Manhattan Clam Chowder

This recipe for Manhattan Clam Chowder — known for being tomato-forward with a broth base — has layers of flavor, from the clam broth spiked with white wine to the tender vegetables that are cooked in bacon fat. Half of the clams are roughly chopped, while the other half are left whole in their shells for contrast. (Make sure to rinse the clams thoroughly before using them to remove any lingering sand.) As the chowder comes together towards the end, gently mashing some of the baby Yukon gold potatoes with a wooden spoon helps thicken the broth. Serve with crusty bread or oyster crackers.

Manhattan Clam Chowder
Photo: Photo by Greg DuPree / Food Styling by Melissa Gray / Prop Styling by Christina Daley
Active Time:
1 hr 5 mins
Total Time:
1 hr 5 mins


  • 50 littleneck clams (3 pounds, 8 ounces total), scrubbed

  • 2 cups water

  • 2 cups dry white wine (such as Sauvignon Blanc)

  • 2 (1 ounce each) thick-cut bacon slices, finely chopped (1/2 cup)

  • 1 medium-size (10 ounces) yellow onion, chopped (about 1 cup)

  • 1 medium-size (8 ounces) green bell pepper, seeded and chopped (about 1 cup)

  • 2 medium (about 4 ounces total) carrots, peeled and chopped (about 3/4 cup)

  • 2 medium (about 2 ounces total) celery stalks, chopped (about 3/4 cup)

  • 4 garlic cloves, minced (about 1 tablespoon)

  • 2 teaspoons fresh chopped thyme, plus more for garnish

  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper

  • 1 ½ pounds baby Yukon Gold potatoes, unpeeled and quartered

  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt

  • 1 dried bay leaf

  • 1 (14 1/2-ounce) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes

  • Black pepper


  1. Place clams, water, and wine in a medium-size Dutch oven. Cover and bring to a simmer over medium-high; simmer until clams have opened, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat. Remove and discard any clams that did not open. Set a fine mesh strainer lined with cheesecloth over a large heatproof bowl; pour clam mixture through strainer into bowl. Remove half of the clams from shells, and roughly chop (you'll have about 1/4 cup). Reserve remaining clams in shell and clam broth separately (you'll have about 5 cups broth). Rinse Dutch oven, and wipe dry.

  2. Return Dutch oven to medium heat. Add bacon; cook, stirring often, until browned, about 8 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer bacon to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Add onion, bell pepper, carrots, and celery to drippings in Dutch oven; cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Add garlic, thyme, and crushed red pepper; cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

  3. Add potatoes, salt, bay leaf, and reserved clam broth to mixture in Dutch oven; bring to a boil, partially covered, over medium. Boil, stirring occasionally, until potatoes are tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Using a wooden spoon, gently mash some of the potatoes to thicken broth. Stir in tomatoes, chopped clams, clams in shell, and bacon; cook, stirring occasionally, until heated through, about 5 minutes. Remove and discard bay leaf. Garnish with black pepper and additional thyme.

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