This irresistibly creamy clam dip is loaded with tender clam, bright splashes of lemon juice, and bold seasonings that your party guests will love!
If you are looking for a vibrant dip that is a sure show-stopper as soon as your guests lay eyes on it... it ain't this one. Like a chilly New England winter afternoon, clam dip is a dreary gray color that won't be winning any beauty contests but is it bursting with the briny flavor of clams that any seafood aficionado won't be able to resist.
Clam dip is an old fashioned appetizer popular in New England. The primary flavors of this dip are clams, clam juice, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, garlic, onion, and Tobasco sauce.
Don't be afraid of the hot sauce in this dip, the heat is very mild. However, you are certainly welcome to add more if you like a bit of a kick!
Clam Dip with Cream Cheese
Most dips are made with a blend of cream cheese, sour cream, and/or mayo. This is because cream cheese adds great flavor and creaminess, while mayo and sour cream lightens up the dip. However, I make my clam dip with cream cheese only, and instead the dip is thinned out by using reserved clam juice from the canned clams. Not only does this thin out the dip nicely, it fortifies the seafood flavor in the dip!
Tip: It is important to mention, when you soften the cream cheese the dip will seem thinner than it really is. As you refrigerate the dip, it will thicken up. You can add additional clam juice if you like a thinner consistency.
Clam Dip with Sour Cream
I also want to mention, I tested this recipe with a blend of sour cream added to the clam dip. Sour cream works well with the cream cheese in this recipe, but I liked the flavor and creaminess of using only cream cheese best.
The sour cream adds a subtle tanginess to the dip. If you wish to try it, add 1/4 - 1/2 cup of sour cream to the recipe as written.
How to Customize Clam Dip
I serve this dip cold, but you can customize this recipe by turning it into a baked clam dip instead. Place the clam dip in an oven-safe baking dish (affiliate link) and top with cheese and/or bread crumbs. Bake at 400 degrees until hot and bubbly.
Alternatively, or in addition to baking, you can fortify the flavor and texture by adding sauteed onions or shallots. I would recommend mincing them to match the size of the clam bits.
- 6.5 ounce canned minced clams (juice drained and reserved)
- 8 ounce package cream cheese (softened)
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 clove garlic (minced)
- ¼ teaspoon onion powder
- 4 dashes Tabasco Sauce (or similar hot sauce)
- Hearty bread, chips, or crackers for serving
- Mix together softened cream cheese and 2 teaspoons of reserved clam juice.
- Add all remaining ingredients and mix to combine.
- The dip will thicken up as it refrigerates, you can add more clam juice to adjust the thickness to your desired consistency.
- Serve with hearty bread, kettle chips, or crackers.
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