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Baked Clams

Looking for an elegant yet easy appetizer? Try our homemade baked clams, where fresh, succulent clams are transformed with a blend of rich garlic butter and fragrant fresh herbs.

Ideal for both laid-back dinners and special gatherings, these baked clams elevate a simple seafood ingredient into a sophisticated and flavor-packed delicacy.

Make a seafood appetizer tray by including crabmeat balls and fried calamari too!

Baked clams on grey platter with lemon wedge.

Why Make These Clams?

  • Easy to Prepare: Baked clams come together quickly with minimal effort.
  • Simple Ingredients: Utilize readily available, uncomplicated ingredients.
  • Quick Cooking: Perfect for a fast yet elegant appetizer.
  • Impressive Dish: Although they are easy to make, they appear to be more complex.
  • Ideal for Any Occasion: Whether it’s a special gathering or a simple treat for yourself.

Ingredients

The ingredients for baked clams are straightforward, and the clams are most definitely the star of the show.

Ingredients for baked clams.

Ingredients for baked clams: little neck or cherrystone clams; dry white wine; bread; grated parmesan cheese; melted butter; garlic, lemon, salt/pepper, and parsley.

Are you curious about the differences between Cherry Stone and Littleneck clams?
AttributeCherry Stone ClamsLittleneck Clams
SizeLarger than littlenecks, smaller than chowder clamsSmallest size of hard-shell clams
FlavorSweetSweeter, more oceanic
TextureMeatyTender, less chewy
Common UsesGrilling, baking, stuffing, clam bakesSteaming, raw consumption, pasta dishes
SubstitutionsManila clams, chowder clams (chopped)Cockles, manila clams

How to Make

Rinsing clams in colander with brush for scrubbing shells.
Deep pan with garlic and white wine for steaming clams.

Rinse clams and scrub well (you can also opt to purge clams) before proceeding. Prepare to lightly steam the clams by sauteeing some garlic and white wine.

Clams in covered pot.
Clams opened up after steaming in pot.

Place clams in the pot with the garlic and wine, cover, and cook until they are slightly opened. Place each clam on a baking tray and remove the top shell.

Ingredients for baked clams topping in white bowl.
Silver baking tray with baked clams.

Mix the topping ingredients well, top each clam with the mixture, and bake for about 10 minutes. See the recipe card below for complete instructions.

Tips

Here are some tips to ensure your baked clams turn out perfectly:

  1. Selecting Clams: Use fresh clams. Littleneck or cherry stone clams are great for baking due to their size and flavor. Ensure they are clean and discard any that are open or don’t close when tapped.
  2. Cleaning Clams: Rinse the clams under cold water to remove sand and grit. Some prefer to soak them in salted water for an hour to help expel sand (ie, purging).
  3. Opening Clams: You can steam them briefly to open them, but don’t cook them thoroughly. Retain the shell for baking.
  4. Adding Moisture: To keep the clams moist, you can add a little white wine, clam juice, or broth to the baking tray.
  5. Serving: Serve hot, garnished with lemon wedges and fresh parsley. Some prefer a dash of hot sauce or a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese on top.
  6. Experiment with Flavors: Don’t hesitate to experiment with different herbs and spices in your stuffing, or add-ins like bacon or diced bell peppers.

Remember, the key to great baked clams is freshness and not overcooking them so they remain tender and juicy!

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📖 Recipe

Baked clams with lemon and parsley in white tray.

Baked Clams

Savor the rich, garlicky goodness of baked clams, where each shell cradles a sumptuous mix of garlic butter, herbs, and optional lemon.
5 from 1 vote
Author: Marie
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Course Appetizer
Cuisine American
Servings 6 servings (3 clams each)
Calories 77 kcal

Ingredients
 

  • 24 littleneck or cherrystone clams
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley chopped (additional for garnish)
  • 1/4 cup breadcrumbs or adjust to your liking
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • Lemon wedges for garnish and serving
  • Hot sauce for serving optional
  • Crushed red pepper flakes optional, for some heat

Instructions
 

  • Preheat your oven to 400°F (200°C).
  • Begin by cleaning the clams. Scrub them under cold running water to remove any dirt or sand.
  • In a large skillet or pan with a lid, pour the white wine, and add the minced garlic. Place the cleaned clams in the skillet.
  • Cover the skillet with a lid and cook the clams over medium-high heat for 5-7 minutes or until they open. Shake the pan occasionally to help distribute the heat evenly. Discard any clams that do not open after this time.
  • Once the clams have opened, remove them from the skillet and set them aside to cool slightly. Be sure to reserve the cooking liquid.
  • Gently detach the clam meat from one half of the shell, leaving it on the half-shell. Discard the other half of the shell.
  • Place the clam shells on a baking sheet or ovenproof dish.
  • In a bowl, combine the breadcrumbs (e.g., 1/4 cup or adjust to your liking), chopped parsley, grated Parmesan cheese, melted butter, and a pinch of salt and black pepper. You can add a dash of crushed red pepper flakes if you like heat.
  • Spoon the breadcrumb mixture onto each clam in its shell. I suggest about ½ to 1 teaspoon or so on each (depending on the size of the clams) – you don’t want to overpower the clam with the topping – you can also opt to sprinkle the topping on each clam.
  • Drizzle a little of the reserved cooking liquid from the skillet over each clam to moisten them.
  • Bake the clams in the oven for 10-12 minutes or until the tops are golden brown and crispy.
  • Remove the baked clams from the oven, garnish with lemon wedges (and additional parsley if desired), and serve hot with hot sauce and lemon wedges.

Notes

Purging Clams: 
Purging clams is an optional step that can help remove any remaining sand or grit from inside the clams. While it’s not always necessary, especially if you’ve already cleaned and scrubbed the clams thoroughly, here’s how you can do it:
  1. Start by placing the clams in a large bowl.
  2. Fill the bowl with enough cold water to cover the clams completely.
  3. Add a couple of tablespoons of salt to the water. The salt helps to encourage the clams to expel any sand or grit they may be holding onto.
  4. Gently stir the clams in the saltwater solution, ensuring they are all submerged.
  5. Let the clams soak in the saltwater for 30 minutes to an hour. During this time, the clams will filter the water and hopefully release any sand or debris they have inside.
  6. After the soaking period, remove the clams from the saltwater bath and rinse them under cold running water once more to remove any excess salt.
More Tips:
  1. Serving: Serve hot, garnished with lemon wedges and fresh parsley. Some prefer a dash of hot sauce or a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese on top.
  2. Experiment with Flavors: Don’t hesitate to experiment with different herbs and spices in your stuffing or add-ins like bacon or diced bell peppers. 

Nutrition

Calories: 77kcalCarbohydrates: 4gProtein: 1gFat: 5gSaturated Fat: 3gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.3gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0.2gCholesterol: 11mgSodium: 94mgPotassium: 39mgFiber: 0.3gSugar: 0.5gVitamin A: 243IUVitamin C: 2mgCalcium: 30mgIron: 0.4mg
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