Healthy Fried Clams

Fried clams are delicious. They taste a lot like fried calamari. Most chicken-nugget-and-french-fry-loving toddlers will devour them with no complaints.

Clams are also extremely high in iron. In fact, clams have more iron than any other food. If you are looking for ways to get more iron into your family members, this recipe is your ticket.

Healthy Fried Clams

I was recently diagnosed with iron deficiency anemia. I'll have to write up a post with what happened but in a nutshell, I found out I had H. Pylori — and H. Pylori thrives on iron. It's been a few weeks since I started on the supplements… and I am starting to feel much better. (Watch for that post any day now… writing it up now… And be sure to sign up for my email updates to get notified when I post.)

I wrote this post originally in 2009, when my daughter Kate was 2 years old. She was diagnosed at the time with anemia, and this fried clam recipe did the trick to reverse her condition. I fed her clams a 2 or 3 times over a one month period, and we went back to the doctor and her iron was normal.

Here's the original post I wrote… with the recipe to follow:

It may seem like I'm doing a lot of fried food these days, and I suppose that's true. But I just (a) got a new deep fryer, (b) rendered a whole lot of beef tallow, and (c) ordered a gallon of palm oil and five gallons of expeller-pressed coconut oil. So I'm having fun playing.

Plus, it's tough when you've got a toddler on your hands who's addicted to French fries. So addicted, that anytime we go to a restaurant and anyone at the table orders fries, she refuses to eat anything else.

Speaking of said toddler, see my post about the fact that she is slightly anemic. I think it was “milk anemia”, which is fairly common for this age group.

Fried Clams recipe

Which is why I whipped up this dish of fried clams for her. Did you know that clams are really high in iron? Who knew? Popeye should have been noshing on fried clams, not spinach.

Healthy Fried Clams

It turns out that clams have more iron than any other food. In one 2.5 ounce serving of clams, you get a whopping 21 mg of iron. That's almost 3 times more iron than chicken liver (8.7 mg for 2.5 ounces) and almost 9 times more than beef (2.4 mg).


Healthy Fried Clams

Fried Clams

Makes a plate of clams — enough for a toddler's meal (contains about 42 mg of iron — toddlers need about 7 mg per day according to the RDA)

  • Author: Ann Marie Michaels
  • Category: Seafood



  1. Pour the cream into a large mixing bowl.
  2. Whisk in the egg.
  3. Add the flour to another bowl and mix in the salt and pepper.
  4. Turn the heat on low and melt the tallow, lard or expeller pressed coconut oil in a skillet.
  5. While the oil is melting, shuck the clams using a good oyster knife.
  6. How to shuck clams: Cover your wrist and forearm with a thick dishtowel to prevent injury. Pour off the liquid.
  7. Stir the clams into the cream and egg mixture until they have absorbed it.
  8. Dredge the clams in the flour mixture until well-coated.
  9. Turn the heat up and test the temperature. When the temperature reads 350-375 degrees (350 for coconut oil. and 375 for beef tallow or lard), drop the clams in. Don't crowd them — you can do two batches if you need to.
  10. Fry 2 minutes on each side — or until golden brown.
  11. Drain on paper towel and sprinkle with sea salt.
  12. Serve with lemon and homemade tartar sauce or, if you're feeding a toddler, ketchup.

Did you make this recipe?

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Equipment Needed for This Recipe

Large Stainless steel skillet or Dutch oven
Tongs or slotted spoon
Candy thermometer

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Healthy Fried Clams

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Ann Marie Michaels

I have 25 years of experience in digital and online media & marketing. I started my career in Silicon Valley and Los Angeles, working at some of the world’s top ad agencies. In 2007, after my first child was born, I started this little food blog which I grew to over 250K monthly unique website visitors and over 350K social media followers. For nearly 15 years, I've helped my audience of mostly moms and women 25-65 cook for their families and live a healthier lifestyle.

 The year after I started the blog, I founded a blog network in the health & wellness space called Village Green Network. I started the company on my coffee table and bootstrapped the business to over $1.3 million in annual revenue within 5 years. During that time, I helped a number of our bloggers become six figure earners. After being censored on almost every social media platform for telling the After being censored on almost every social media platform from Facebook and Instagram to Pinterest and Twitter, and being deplatformed on Google, I am now deployed as a digital soldier, writing almost exclusively about politics on my blog Because who can think about food when we are fighting the second revolutionary war and third world war? Don't worry, there will be more recipes one day. After the war is over.

22 thoughts on “Healthy Fried Clams

  1. Great post! I was just diagnosed as iron deficient four days ago and am still breast feeding my 9mo. My little guy has a severe Casein allergy, though, and we can’t do the cream (I am very sad about this because I am addicted to raw milk too). Any ideas for what we can sub in for the cream? Coconut milk maybe?

  2. What clams are best to purchase? I get so confused. For instance, do you only buy from Trader Joe’s (we don’t have) or do you get your shellfish from just anywhere? What do you look for? Thank you!

  3. Angelique – I think coconut milk would work great. Give it a try and let us know!

    Kim – I have been buying clams from my guy at the farmer’s market, or from Whole Foods. Whole Foods is more expensive but they usually always have them fresh. At both places they are “farmed” but they are sustainably farmed, which I believe most clams are. I could be wrong about that but I think that is the case with most mollusks.

  4. Do you have a certain fryer you like? I just returned one, the thermostat didn’t do well with the coconut oil I was using. Never heard of that before but now I’m on the look out for another.

  5. That sounds delicious. I just rendered and froze about 10 quart jars of lard. I LOVE lard and won’t bother with tallow anymore. That stuff makes everything taste so much better 🙂

  6. Kate is so cute!!! She looks beautiful and healthy and your willingness to give her nutrient dense food is applauded. I am sort of dealing with some of these same issues with my 1 1/2 year old with regards to pickyness. She used to eat lots of liver, but not so much anymore. Last night we went to dinner and she would only eat white garlic bread and nothing else (it came with my steamed clams). I really didn’t want a screaming child ruining everyone’s dinner, so I just gave in and let her have it. I felt guilty, but I guess there will be times like this. I admire how you have fed Kate and I have followed you along the way. I appreciate your willingness to be open about issues such as iron deficiency with Kate. We are all just trying to feed our children the best way we know how and posts like this can only help all of us figure it out!!

  7. i love fried clams. there is a great seafood restaurant here called > sea salt here inmpls where they use a cornmeal batter on freshly shucked fried clams andit’s so gooood. also my dad’sshop used to sell pre-battered and frozen fried clams that i would eat by the bag full. thanks for the recipe!

  8. Thanks for sharing! I plan on trying this recipe tomorrow! My little guy (14 months) is also anemic and I was so disappointed and frustrated when we found out…I tried to correct it through his diet for a month but when we retested it was even lower! Anyway, he is now on iron supplements unfortunately but I am still working my hardest to get more iron into his diet. He just doesn’t eat much at all (he still breastfeeds) but I try to make each bite of food count.

  9. A study shows clams are wildly inconsistent in iron content. Varying from 4% to 140% of MDV. It’s a crapshoot if you’re needing the iron.

  10. I heard that Himilayian sea salt has was more nutrient thatn sea salt.
    Do you think the jarred or canned clams are ok? I’ve never bought them that way or fresh, or at all! I’m looking forward to a fried food, yum!

  11. Hi! I am new to your blogg, I actually found you while searching the web for information on toddlers with anemia =(. My toddler just turned 3 and he has been suffering from severe anemi for 5 months now and not much has changed, he started at 7 and is only up to 9 since. I am guilty of still giving him the bottle but he actually needs it for comfort and only asks for it when going to bed, ofcourse he is the worst eater EVER! =( I just printed your recipe on fried clams, not a dish my Mexican mom is a fan of but were both excited to try this for him and hopefully lift him up before we see the hemathologist. We are also replacing milk with coconut water and trying our best to hide all bottles, he does well without a bottle during the entire day until bedtime comes he cries and cries and cries =( I hate it but I am going to hate it even more if he ends up real sick because of this anemia. Thank you for this recipe =)

    1. I think those are great ideas!

      Liver is also a great source of iron if you can get him to eat it.

      You should also check to see if he is having any issues with absorption. He may have food allergies which cause malabsorption. The best remedy is the GAPS Diet.

  12. Oh, I was so happy to find this post. An odd world when you go out looking for Bormioli Rocco Fido glassware and you land on a site with a fried clams recipe! I grew up in New Hampshire and fried clams are the number one thing I miss! I never new they were high in iron, oddly maple syrup is high in B12 and iron. No wonder I am anemic outside of NE! I love the idea of using coconut oil, especially since I love coconut shrimp.

    I’d love to share a trick my grandmother used: she’d sprinkle corn meal on the live clams she kept in a torn open paper bag in the veg drawer in the fridge. The clams would eat the cornmeal and ‘clean themselves out’. Considering the issues we have with coastal pollution and contaminants, this might be worth more than the unique flavor. I also suppose other whole grains might be used, I’ve just never tried any. The flavor is perfect and I realized that this was the ‘secret’ ingredient in the famous Clam Shack fried clams.

    I remember my sister complaining that corn sounded yucky and my grandmother said “low tide” is yuckier LOL. Love your blog and look forward to more recipes!

  13. I LOVE fried clams!! I craved them so much with all my pregnancies, now I know why…I was always anemic. Haven’t had them in years because of the expense and I never even thought of making them at home, I don’t know why cause I make everything else homemade! I’m going to try this recipe soon, but will have to use a gluten-free flour. Thanks!

  14. Hi,i wanted to make this but i don’t know or understand how to get the meat out of the shell? Can you explain? 🙂

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