 1 ½ teaspoons dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 bay leaf
- 3 cups half-and-half
- parsley for serving
- oyster crackers for serving. I like to roast my crackers in a 200 F oven for 20 minutes to get them nice and toasty first!
- Drain the clams into a sieve over a bowl. Keep the juice. Transfer the clams to a bowl, cover, and place in the fridge.
- Heat a large skillet or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the bacon. Cook until just turning golden brown, but not crispy. Transfer bacon using a slotted spoon to a a slow cooker.
- Transfer 2 cups of the clam juice (discard the rest) and the remaining ingredients except for the half-and-half and reserved clams to a slow cooker.
- Cook on high for 4 hours.
- Pour the half-and-half into a large bowl. Slowly ladle some of the hot liquid from the slow cooker into the bowl, stirring. Don’t add it too quickly or it will curdle the cream. Once the cream is warmed pour it into the slow cooker.
- Add the clams, stir, and cook for 1 more hour.
Nutritional values are approximate.