Instant Pot Clam Chowder

Bowl of clam chowder with spoon lifting out soup to see texture.

Soup season just got an upgrade with this Instant Pot Clam Chowder. It’s warm, hearty and done in 30 minutes.

This post may contain affiliate links. For more information, please read my disclosure policy.

If you’re looking for an easy, hearty soup recipe, I’ve got you with this one. It cooks up quickly in the instant pot and is super filling. Plus, it reheats well so you can enjoy it throughout the week.

What more could you want out of a weeknight meal?!

Ladle lifting spoon of clam chowder out of the instant pot.

New England or Manhattan?

There are two classic clam chowder recipes, New England Clam Chowder and Manhattan Clam Chowder.

New England clam chowder features a creamy and rich base and is filled with clams and potatoes. This is definitely the most popular version of clam chowder.

Manhattan clam chowder is a tomato based soup. It’s more of a tomato broth and has a lot of veggies included.

This Instant Pot Clam Chowder is a classic, creamy new england version and I think you’re going to love it for so many reasons.

Large white bowl filled with instant pot clam chowder and set on a larger clay colored plate with crackers on the side.

Ingredients for Instant Pot Clam Chowder

  • Bacon: Thick cut bacon is best but if you don’t have any just add an extra slice or regular bacon.
  • Onion: Adds lots of flavor. I like to dice it finely so that it becomes soft and almost melts into the soup.
  • Garlic: All the flavor.
  • Spices: We’re using salt, pepper and dried thyme for the chowder.
  • Baby clams: You’ll need 2 (10 ounce) cans of baby clams and the juices. You will find them near the canned tuna at your grocery store.
  • Clam juice: Extra clam juice will intensify the seafood flavor. You should be able to find it near the clams. If your store doesn’t carry clam juice you can use chicken broth instead.
  • Chicken broth: To add more liquid to the base of the chowder.
  • Potatoes: I like to use yukon gold potatoes because they are super creamy and go so nicely in the soup.
  • Half and half: To give that delicious creaminess New England clam chowder is famous for.
  • All-purpose flour: This will help thicken the soup.
  • Chives: For garnishing the soup after cooking. These are optional but add a nice freshness to the finished chowder.
Bowl of instant pot clam chowder with crackers on the side.

How to Make Clam Chowder in the Instant Pot

Start by setting your Instant Pot to saute mode. While it’s heating, cut the bacon into small pieces. Add to the pot and cook until crisp.

Remove the bacon but leave in the bacon grease. Now add the onion and garlic. Cook, stirring often, until softened. Season with salt, pepper and dried thyme.

Add baby clams with their juices, extra clam juice, chicken broth and potatoes to the instant pot. Add the lid and make sure the valve is sealed.

Set instant pot to manual and cook for 4 minutes. Once done, allow the pressure to release naturally for 5 minutes then turn the valve to release the remaining pressure.

Ladle lifting out spoonful of clam chowder from the instant pot.

Thicken the Chowder

Turn saute mode back on and bring the chowder to a simmer. Whisk half and half and flour together in a bowl.

Once well combined, add to simmer soup and stir well. Allow to simmer for a few minutes, until the chowder has thickened to your liking.

Serve up the soup and garnish with crumbled bacon and chopped chives.

Close up photo of clam chowder in a white bowl.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I double this recipe? You sure can! Make sure you Instant Pot is large enough to fit all the liquid. Cook just as directed.

Does it reheat well? Yes it does! This chowder would make a great option for meal prep for lunches or easy dinners.

Can I freeze the chowder? Because the base of this chowder has dairy in it, it won’t freeze well. Luckily, you can cut the recipe in half easily if you won’t get through it in time. You can click on the serving size in the recipe below and change the serving size and it will automatically adjust the amounts of ingredients.

Can I use fresh clams instead? Definitely! Living in the midwest, I don’t have regular access to good clams so I’ve never done that myself but if you are near the coast, go for it!

More Soup Recipes

Bowl of clam chowder with spoon lifting out soup to see texture.
No ratings yet

Instant Pot Clam Chowder

Soup season just got an upgrade with this Instant Pot Clam Chowder. It's warm, hearty and done in 30 minutes.
Prep Time5 minutes
Active Time20 minutes
Total Time25 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: instant pot clam chowder
Yield: 6 servings
Author: Meghan Payne-Hensley


  • Pressure Cooker


  • 4 slices thick cut bacon
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 1/2 pounds potatoes, cut into 1-inch chunks (peel if desired)
  • 2 10 ounce cans baby clams (do not drain)
  • 1 8 ounce bottle clam juice
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups half and half
  • 3 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • chopped chives, optional


  • Turn bacon on saute mode. Meanwhile, cut bacon into small pieces. Once hot, add bacon to the instant pot. Cook until crisp. Remove bacon from instant pot to a paper towel lined plate. Leave bacon grease in instant pot. Add onion, garlic, salt, pepper and dried thyme. Cook, stirring often, for 2 to 3 minutes until softened.
  • Add potatoes, baby clams and their juices, clam juice, chicken broth to the instant pot. Turn off saute mode. Place lid on instant pot and seal the valve. Cook on high manual for 4 minutes. Allow pressure to release naturally for 5 minutes. Then release pressure manually. Once all pressure is released, remove the lid and change back to saute mode.
  • Whisk together the half and half and flour. Once the soup is simmering add to the instant pot. Simmer until slightly thickened. Ladle into bowls and top with chives and crumbled bacon.

Success! You're on the list.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating