5 Best Canned Clams for Cooking [2023]

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Clams are a type of seafood that can be eaten both raw or cooked. They are used for cooking in a variety of dishes and add a delicate, fishy taste to whatever they are added to.

Fresh clams, however, are not as easily accessible or pocket-friendly. For this reason, most people prefer using canned clams for cooking and have a variety of options to choose from.

So, what are the best canned clams for cooking? The best canned clams are delicious, rich, healthy, and highly nutritious. They are the perfect substitute for fresh clams and can be used for cooking different types of dishes such as soups, stews, chowders, and rice and pasta dishes.

Read on for a buyer’s guide for choosing the best canned clams for cooking along with our top picks of the 5 best ones:

Best Canned Clams For Cooking – Buyer’s Guide

Canned clams are pre-cooked clams packed in a can or container for convenience.

Compared to fresh clams which are a bit expensive and difficult to source, canned clams are super easy to use and find.

All you need to do is open the can of clams, heat them up, and enjoy!

You can also use them for cooking recipes that call for fresh clams.

Canned clams have a firm texture and taste a bit sweet, briny, and fishy, although the taste is not overpowering.

To make them taste better, you can pair them with a variety of ingredients including butter, chives, scallions, and crumbled bacon.

You can also add your choice of spices and seasonings for a better flavor.

Here are a few things to look for when buying canned clams for cooking:

Size of Clams

Canned clams are available in different sizes – from tiny baby clams ideal for pasta sauces to large ones perfect for soups and casseroles.

Their size determines their cooking time and the recipes they are supposed to be used in.

Another thing to look for is whether the clams are whole or have been chopped.

Chopped clams are easier to consume and are used in recipes where they need to be mixed in, such as when preparing sauces.

Type of Clams

In the US, you will find that the majority of canned clams are hard-shelled, particularly cherrystones and turtlenecks.

These hard-shelled clams, also called bivalves and quahogs, have two shells joined by a hinge and are found in fresh water and salt water.

Soft-shelled clams such as steamers and cockles cannot withstand processing and tend to fall apart, which is why they are not usually canned.

These varieties are better suited for making chowders and other similar dishes.


Some canned clams are flavored with spices, seasonings, and other ingredients like garlic before canned, whereas some canned clams are plain and contain no added flavors.

If you want the original, unadulterated flavor of canned clams, you must choose the ones with no flavorings.

This may also be the case if you wish to add your own seasoning after opening the can as opposed to pre-seasoned clams.

Some canned clams even contain clam juice which can either be discarded or added to your dish.

Some varieties may contain water or other liquids, which is why it is important to read the label carefully before purchasing.

If you’re a fan of smoked foods, you can even buy smoked canned clams to help give your dishes a mild smokiness and make them taste incredible.

Shelf Life

Canned clams, like all other canned foods, are sterilized and packed in an airtight manner to prevent any bacterial growth and contamination.

They come with an expiration date that determines how long they will taste good and retain their quality.

When buying canned clams, make sure to check the expiration date on the packaging and use them well before they go bad.

5 Best Canned Clams For Cooking

The best canned clams for cooking offer the perfect balance between flavor, texture, and price. They are high in protein and low in calories, and add value to your dishes in terms of taste as well as nutrition.

With so many canned clams available in the market, it can often get confusing to determine which one is worth spending your money on, which is why we’re here to help!

Here are our top picks of the 5 best canned clams for cooking to help you choose:

ProductBest Features
1.Bar Harbor Chopped ClamsSustainably harvested and free of preservatives and additives
2.Bumble Bee Whole Baby Canned ClamsProtein-rich and gluten-free
3.Snow’s Wild Caught Canned Chopped ClamsWild-caught, high-quality chopped clams canned in their own juices
4.Cento Whole Baby ClamsProtein-rich whole-shelled baby clams
5.Crown Prince Natural Boiled Baby ClamsGluten-free and low in sodium and fat

1. Bar Harbor Chopped Clams

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What makes Bar Harbor stand out from the rest is the fact that they care about the environment and the waters that they harvest fresh seafood from. 

They specialize in seafood products such as clam chowder and canned clams and are compliant with the Marine Stewardship Council (MCP) – one of the highest standards in fishing practice.

Bar Harbor’s attention to detail and efforts to ensure quality and freshness are the reason they are on the top spot in this list.

Made with completely natural ingredients, Bar Harbor chopped clams are ready to eat and serve and contain no artificial flavors or additives. The clams are sorted by hand and are full of flavor and nutrition.

They come in a pack of 12 tin cans and are perfect for a variety of dishes. Each can contains chopped clam, clam juice, sea salt, milk, wheat, fish, and shellfish.

2. Bumble Bee Whole Baby Canned Clams

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Bumble Bee has been a household name in the US for over 120 years and it continues to rule the seafood market.

Made with fresh and healthy ingredients, it is one of the best canned clams for pasta sauces, clam chowder, and many other recipes.

Each can of Bumble Bee whole baby clams contains around 200 to 300 clams (yellow clam species) and is more than enough to feed an entire family!

They are high in protein, low in calories, and rich in minerals such as iron, phosphorus, and potassium.

They are also gluten-free, perfect for people following a gluten-free diet.

3. Snow’s Wild Caught Canned Chopped Clams

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Snow’s canned clams are wild-caught, high-quality chopped clams that are double-cleaned and canned in their own juices to retain their natural flavor and texture.

They taste great and contain 5 grams of lean protein per serving, which is perfect if you’re looking for a good source of protein without eating meat.

These delicious chopped clams are also gluten-free, keto-friendly, and 99% fat-free, making them a great option for people on dietary restrictions and those looking to lose a few pounds.

They taste great on their own or mixed with other dishes and seafood recipes without adding any unnecessary calories.

4. Cento Whole Baby Clams

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Cento Whole Baby Clams are healthy and nutritious and ready to eat right out of the can.

Made with all-natural ingredients and no artificial flavors or additives, these are a good choice for people who want nutrition without compromising on the flavor.

Available in 10 oz sturdy tin cans, each can contains around 11 grams of protein and has a long shelf life.

Perfect for a snack or as an ingredient for cooking, it can be used in a variety of dishes such as sauces, pasta, pizza, and chowder.

5. Crown Prince Natural Boiled Baby Clams

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Crown Prince has a commitment to quality and customer satisfaction, which earns it a spot on this list of the best canned clams for cooking.

While many brands harvest their clams from farms, Crown Prince uses wild-caught clams as it believes they have a better taste and are nutritionally denser.

A can of Crown Prince baby clams contains baby clams, water, and citric acid.

It has no preservatives, is made of natural ingredients, and contains no allergens.

It is rich in protein and low in sodium and fat. It is also gluten-free and non-GMO verified.

Final Thoughts

Canned clams are a great alternative to fresh clams in terms of accessibility and budget.

They are quick, convenient, nutritious, and delicious, and can be used in a variety of dishes including paella, pizza, ceviche, chowder, salads, sauces, rice, dips, mousse, fritters, casserole, stir-fry, and so much more!

To make sure your dishes turn out incredible, you need to use the best canned clams for cooking. We’ve narrowed down the list of the best brands that deliver a perfect balance of flavor, nutrition, and quality.

From chopped clams to whole clams, baby clams, wild-caught clams, and naturally boiled clams, this list has it all. Give them a try one by one to see which one suits your taste and preference!

Related Questions

Now that we’ve extensively covered what the absolute best canned clams are, let’s go over a few important related questions.

Are canned clams healthy to eat?

Canned clams are actually quite healthy to eat as they are a good source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids as well as other nutrients.

Canned clams also have fairly low calories considering their protent and nutrition content, making them a great addition to just about any dish.

Just be sure to not pick canned clams that are really high in sodium, additives, or preservatives. Instead, opt for those packed in water or natural juices.

How long can you keep canned clams in your pantry?

In general, most unopened canned clams will last about 2 years when kept in the pantry as long as they are kept fairly cool and dry.

However, you should also keep an eye on the expiration date for a more accurate guess as to when the product will no longer be fresh and safe to eat.

Once you open your canned clams you should store them in the refrigerator and use them within 3-5 days.

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