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Clam Cakes

Clam cakes can be found throughout New England, but they are mainly a Rhode Island treat. Also called clam fritters, they are crispy, puffy, and fun to eat. Shaped like balls, they are different from crab cakes, which more closely resemble patties. The origin of clam cakes is unclear, but they may have been invented at a clam shack in Narragansett in 1920. Many home-cooked recipes, however, date to the 1800s.

Recipe Servings: 30

Prep Time
5 minutes
Cook Time
45 minutes
Total Time
50 minutes
Gluten Free
Dairy Free



  1. Pour oil to a depth of 3 inches in a large, heavy bottomed pot or Dutch oven and set over medium-high heat. Bring oil to 375°F.
  2. Combine clams with juices, milk, egg, and butter in a small bowl.
  3. Whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, baking powder, and pepper in a large bowl.
  4. Add clam mixture to dry ingredients, along with lemon juice. Stir until just combined.
  5. Drop batter by heaping tablespoons into hot oil. Work in batches so as not to crowd pan.
  6. Adjust heat as necessary to maintain temperature and fry batter until browned and cooked through, about 4–6 minutes.
  7. Transfer cakes to baking sheet lined with paper towel and cool.

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