Baked Stuffed Clams

AppetizerNew EnglandClamShellfish

Minced clams mixed with butter, onions, parsley, and bread crumbs, spooned into half clam shells and baked. Quahog Stuffies recipe.

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

For most California girls, the idea of “digging for clams” isn’t really part of our cultural makeup. But out in Rhode Island, and the beaches south of Cape Cod, digging in the sand for your dinner is apparently a regular summertime activity.

My friend Alden (age 8) and her sister Piper (my goddaughter, age 5) took me clam digging this weekend.

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It wasn’t exactly what I expected.

Although we went out in low tide, we still had to get chest deep in the water to find a sandy spot to scrape the bottom of with our toes.

We found about 6 empty shells or rocks for every intact clam.

We were out for more than an hour, shoulders sunburned and toes scraped, nearly stung by red jellyfish, and managed to get a grand total of 9 clams (3 clams each).

Baked Stuffed Clams

I know there are more efficient ways to do this (as I’m sure some of you will tell me), but at the end of the day, it didn’t matter. Hunting for clams was just a great excuse to play in the warm sea water on a beautiful sunny day.

Here’s the recipe for stuffed clams (also called “stuffies”) that Alden and Piper’s mom Heidi made with our hard-earned catch.

Do you have a favorite recipe for stuffed clams?

Please let us know about it in the comments. I’ve heard that they are especially good with a little Portuguese sausage mixed in the stuffing.

Baked Stuffed Clams

Baked Stuffed Clams Recipe

  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 55 minutes
  • Yield: Makes 10-12 stuffed clams, serves 3-6

Although this recipe calls for fresh clams, you can also make this with canned minced clams (use one 6.5 ounce can, drained of all but 1 Tbsp of clam juice). Bake as directed on clam shells, or bake in a casserole dish and use as a dip with crackers.

If you've purchasing clams, keep them in the refrigerator covered with a damp, wet towel. If you have dug up your clams, keep them covered with cool sea water in a bucket. Throw away any cracked or broken clams.

Ingredients

  • 10-12 large chowder or quahog clams, rinsed, sand and grit removed
  • 3 tablespoons minced onion
  • 1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley (or 2 teaspoons dried)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1 tablespoon clam juice (or cooking liquid from steaming the clams)
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Method

1 Cook the clams: Fill a large pot with 1 1/2 to 2 inches of water. Bring water to a boil. Add the clams to the boiling water. Reduce the heat to a simmer and let the clams steam for approximately 6-10 minutes, until the shells open.

Remove clams from the pot and let cool enough to handle. Discard any clams that have not opened (if they haven't opened it means they were dead to begin with and should not be eaten).

2 Remove the clam meat from the clams (not the clam foot which is attached to the shell) and mince finely.

3 Pick the best clam shells for serving: Break apart the clam shells from their hinges. Rinse. Pick 10-12 of the cleanest, nicest looking clam shells and set aside.

4 Make the stuffing: Preheat oven to 350°F. In a sauté pan, melt the butter on medium heat and add the minced onion. Once the onions have softened (2-3 minutes), add the garlic.

Cook the garlic for 1 minute, then add the parsley, bread crumbs, minced clams, lemon juice, and clam juice.

Stir until the stuffing mixture is completely moistened. (If too dry, add a bit more butter or clam juice; if too wet, add a bit more bread crumbs.

4 Stuff clam shells with stuffing, sprinkle with Parmesan, bake: Lay clam shells on a baking dish. Scoop a little stuffing mixture onto each clam shell. Sprinkle with grated Parmesan.

Bake at 350°F for approximately 20-25 minutes, until Parmesan is lightly browned on top.

Variations:

Cook a few strips of bacon until fat renders but not brown or crispy, chop and mix in with the stuffing.

Use crumbled up Ritz crackers for the breadcrumbs.

Put a little piece of cheddar cheese underneath the clam mixture in each clam, that way you get a little melted cheese with each bite!

Tip:

Save your biggest, prettiest clam shells to use for future stuffed clam dishes. To clean, just rinse them off and run them through the dishwasher with your dishes.

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Piper and Alden with a couple clams we dug

Alden with her clam bucket

Links:

New England Steamer Clams here on Simply Recipes

Clams Casino with Bacon from Steamy Kitchen

Baked Stuffed Clams

Elise Bauer

Elise Bauer is the founder of Simply Recipes. Elise launched Simply Recipes in 2003 as a way to keep track of her family's recipes, and along the way grew it into one of the most popular cooking websites in the world. Elise is dedicated to helping home cooks be successful in the kitchen. Elise is a graduate of Stanford University, and lives in Sacramento, California.

More from Elise

55 Comments / Reviews

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Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. Di

    Excellent!

    xxxxxyyyyy

  2. Don

    This is a very good recipe. We shuck our clams and use some of the natural juice in the stuffing. In addition to ritz crackers I also use saltine crackers. We also add a small amount celery finely chopped. As for clamming I highly recommend buying a clam rake! Better luck that way and less foot damage.

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  3. Anna

    I forgot to mention in my review (below) that I used a blender to mince the clams, onion & garlic (I usually mince with a knife, but it seemed to me that mincing clams with a knife would be hard & time consuming). Plus, I used seasoned bread crumbs instead of plain to give it some added flavor.

    xxxxxyyyyy

  4. Anna

    This recipe is soooo delicious & incredibly easy. It does take a little work & time, but it’s not difficult. I was able to make it much quicker after the first time.

    xxxxxyyyyy

    Show Replies (1)
  5. Maura

    We live on Long Island, NY and go clamming at our town beach in Smithtown. We happened to get a lot of big ones this time, quahogs I guess! We really didn’t want to sit shucking clams so this recipe was spot on, so much easier steaming them. A wonderful day spent together with the kids all taking part in clamming resulted in a multitude of the best baked clams we’ve ever had. Love your story behind the recipe, thank you.

    xxxxxyyyyy

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