Incredible Baked Clam Dip

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This warm appetizer is such a delicious dish to serve and is always a big hit.

Old fashioned clam dip is wonderful when served for parties or special occasions. It’s always such a crowd-pleasing appetizer and one of the first things to go when served. And it’s so easy to prepare and can be made in advance of baking!

Incredible baked clam dip

How To Make Baked Clam Dip

This is one of those party dips that is huge on taste and texture, but so simple to prepare.

We love serving it piping hot with lightly toasted baguette slices and cut veggies, such as celery.

 

The Ingredients You Will Need

We start off by sautéing some veggies.

Chopped onion, red bell peppers, and celery add a depth of flavor, as well as beautiful color.

Sauté until just soft and translucent, about 5 to 8 minutes.

A large stainless steel skillet filled with chopped onions, red bell peppers, and celery, all being stirred by a large wooden spoon.

What Clams Are Best for Baked Clam Dip?

You definitely don’t need to break the bank when selecting the clams for this dish.

We’ve tried many varieties, from fresh to canned, from expensive to affordable.  Go with the canned variety at the supermarket and you’ll be in good shape. 

EXPERT TIP: You can find canned clams in the same area that you find canned tuna fish in your local market. We go with three 6.5 oz cans, and be sure to transfer the clams along with the juice to the pan.

A hand pouring canned clams with their juice into a silver skillet filled with sautéd vegetables.

Freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 2 tablespoons) and 1 tablespoon of your favorite hot sauce round out the flavors.

Don’t worry, the hot sauce does not make the dip spicy at all.  The hot sauce and lemon juice add a little acid and just a ‘zip’ to match perfectly against the clams.

EXPERT TIP: For the bread crumbs, we love the texture of Panko bread crumbs, which are a little more substantial than standard breadcrumbs. We even love using Italian-style Panko bread crumbs. But, whatever are your favorite types of breadcrumbs will work just fine. You’ll need 2 cups of them. Just mix them right into the skillet with the clams and vegetables.  The addition of 1/4 cup of grated Parmesan mixed into the party is optional, but delicious!

A hand dumping Italian-style Panko breadcrumbs into a skillet filled with clams, clam juice, and sautéd vegetables.

When and How to Serve

There is just something extra enticing (and a little nostalgic) about this dish. Baking clams is a tried and true method for preparing this delicious shellfish.

It’s perfect for game day snacking or an appetizer before a wonderful dinner party. But, guests always comment that the dip is really delicious, and, it’s not fishy tasting AT ALL!

EXPERT TIP: You can easily prepare the baked clam dip in advance. Do all the steps right up to placing it in the oven to bake. We love to slice a couple of baguettes and then toast them with a little butter or olive oil brushed on the tops. If serving to guests, we suggest also including cut vegetables, such as celery or bell pepper strips, which are great for scooping.  Buttery crackers are wonderful, too. 

A hand holding up a toasted slice of bread topped with baked clam dip.

This dip is the quintessential party dip. We had one guest tell us that the taste is like the topping of baked clams.  We 100% agree!

Speaking of baked clams, if you love this recipe, you’ll most likely love our incredible Baked Clams!

But in the meantime, you really should whip up a batch of this appetizer.

A hand using a slice of toasted baguette to scoop up a helping of baked clam dip.

Ready to make the best clam dip recipe in the world? Go for it!

And when you do, be sure to take a photo of it, post it on Instagram, and tag @HowToFeedaLoon and hashtag #HowToFeedaLoon!

A hand using a slice of toasted baguette to scoop up a helping of baked clam dip.

Baked Clam Dip

This incredible baked clam dip is like dipping into a giant baked clam with all the yummy toppings. Buttery with veggies, clams, with a hint of citrus and hot sauce. So good.
5 from 3 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: American
Keyword: easy party appetizers, how to make clam dip, old fashioned clam dip
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Servings: 10 people
Calories: 159kcal

Equipment

  • 8"x10" baking dish

Ingredients

  • 6 tbsp unsalted butter ¾ stick
  • 1 cup onion chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper seeded and chopped
  • 1 cup celery chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 whole lemon juiced, about 2 tbsps
  • 3 6.5 oz. cans clams chopped, with juice
  • 1 tbsp hot sauce ie, Tobasco of Krytsals
  • ½ tsp Kosher salt
  • 2 cups bread crumbs Italian-style Panko crumbs are great!
  • ¼ cup Parmesan cheese grated, optional

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion, pepper, celery, and garlic. Cook until tender, about 10 minutes
  • Add lemon juice, clams (with juice), hot sauce and salt
  • Take off the heat and add the bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese (if using)¼
  • Put into a greased medium-sized casserole dish (8"x11" works well).
  • Bake for 25 minutes.
  • Remove from oven and turn on the broiler
  • Add the dish back in and broil for about 3 minutes...until lightly browned on top (keep an eye on this...will brown quickly).
  • Serve with warm bread slices or crackers

Video

Notes

No need to get expensive clams for this dip.  Canned clams (with juice) can be found in the area of your supermarket where canned tuna fish is sold.  You'll need three 6.5 oz cans (don't drain!). 
The tbsp of hot sauce does not add much spice to the dish.  Just a little zest. 
We often add ¼ cup of grated Parmesan cheese when we stirring in the bread crumbs.  Not 100% necessary, but really delicious!  
We love using Italian-style Panko bread crumbs, but any type will work just fine.  You'll need a total of 2 cups. 
The dip can be made up to 24 hours in advance before baking.  Keep in the fridge, covered with plastic wrap or foil.  
Be careful when placing the cooked dip under the broiler to slightly brown the top.  Broilers vary, so keep an eye on it the dish and be sure it doesn't get too browned or burned.
We serve the dip with pieces of warmed bruschetta or sliced baguettes that we have toasted with a little olive oil or butter.  It's also great with Town House crackers, and cut veggies. 
The cooked dip will keep in the fridge for up to 1 week.  

Nutrition

Calories: 159kcal | Carbohydrates: 18g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 18mg | Sodium: 321mg | Potassium: 124mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 631IU | Vitamin C: 18mg | Calcium: 52mg | Iron: 1mg
Tried this recipe? Take a Picture!Mention @HowToFeedALoon or tag #HowToFeedALoon!

POST UPDATE: The recipe was originally published in November 2015, but was updated with improved tweaks to the recipe with new tips and photography, and a fabulous new video in February 2021!