Make a Delicious Manhattan Clam Chowder with Canned Clams

Are you craving a warm and comforting bowl of clam chowder? Look no further – we have the perfect recipe for you! In this article, we will show you how to make a delicious Manhattan clam chowder using canned clams. This hearty and flavorful soup is a beloved classic that will surely satisfy your taste buds. Whether you’re a fan of seafood or looking to try something new, this recipe is a must-try! So, grab your apron and let’s get cooking!

Make a Delicious Manhattan Clam Chowder with Canned Clams | 101 Simple Recipe
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The History of Manhattan Clam Chowder

Indulge in the rich history and evolution of the iconic Manhattan clam chowder, a delectable dish that has stood the test of time. This beloved soup has come a long way since its humble beginnings, captivating the taste buds of seafood enthusiasts around the world. Let’s dive into the origins and development of this renowned dish, from its earliest days to the present.

Origins of Manhattan Clam Chowder

The story of Manhattan clam chowder can be traced back to the diverse cultural influences of early America. During the late 19th century, European immigrants settling in the bustling city of Manhattan brought with them their love for hearty soups and stews. These immigrants, primarily from Portugal and Italy, introduced the concept of incorporating clams into their traditional soup recipes, giving birth to what we now know as Manhattan clam chowder.

The first recorded mention of Manhattan clam chowder can be found in a cookbook published in 1894, where it was referred to as “clam chowder à la New York.” Over the years, the recipe evolved to include a unique blend of ingredients that set it apart from its New England counterpart.

Iconic Ingredients of Manhattan Clam Chowder

What sets Manhattan clam chowder apart from other chowder variations is its bold and vibrant flavor profile. This iconic soup is typically characterized by its tomato-based broth, which gives it a distinct red hue. Among the key ingredients that contribute to its robust flavor are:

  • Canned Clams: These tender morsels of goodness add a briny and oceanic taste to the soup.
  • Vegetables: Carrots, celery, onions, and potatoes lend their flavors and textures to create a harmonious blend of savory goodness. The vibrant colors of the vegetables beautifully complement the red broth.
  • Tomato Paste: The rich tomato base adds depth and tanginess to the chowder, making it a tantalizing treat on the palate.
  • Herbs and Spices: Bay leaves, thyme, and black pepper are commonly used to season the soup, enhancing its overall taste and aroma.

These ingredients, combined with the sweetness of the clams, create a symphony of flavors that truly tantalize the taste buds.

Making Manhattan Clam Chowder from Scratch

If you’re ready to embark on a culinary adventure and create your own Manhattan clam chowder from scratch, follow these steps:

  1. Start by sautéing diced onions, carrots, and celery in a large pot until they become tender.
  2. Add tomato paste and stir it into the vegetables, allowing it to cook for a few minutes.
  3. Pour in clam juice and vegetable broth, ensuring a rich and flavorful base for your chowder.
  4. Bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer, allowing the flavors to meld together.
  5. Next, add the canned clams, potatoes, bay leaves, thyme, and black pepper to the pot. Let it simmer for about 20 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.
  6. Taste and adjust the seasoning according to your preferences, adding salt or additional herbs as desired.
  7. Once the chowder reaches your desired consistency, remove it from the heat and let it cool slightly before serving.

Now, you’re ready to savor the delicious flavors of your homemade Manhattan clam chowder!

Note: Feel free to customize your chowder by adding other ingredients such as bacon or corn for added flavor and texture.

In conclusion, the history of Manhattan clam chowder tells a captivating tale of immigrant influences and culinary innovation. The dish has become an indelible part of American cuisine, delighting seafood lovers with its bold flavors and vibrant colors. Whether you prefer to enjoy it at a local seafood restaurant or take the challenge of preparing it yourself, Manhattan clam chowder is sure to satisfy your cravings for a warm and comforting bowl of soup.

Remember, the key to a scrumptious Manhattan clam chowder lies in the harmonious blend of ingredients and the passion you infuse into the cooking process. Enjoy every spoonful of this beloved dish!

Why Canned Clams are a Convenient Choice

When it comes to making a delicious Manhattan clam chowder, using canned clams can be a convenient and time-saving choice. While fresh clams are often preferred by seafood enthusiasts, canned clams offer several benefits that make them a popular option for home cooks.

Advantages of Canned Clams

Using canned clams in your Manhattan clam chowder recipe comes with a range of advantages. First and foremost, canned clams are easily accessible as they can be found in almost any grocery store. Unlike fresh clams, which may require a trip to a seafood market or a coastal area, canned clams can be conveniently purchased and stored in your pantry.

Another advantage of using canned clams is their extended shelf life. While fresh clams need to be used within a few days of purchase, canned clams can be kept for an extended period without compromising their quality. This allows you to stock up on canned clams and have them readily available whenever you’re in the mood for a hearty bowl of Manhattan clam chowder.

Furthermore, using canned clams eliminates the need for the time-consuming process of shucking and cleaning fresh clams. This saves you valuable time and effort in the kitchen, allowing you to focus on the other necessary steps in preparing the chowder.

Fresh versus Canned Clams: Pros and Cons

  • Fresh Clams: The main advantage of using fresh clams is the vibrant and authentic flavor they bring to dishes. Fresh clams have a distinct brininess and tenderness that can elevate the taste of your Manhattan clam chowder. However, they require more preparation time and can be more expensive compared to their canned counterparts.
  • Canned Clams: While canned clams may not offer the same level of freshness as their fresh counterparts, they still provide a delicious and convenient option for your chowder. Canned clams are pre-cooked and packed in flavorful broth, ensuring a consistent taste every time. They also offer cost savings and are available year-round.

How to Choose and Store Canned Clams

When selecting canned clams for your Manhattan clam chowder, there are a few factors to consider. Look for canned clams that are labeled as “whole” or “chopped” depending on your preference for clam size in the chowder.

It’s also essential to check the expiration date on the can to ensure the clams are still fresh and safe to consume. Avoid cans with dents or bulges, as these may indicate spoilage.

When it comes to storing canned clams, it is recommended to keep them in a cool and dry place, such as a pantry or a cabinet. Once opened, any unused portion should be transferred to an airtight container and refrigerated. It’s crucial to consume the opened canned clams within a few days to maintain their quality.

In conclusion, using canned clams in your Manhattan clam chowder recipe offers convenience, extended shelf life, and saves valuable preparation time. While fresh clams provide an unparalleled flavor, canned clams provide a delicious and readily available alternative. By carefully choosing and storing your canned clams, you can ensure the best taste and quality in your homemade Manhattan clam chowder.

Enhancing Flavor in Your Clam Chowder

When it comes to making a delicious Manhattan clam chowder with canned clams, enhancing the flavor is key. By incorporating expert tips and tricks, you can elevate the taste of your chowder to new heights. Whether you’re a seasoned chef or a beginner in the kitchen, these techniques will surely impress your taste buds.

Secret Ingredients for Extra Flavor

To add that extra punch of flavor to your clam chowder, there are a few secret ingredients that you should consider. These ingredients will not only enhance the taste of the dish but also add a unique depth to it.

  • Bacon: Include crispy bacon in your clam chowder for a smoky and savory taste. The saltiness of the bacon complements the natural sweetness of the clams perfectly.
  • Thyme: Adding some fresh thyme leaves to your chowder will infuse it with a delightful and earthy aroma. This herb pairs exceptionally well with seafood, bringing out the flavors of the clams.
  • White wine: Splash a bit of white wine into your clam chowder to add a subtle acidity and complexity to the overall flavor. The alcohol will evaporate during the cooking process, leaving behind a delightful taste.

By incorporating these secret ingredients into your recipe, you can take your Manhattan clam chowder to a whole new level of deliciousness. Don’t be afraid to experiment and adjust the quantities according to your personal preferences.

Seasoning Techniques for Perfect Clam Chowder

Seasoning is a crucial step in the preparation of any dish, and clam chowder is no exception. To achieve the perfect balance of flavors, it’s important to employ the right seasoning techniques.

1. Layering flavors: Start by sautéing onions, garlic, and celery in butter or olive oil to create a flavorful base for your chowder. This aromatic combination forms the foundation of the dish and adds depth to the overall taste.

2. Balance the saltiness: Canned clams are often packed in brine, which can make your chowder overly salty. Rinse the clams before using them and taste the chowder as you go. You can always add a pinch of salt if needed, but it’s better to start with less.

3. Use fresh ingredients: Whenever possible, use fresh ingredients to maximize the flavor of your chowder. Freshly chopped parsley, chopped tomatoes, and freshly squeezed lemon juice can all contribute to a vibrant and delicious clam chowder.

Mastering the Art of Simmering Clam Chowder

The simmering process is crucial in developing the flavors and achieving the perfect consistency for your clam chowder. Follow these steps to ensure that your chowder turns out perfectly:

  1. Low and slow: Simmer your chowder over low heat for an extended period, allowing the flavors to meld together. This slow cooking process ensures that the clams are tender and the flavors are well-infused.
  2. Stir occasionally: Stir the chowder occasionally to prevent it from sticking to the bottom of the pot and to distribute the flavors evenly. Be gentle with the stirring to avoid breaking up the clams too much.
  3. Don’t overcook: Be mindful not to overcook the clams, as they can become tough and rubbery. Cook them just until they are fully heated through, usually around 5-7 minutes.

By mastering the art of simmering, you’ll achieve a clam chowder with a rich and robust flavor that will leave you craving for more.

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Alternative Ingredients for a Twist

When it comes to making a delicious Manhattan clam chowder with canned clams, you may be surprised to find that there are plenty of alternative ingredients you can use to add a unique twist to the classic recipe. By thinking outside the box, you can customize your chowder to suit your taste preferences and dietary restrictions.

Vegetarian Options for Non-Seafood Lovers

For those who don’t enjoy seafood or follow a vegetarian diet, there are alternative ingredients that can be substituted for clams in the Manhattan clam chowder recipe. One option is to replace the clams with mushrooms, such as cremini or portobello, which can add a rich and earthy flavor to the chowder. Another option is to use tofu or tempeh, which can provide a similar texture to clams while adding a protein boost.

Additionally, you can enhance the flavor of the chowder by incorporating vegetables like carrots, celery, and onions. These ingredients not only add depth to the dish but also contribute essential vitamins and minerals.

Spice Up Your Chowder with Unique Additions

If you’re looking to add a little excitement to your Manhattan clam chowder, consider experimenting with unique additions. Adding a touch of heat with cayenne pepper or hot sauce can give your chowder a spicy kick. Alternatively, you can incorporate smoked paprika for a smoky flavor that pairs well with the brininess of the clams.

Another way to spice up your chowder is by adding herbs and spices like thyme, basil, or parsley. These additions can elevate the flavors of the dish and provide a fresh and aromatic component.

Exploring Regional Variations of Clam Chowder

Clam chowder is a classic dish that varies in preparation across different regions. Exploring regional variations can provide inspiration for adding unique touches to your Manhattan clam chowder recipe.

For example, the New England clam chowder typically incorporates heavy cream, resulting in a rich and creamy texture. On the other hand, the Manhattan clam chowder is known for its tomato-based broth, which gives it a tangy and slightly acidic flavor.

If you’re feeling adventurous, you can even explore international variations of clam chowder. The Mediterranean-style chowder often includes ingredients like fennel, garlic, and white wine, giving it a distinct and aromatic taste.

In conclusion, by thinking creatively and experimenting with alternative ingredients, you can customize your Manhattan clam chowder to suit your preferences and add a unique twist to this classic dish. Whether you’re a vegetarian, spice lover, or interested in exploring regional variations, there are plenty of options to enhance the flavor and make your chowder truly your own.

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Pairing Your Clam Chowder with the Perfect Side

When it comes to enjoying a bowl of delicious Manhattan clam chowder, finding the perfect side dish can elevate your dining experience to a whole new level. Whether you prefer classic bread and soup combinations, vibrant salads, or refreshing beverages, we’ve got you covered. Let’s explore some remarkable accompaniments that will complement your clam chowder just right.

Classic Bread and Soup Combinations

Including a scrumptious bread alongside your Manhattan clam chowder can bring an extra layer of satisfaction to your meal. The warm and comforting flavors of the chowder pair particularly well with the following classics:

  • New England-style Clam Chowder Bread Bowl: Picture a thick and creamy chowder, served piping hot in a hollowed-out bread loaf. The combination of crispy bread crust and rich soup creates a delightful harmony of flavors and textures.
  • Garlic Bread: Aromatic and slightly crunchy, garlic bread adds a zesty kick to your meal. Each bite, dipped in the flavorful broth of the clam chowder, is a tantalizing experience.
  • Oyster Crackers: These tiny crackers are a traditional accompaniment to clam chowder. Their crisp texture and subtle saltiness make them the perfect vessel for scooping up spoonfuls of creamy chowder goodness.

Salad Selections to Complement Clam Chowder

For those seeking a lighter option to balance the richness of Manhattan clam chowder, a refreshing salad can be an excellent choice. Consider these vibrant salad pairings:

  • Simple Garden Salad: A medley of fresh greens, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, and a tangy vinaigrette can provide a wonderful contrast to the velvety texture of the chowder. The crispness of the vegetables and the acidity of the dressing create a harmonious balance.
  • Seafood Cobb Salad: Elevate your dining experience with a seafood-centric salad featuring ingredients like shrimp, crab, avocado, and hard-boiled eggs. The combination of flavors and textures will complement the clam chowder beautifully.
  • Grilled Vegetable Salad: Fire up the grill and toss some vegetables, such as bell peppers, zucchini, and eggplant, with a light dressing. The smoky flavors of the vegetables will add depth to the overall taste experience.

Beverage Suggestions for Clam Chowder Pairing

Choosing the right beverage to accompany your Manhattan clam chowder can enhance the overall enjoyment of your meal. Here are a few refreshing options to consider:

  • Crisp White Wine: A glass of chilled Sauvignon Blanc or Chardonnay can provide a delightful contrast to the richness of the clam chowder. The acidity of the wine cuts through the creaminess, cleansing the palate after each spoonful.
  • Refreshing Lager: If you prefer beer, a light and crisp lager can be an excellent choice. Its effervescence and subtle bitterness complement the flavors of the chowder without overpowering them.
  • Iced Lemon Tea: For a non-alcoholic option, consider a tall glass of refreshing iced lemon tea. The citrus notes and slight sweetness provide a pleasant pairing with the savory clam chowder.

Pairing the right side dish with your Manhattan clam chowder is a surefire way to enhance your dining experience. Whether you opt for classic bread and soup combinations, vibrant salads, or refreshing beverages, the choices are plentiful. Experiment with different pairings to uncover your own personal favorite. Get ready to indulge in a symphony of flavors that will leave your taste buds wanting more.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some common questions about making Manhattan clam chowder with canned clams:

No. Questions Answers
1. Can I use fresh clams instead of canned clams? Yes, you can use fresh clams as well. Just make sure to clean and cook them properly before adding them to the chowder.
2. Can I substitute other types of clams? Yes, you can use other types of clams like littleneck or cherry stone clams. However, the flavor may vary slightly.
3. How long can I store leftover clam chowder? You can store leftover clam chowder in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
4. Can I freeze clam chowder? Yes, you can freeze clam chowder. Just make sure to cool it completely before transferring to a freezer-safe container.
5. What can I serve with Manhattan clam chowder? Manhattan clam chowder can be served with crusty bread or oyster crackers for a complete meal.
6. Can I adjust the spiciness of the chowder? Absolutely! If you prefer a milder chowder, you can reduce the amount of red pepper flakes or omit them altogether.

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Make a Delicious Manhattan Clam Chowder with Canned Clams | 101 Simple Recipe

Manhattan Clam Chowder

Learn how to make Manhattan clam chowder with canned clams. This classic seafood soup is packed with flavors and perfect for chilly days.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Course Soup
Cuisine American
Servings 6 servings
Calories 325 kcal


  • 2 cans of chopped clams 6.5 ounces each
  • 4 bacon slices chopped
  • 1 onion diced
  • 2 celery stalks diced
  • 1 green bell pepper diced
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes 14.5 ounces
  • 4 cups of fish or clam broth
  • 1 teaspoon of dried thyme
  • ½ teaspoon of dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon of red pepper flakes
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Salt and black pepper to taste


  • In a large pot, cook the chopped bacon over medium heat until crispy. Remove the bacon and set aside, leaving the drippings in the pot.
  • Add the diced onion, celery, green bell pepper, and minced garlic to the pot. Sauté until the vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes.
  • Add the diced tomatoes, fish or clam broth, dried thyme, dried oregano, red pepper flakes, bay leaf, and the juice from the canned clams to the pot. Stir well to combine.
  • Bring the chowder to a simmer and let it cook for about 20 minutes, allowing the flavors to meld together.
  • Add the chopped clams and the cooked bacon to the pot. Season with salt and black pepper to taste. Continue simmering for another 10 minutes.
  • Remove the bay leaf before serving. Ladle the Manhattan clam chowder into bowls and garnish with fresh parsley, if desired. Serve hot and enjoy!
Keyword manhattan clam chowder, clam chowder, canned clams, soup, seafood recipe