Stuffed Clams

This stuffed clams recipe is a classic Rhode Island favorite.

Stuffed Clams

Also known as “stuffies,” these stuffed clams, flavored with onion, celery, and green pepper, are a signature Rhode Island dish.

When preparing clams, many prefer to remove the dark stomachs for aesthetic reasons. It’s also popular to bake the mixture in littleneck clam shells. You may also want to make a double batch so you can freeze half to keep on hand for unexpected company. Don’t have fresh clams? Canned clams substitute nicely.

Stuffed Clams | Rhode Island Food Specialty
75 Classic New England Foods
Guide to New England Steamed Clams

Yield: Serves 6-8.


  • 1 cup chopped littleneck (quahog) clams and liquid
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped celery
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped green pepper
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Dash of black pepper
  • Dash of Worcestershire sauce
  • 12 Ritz crackers, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted
  • Paprika


Remove stomachs from clams and grind clams in a food mill or chop them by hand until you have 1 cup of clams and liquid.

Cook onion, celery, and green pepper in 4 tablespoons butter until vegetables are tender, but not brown.

Stir in flour, cheese, and seasonings. Add 1/4 cup of crushed crackers, and mix well.

Stir in clams with their liquid, and cook and stir until mixture is thick and bubbly. Divide mixture among 15 to 18 littleneck clam shells, or 10 to 12 larger clam shells, or spoon into a casserole dish (as a last resort).

Combine remaining crumbs and 1 tablespoon melted butter and sprinkle over filled shells. Sprinkle lightly with paprika.

Bake at 350 degrees F for 10 to 15 minutes. Serve hot.
  • Being a stuffed clam junkie, these came out really good. I used topneck clams from Crab Dynasty, becuase I needed a good size shell. I topped with a little piece of backon like my Great Grandmother used to do! Thanks for sharing.

  • Stuffed Large Sea Clams (quahogs, not little necks) are a staple all over the New England coast. I think the editors of this magazine (that I really enjoy) must be from New York… the quahog / little necks mistake is one they make in the NYTimes cooking section ( with the same response from Yankee locals).

    • I’m from New York and clam in Ninigret Pond every year for 30 years.. Best clams in the world. I agree, when you post an article, at least know the terminologies/lingo of what you’re writing about.

  • Chris

    Been digging “clams” for 55 years and making stuffies for 40. First, there are regional terms for quahogs and soft shell clams. In Maine, ‘clams’ are mostly thought of as “steamers” or soft shell clams. Steamers can not be used for stuffies, but are delicious in their own right (Steamed). In RI and most of Southeast Mass, they use ‘clams’ for Quahogs, or substitute the size designation (little necks, cherrystones, etc.) And they are the same species, and all delicious. When you eat the raw ones, smaller seems to be preferred for obvious reasons.
    The published recipe is very similar to what a lot of people call clams casino. But they are delicious as well, so call ’em what you want. Most bar served stuffies are about as big as a 1/4-1/3 lb each, and overdone with bread. Your recipe is much better, so for those that have signed off on stuffies after eating one at a bar, don’t give up. RI is famous for equal portions of quahogs and chourice (hot) or linguice (mild) along with the celery and onion. I haven’t used green pepper, but might try that. I use Italian seasoned bread crumbs, but you can make your own with stale bread and spices. I don’t add butter; I mix it in a large chowder pot, and make fifty to a hundred at a time. I steam/boil the ‘clams’ in about a gallon of water to open the shells. Save all the liquid, lift the opened clams into a colander, separate meats and clean shells with a brush and set aside to stuff. Chop meats (scissors work great for this) and combine with ingredients in large mixing bowl. Add a cup of reserved liquid from the top of the reserved liquid in the cook pot. (the sand will settle to the bottom, let it stay there). Stir the mix and add as much clam liquid needed to make a moist mix. Stuff the shells with the mix, sprinkle paprika over the top, and bake at 350 for 25-30 or so minutes and test the top to see if it is crunchy, while inside should stay moist. You can cover for a while with loose foil, then broil to brown. let em cool and freeze in freezer bags to keep for several weeks. Chili sauce is nice on top. Good luck

  • Kristie

    Would it be possible to substitute minced calamari rings as an alternative to the clams?

    • Alice

      In my experience calamari has little of its own flavor, so it would do little for this recipe. I often have cooked calamari with garlic and have had it stuffed with riccota and tomato sauce

  • I have an old recipe made with white bread picked apart and poultry seasoning. A small piece of bacon and paprika sprinkled on top before baking

  • Born and brought up in New Bedford, Mass we knew these as stuff quahogs. We would add lingucia (Portuguese sausage) to the stuffing. Wonderful!!

  • I have a seasonal clamshack in Eastham in Cape Cod. For the last three years we have won BEST SUFFIE ON CAPE COD. Next summer come try out stuffies and let’s see if you agree they are quite oossibly the best in New England

  • Christine

    How did it work out with the Old Bay? I wonder if there are places you can buy the empty clam shells to use when baking this.

    • Hey Christine, I actually saved the shells from the store bought Snows version (washed and sterilized of course), if you don’t want to do that…those mini cocottes work just as good in the oven.

  • So close to my recipe which I made tonight. I do not add worstershire, celery , Parmesan or flour. I use large quahogs , extra clam juice and a little wine!. If you want to you can also add cooked Portuguese sausage!

  • The smallest legally harvestable clams are called countnecks, next size up are littlenecks, then topnecks. Above that are the cherrystones, and the largest are called quahogs or chowder clams. All of these clams are quahogs, just at different stages in their life.

    • Nope… quahogs are the largest.. often called sea clams (the largest are now fished out)… otherwise you are correct… my family has been claiming in NE for generations, and I cooked at clam shacks in Hampton Beach and down the Cape during summer break.

  • I’ll be making this for Good Friday night’s dinner. Would a touch of Old Bay be too much? I will let you know! Also, how about a few tiny bay scallops?

  • A New England all my life..one knows clams,little necks and quahogs are all different…..not at all the same….why do chefs put them in the same category?


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