Best Clam Fritters Recipe

How to make tasty clam cakes

This is our favorite Clam Fritters recipe - partly because it's so easy, and partly because you can use fresh clams or canned clams and get great results either way.

Clam fritters - or clam cakes, as they're called in Rhode Island and Southern Massachusetts, combine tasty clams with a fluffy dough that's dropped by small spoonfuls into hot oil. 

Crispy/crunchy on the outside and flavorful inside, these yummy fritters taste especially good when you dip them in a little malt vinegar or hot sauce.  Tartar sauce and a splash of lemon also hit the spot!

Our clam fritters recipe takes only a few minutes to mix together - in fact, you can do it while you heat the oil.  Because they're fried in oil, this isn't our healthiest recipe - but they're a huge hit at parties!

How to make clam fritters

Makes about 3 dozen small fritters.  If you serve them at parties, count on most people eating at least 3 - maybe more - so you may need to double the recipe.


Note:  You can use fresh clams, shucked clams, or canned clams.  Although fritters made from fresh clams taste divine, they're also very good when you use canned clams. 

Truthfully, we usually use canned clams because of the convenience.  For this recipe, 2 6-ounce cans isn't quite enough, so we usually use 3, which comes out about right.

  • Vegetable oil for frying
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup clam juice (liquor from fresh clams, liquid from canned clams, bottled clam juice, or a combination)
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 1/2 white flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 1/4 black or white pepper
  • dash of cayenne (optional)
  • 1 cup chopped clams (drain off the liquor or liquid)

For serving

  • Your choice of malt vinegar, hot sauce, tartar sauce, lemon wedges

To make the fritters

Heat about 2 inches of oil in a large, deep frying pan to 370°.

Mix together the olive oil and egg in a small bowl.  Mix in the clam juice and milk.

Combine the flour, baking powder, salt, pepper, and cayenne in a large bowl.  Whisk in the egg mixture.  Stir in the clams.

Dip a teaspoon into the hot oil to coat it.  Take a rounded spoonful of the clam fritter mixture, and carefully slide it into the oil.  Let it cook for 2-3 minutes, or until it turns golden brown.  Remove it with tongs, drain it on paper towels, and when it's cool enough to eat, taste it to check the seasoning.  (The cook's reward!)  Add more salt if necessary to the remaining batter.

Now, continue to fry the fritters, perhaps 5 or 6 at a time, until you've used up all the batter. 

Serve immediately.  Actually, they smell so good, you won't have a choice - everyone will be trying to grab them straight out of the frying pan.

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