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Apr 27, 2009 01:55 PM

New England Style Clam Cakes

Wondering if anyone has a good recipe for these, like the little ones. I am not looking for the pancake size things. More like the golfball or smaller size ones, and round.

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  1. You are in luck, my friend. My mom used to make these for us all the time in the summer - and no one knows what they are outside of Rhode Island, where she grew up!!

    2 cups Bisquick
    1 cup minced clams (think she used fresh in summer, but canned works too)
    2 well beaten eggs
    3/4 cup milk or clam juice, or a mixture of half of each

    Mix all ingredients and let stand for 1/2 hour.
    Deep fry. (that's all she wrote, but she had a fryer-you may need to use a deep pan if you don't have one).
    Use 2 soup spoons to form balls. One spoon dipped in oil, then in mixture. Push off with other spoon into hot oil. Turn while frying to brown on all sides.

    That's all she wrote down!

    Obviously, I think you would use peanut oil, or vegetable oil, either with a high smoking point. Don't know what temp she would get the oil too, again, she had a deep fat fryer so whatever the man. instructions said, I'm sure she followed it. And, obviously, she would drain them on paper towels before serving, usually with homemade quahog chowdah! And they would disappear, but she always made extra & reheated the next day!! Think my dad was the only one guilty of eating those leftover!!

    Hope they come out for you and you enjoy them - please let me know if you can. She will be so thrilled to know one of her recipes is out on CH!

    5 Replies
    1. re: Phurstluv

      Does the bisquick give them a soft spongy texture or are they very dense. I am looking for the soft type and not the bready heavy ones if you know what I am saying. And you are correct, outside of MA and RI they really have no clue what they are. In Maine they call them clam cakes too but they are more like Clam Fritters and taste nothing like what we know.

      I have a few recipes for these also but am always looking to see if someone has something different, I always add a little onion power and some Old Bay Seasoning to mine also.

      Thanks for the recipes and I will give it a shot. - Jim

      1. re: Jimbosox04

        Yes, I do know what you mean and they are not dense at all. More of a spongy texture. Remember to use a light hand when mixing them, don't overmix and the batter definitely has to rest.

        Nice touch with the seasonings. My mom's recipe is from her mom's and she, my Nana, was a typical old Yankee cook, who never used a clove of garlic!

        Let me know how they turn out. I might have to make some this weekend now that I've been thinking about it!!

      2. re: Phurstluv

        Ah, those RI clam cakes...Often times in restaurants they have more batter than clam, but if you make your own, you can adjust that. I've used both canned and fresh, also frozen chopped clams, which almost as good as fresh.

        1. re: bushwickgirl

          Good idea, Amiga! Nice to see you around again!

      3. Thanks for linking this to me, Phurstluv!
        My working recipe is as follows:
        2 cups minced clams (4 cans drained)
        4 eggs
        1 cup fresh white breadcrumbs
        2T melted butter
        squeeze lemon juice
        dash clam juice
        dash hot sauce

        fry small balls or they will flatten out (which makes a great sandwich)

        I add Old Bay, onion powder, garlic powder, parsley, etc to whim.

        I remember, growing up in RI, a place that used a flour based batter whose clamcakes were termed "lead bombs" by my family... the breadcrumb base seems to solve this.

        7 Replies
        1. re: jdwdeville

          OK, one question, why canned clams ?? ... bad bad bad !!! ok if thats all that is available, and I know, readily available all year.

          1. re: Jimbosox04

            keep in mind I said " 2 cups minced clams (4 cans drained)". If you can get enough fresh, all the better. However, my in laws in OH don't have access to ANY fresh clams!

            1. re: jdwdeville

              No doubt!! Mom says at the family clambakes, she and other cousins were in charge of putting the freshly shucked Quahogs through the food mill and reserving every bit of liquor for the batter.

              But when we lived in CT, she readily used canned clams, probably Snows, bc back in the '70s, we didn't have fancy-schmancy shops or stores with fresh shucked clams in them. They still were awesome, fresh clam or not.

              1. re: Phurstluv

                OK OK OK ... but fresh will give you a more tender cake, no doubt. Just please understand what you say when you tell a New Englander to use canned seafood.

                1. re: Jimbosox04

                  Don't you worry, I know, but like I said, 30 years ago, didn't have as many options as they do today.

                  And jdwdeville's in laws are in OH - so they might as well be back in the day re: fresh seafood!!

                  1. re: Phurstluv

                    if you only knew how many times I've heard the phrase "The only fresh fish is catfish"

                    1. re: jdwdeville

                      It's one of the reasons I told the DH i couldn't live in the midwest - too much of a snob, and need my seafood!!!!

        2. Go to and enter R. I. Clam Cakes into the search engine. Personally, having spent many, many summers in Onset, MA ( near R.I.) and also being a long time addict (with no hope of ever giving them up) I think the best clam cakes are the ones you buy from restaurants/stands along the beach. Clam cakes taste better on the beach. :) But if you have to make them yourself to quiet your "jones" I think the first recipe at cooks that comes under ri clam cakes is the best.

          1. I've never had a clam cake, but would like to.

            1. Clam cakes are a New England tradition... My grandfather used to make them All the time( were from Maine) the clam cakes that I grew up with are light and very flavorful, almost pancake like as opposed to fritter like, not dense at all...