New England Clam cakes are often served at restaurants and roadside stands and are eaten as finger food. These clam cakes are light, crisp, and full of clams. Try in these dunked into your clam chowder!
New England Clam Cakes are a popular east coast snack food most commonly found in areas of coastal Southern Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Maine.
The clam cake is a deep-fried dough mixture containing chopped clams that have a cake-like consistency. Crispy, golden brown on the outside, light and fluffy on the inside. Freshly made, these are steamy, chewy and delicious.
New England Clam cakes are often served at restaurants and roadside stands and are eaten as a finger food. I most often enjoyed these with my family at a local stand in Southern Massachusetts just adjacent to the Rhode Island Sound. I have never seen these clam cakes prepared outside of New England other than when my Mom made them for us at home. We generally serve these alongside a bowl of clam chowder. In my opinion, they are best right out of the oil, lightly salted and doused with a little bit of malt vinegar. My husband prefers Tabasco while my daughter likes hers with ketchup.
Since we had some leftover clams from our New England Clam Boil this past weekend, we had some fresh clams to use up but if fresh clams are not available to you, you can certainly substitute canned chopped clams in this recipe.
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New England Clam Cakes
- Canola oil , for frying
- 3 large eggs , lightly beaten
- 1 cup milk
- 1/2 cup clam broth
- 1 1/2 cups chopped clams
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- Heat the oil to 350°F.
- Mix all the liquid ingredients together. Mix all the dry ingredients together. When your oil is hot, add the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix until just combined.
- Drop a tablespoon of batter into the hot oil at a time. Do not crowd the pot. Fry until golden brown on both sides, about 5 minutes.
- Drain on paper towels and sprinkle with sea salt while still hot.
31 thoughts on “New England Clam Cakes”
i also heard of new england fried clams in a place in atlanta ga. on our way there from nv via of tx and my hubby lost his footing and fell and he was pretty sore to drive to new england hence no clams from atlanta . was in kissemmee for a week too bad we didnt know about boston seafood darn……
** DO NOT USE CANNED CLAMS ** (if you can help it.) Totally different experience. Use fresh. Get 1.5 dozen littlenecks from your local source, lightly steam with some spices, remove from shells (easy to do), add to with some broth, blend and WONDERFUL. Marvel at how wonder and tasty this recipe is. I spent a lot of experimentation with many recipes but was not successful to match my favorite clam shack taste until I went with fresh clams.
I just made a small batch and they came out just like ya stated they would! They were just fine and I also learned I should go with more baby clams or real ones then that would of been my best! I just can’t believe how people got to correct you when here you are bringing back such unbelievable memories? I can remember my Mom making these with the left over broken clams from the bushels of clams we would have they were just as good! I also remember a place called Rocky Point where I only would eat their clam cakes and there’s were a bit browner. I was wondering if you see this question what does the Malt Vinegar flavor do does that help with the browning better? I used corn oil and they came out ok but not as dark as the others were years ago? Maybe the oil was just dirty? LOL So anyways, I will never correct you but I sure will say “THANK YOU” for posting such a great little meal that brings back so many memories! Much appreciated! Joe
Hi I think you were right about the oil!
They said if you found a clam you were lucky !
Had many good times there. Now it’s just a park.
Take care joe. Thanks for your service .Doug
I haven’t had clam cakes in yrs… I miss the carnival sized ones from buttonwood park… New Bedford was my hometown until me and my mom moved to Florida when I was 7… the seafood in Florida is a hard pass… restaurants that serve fish & chips is fish and a bag of potato chips… or if they do give you fries as the chips they give you the ketchup abomination and not the malty vinegar… it’s hard to find a restaurant that really gives you a good taste of home… now Ted Peter’s in treasure island does have some off the chain clam chowder…
Hi Serenity –
I’m not sure where you live in Florida, but I know of two good New England seafood places with incredible food – One is Boston’s Seafood off Goldenrod in Orlando, FL and the other is Kelly’s Landing in Fort Lauderdale. If you ever find yourself near those cities, I would definitely give them a try. Thanks for stopping in and sharing.
Hey there, there’s also a Boston’s in New Smyrna beach
Tried these and they were very doughy. I would not make them again.
Sorry, these were not to your tastes.
Ya have to make sure that5 the oil temp is right!
A little fluffier than I’m used to but still quite tasty.
hi what is the 1 serving size as this is a recipe for 6 servings?
This depends on how big or small you make your clam cakes. So, a serving would be 1/6th of however many this batter makes for you. That number for me could be 4 while for you a serving might be 6. Hope this helps. I do believe that the last time I made these, it made 24 clam cakes which is 4 for each person.
I like how light and fluffy these are!
Thanks Mary – so glad you liked them!
Have you ever froze them?
Hi Mary Ann,
I have never frozen them but I can’t see any reason why they can’t be frozen. Similar to hush puppies, these can be frozen and then re-heated by baking them in a pre-heated 350 degree F oven for about 10-12 minutes to crisp them back up and heat them through.
Maine has some of THE best clam cakes anywhere. These were almost a little too airy – as we are used to them being a little denser but they were still quite delicious.
OMG! We used to have these every summer on the coast of Maine. This recipe was light and fluffy and tasted just like the salty ocean. So good with some malt vinegar.
Hi Chastity! I am so glad that you liked them. We used to have them in Westport, MA just outside Buzzard’s Bay (near Rhode Island) at a little roadside stand. My dad and I were just looking at photos of it this past weekend. I especially like the malt vinegar, too.
I think you may have your geography a bit confused. Westport is certainly on the Rhode Island border, but Buzzards Bay is 45 minutes in the other direction (without traffic). Plus, Buzzards Bay is in the middle of the Cape Cod Canal. From there you’d have to boat south, out of the canal, and across a decent-sized chunk of Massachusetts waters before you officially got to the Rhode Island Sound in Narragansett Bay. The RI Sound starts at the mouth of Narragansett Bay and hugs close to shore until it merges with and eventually forms the easten extension of the Block Island Sound between Martha’s Vineyard and Block Island. Obviously, you know where Westport is, but I think that for part the “next to Buzzards Bay” portion of that reply you may have been confusing Westport for Wareham.
In any event, these “clam-puppies” look and sound terrific! I’ll be trying them ASAP. I have always served two delicious clam cakes as a beautiful, edible, flavor-enhancing garnish for my chowder. But with these I think I could serve 3 or 4 in each bowl for the same (or less) money, without sacrificing quality. Plus, I’d be able to serve these as an appetizer as well. You gotta love cross-utilization!
Also, anything to get to splash more things with malt vinegar! Boardwalk Fries, Fish & Chips and Fried Pickles are great vehicles for malt vinegar, but more is better! :)
Thanks for posting this!
I do believe you’re right. I have that confused. It’s been quite many years since I lived in Dartmouth and would drive into Westport to get Clam’s at McCrays. Being younger, Buzzards bay seemed much closer to me as my parents liked to “go for a drive” to get out of the house — and I never knew where we would end up. Sometimes it was the Cape, sometimes another direction. :) Thanks for setting us straight, I appreciate your help.
I am from Dartmouth also…been gone 7 yrs.
I am making these today.
Malt vinegar is ready.
Westport is not on the RI border. You’re thinking westerly RI on the Connecticut border.
Westport, MA is absolutely just over the border of Rhode Island from Little Compton by a 15-minutes drive and to Tiverton, RI by a 20-minute drive.
I totally meant to say Horseneck beach. Sorry about that.
Hi, I was just thinking about clam cakes, they have something similar, conch fritters, at a restaurant near our Cape May cottage. As a kid, we spent summer vacation in Westport, Ma at my grandparent’s cottage, just steps from Buzzards Bay. The locals called it East Beach, or Town Beach, and, if you walked a bit further down East Beach Rd. you’d see Shandy’s By the Sea, that made the best clam cakes eva!! (notice the New England accent ) We would have to get at least three of the greasy bag orders to take home, because at least one wasn’t gonna make it….! I don’t think Shandy’s is by the sea anymore, but I’ll bet if you catch a breeze off Buzzards Bay standing on the”big rock” at just the right time of day, you might get a whiff of those clam cakes and smile….
Hi Mark — we did also spend a lot of time at Horseneck Beach. Good times.
I had clam cakes one time while visiting the coast of New England. I craved them for a long time after but never thought to look for a recipe until I stumbled upon yours on Pinterest. Awesome. I’ll stop back by and tell you if they taste as I remember!
For sure. Come on back and let us know !