Make These Clam Cakes for the Fastest, Tastiest Way to Rhode Island

Make These Clam Cakes for the Fastest, Tastiest Way to Rhode Island


I grew up on the coast of Rhode Island where our fairs always featured clam cakes. Crispy on the outside and soft and pillowy inside, we put them in a paper bag with sea salt gave them a good shake.


Basically what summer tastes like.

Basically what summer tastes like. Photo by James Ransom

While I grew up eating both New England and Manhattan-style clam chowders, clam cakes were a special treat I had to figure out on my own because my family didn’t typically fry food. In the fifth grade, I made my first batch of fritters while I was home alone—both shocking and delighting my family. Later, I experimented with combining corn with clams to make these hybrid cakes. They have a hint of sweetness—almost like a plain doughnut—that makes these so good on their own, but feel free to serve with butter pickles, cocktail sauce, or clam chowder.

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For your clams, quahogs are best, but other hard shelled clams work well, too. This recipe is also great with just 1 cup of all fresh corn and 1 1/2 cups of plain milk, but would need 4 teaspoons of baking powder to compensate for the decreased acidity. For a vegetarian version, simply use 3/4 cup each of buttermilk and beer with 1 cup of corn.

Lastly, you might want to keep your fan on and windows open. The hot oil cooks up the fritters quickly. I rarely do any deep frying, but this is my exception!

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Clam Cakes, my Rhode Island style

By Sagegreen

  • 1-1 1/4 cups minced clams, Quahogs preferred, or other hard shell clams
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2-3/4 cups corn cut off the cob, raw or cooked, silver queen or shoepeg preferred
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk (or regular milk otherwise)
  • 1/2 cup clam broth
  • 1/2 cup beer, Narragansett suggested, or more clam broth
  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon light brown sugar or maple syrup
  • canola oil for deep frying

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This article was written by Sagegreen from Food52 and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to

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