This classic Baked Clams Oreganata recipe is a crowd pleasing appetizer for special occasions and holidays. They’re very easy to make, using either fresh or canned clams. Best of all, they can be prepared ahead of time to cook in the oven later!
Why it Works
This stuffed Baked Clams Oreganata recipe is a fabulous appetizer for parties. The tender clams, zesty garlic, fresh herbs, parmesan cheese and crispy breadcrumbs all work together beautifully. Every bite is somehow tender and crispy at the same time!
Yes, this recipe is definitely a crowd pleaser, but my favorite thing about it is that it can be prepped in advance, refrigerated or frozen, and then baked just before serving! That makes the host’s job much, much easier.
- Fresh Clams or Canned Clams. Canned clams are budget friendly and super convenient, but if you have fresh Littleneck or Manila clams, I’ll teach you how to steam them for use in this recipe, too!
- Panko Breadcrumbs. Using panko will result in the crispiest top, but feel free to substitute regular breadcrumbs if that’s what you have.
- Olive Oil
- Parsley and Oregano. Fresh or dried herbs work great! Check the recipe card below for the correct measurements.
- Parmesan Cheese. For the best taste, I recommend grating your own parmesan cheese. Pre-shredded cheese is usually coated in anti-caking additives that change the texture.
- Salt & Pepper
- Lemon, for serving. A bit of sprinkled lemon juice brightens up the dish beautifully. Don’t skip the lemon!
👉 If you’re using fresh clams, save the shells and wash them well with hot, soapy water. You can then use them as vessels for baking! If using canned clams, use these tin clam shells.
Step by Step Instructions
Steaming Fresh Clams: If you’re using fresh clams, you’ll need to steam them. Set the clams in a large pot with about 1/2 cup water and a splash of white wine or lemon juice. Cover and turn the heat to medium. Allow it to come to a simmer for 7-8 minutes, or until the clam shells open up.
Be sure to discard any clams with unopened shells, and save the cooking liquid!
Once the clams are cool enough to handle, twist the clam shells to break them in two. Remove the cooked clam meat from the shells and use a sharp knife to dice them into bite sized pieces. Allow the clams to cool, then remove from the shells and dice into bite sized pieces.
Using Canned Clams: Simply open the cans and drain about half of the liquid. The size of the pieces of clam can vary a bit, so if you find they’re are larger than you’d like, dice them a bit smaller.
Mince the garlic and herbs. Next, mix together the clams, reserved liquid, breadcrumbs, herbs, garlic, olive oil, parmesan and salt and pepper in a bowl.
👉 Note: The consistency of the mixture should be moist through, but not overly wet. If needed, add a few more teaspoons of the reserved liquid to the mixture.
Spoon the mixture into the clam shells, pressing it gently into each shell to fill it.
- Cook Now: Set the filled clam shells on a baking sheet and cook in a preheated oven for about 30 minutes.
- Cook Later: Cover the clams with plastic wrap or set in an airtight container and refrigerate up to 24 hours. Remove from the refrigerator, set the clams on a baking sheet, and cook according to the recipe below.
- Freeze for Later: Lay the clams on a baking sheet and freeze for 1-2 hours. Transfer the partially frozen clams to an airtight bag and squeeze as much air out as possible before closing the bag. Return to the freezer. Defrost in the refrigerator overnight and cook according to the recipe below. For best taste, use within 2 months.
You’ll know the clams are done when they’re nice and crispy on the top. Sprinkle with a little fresh lemon juice and serve right away.
Expert Tips & FAQ
Many people confuse Clams Casino and Clams Oreganata. They’re similar in presentation and basic ingredients, however Clams Casino contains extra flavors of bell peppers, shallots, and bacon.
Absolutely! The best way to freeze stuffed baked clams is before cooking. Prepare the mixture, then spoon it into the clam shells. Lay the clams on a baking sheet and freeze for 1-2 hours, then transfer the partially frozen clams to an airtight bag. Return the clams to the freezer to finish freezing.
Of course! However, Panko breadcrumbs are coarser than regular fine breadcrumbs, which give you a crispier, crunchier texture after cooking.
Manila and Littleneck Clams are the hard shell clam varieties most widely available in grocery stores and markets. They’re both smaller sized clams with tender, sweet meat, and they can be used interchangeably in most recipes.
I like to serve baked clams with a simple baby spinach and arugula salad, drizzled with lemon juice, olive oil, and a crack of black pepper. Pour a glass of white wine and enjoy!
More Easy Appetizers
- Prosciutto Wrapped Dates
- Shishito Peppers & Dipping Sauce
- Pepperoni Cheese Crisps
- Everything Bagel Deviled Eggs
- Big Mac Potato Skins
- Pork Belly Potato Stacks
- Spicy Sriracha Hummus
Making this recipe? I’d love to hear about your experience!
Leave a comment below or tag me on Instagram @cookathomemom.
Baked Clams Oreganata
- 16 fresh littleneck clams, or two 6.5 oz. cans of clams
- 1 cup panko breadcrumbs or 3/4 cup regular breadcrumbs
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic
- 3 Tablespoons grated parmesan
- 1.5 Tablespoons fresh flat leaf parsley or 1 teaspoon dried parsley
- 1/2 Tablespoon fresh oregano 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/4 teaspoons salt
- 1/4 teaspoons pepper
- 1 lemon, sliced, for serving
- Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C).
- Steaming Fresh Clams: Add the clams to a large pot with 1/2 cup water and a splash of white wine or lemon juice. Cover and steam over medium heat for 7-8 minutes, or until the clams open. Reserve the cooking liquid and discard any unopened clams.Carefully remove the cooked clam meat from the shells, then dice the meat into bite sized pieces. Break the shells in two and choose about 14-16 to use for filling. Wash the shells under hot, soapy water and pat them dry. Using Canned Clams: Open the cans and drain about half of the liquid. Dice any large clams into bite sized pieces.
- Mince the garlic, parsley, and oregano. Measure and mix together the clams, 3 tablespoons of reserved liquid, oil, garlic, herbs, seasonings, breadcrumbs, and parmesan cheese. The mixture should be fully moist- not dry and crumbly but also not watery. If needed, mix in a bit more reserved clam liquid, 1-2 teaspoons at a time.
- Spoon the mixture to fill each clam shell, pressing it gently into the shell. Set the filled shells on a baking sheet. Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes, or until heated through and crispy on top.
- Allow the baked clams to cool slightly, then carefully transfer them to a plate. Sprinkle with lemon juice and serve.