Rhode Island Clam Cakes Recipe

Think these are like crab cakes? Think again. These fried dough balls with clams are perfect for dipping in chowder.
July 17, 2020, 11:00am
Photo by Farideh Sadeghin

Makes 2 dozen
Prep time: 10 minutes
Total time: 30 minutes


vegetable oil, for frying

2 ½ cups|400 grams all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste

3 (6.5 ounce|184 gram) cans chopped clams, with juices

½ cup|125 ml buttermilk

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 large egg, beaten

clam chowder, to serve (optional)

ketchup or tartare sauce, to serve (optional)

lemon wedges, to serve


1. Heat 2-inches oil in a large saucepan until a deep-fry thermometer reads 375°F.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt.

3. Strain the clams from the juice, reserving ¾ cup|187 ml juice. Freeze the remaining juice for chowder.

4. In a medium bowl, whisk the reserved ¾ cup|187 ml juice, the clams, buttermilk, lemon juice, and egg. Mix the wet ingredients into the dry until just combined.

5. Using a 2 tablespoon cookie baller, drop the batter into the hot oil and fry, turning as needed to evenly coated, until golden and the inside is cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a cooling rack fitted in a baking sheet and season with salt.

6. Serve hot with chowder or ketchup or tartare sauce. Heck, even a squeeze of lemon.

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