Dec 19, 2021

Stuffed Clams Recipe

Prep Time: 30 mins
Cook Time: 25 mins
This stuffed clam recipe is made with a mixture of onion, celery, bell pepper, buttered breadcrumbs, spices, chopped clam meat and more piled onto the shells and baked.

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Stuffed clams are great any time of year. They can be prepared for a warm-weather dinner alongside a simple salad or as an appetizer to complement a holiday dinner like the Feast of Seven Fishes. They can be made on the grill during summer or inside in the oven during colder months. This dish, also called “stuffies” is one of the regional dishes of New England, and is popular at many festivals and events in the area from Cape Cod to Newport. There are plenty of variations on the recipe though I’m making them the Rhode Island way. 

Rather than shucking the raw clams (which can be a hassle not to mention dangerous) I steam the clams so they open. The meat is removed and chopped, then mixed with the ingredients for the filling.

Stuffed Clams Recipe 

Best Clams for This Recipe

Larger clams are great for this dish because the larger meat can often be chewy when served whole. Stuffed clams are a great use for them since they are finely chopped before they are added to the filling so their briny flavor can shine. Smaller clams can also be used – they will take less time to cook but they will offer a much smaller serving size per clam. Quahog is the overarching term for hard shell clams though it is also frequently used to describe larger clams. The name is often used interchangeably with chowder clams. 

Larger clams

Key Ingredients in This Recipe

  • Clams – While a variety of clams can be used for this recipe I prefer using meatier clams like Quahogs since they are typically inexpensive and the meat will be chopped. The wine and clam juice from steaming the clams is used to hydrate the stuffing.
  • Panko breadcrumbs – Rather than using Italian breadcrumbs in this recipe I use panko, Japanese breadcrumbs. Panko breadcrumbs make a great crust on fried foods and, because they are lighter, they absorb less oil than other breadcrumbs, keeping the mixture lighter and crispier.

How to Make Baked Stuffed Clams

  1. Steam the clams. Add the wine to a large pot and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Nestle the cleaned clams into the pot, cover and cook them until they pop open, about 6 minutes (if needed do this in batches). Remove the clams to a large bowl and let cool.
  2. Chop the clam meat. Once the clams are cool, remove the meat and chop. Set aside the meat in a large mixing bowl. Clean 24 halves of the clam shells and arrange on a baking sheet or in a casserole dish.
  3. Sauté vegetables. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the oil and heat through, then add the butter. Once the butter is melted, add the onion, celery and bell pepper, sautéing until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant, about an additional 30 seconds.
  4. Make the filling. Remove from heat, then stir in the breadcrumbs, Worcestershire, red pepper flakes, 1 tablespoon of the chopped parsley, chives and chopped clams. Add 1 cup of the clam juice cooking liquid, stirring to combine until the mixture holds together. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. Stuff clams. Heat oven to 350ºF (180ºC). Use a spoon to stuff the cleaned clam shells with the breadcrumb and clam mixture.
  6. Bake the clams. Bake the stuffed clams until the tops of the stuffing are golden brown, about 25 to 30 minutes.
  7. Serve. Use tongs to move the clams from the baking dish or baking sheet to a serving platter, then garnish with parsley and lemon wedges. Serve immediately.
Baked Stuffed Clams Recipe

Tips and Tricks for This Recipe

Tips for Preparing Clams for Cooking
  • Buy fresh clams. It’s best if you use them within 24 to 28 hours. 
  • Discard any clams that are cracked or open prior to cooking – they will already be dead and may be decomposing.
  • Similarly, discard any that remain closed after cooking, don’t try to pry them open. 
  • Make sure clams are thoroughly scrubbed and cleaned before use.
How to Get Sand Out of Clam Shells 

Prior to cooking add the clams to a large bowl of salted ice water. They will quickly expel the extra grit they are holding in the shell.

Substitutions 
  • Double the amount of red pepper flakes in the recipe for a spicer stuffed clam or add a teaspoon of your favorite vinegar based hot sauce.  
  • While you can use canned clams in this baked clams recipe I recommend using fresh for the best flavor. The fresh clams also provide the shells used as the serving vessel. If using canned clams substitute 1 cup roughly chopped clams.
Difference between Clams Casino and Baked Clams? 

Though both dishes have similar elements including chopped or whole clams with breadcrumbs on the half shell, clams casino features bacon and sometimes Parmesan as well as far fewer breadcrumbs than in baked clams. Stuffed clams are typically made with a bready filling while clams casino is sprinkled with a bacon fat soaked breadcrumb topping. 

Other Recipes to Try

If you enjoy this recipe, I recommend checking out these:

Stuffed Clams Recipe

Baked Stuffed Clams Recipe
Print Pin
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Serves 18 stuffed clams

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup white wine
  • 18 quahog clams, about 3” inches wide, cleaned
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 cup diced yellow onion
  • ½ cup diced celery
  • ¼ cup diced red bell pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoon chopped parsley, divided
  • 1 tablespoon chopped chives
  • Kosher salt, as needed
  • Freshly ground black pepper, as needed
  • Lemon wedges, for serving

Instructions:

  • Add the wine to a large pot and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Nestle the cleaned clams into the pot, cover and cook them until they pop open, about 6 minutes (If needed do this in batches). Remove the clams to a large bowl and let cool.
  • Once the clams are cool, remove the meat and chop. Set aside the meat in a large mixing bowl. Clean 24 halves of the clam shells and arrange on a baking sheet or in a casserole dish.
  • Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the oil and heat through, then add the butter. Once the butter is melted, add the onion, celery and bell pepper, sautéing until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant, about an additional 30 seconds.
  • Remove from heat, then stir in the breadcrumbs, Worcestershire, red pepper flakes, 1 tablespoon of the chopped parsley, chives and chopped clams. Add 1 cup of the clam juice cooking liquid, stirring to combine until the mixture holds together. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Heat oven to 350ºF (180ºC). Use a spoon to stuff the cleaned clam shells with the breadcrumb and clam mixture.
  • Bake the stuffed clams until the tops of the stuffing are golden brown, about 25 to 30 minutes.
  • Use tongs to move the clams from the baking dish or baking sheet to a serving platter, then garnish with parsley and lemon wedges. Serve immediately.

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