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. 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

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  • 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 Tbsp minced onion
  • 1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley (or 2 teaspoons dried)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 cup bread crumbs
  • 1 Tbsp 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

Chorizo and clam stuffed pasta shells from Sippity Sup

Clams Casino with Bacon from Steamy Kitchen

Baked Stuffed Clams

If you make this recipe, snap a pic and hashtag it #simplyrecipes — We love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, & Twitter!

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

38 Comments / Reviews

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Did you make it? Rate it!

  • [email protected]

    I also add diced pimentos

  • M. McTigue

    Beth—you are sooo correct –Ritz crackers are not at all what they used to be. Less ingredients—same price or higher.

  • Gef Flimlin

    You can freeze the clams for about 5 hours then run under tepid water. The shells will gape and you can put a regular butter knife in there to twist the shells apart. Put the frozen clam on a cutting board and cut it into about 4 to 6 pieces depending the size of the clam. Put them all in a stainless bowl and let them defrost. Add them into the recipe later and pull them out with a slotted spoon. You can add more liqueur later if you don’t think it’s clammy enough. The clams will be much more tender than being cooked twice!!!

  • Donna C

    Can I make these ahead and freeze them? If so do I freeze them baked and just reheat them or do I freeze them raw and bake them when I’m ready to serve them?

  • Beth

    I have always used Ritz crackers in these and in Baked Stuffed Shrimp, however, despite claims by Nabisco to the contrary, Ritz crackers are different. They look lighter in color, taste different, and most annoying of all, it is virtually impossible to spread something on them as they immediately crumble. Has anyone used Ritz lately? My Baked Stuffed Shrimp were awful and I haven’t changed the recipe.

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