How to Make the fluffiest Clam Cakes

Looking for the perfect beachside snack? Our clam cakes are crispy, flavorful, and incredibly satisfying. These bites of coastal bliss will transport you to the New England seaside.

A tray of fried clam cakes,

In some circles, these are also called clam fritters. Clam cakes and clam fritters are most popular along the Eastern US seaboard in the states of Rhode Island, Maine, Massachusetts, and Connecticut. Made with fresh or canned clams, these crispy treats are perfect with a bowl of Clam Chowder. These delicious clam cakes will leave you craving more!


Fresh or frozen little neck clams (quahogs), savory spices, flour, eggs, and a touch of magic— every bite is bursting with flavor.

  • Clams: Chopped littleneck steamer clams are the star ingredient, providing a unique seafood flavor and texture. They add moisture and juiciness, making each bite deliciously satisfying.
  • Eggs: Eggs serve as a binding agent in the recipe, helping to hold the ingredients together and provide structure to the clam cakes. They also contribute to the texture and help create a tender and fluffy interior.
  • Milk: Milk adds moisture and tenderness, making them softer and more delicate. It also helps create a smoother batter consistency and enhances the overall flavor.
  • Clam broth: Clam broth is a key ingredient as it imparts a rich and distinct seafood flavor. It enhances the taste of the chopped clams and adds depth to the overall dish.
  • Salt: Salt is essential for seasoning the batter and brings out the flavors of all the ingredients. It helps balance the taste and enhances the overall savory profile of the dish.
  • Baking powder: Baking powder acts as a leavening agent in the recipe, helping the clam cakes rise and become light and fluffy. It contributes to the texture and ensures a soft and airy interior.
  • All-purpose flour: All-purpose flour is the main ingredient that provides structure and bulk to the batter. It helps bind the ingredients together and gives the cakes a tender and cohesive texture when cooked.
The ingredients for clam cakes; baby clams, flour, eggs, milk, clam juice, baking powder, salt, and pepper.

How to Make Clam Cakes

Mix, fry, and savor! Our easy-to-follow instructions guide you through creating crispy and irresistible clam cakes in no time. Get ready for a taste of coastal heaven!

A bowl of clam cake batter. It should be the consistency of very thick pancake batter.

Recipe Tips and Kitchen Tricks:

  1. Use freshly shucked clams for the best flavor. Frozen clams are also good but offer a slightly different texture. Canned clams are easy to find and taste great in this recipe.
  2. Let the batter rest for a few minutes to allow the flavors to meld.
  3. Fry the clam cakes in batches to maintain consistent heat.
  4. Serve with a dash or two of malted vinegar for a burst of acidity.
  5. Serve the clam cakes hot with a side of tartar sauce or clam chowder for dipping.

Recipe Variations:

  • Spicy Twist: Add chopped jalapeños or red pepper flakes to the batter.
  • Cheesy Delight: Mix in grated cheddar or Parmesan cheese to the clam cake batter.
  • Gluten-Free Option: Use gluten-free flour for a GF version.

Serving Suggestions

  1. Serve as an appetizer with a side of tangy tarter sauce and a dash of malt vinegar [paid link].
  2. Create a seafood feast by pairing clam cakes with steamed lobster and corn on the cob.
  3. Enjoy as a snack with a cold beer or a refreshing glass of iced tea.
  4. Serve alongside a bowl of creamy New England clam chowder for a hearty meal.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

  • Q: Can I use canned clams instead of fresh clams? A: Yes, you can use canned clams as a substitute, but fresh clams will provide the best flavor.
  • Q: Can I freeze the clam cakes? A: Yes, you can freeze cooked clam cakes. Reheat in the oven or air fryer for best results. For the oven, reheat at 350 degrees F for about 10 to 15 minutes or the Air Fryer at 350 degrees F for 5 to 7 minutes.
  • Q: Can I make the batter ahead of time? A: It’s best to make the batter right before frying for optimal texture and taste.
  • Q: Can I bake the clam cakes instead of frying them? A: Frying is recommended for the traditional crispy texture, but you can try baking them at a high temperature for
A tray of clam cakes on a blue pan lined with red checkered parchment paper.

Wine & Cocktail Pairings

Wine Pairings:

  1. Chardonnay: The buttery and oaky notes of Chardonnay complement the richness of the clam cakes. The wine’s acidity also cuts through the fried flavors, creating a harmonious pairing.
  2. Sauvignon Blanc: The crisp and refreshing characteristics of Sauvignon Blanc work well with the briny flavors of the clams. Its citrusy and herbal notes provide a vibrant contrast to the savory clam cakes.
  3. Rosé: A dry or off-dry rosé with its light and fruity profile is a versatile option. Its delicate flavors won’t overpower the clam cakes, and the wine’s acidity pairs well with the seafood.

Cocktail Pairings:

  1. Classic Margarita: The bright and zesty flavors of a margarita, made with fresh lime juice and tequila, complement the seafood and add a refreshing element to the dish.
  2. Sea Breeze: The combination of cranberry juice, grapefruit juice, and vodka in a Sea Breeze cocktail provides a fruity and slightly tart counterpart to the savory clam cakes, enhancing the overall taste experience.
  3. Paloma: This tequila-based cocktail with grapefruit soda and lime juice offers a citrusy and slightly bitter profile that pairs well with the seafood flavors. Its effervescence also cleanses the palate between bites.
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A tray of clam cakes with a shaker of salt and a bottle of malt venegar.

Clam Cakes

Ronda Eagle | Kitchen Dreaming
New England Clam cakes were often served at restaurants and roadside stands and are eaten as a finger fo or alongside a bowl of clam chowder. This recipe yields about 24-30 clam cakes – depending on size.
5 from 11 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Appetizer
Cuisine American
Servings 6 servings
Calories 338 kcal


  • 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 ingredients together. It should have the consistency of a very thick pancake batter. See the above.
    When your oil is hot, add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until combined.
  • Using a tablespoon or 1 oz cookie scoop [paid link], drop 1 oz of batter into the hot oil at a time. My small pot holds about 8 at a time. Do not overcrowd the pot.
    Fry until golden brown on both sides, about 7-8 minutes.
  • Drain on paper towels and sprinkle with sea salt while still hot.


  1. Canola oil is what I use, but peanut oil is more traditional.
  2. Be sure to use candy or cooking thermometer to ensure proper cooking temperature. If the temperature is too low, your food will absorb oil. If it’s too high, the food will be dark brown on the outside but undercooked on the inside. Clam cakes should have an internal temperature of at least 165°F (74°C) to ensure they are cooked thoroughly and safe to eat. 
  3. You can freeze cooked clam cakes. Reheat in the oven or air fryer for best results. For the oven, reheat at 350 degrees F for about 10 to 15 minutes or the Air Fryer at 350 degrees F for 5 to 7 minutes.


Serving: 4clam cakesCalories: 338kcalCarbohydrates: 59gProtein: 14gFat: 5gSaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 100mgSodium: 559mgPotassium: 352mgFiber: 2gSugar: 2gVitamin A: 226IUVitamin D: 1µgVitamin E: 1mgVitamin K: 1µgCalcium: 153mgFolate: 148µgIron: 4mgZinc: 1mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

34 thoughts on “How to Make the fluffiest Clam Cakes”

  1. This sound familiar to a clam basket we used to get up when I was a child. I’m Mattawamkeag, Maine! I wish I could get that recipe just for making at home. I’m along ways from home, in Arkansas and would love to bring back those memories to my family. Does anyone know what the clam recipe would be? They were fluffy like these. I would appreciate it if someone has it and would share. Email is [email protected]
    Meanwhile, I will probably be trying this recipe! Thank you!

  2. 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……

  3. ** 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.

  4. Hi Ronda,
    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

  5. 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 Mary,

      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.

    • 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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!

        • Hi Russ,
          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.
            Can’t wait!

      • 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….

  8. 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!


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