What are the best clams for Clam Dip?

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What's it about

Are you ready for the Superbowl Sunday spread? Add Clam Dip with your favorite chips as one of the pre-game appetizers. It's quick and easy to make.If you are wondering what clams are the best for clam dip, see our review.

Clam Dip

I have a nostalgia for clam dip going back to my childhood days. Our family ate very healthy most of the time. Being able to feast on salty chips, dips, pizza and Hickory Farms on Sundays was always a treat. Why should you make clam dip? They don’t sell it at the grocery store or they used to many years ago. It is always nice to mix it up with more than one dip if you are serving salsa, con queso or guacamole and chips. I discovered in recent years that not all canned clams taste the same. If I was preparing a Vongole or Asari Sakamushi (steamed clams in sake), then it would definitely be fresh clams. But, not all of us have access to the freshest seafood product. Some dishes like clam dip do not require fresh clams. So, I experimented with different brands to see which was the best in terms minimal processing, quality, taste and price.


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1. Snow’s Bumble Bee Chopped Clams

This is a pretty common label that has been on the shelves for years. The flavor works well with clam dip and as a quick 20 minute substitute for clam linguine. The problem that I have is that the amount looks skimpy when you open the can. Also it has a label with “no MSG”. I don’t have issues with MSG in moderation. The issue I have with these clams are the additional preservatives Sodium Tripolyphosphate (STPP) and Calcium Disodium EDTA. I included links, but STPP is a registered pesticide and causes seafood to absorb water. Hence the skimpy amount in the can because it is sold by weight. EDTA in large quantities can cause a drop in calcium levels and kidney damage. At $1.53 per can, I would only recommend this if you are on a tight budget and only in moderation.

2. Bar Harbor Chopped Clams

Bar Harbor products are sustainably harvested from the coast of Maine and prepared in small batches with no artificial additives. The flavor and appearance of these clams was decent. However, the labeling provides a lot of consumer confidence. It states that the can lining is BPA free. The clams come from sustainable fisheries. Best of all the listed ingredients are purely clams, water and sea salt. I feel tons better about giving this a high recommendation. The price at $4.29 per can is steep, but worth it when you consider the all natural clams with no preservatives.

3. Snow’s Bumble Bee Wild-Caught Chopped Clams

These clams looked a little different from the regular Bumble Bee clams. They do come from certified sustainable fisheries. The price can be slightly more expensive ranging from $1.53 to $2.39 per can. Again, I have the issue that this is not a recommended product due to the same preservatives.

4. Cento Whole Baby Clams

This is the same company that makes the canned San Marzano tomatoes. We actually liked this brand. It is great that they do not use preservatives. They were plump and juice enough to use them for a white clam sauce and pasta. For clam dip, I would chop them. This is recommended product at $2.99 per can. Note that it is sold as 10 ounces, but the drained weight (clam meat) is 5 ounces.

5. Sea Watch Chopped Sea Clams

These are sustainable, restaurant quality canned clams from one of the largest harvesters located in Chesapeake Bay, MD. From a satisfaction standpoint we liked these the best. However, there is definitely a trend that the preservatives maintain a superior look and taste.

6. Crown Prince Whole Baby Clams

These are a wild caught product of Indonesia. We had some concerns about the Prop 65 warning on the label since the ingredients were all natural with the inclusion of only citrus acid. Here is the statement from the company regarding FDA compliance. We did like this product as well.

Conclusion

A lot of products contain additives and preservatives in small amounts deemed somewhat safe in moderation. This is what makes them plump and juicy with a nice sheen. In conclusion, it is important to check labels on cans, especially ingredients. Overall, in terms of taste and flavor we ranked #1 Sea Watch; #2 Bar Harbor; and #3 Cento. I would personally recommend Crown Prince, Cento and Bar Harbor because they are all natural products. I provided links to the best online pricing that I could find.



top view of misc en place for making clam dip

PREPARING CLAM DIP

Liquids and cream cheese don’t work that well together if mixing by hand. Unless you are using pre-whipped cream cheese, it is best to use a stand mixer or an electric egg beater. This will give you a nice smooth, well incorporated consistency for your dip.

STEP 1

Using the whisk attachment on a stand mixer, whip the cream cheese until creamy.

STEP 2

Turn the speed to low and add the clam juice, lemon juice, Worcestershire, sour cream and garlic. Keep mixing until smooth and well incorporated.

STEP 3

Turn the mixer off. Fold in the chopped clams and green onions. Season with salt and pepper as needed. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours. This dip can be made a few days ahead of time. The longer it sits, the better the flavor.

It is an easy recipe and there are many close variations out there. I wanted to include this because I have loved clam dip for many years. Plus, the big game is coming up. Does the GOAT pull it off again or is it a repeat with the Chiefs? Whatever happens, have a great gameday!

*Tasting Notes: You can substitute chives instead of green onions if you prefer. We added a little bit of smoked paprika at the end for color and flavor.

Uncle’s Clam Dip Recipe (recipe variation)

This is not the recipe that goes with this post. But, this is the recipe I was taught as a kid. Sometimes we would take some finely chopped smoked fish from the seafood deli and add it to the dip as well. Sometimes the older folks would add a little bit of hot sauce for heat.

  • 16 ounces sour cream
  • 1 can canned clams (6.5 ounces), drain clam juice
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 packet Lipton’s Onion Soup mix
  • green onions, chopped
  • optional: 2-3 drops Tabasco sauce
Yield: 2 CUPS

Clam Dip

Clam Dip

Are you ready for the Superbowl Sunday spread? Add Clam Dip with your favorite chips as one of the pre-game appetizers. It's quick and easy to make.

Prep Time 20 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup clam juice
  • 10 -13 ounces canned clams, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon garlic, crushed
  • 1/4 cup green onions, minced
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice to taste
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Using the whisk attachment on a stand mixer, whip the cream cheese until creamy.
  2. Turn the speed to low and add the clam juice, lemon juice, Worcestershire, sour cream and garlic. Keep mixing until smooth and well incorporated.
  3. Turn the mixer off. Fold in the chopped clams and green onions. Season with salt and pepper as needed. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours. This dip can be made a few days ahead of time. The longer it sits, the better the flavor.

Notes

1. You can substitute green onions with chives if you prefer.

Did you make this recipe?

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