11 Easy Ideas for an Old-Fashioned Clambake

Make the most of summer with a classic clambake. Just follow these simple steps to throw the best one yet.

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Bucket of steamed clams
Shutterstock / Ken Weinrich

Host a clambake to celebrate summer

Summer is the time for seafood! Turn your get together around a bounty from the ocean into a memorable event with these easy tips. Don’t miss the ultimate guide to hosting your own clambake this summer.

Can’t get enough seafood? Here are 50 of our most irresistible recipes.

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paper invitations
Etsy / Your New Friend Sam

Send a real, paper invitation

Mail from friends is so rare! Get your guests excited by sending a nautical-themed invitation. They’re easy to find on Etsy, like this one here, or Amazon. With invites so cute, you’ll be pinned to your guests’ refrigerators all summer!

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Taste of Home

Sweeten up the tea

Nothing says clambake like ice-cold lemonade and sweet tea. Let your guests customize their beverages with these fun sweet tea add-ons.

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Taste of Home

Try clams, crab and crawfish

If you live on the East Coast, you’ll definitely want clams at your clambake (obviously!), but you can add other seafood, too! Those in the South might want to add crawfish. Just check out this simple low country boil recipe. Otherwise, try a nice crab boil!

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Homemade New England Lobster Roll with Lemons
Shutterstock / Brent Hofacker

Have less mess with lobster rolls

For a party with cleaner hands and less mess try a lobster roll bar. Start with our favorite basic recipe and give your guests toppings and sauces to customize their roll.

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A little kitsch goes a long way

Who can dig into any kind of butter-slathered seafood without thinking of the classic plastic bibs handed out old-school steak and lobster joints? Luckily you don’t need to be a restaurant owner to snag this fun party accessory. Order some here and your guests will be giggling with delight as they tie one on for the meal.

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Fresh juicy lemons on a cutting board on a rustic wooden
Ekaterina Kondratova/Shutterstock

Add pops of citrus

Any seafood soirée needs plenty of citrus both for adding brightness to a seafood bounty and for hands that smell lemon fresh.

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The girl wipes her hands with a napkin
Shutterstock / Sergey Granev

No sticky fingers

Sticky fingers are not pleasant! Don’t leave guests to wipe their hands on the tablecloth or worse, their pants! Make sure to have lots of napkins and wet wipes available. To make clean up a little more fun, you can order custom pictures or words on the wipe envelope by planning a few weeks ahead.

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Fresh Corn on the Cob for Clambake
Shutterstock / Erika Follansbee

Round out the feast

Seafood is the star of this show but don’t forget to make it a meal by adding sides. It’s best to have items that guests can eat with their hands or while standing. Try hush puppies, corn on the cob, or one of these make-ahead finger foods.

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Taste of Home

Create a custom cocktail

Surprise guests with a signature big-batch cocktail instead of the tired ice chest full of beer! This batch-made party drink saves you from having to play bartender all day while giving your guests something unique! Be sure to include a tasty mocktail for younger guests and designated drivers. Adding lemon or mint will make an excellent drink to pair with sweet, rich seafood.

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Taste of Home

Keep dessert light and fresh

After an afternoon of filling up on salty seafood, a heavy dessert is not always the most appetizing proposition. Prepare something refreshing and unbaked for your group to end the day on a lighter note. We have more than 25 suggestions of no-bake dessert that will make enough to feed a crowd!

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thank you stickers
Etsy / Saddle Hill Studios

Plan your party favors

Give to-go boxes a memorable twist with personalized stickers or tags to match your nautical theme. Attach them to paper bags, to-go containers and more. You can find customizable options on Etsy (like this one) or on sites like Amazon or Zazzle.

Mandy Naglich
Mandy is a food and beverage writer with bylines at WNYC, Munchies, Mic and October. She's a Certified Cicerone and award-winning homebrewer living, writing and cooking in New York City.