Nothing says “summer is here” quite like a summer clam bake on a lawn surrounded by friends sipping rosé. After years of living on the East Coast, I grew to love the idea of hosting one in our backyard in Houston, but I have to admit, I was a little intimidated. Placing live lobsters into a boiling pot of water?! Not really my thing. BUT I was pleasantly surprised to find out that the recipe itself is super easy and less is more when it comes to the decor. Today I’m sharing the five tips I learned from hosting my first clam bake in case you have also been craving a nautical-inspired get together. Read on below!

1. Stick to a Simple Recipe

Ok, not going to lie, I needed some help with the live lobsters part of the equation. But after getting over my initial fear of hoisting a live animal into a boiling pot of water, the clam bake recipe was SO easy. I followed this DIY clam bake recipe, which takes around 20 minutes total and only requires one pot. You basically add all of your ingredients to one pot in a series of layers and cover and cook until done. You can choose whichever seafood and veggies you like best — I went with lobsters, clams, corn, potatoes, and sausage. Once everything is cooked you can use tongs and a slotted spoon to transfer everything to a newspaper, and then pour a generous amount of seasoning on it before serving. So easy!

2. Create an Edible Table Runner

When it comes to the table spread, let the food be the main attraction by creating an edible table runner! To minimize clean up and to create a laid back vibe, I layered newspapers on the table and then piled the seafood and corn on the cob along the center of the table. It created the perfect tablescape, and I love how it encouraged everyone to dive in and use their hands!

3. Serve Chilled Bottles of Rosé

Rosé is the perfect beverage to serve at a clam bake. It’s so refreshing and pairs nicely with the spicy seasoning, plus it’s a great pop of color. It’s so easy to set up an ice bucket on the table with bottles for people to self-serve and enjoy.

4. Mix and Match Blue & White Decor

A clam bake is meant to be informal, so don’t feel the need to overthink the decor. I played up the nautical theme by using blue and white striped napkins and blue flatware, which looked amazing next to the bright red lobsters on the table. Perfect for 4th of July or for any summer occasion!

5. Keep the Spread Minimal

The lobsters, clams, and corn on the cob are the main event and you don’t need to serve much else. I served the seafood medley with a simple green salad and loaf of French bread, and it was more than enough for guests to enjoy! If you’re looking to serve something sweet after, I would suggest vanilla ice cream with fruit. This recipe for grilled fruit served with ice cream is a real crowd pleaser and doesn’t feel too heavy!


Have you hosted a clam bake before? I would love to hear your tips and tricks! xo