How to Make Clam Stuffies with Spicy Chorizo

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stuffed quahogs

What’s Up, Hungry People

During the last clam bake season, I discovered a fantastic way to prepare clams that’s both delicious and ideal for on-the-go enjoyment. Known locally as “stuffies,” these stuffed clams combine a savory clam and chorizo filling with a crunchy Old Bay breading. What’s not to love about a dish that’s as perfect for a swanky party as it is for a casual tailgate?

Stuffed quahogs, or large clams, are a blend of savory with just a hint of sweetness, making them a standout addition to any gathering. After experimenting with this recipe, I’m eager to explore more regional variations and perhaps even try authentic stuffies in New England!

stuffed chorizo clams

Here’s What You Need

  • Clams or quahogs: Provides the main seafood flavor and texture to the dish.
  • Spicy chorizo: Adds a robust, spicy kick that complements the clams.
  • Onion: Contributes a mild, sweet flavor when cooked, rounding out the savory notes.
  • Red & green bell peppers: Offer a slight crunch and vibrant color to the filling.
  • Garlic: Infuses the mixture with a pungent, aromatic flavor.
  • Clam juice: Enhances the seafood flavor in the filling.
  • Lemon juice: Brings a bright, acidic touch to balance the richness.
  • Butter: Used for sautéing and as part of the crunchy topping for a rich finish.
  • Old Bay seasoning: Adds a classic, spicy flavor that is perfect for seafood.
  • Bread crumbs or panko: Helps bind the filling and adds crunch to the topping.
  • Parmesan cheese: Provides a salty, nutty flavor to the breadcrumb topping.
  • Salt & pepper: Season to enhance all the flavors in the dish.
boiling clams

Let’s Cook!

The process starts with cooking and shucking the clams. Since you’ll be using the cleaned shell halves to serve the filling, it’s crucial to give the shells an extra thorough scrubbing before boiling them.

It’s important to reserve some of the water, referred to as “clam juice,” used in cooking the clams as it’s essential for the recipe.

blending clams

Once the clams are removed from their shells, they’re pulsed in a food processor with some cooked spicy chorizo.

You’re aiming for a thick filling with a bit of texture, so be cautious not to over-process. This maintains the delightful bits of clam and chorizo that make each bite interesting.

blended clams

Next, I sauté onions and red and green peppers until they are tender. After adding the chorizo and clam mix to the skillet, I toss in some minced garlic and a dash of Old Bay seasoning for that signature flavor. Bread crumbs are then added to bind the filling together.

making filling

To prepare each clam for serving, scoop a heaping tablespoon of the mixture into each shell half and press gently to secure it.

making crispy topping

For a crunchy finish, a topping made from breadcrumbs, butter, and more Old Bay seasoning is generously sprinkled over the stuffed clams. My boyfriend, preferring a lighter texture, suggested offering a “crust-free” option next time, which seems like a great idea to cater to different tastes.

stuffing clams

These stuffies only need to be baked long enough to achieve a crispy golden top. If you’re preparing them a day ahead, simply bake them long enough to reheat thoroughly.

breading clams

The crunchy topping is made from breadcrumbs mixed with butter and Old Bay seasoning and can be generously sprinkles across the tops of all the stuffed clams.

My boyfriend said he would have liked a “crust free” option, so next time, I’ll definitely leave a few bare tops.

baked clams

Tips for Perfect New England Clam Stuffies

  • Choose the Right Clams: For the best results, use fresh, large clams or quahogs that are free from cracks and close tightly when tapped. This ensures they are alive and fresh.
  • Cooking Clams: Make sure to cook clams just until they open. Overcooking can make them tough and chewy. Discard any clams that don’t open after cooking as this indicates they were dead before cooking and could be harmful to eat.
  • Shucking Clams: To make the process easier, let the clams cool slightly after boiling. Use a small knife to gently open the shell and loosen the clam meat.
  • Preventing Soggy Stuffies: Avoid overloading the clam shells with too much juice or butter. This can make the breadcrumbs soggy instead of crispy when baked.
  • Make Ahead: You can prepare the stuffed clams a day ahead and refrigerate. When ready to serve, just pop them in the oven to heat through and crisp up the topping.
chorizo clams

Wrapping up, these New England clam stuffies are not just a treat for the palate but also a joy to make. Each step, from prepping the clams to the final golden browning of the breadcrumbs, is a culinary adventure in its own right. Whether you’re looking to impress guests at your next gathering or just want to indulge in a delicious seafood appetizer, this recipe hits the mark every time.

clams with chorizo

The combination of spicy chorizo with the fresh flavors of clams and a hint of lemon makes for a truly mouthwatering experience. So the next time you’re in the mood for something a bit different, give these stuffies a try—your taste buds will thank you!

stuffed quahogs

New England Clam Stuffies

The Starving Chef
Enjoy a burst of New England flavors with these savory clam stuffies, filled with spicy chorizo and a crispy breadcrumb topping.
No ratings yet
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Course Appetizer, Side Dish, Snack
Cuisine New England, Seafood
Servings 36 stuffies


  • 40 live large clams or quahogs scrubbed clean
  • 8 oz spicy chorizo
  • ½ cup onion finely chopped
  • ¼ cup red & green bell peppers chopped
  • 1 tablespoon garlic minced
  • 1 tablespoon reserved clam juice
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • ½ cup + 3 tablespoons butter melted, separated
  • 4 tablespoons Old Bay seasoning
  • 1 cup plain bread crumbs or panko
  • ¼ cup Parmesan cheese grated
  • salt & pepper to taste


  • In a large pot filled with boiling water, cook the clams until they have opened, about 10-12 minutes. Discard any that do not open. Use a butter knife to shuck the clams from their shells. Set the clam meat in one bowl and the shells in another. Reserve about one tablespoon of the clam juice.
  • Using a large skillet over high heat, cook and crumble the chorizo until browned. Place the cooked chorizo along with the clam meat into a food processor. Wipe the skillet clean. Pulse the chorizo and clams in the food processor several times, until there's a consistent thickness with few whole clams and large lumps.
  • Place three tablespoons of butter into the cleaned skillet. Sauté the onions until they are just beginning to caramelize, then add the chopped peppers. Sauté until softened.
  • Add the chorizo and clam mixture to the skillet. Stir well to combine then add the minced garlic, reserved clam juice, lemon juice, and 2 tablespoons of Old Bay seasoning. Add 3 tablespoons of bread crumbs to the skillet, plus more as necessary if the mixture is still too wet. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  • Preheat the oven to 375°F. Break the clam shells at their hinges. Press a tablespoon of the clam mixture into each half shell. Arrange on a large baking sheet in a single layer.
  • In a small bowl, melt the remaining butter and whisk in the rest of the bread crumbs and Old Bay seasoning. Sprinkle the breading over the clams, as desired. Bake for 5-10 minutes, watching closely, until the breading is golden brown and crispy. Serve hot or cool to room temperature. Enjoy!
Keyword chorizo, clams, panko
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