IPOT Manhattan Clam Chowder

Mike Stafford

Coastal plain of North Carolina
On a cold, rainy, blustery day a nice big Instant Pot full of Manhattan clam chowder does a body good. Absolutely delicious.

Instant Pot Manhattan Clam Chowder

4 tbsp of salted butter 1 medium onion, minced
2 celery stalks, finely chopped 2- 14 ½ oz. cans diced potatoes drained
4-6 strips bacon, finely diced, fried separately
1 cup of clam broth 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
3 (6.5 oz) cans of chopped/minced clams, drained and reserve the juice from the clams
1/2 tsp seasoned salt 1/2 tsp of Old Bay seasoning
1/2 tsp of black pepper ¼ tsp cayenne pepper

Oyster Crackers, for topping 3 Tablespoons corn starch and 3T cold water


Dice and fry the bacon. Reserve the bacon grease.

Add the butter to the Instant Pot and hit “Sauté” and “Adjust” so it’s on the “More” or “High” setting. When melted and sizzling, add the onions and celery and stir constantly for about 2-3 minutes until slightly softened

Then, add in the fried diced bacon and grease and stir for another 2-3 minutes, scraping the bottom of the pot often so the bacon doesn’t stick. (We remove a few tablespoons of the bacon grease; 6 slices of bacon makes a lot of grease.)

Next, add the clam broth and deglaze (scrape) the bottom of the pot to make it’s nice and smooth. Then add in the crushed tomatoes, all of the clam juice (but NOT the clams!), seasoned salt, Old Bay, black pepper, cayenne, and potatoes. Stir very well deglazing the bottom of the pot once more

Secure the lid and hit “Keep Warm/Cancel” and then hit “Manual” or “Pressure Cook” High Pressure for 6 minutes. Quick release when done.

When the lid comes off, hit sauté and stir in the reserved clams and let them heat up/simmer for about 2 minutes as the soup will also slightly thicken. Stir in slurry of 3 tablespoons of corn starch and 3 tablespoons of cold water. Most of the time I don't find the corn starch necessary as the soup is thick enough without it.
I'm not much of a fan of clams, ... I would rather have a good pot of gumbo, but your clam chowder does sound good.

BTW, my wife spends a great deal of her time looking at recipes on the interweb and pointing them out to me to cook.
you musta read my mind, I was thinking about trying to find a decent clam chowder recipe for the insta pot, what size pot and how much does it make.
I have a 5 quart IPOT and it easily contains this soup below the max fill line. It yields 6 large servings. I don't know how much that is but we, Mr. and Mrs. Piggy, get two dinners from the recipe and maybe a lunch. It is one of those recipes that gets better the second day. It does not freeze well as the potatoes will get mushy so we eat it up in the next 2 or three days after making it.

Chuck, this recipe does not have a particularly strong clam flavor; certainly not as strong as New England clam chowder where most of the liquid is clam broth.
I am a die hard New England Yankee.

I learned how to make New England clam chowda from those that were Old Timers when I was a kid.

Nothing canned
No tomotatos
Yes it does taste like clams
Not made with clams, but rather quahogs

Mine is thin compared to resteraunt, because I don't thicken it with flour.

In all honesty I do like Rhode Island and New York clam chowder - ocassionally.

Everybody loves my clam chowder and stuffed quahogs (stuffies).
I make it really old school.

I don't have it written down, I just make it.
This would be a great video for my New England Yankee youtube channel.

Great New England July 4-th outdoor meal.
Clam Chowder and stuffed quahogs.
I have a wonderful New England clam chowder in the IPOT that violates a lot of your rules Leo but we love it.

Instant Pot New England Clam Chowder (Fabulous!)

2 strips of bacon finely chopped, fried and saved with the fresh bacon grease
4 tablespoons of butter
1 yellow onion finely diced 2 stalks celery finely diced
3 tablespoons flour
2- 8 ounce bottles clam juice 1 tablespoon white wine
3- 6 ounce cans clams (1 chopped, 2 minced) drained with liquid reserved
2 bay leaves 2- 15 ounce cans diced potatoes, drained
1 cup heavy cream 1 teaspoon seasoned salt
½ teaspoon black pepper heaping ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
3 tablespoons corn starch 3 tablespoons water for corn starch
Place the butter in the Instant Pot and hit Sauté. When melted add the onions and celery to cook for 3-5 minutes. Add the flour and stir to coat the vegetable and to prevent sticking to the bottom. Add the fried bacon bits and its grease. Stir.

Add both bottles of clam juice and the reserved clam juice from draining the cans. Scrape the pan to make sure nothing is stuck. Add the wine and the bay leaves and the drained diced potatoes. Stir.

Install the lid, hit Keep Warm/Cancel. Then press Pressure Cook- High for 5 minutes.

When the cook cycle is done quick release the pressure. Hit Keep Warm/Cancel then Sauté. When the soup begins to bubble add the corn starch slurry. Stir. Then add the clams, heavy cream, seasoned salt, black pepper and the cayenne pepper. Stir continuously until it comes to a boil which does not take long.

When it is boiling in the pot it is ready to eat. Enjoy!

If you have ever had the Clam Chowder at Outback and enjoyed it this recipe is similar but carries more of the clam flavor by virtue of using bottled clam broth.
We like our New England clam chowder nice and creamy so we think it benefits from the addition of the corn starch slurry. It is important to stir that thoroughly into the soup as it is being poured in.
This recipe does not freeze well as the potatoes can soften in the freezer and the cream can separate. We don't have a problem eating this for a couple of days because we find it to be so delicious.
Mike, no problem. There are lots of ways to make it. I just love being the old timer New England Yankee. Oe of the locals ya know. Gotta stand up fer that.

I have had chowda made lots of different ways. I do like most of them, even the thick ones, and even the Outback chowda.

We had a Red Lobster open up in our area some years ago.
It failed miserably trying to compete with some of the best local seafood resteraunts in the area.
We all tried it, we all didn't like it.
It boomed for about 6 months, then died.

They changed the menu and tried to get some New England seafood going but it was too late.
Mike, no problem. There are lots of ways to make it. I just love being the old timer New England Yankee. Oe of the locals ya know. Gotta stand up fer that.

I have had chowda made lots of different ways. I do like most of them, even the thick ones, and even the Outback chowda.

We had a Red Lobster open up in our area some years ago.
It failed miserably trying to compete with some of the best local seafood resteraunts in the area.
We all tried it, we all didn't like it.
It boomed for about 6 months, then died.

They changed the menu and tried to get some New England seafood going but it was too late.
Red Lobster is a poor excuse for a seafood restaurant. I have never had a decent meal there. Of course I have been spoiled growing up near the coast and eating fresh seafood of all varieties. I even caught a lot of it. Used to keep our freezer full of fish that I caught.

To me the saddest thing in the world is to go to the Outer Banks and dine in a seafood restaurant that serves King crab legs when there are sounds and an ocean full of wonderful blue crabs. Most of the seafood restaurants on the Outer Banks that serve King crab legs do so in a paper bag. It arrives at the table folded over and the wait person opens the bag and rolls it down. Steam pours forth announcing the arrival of the spindly, pink plague scuttling across restaurant menus all up and down the Outer Banks. There is nothing that makes you feel like you are on the North Carolina coast more than a big paper bag full of crab legs caught in the Bering Sea, frozen and hauled almost all the way from Russia.

Sadly, few of the family owned seafood restaurants that we loved remain. There is now a Red Lobster on the Outer Banks. They don't serve any seafood that was caught in the ocean around Nags Head. Orange roughy, tilapia, mahi mahi, King crab, lobster tails, tiger shrimp etc. etc. are poor substitutes for the delicious fish that can be caught a few hundred yards east of the restaurant. Even more sadly, the parking lot is filled with license plates from Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and other places farther north bringing people to the Outer Banks to eat seafood that was caught on the other side of the world and in another hemisphere.

We have had a cottage in Kill Devil Hills since 1980. We have watched all the local places go out of business as the big chain restaurants buy up the real estate to sate the demands of people who go to the same restaurant hundreds of miles from the ocean and eat fried shrimp and fish that was caught months before and breaded in something to disguise how tasteless it truly is. I still go to the docks and buy fish directly from families of commercial fishermen that I have been buying from for decades. The fish is as fresh as I can get it unless I catch it myself. When was the last time that you saw pompano, King mackerel, wahoo, sheepshead or cobia on the menu.
well living in the desert we don't get a lot of fresh seafood BUT there is a new place in town that serves up a great "Lobsta Roll" with fries and a drink for $9.95......yum.


they have an interesting business model. It's a no frills drive thru only place with a limited menu. Kinda cool
Mike, your story about chain seafood restaurants next to the ocean reminds me of seeing Chipotle or Taco Bell here in New Mexico. In the case of Chipotle, it still amazes me that they do pretty good business here. Unlike virtually everything on the Chipotle, true New Mexican food does not contain the Devil's weed (cilantro). :D Taco Bell, on the other hand, is a known quantity and just right for when you want junk food. In the case of LOML and me, when we're in the mood for junk food tacos, nothing beats Jack in the Box tacos. No real ingredients (even the "cheese" is just a slice of pasteurized American Cheese product), and the "meat" is some questionable substance floating in grease. And man, are they delicious! :rofl:
My first experience with Mexican food was back in the day when I was traveling a lot for a company I was working for. I happened to be in Santa Barbara and the location manager where I was working offered to take me to dinner.. I quickly accepted as the worst part of traveling for me was eating alone.

So he picked me up at the hotel and we drove for quite a while. He stopped at a Mexican restaurant and as we were going in I told him I had never had Mexican food and he said I would love it. So we sat down and even though the menu was in English I had no idea what any of the dishes were. I asked for advice and he suggested some sort a burrito. I ordered it.

When it arrives it looked like doll bed pillow that someone had spilled red gravy and something white on. Being unafraid I picked up my knife and fork and went to work. The first bite was one of the most delicious things I had ever had in my mouth. Each subsequent bite only got better.

From then on I always sought out genuine Mexican restaurants when I was in the Southwest and California and Florida. I must have been born Mexican and adopted by my parents because I love Mexican food. Around here we have two kinds of Mexican food. There are the restaurants for the general public which are owned and operated by Mexican families. The food there is excellent but a little more Americanized. Then there are the Mexican restaurants out in the agricultural areas which are owned by families and make food for the huge and growing Hispanic farm worker communities. Whenever I could I used to go to one of them for lunch. They are usually operated by husband, wife and their adult children. The mother or grandma makes the sauces and the food is to die for.

Taco Bell is edible but I would rather pay more for the really good stuff.
Local food is always the best food, no matter where it is.

In Texas along the gulf coast I enjoyed the Shrimp House on San Padre Island - GREAT shrimp.
We also eat beef

In Mexico we eat Tacos

In Florida we ate aligator

In New England we love our seafood

In the Bahamas we ate Red Snapper and Conch

I love Mahi Mahi, but it is not a New England seafood.
Do now we need to visit the outer banks to get some nice Carolina seafood.
Leo, it is hard to get good Carolina seafood at restaurants these days. You almost have to find an out of the way seafood market that serves the locals. I mean, there are seafood markets in the touristy area that sell tilapia and mahi mahi.....

The Outer Banks have grown so much and are so heavily invested in tourism that all of the things that were reasons for going there are almost gone. Many, many people live there year round now. Back when I was a kid it was difficult to get there. You had to take a ferry. At the end of summer practically everything shut its doors. Very few restaurants were open, almost no gas stations. Back in the early 70's when I was doing a lot of surf fishing in the fall and spring you had to buy gasoline from pumps that accepted one dollar at a time. I was driving a Jeep Cherokee Chief that 12" wide tires powered by 460 with a 4bbl. On the beach that gas gauge needle acted like a fan it went down so fast. I had to carry a bale of one dollar bills to fish from Friday night to Sunday afternoon.

When the first bridge was built things began to change. Overnight, it seemed, there was a McDonald's, Hardee's etc. etc. Those were the first chain restaurants. Next thing you know there were chain grocery stores replacing the little mom and pop stores owned by locals where you could place an order for steamed crabs and pick 'em up nice and hot ready to eat.

Now it is very difficult to get really fresh crabs unless you know where to go or know how to catch them yourself. We used go crabbing and steam a dozen or so a day. My wife loves crabs, She grew up in a crab eating family and would eat crabs every day if she could. I eat crabs but I would rather not work so hard for my meat so I buy a pound of lump backfin crab meat. I like it sautéed in a little butter and eat it with fresh corn bread. It doesn't get any better than that.

There used to be a place on the beach that served a sandwich called the Crab Stack; a daily special, consisting of a fried soft-shell crab, then a crab cake and it all topped with a heap of lump backfin crab meat. To accompany this feast a delicious somewhat spicy remoulade was provided. That is about as good as it gets. Sadly they are no longer in business. As I said almost all of the local seafood restaurants have been run out of business.

Those were the good old days on the Outer Banks.
Taco Bell is edible but I would rather pay more for the really good stuff.
Taco Bell isn't Mexican food.. it's just Taco Bell.

That said, my favorite there was the Baja Chalupa... hard to find now. Closest TB is about 15 miles away in Madisonville.

In a town as small as Tellico Plains (about 800 in the surrounding area) we have two (count them - 2) Mexican restaurants... both are excellent in their own way... one had a fire and burned down, but it's almost re-built... meantime they cooked out of a food truck and served outside or in a building next to the truck. We have two other restaurants plus a Hardee's and a Subway.... the local Exxon station run by a Korean family also has a little deli/food court.
There is a television show on the History channel titled "The Foods that Built America". There was an episode discussing the founding of Taco Bell and I believe I recall that Glen Bell, the founder, owned some hot dog and hamburger restaurants and he decided to make a cheeseburger in a taco shell and thus Taco Bell was born.

I would never have guessed that a taco was, in any way, reminiscent of a cheeseburger.
An Oklahoma smashburger with home made dill pickles and a slice of american cheese on a low carb flour tortilla is my version of a cheeseburger. Mighty tasty accompanied by a bowl of chowder and oyster crackers.