This hearty and delicious Manhattan Clam Chowder (aka red clam chowder) may not be as famous as its creamy cousin, but is definitely worth making. It is easy to whip up and will satisfy any size appetite!
Do you prefer white or red? No, not wine, but clam chowder? It’s kind of like asking if you are a vanilla or a chocolate person. Coke or Pepsi. PC or Mac. Okay, getting out of hand here.
I admit, that if I had to choose, I would choose New England Clam Chowder over Manhattan Clam Chowder. But, then I made my own version of the lovely red chowder, and I’m in love!
Why you should try this recipe
Calorie-wise, you can’t compare the two. They are leagues apart. A bowl of tomato-based Manhattan clam chowder soup is about 285 calories while a bowl of cream based New England clam chowder is about 440 calories. But, yet we still want and desire that silky smooth soup.
You can reduce the calorie count by omitting the bacon and use 1 TBS extra virgin olive oil to sauté the vegetables. This will only reduce the calorie count by about 12 per serving.
If you are counting carbs, you can swap out the potatoes for chopped cauliflower and celery root, celeriac.
Like all good chowders, this Manhattan Chowder starts with BACON! Which is kinda funny because I don’t like bacon in my white chowder, but I do love it in my red chowder. Go figure!
The veggie base of the soup is chunks of potatoes, celery and carrots. I also add chunks of tomatoes along with the usual tomato sauce and clam broth. It is thick and chunky and very satisfying!
I kicked it up a notch by adding some jalapeño peppers to it, but they were mild so I spiked it with some cayenne pepper, too. You can kick up the heat with your favorite hot sauce, too, so pick your favorite.
Because when you curl up with a bowl of soup, you don’t want to doze off halfway through eating it, right? My husband is a lightweight with the spicy stuff, so you can always keep out of the soup.
See my Manhattan Clam Chowder Web Story for a quick visual guide to making this recipe.
Ingredients you need
- Canned clams: There are a variety of options here. You can use fresh or canned clams. Since this is soup, you can use whole or chopped clams.
- Bacon: I love thick cut bacon, but you can use any variety of bacon. If you do not eat pork, you can use turkey bacon. Since this does not render much fat, you will need a little olive oil to sauté the vegetables.
- Fresh vegetables: Celery, onions, carrots and red potatoes. You can use regular brown, white or yellow onions. I used red potatoes which are waxy and less starchy as brown russet potatoes. Either potato varieties are fine.
- Jalapeño pepper: I add this for extra kick. It is a mild pepper, but you can omit if you do not like spicy foods.
- Other flavorings: Garlic, salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, bay leaf, fresh parsley and thyme.
- Canned diced tomatoes: You can now find petite diced tomatoes, which are a smaller cut than regular diced tomatoes. Either option is fine.
- V8 juice: If you do not want to use V8 juice, you can use regular tomato sauce.
- Lemon juice: You can use fresh or bottled lemon juice.
1. Separate and reserve the juice (approximately 2 cups) from the canned clams. You can also place the clams in a fine mesh strainer and run thru water to further remove any sand or grit.
2. Heat a large stock pot on medium-high and add chopped bacon. When browned, remove bacon pieces and reserve.
3. Add celery, onions, carrots, potatoes and jalapeño to the bacon fat remaining in the pot and sauté vegetables for approximately 10 minutes. If you are using lean turkey bacon or do not have enough fat to sauté your vegetables, add 1-2 teaspoons of extra virgin olive oil.
4. Stir in garlic, salt and both peppers.
5. Cook for 3 minutes then stir in reserved clam juice. diced tomatoes, V8 juice, lemon juice, parsley, bay leaf and thyme.
6. Bring soup to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer. Cook uncovered until the vegetables are tender, about 30 minutes. Prior to serving, adjust seasoning to taste.
Recipe tips and FAQs
I made my Manhattan Clam Chowder for a teacher’s luncheon at school. It’s everything I personally want in a soup. Hearty, full of goodies and not all watery or plain. I saved a bowl full for myself because I couldn’t resist!
This red chowder is one of my favorite soups and is perfect for those of you who have big appetites and need more to nosh on than a simple soup. And with the cooler weather, we all need a warm hug for our tummies.
So, which do you prefer: White or Red Chowdah?
Manhattan clam chowder is a tomato based chowder that includes bacon, clams, potatoes, carrots and celery. New England clam chowder is a cream based chowder that includes bacon, clams and potatoes.
Manhattan clam chowder is a tomato based chowder that includes bacon, clams, potatoes, carrots and celery. My version also includes jalapeños and V8 juice for extra flavor.
Since New England clam chowder is a thick cream based soup with potatoes, many feel it is not very healthy. But Manhattan clam chowder is a tomato based soup filled with carrots, celery and potatoes making it less fatty and more healthy than its creamy cousin. You can use low fat turkey bacon to make even healthier.
- 15 oz canned clams
- 2 slices of bacon, chopped
- 2 celery stalk, diced
- 1 cup diced onion
- 1 cup diced carrots,
- 6 oz red potatoes, diced
- 1 small jalapeño pepper, seeded and diced (optional)
- 2 garlic cloves, diced
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper, (optional)
- 15 oz canned diced tomatoes
- 2 cups V8 juice
- ¼ cup lemon juice
- ½ cup chopped parsley
- 1 bay leaf
- ½ teaspoon fresh thyme
- Separate and reserve the juice (approximately 2 cups) from the canned clams. You can also place the clams in a fine mesh strainer and run thru water to further remove any sand or grit.
- Heat a large stock pot on medium-high and add chopped bacon.
- When browned, remove bacon pieces and reserve.
- Add celery, onions, carrots, potatoes and jalapeño to the bacon fat remaining in the pot and sauté vegetables for approximately 10 minutes. If you are using lean turkey bacon or do not have enough fat to sauté your vegetables, add 1-2 teaspoons of extra virgin olive oil.
- Stir in garlic, salt and both peppers.
- Cook for 3 minutes then stir in reserved clam juice. diced tomatoes, V8 juice, lemon juice, parsley, bay leaf and thyme.
- Bring soup to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer. Cook uncovered until the vegetables are tender, about 30 minutes.
- Prior to serving, adjust seasoning to taste.
Serving Suggestions: Great alone, with a green salad or with a chunk of hearty bread.
Cooking Tips: Allergic to shell fish? Try using fish, like cod, and fish broth instead.
For a low carb version, swap out potatoes with chopped cauliflower and celeriac.
If you do not want to use bacon, remove and use 1 TBS extra virgin olive oil to sauté vegetables. You can also use turkey bacon if you do not eat pork.
Serving Size:1 bowl
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 285Total Fat: 4gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 61mgSodium: 875mgCarbohydrates: 29gFiber: 5gSugar: 9gProtein: 32g
PS If you try this recipe, why not leave a star rating in the recipe card right below and/or a review in the comment section further down the page? I always appreciate your feedback.
You can also follow me on Pinterest, Facebook or Instagram. Sign up for my eMail list, too!