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Clam dip

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Clam dip
Chunky clam dip with various foods for dipping
Chunky clam dip with various foods for dipping
TypeDip, snack food
CourseSometimes served as an appetizer[1]
Place of originUnited States
Serving temperatureUsually chilled, sometimes served hot or at room temperature
Main ingredientssour cream and/or cream cheese, chopped or minced clams, various seasonings[1][2]
Ingredients generally usedLemon juice, Worcestershire sauce[1][2]
Food energy
(per 1 tablespoon serving)
71 kcal (297 kJ)
Nutritional value
(per 1 tablespoon serving)
Other information– Hot clam dip can include melted cheese[3]
– Nutrition information source:[2]

Clam dip is a dipping sauce and condiment prepared with clams, sour cream or cream cheese, and seasonings as primary ingredients. Various additional ingredients can be used. It is usually served chilled, although it is sometimes served hot or at room temperature. It is used as a dip for potato chips, crackers, bread, and crudités. Commercial varieties of clam dip are mass-produced by some companies and marketed to consumers in grocery stores and supermarkets.


In the early 1950s in the United States, the first televised recipe for clam dip appeared on the Kraft Music Hall show,[1][2] a well-known and popular radio and television variety program that ran from 1933 to 1971.[4] After the recipe segment aired, canned clams in New York City sold out within 24 hours. The ingredients used in this recipe were minced canned clams, cream cheese, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, salt and pepper.[1][2] Clam dip remained popular throughout the 1960s and 1970s in the U.S., at which time prepared manufactured clam dips were available in U.S. supermarkets. As various tomato based salsas gained more popularity with American consumers beginning in the late 1980s and 1990s, the popularity of clam dip and similar dips made with sour cream and cream cheese declined.[1]


Ingredients to prepare clam dip

Clam dip is typically prepared using chopped or minced clams, sour cream or cream cheese, and various seasonings, and usually served chilled.[5] It is used as a dip for potato chips, bread, crackers, and crudités.[1][6] It has a creamy texture and mouthfeel.[7][8] Canned, cooked, and frozen or fresh clams may be used, the latter of which can be cooked by steaming[6] or pan cooking. Canned clams can be drained, or the liquid can be retained and used as an ingredient.[3][9] After refrigeration, the dip may thicken, and the liquid from canned clams can be used to thin the dip.[10] Milk or cream is also sometimes used to thin clam dip.[10] When refrigerated overnight, the flavors of the ingredients intermingle more greatly, resulting in a more flavorful dip.[11][12] Smoked clams are sometimes used, which imbues a distinct smoky flavor to the dip.[13][14] The clams can be smoked in the shell and then minced afterward.[15]

Additional ingredients can be used, such as lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, onion, scallions, shallots, chives, garlic, and pepper sauce.[1][5][16][17][18] The ingredients can be mixed using a food processor.[5] It is sometimes served as a hot dip,[9][16][19] which can be kept warm using a chafing dish, and melted cheese can be used as an ingredient in hot versions.[3][20] It is also sometimes served at room temperature.[12] Clam dip can be served in a hollowed-out loaf of bread, such as sourdough.[9][21] It can be garnished with ingredients such as parsley, scallions and paprika.[5][10][22] Crudités to accompany the dish can include red peppers, carrots, radishes, and cauliflower, among others.[18] Prepared clam dip can be preserved by storing it in a freezer.[23]

Commercial varieties[edit]

A close-up view of a clam dip

Some companies mass-produce commercial varieties of prepared clam dip and market them to consumers in grocery stores and supermarkets.[1][24] Commercial varieties are typically packaged in plastic tubs.[25] Prepared clam dip mixes have also been commercially manufactured and marketed to consumers.[26][27] One such product comes packaged with dried sour cream that is reconstituted using water.[27]

Nutrition information[edit]

A one-tablespoon serving of clam dip using the recipe that aired in the early 1950s on the Kraft Music Hall show contains 71 calories, 1 g carbohydrate, 5 g protein, 5 g total fat (with 3 g saturated fat), 25 mg cholesterol and 136 mg sodium.[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i Lovegren, Sylvia (2005). Fashionable Food: Seven Decades of Food Fads. Chicago, Illinois: University of Chicago Press. p. 219. ISBN 978-0-226-49407-4.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Nunn, Emily (2008). "Kraft clam dip launched a million chips". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 24 April 2016.
  3. ^ a b c Brown, Marion L. (1980). Marion Brown's Southern cook book. Chapel Hill, North Carolina: University of North Carolina Press. p. 20. ISBN 978-0-8078-4078-8.
  4. ^ Brooks, Tim; Marsh, Earle F. (2009). The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows, 1946–Present. New York: Random House Publishing Group, Ballantine Books. p. 749. ISBN 978-0-307-48320-1.
  5. ^ a b c d Dimmick, Tod (2003). The Complete Idiot's Guide to 5-Minute Appetizers. Complete Idiot's Guide to. Indianapolis, Indiana: Alpha Books. p. 85. ISBN 978-1-59257-134-5.
  6. ^ a b Thompson, Fred (2006). The Big Book of Fish & Shellfish. Big Book Series. San Francisco, California: Chronicle Books. p. 247. ISBN 978-0-8118-4925-8. Retrieved April 24, 2016.
  7. ^ Lawrence, Marie W. (2011). The Farmer's Cookbook. Back to Basics Guides. New York, NY: Skyhorse Pub. p. 9. ISBN 978-1-61608-380-9.
  8. ^ Over, Joan (2003). The Newfoundland and Labrador Seafood Cookbook. St. John's, NL: Breakwater Books. p. 45. ISBN 978-1-55081-198-8.
  9. ^ a b c Porter, Brooke (November 25, 2014). "'Twas the night before Thanksgiving: Taylor Family Clam Dip". Deseret News. Retrieved April 24, 2016.
  10. ^ a b c Phillips, Diane (2005). Perfect Party Food. Non Series. Boston, Massachusetts: Harvard Common Press. p. 81. ISBN 978-1-55832-260-8.
  11. ^ "Creamy Clam Dip". Betty Crocker. Retrieved 24 April 2016.
  12. ^ a b Altman, Elissa (2015). Poor Man's Feast. New York: Penguin Publishing, Berkley Books. p. 43. ISBN 978-0-425-27835-2.
  13. ^ Galarneau, Andrew Z. (September 8, 2015). "Oshun's chips get smoky clam dip they deserve". Gusto. Archived from the original on August 27, 2016. Retrieved April 24, 2016.
  14. ^ Raichlen, Steven (2014). Man Made Meals. New York: Workman Publishing. pp. 215–216. ISBN 978-0-7611-6644-3.
  15. ^ Jamison, Cheryl A.; Jamison, Bill (2003). Smoke & Spice (Revised ed.). Boston, Massachusetts: Harvard Common Press. p. 327. ISBN 978-1-55832-262-2.
  16. ^ a b Bakewell, S. 700 Tasty Dip Recipes For All Occasions. p. 82. ISBN 978-1-326-44387-0.
  17. ^ Coopey, Erin (2013). The Kitchen Pantry Cookbook. Beverly, MA: Quarry Books. p. 150. ISBN 978-1-61058-776-1.
  18. ^ a b "The Dish: Chef Mike Price of Market Table and The Clam". CBS News. October 24, 2015. Retrieved April 24, 2016.
  19. ^ Hildebrand, Robert; Hildebrand, Carol (November 1, 2006). 3-Ingredient Slow Cooker Comfort Foods. Gloucester, Massachusetts: Fair Winds Press. p. 22. ISBN 159233251X. ISBN 978-1592332519.
  20. ^ Sunset (1976) [1965]. "Sunset Hors d'Oeuvres (Appetizers – Spreads – Dips – Party Sandwiches)". Menlo Park, California: Lane Publishing. ISBN 0376024437. ISBN 9780376024435. Retrieved 24 April 2016.
  21. ^ Conway, Linda Glick (1993). Party receipts from the Charleston Junior League hors d'oeuvres, savories, sweets. Chapel Hill, N.C: Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill. p. 55. ISBN 978-1-56512-810-1.
  22. ^ Thomas, Cathy (February 3, 2016). "Easy dips and a one-pot chili entree perfect for Super Bowl Sunday". The Orange County Register. Retrieved April 24, 2016.
  23. ^ Magazine, South Carolina Wildlife (1989). Southeastern Wildlife Cookbook. University of South Carolina Press. p. 142. ISBN 978-0-87249-659-0.
  24. ^ Dahlson, Anne (1986). Increased Utilization of Sauerkraut and Cabbage Through Technological Developments. Madison, Wisconsin: University of Wisconsin Madison. p. 136. (subscription required)
  25. ^ Wolff, Fritz (2004). A Room for the Summer: Adventure, Misadventure, and Seduction in the Mines of the Coeur D'Alene. Norman, Oklahoma: University of Oklahoma Press. p. 207. ISBN 978-0-8061-3658-5. Retrieved April 24, 2016.
  26. ^ "Canner/packer". Volumes 141–142. Triad Publishing Company. 1972. p. 146. Retrieved 24 April 2016. A new packaging concept used by Doxsee Food Corp., Baltimore, Md., for merchandising two new products — clam dip mix and stuffed clam appetizers — has resulted in sales far exceeding forecast. Doxsee is using a system of Scotch ...
  27. ^ a b "The Food Institute's Weekly Digest". Volume 79. American Institute of Food Distribution. 1972. p. 4. The clam dip mix has a can of dried sour cream mix (2-oz.)

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