If you’re in the market for a quick, simple appetizer that feeds a crowd and is sure to impress, this baked clam dip is where it’s at. Made by folding clams and loads of tasty seasonings into a mixture of sour cream and cream cheese, the dip is topped with Parmesan cheese and baked until golden brown and bubbly.
Recipe developer Beth Chen from Bon AIPPetit is the mastermind behind this delicious dip. She loves serving it with tortilla chips, but she notes that "potato chips, bagel chips, or crackers would taste great as well." If you want a gluten-free, nutrient-dense option, we could also imagine serving this dip with crudités like carrot sticks, cucumber rounds, or blanched broccoli florets.
This dip is so delicious that we’d be surprised if there were any leftovers at all. That said, Chen notes that "it can totally be reheated! Although it does taste best right out of the oven."
And you don’t need to take her word for it. Let’s get cooking!
Gather the ingredients for the baked clam dip
To make this baked clam dip, you’ll start with canned whole clams. Chen prefers Bar Harbor Premium clams "because they have no extra, unnecessary ingredients. It’s mostly just clams." Drain and chop the clams, reserving three tablespoons of the canning liquid — you may need it to thin out the dip later. You’ll also need cream cheese and sour cream, which will form the base of this dip. Leave the cream cheese out a bit before beginning, as this will make it softer and easier to incorporate into the mixture.
This base is seasoned with grated sweet onion, which will melt right into the dip, lending flavor without changing its texture too much. Black pepper, salt, and smoked paprika join the party, as well as a touch of your hot sauce of choice. "I used sriracha," says Chen, "but any hot sauce would do."
Grated Parmesan tops the dip before it goes in the oven, and a garnish of green onions, parsley, or both are sprinkled on just before serving.
Make the mixture for the baked clam dip
To make this baked clam dip, first preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. While the oven heats, turn your attention to the dip. To make it, first place the softened cream cheese in a bowl and mash it until smooth. This should be pretty easy if the cream cheese is already at room temperature — you just want it to be workable so that it combines well with the other ingredients.
Speaking of which, it’s time for them to join the party! Add the sour cream, chopped clams, hot sauce, grated onion, salt, pepper, and smoked paprika to the cream cheese, and stir to combine fully. If the mixture is very thick, add some of the reserved clam juice, a half-tablespoon at a time, until the dip is, well, dippable.
Bake the baked clam dip
Once the mixture for the baked clam dip has come together, transfer it into a 24-ounce baking dish. This is the vessel in which it will be served, so be sure it’s one in which you’ll be happy to present the final dish! Sprinkle the dip with Parmesan cheese, then place on a baking sheet, which will catch the mess if the dip bubbles over. Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown on top.
When the dip has finished baking, remove it from the oven and sprinkle with green onions, parsley, or both. Serve the dip hot with the dippers of your choosing.
- 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
- ½ cup sour cream
- 2 (6 ½-ounce) cans whole clams, such as Bar Harbor Premium, drained and coarsely chopped, 3 tablespoons liquid reserved
- 1 teaspoon hot sauce
- ¼ cup sweet onion, preferably grated
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
- Green onions, thinly sliced, for garnish
- Parsley, chopped, for garnish
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- In a mixing bowl, mash the softened cream cheese until smooth. Add the sour cream, clams, hot sauce, onion, salt, pepper, and smoked paprika. Stir to combine fully. If mixture is super thick, add the reserved clam juice ½ tablespoon at a time, until the dip is dippable.
- Transfer the dip to a 24-ounce baking dish, and spread into even layer. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese over the top.
- Place the dish on a baking sheet, then place in the oven and bake for about 30 minutes or until hot, bubbling, and golden on top.
- Once it’s finished baking, remove the dip from the oven and sprinkle with green onions and parsley. Serve hot with veggies, tortilla chips, crackers, or crusty bread.