Stuffies: A Cape Cod Tradition


Some of the first things you learn while growing up on Cape Cod are how to put a lobster to sleep, harvest cranberries and razor clams, and the story of the quahog. A quahog is a large, hard-shelled clam found scattered among the beaches of Cape Cod. They can be used for “stuffies” and were also used as money when the Native American’s inhabited the Cape. The quahog’s interior shell pattern is a mix of bright dark purples and white creating a wampum shell that is now used in jewelry and home furnishings.

quahogWhile visiting my hometown this week I’ve found myself scouring for quahogs along the bay but sadly have only found the leftover shells scattered along the beach. While I’m excited to use the wampum in different arts and crafts,  my craving for a good Stuffie has been at an all time high. A Stuffie is a tradition here on Cape Cod, and many local restaurants take extreme pride in making them. They contain a mix of stuffing or homemade bread crumbs, linguica, chopped quahogs and a ton of herbs. I like to top mine with a squirt of lemon and on occasion some homemade tartar sauce.

One of my neighbors is a fifth generation clam digger and shared his recipe for the best Stuffie with me. Stuffies are fairly easy to make and can be served as an appetizer or a main meal. Pair them with a lobster dinner, some corn on the cob, and a handful of saltwater taffy at the end and you have the perfect Cape Cod meal.

Cape Cod Stuffed Quahog


  • 12-15 pounds hard shell fresh quahogs (chowder quahogs are fine too), this will yield 1 1/2-2 pounds meat
  • 1 cup butter, salted
  • 1 ounce garlic, minced
  • 1/2 pound linguica, chopped
  • 1/4 pound white onions, diced
  • 1/3 tablespoon of dry hot red crushed pepper
  • 1/2 tablespoon oregano
  • 1/2 tablespoon parsley
  • 2 lemons
  • 1 teaspoon rosemary
  • 2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 1/2 pounds of brioche
  • 3 1/2 cups water


  • Steam quahogs until they are open, and reserve broth for later use.
  • Remove quahog meat from shells and grind meat. Save shells.
  • Sauté butter, garlic, linguica, onions, oregano, parsley, rosemary, pepper and crushed hot pepper.
  • Make stuffing mix or make bread crumbs using food processor.
  • Add broth and quahog meat to sautéed mixture. Mix together and then add to breadcrumbs. Squeeze in lemon juice. Mix.
  • Place quahog stuffing mixture into shells.
  • Bake at 350 F on cookie sheet for 15-20 minutes.

About Author

Mollie is a native Cape Codder who learned at an early age how to put a lobster to sleep, harvest cranberries, and dig for clams. After high school she followed her sense of adventure out west to the University of Wyoming where she graduated with marketing and communication degrees. She found herself making roots in Jackson, her fiance’s hometown, and using her sales skills combined with her love of anything delicious to join the Dishing sales team. She loves baking from scratch, large glasses of red wine, and hiking with her heeler, Newton. She’ll try anything, but remains a stuck up Cape Codder when it comes to seafood. If she didn’t catch it or see it come off the boat, don’t even try tempting her.

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