Cockles Vs Clams: What Is The Difference Between Them?

Cockles Vs Clams: What Is The Difference Between Them?

The sea creatures are very diverse; if you are interested in seafood dishes, clams and cockles cannot be missed. Both types of creatures are rich in nutrients and able to cook a variety of dishes. However, there are still many people who cannot distinguish between these two types of seafood. What is the difference between cockles vs clams? How can that difference be found? Read our sharing below to have the most accurate distinction!

cockles vs clams

Page Contents

  1. What are clams?
  2. What are cockles?
  3. Comparison between clams and cockles
  4. What do cockles vs clams taste like?
  5. Summary

1. What are clams?

The clam is a red bivalve mollusk (also known as mollusks); belongs to the family Veneridae. Clams often live in coastal waters with high salinity and lots of sandy and gravel soil. Clams are widely distributed in tropical or subtropical seas.

 cockles vs clams taste

Clams are animals that feed by filtering impurities in the water

Clams are animals that feed by filtering impurities in the water. They do not have the ability to eat food selectively, 90% of the clam's food is organic humus, 10% of the food is phytoplankton (Silic algae, needle algae, ...).

Clams grow strongly, mainly in the 2nd to 5th months. In the rainy season, clams grow slowly and do not eat for a long time. They come in many different sizes and shapes, but the most common are still two pieces of the hard shell that are almost triangular in shape.

Clam is a very common shellfish. You can find it at any seafood market. It is loved globally for its many different unique dishes.

Clams are marine species with high economic value. They are easy to keep and don't take much care. Although the maturation process of clams is fraught with risks, they have become popular and inexpensive pets with a large number of eggs.

2. What are cockles?

cockles vs little neck clams 

The shell of the cockle has completely different characteristics from that of the clam

Cockles are bivalve molluscs, living in coastal intertidal zones and lagoons at a depth of one or two meters above the water surface. Their important food is organic detritus, phytoplankton and unicellular algae.

Cockles are related to the clam family, but they usually live at greater depths. They have a sturdy outer shell that protects the soft body inside. The shell of the cockle has completely different characteristics from that of the clam. Seashells have prominent veins and are heart-shaped. Very few types of bivalve molluscs have such a distinctive shell.

Cockles usually live in quite deep water, so cultivating it is not easy.

3. Comparison between clams and cockles

To quickly spot the difference between clams vs cockles, check out our comparison table below:

Parameters of Comparison




Clams are bivalve molluscs that live in both saltwater and freshwater.

Cockles are bivalves that live in salt water areas.


Clam shells are varied, rectangular, oval or elongated.

The cockle shell is heart-shaped and has an embossed ribbed pattern on the shell.

Extend of categorization

Clams fall under a broader taxonomy.

Cockles fall under a narrower taxonomy.

Location in the Sea

Clams are usually found closer to the coast.

Cockles are usually found deeper in the sea.

Raw Consumption

You can eat clams raw.

Do not eat raw cockles, it will be harmful to health.


Clam size is larger than Cockle.

The cockles size is smaller than the clams.


All clams are not cockles.

All clockles are clams.

Find out more comparisons of clams vs oysters vs mussels

4. What do cockles vs clams taste like?

 The difference between the taste of cockles vs clams is also quite controversial. The taste of cockles will be sweeter and tastier. Although many people often use these two types of seafood interchangeably in cooking, there will still be differences between them.

More people often love cockles because of the rarity and sweetness of the meat. Clams are more common and slightly less sweet. Both clams and cockles are delicious when you cook them by steaming or boiling method (see how to steam clams). However, you can eat clams raw to feel the full flavor of the sea, while cockles cannot be eaten raw. You need to wash and cook the cockle thoroughly to have a better taste and be safe for health.

Recipe from types of clams

The nutritional composition of clams is very rich and diverse. 100g of clam contains 140 mg of Omega-3, 240 mg of Iodine, etc. Adding clams to the menu every week will effectively strengthen health, especially for those who are sick. Cockles also contain many nutrients, but you need to be more careful when handling them. Do not eat cockle raw because it can cause dangerous diseases for your health.


5. Summary

Through the above analysis and comparison, you can see the difference between cockles vs clams. Although the two types of molluscs are related, they differ in appearance, taste, habitat and eating habits.

Their difference becomes quite obvious right from the external appearance of each species. Clamshells will be smoother than cockle shells, even tending to be a bit thicker. On the contrary, there will be veins on the shell that are rare for mollusks. In addition, clams will come in many different shapes and sizes, but cockles will be smaller and more uniform in size.

The habitat of these two types of mollusks also has many differences. Clams can live in both freshwater and saltwater reservoirs, and you can also find them in some brackish waters. Meanwhile, you can only find cockles in saltwater waters. Cockles live in deeper water and sand than clams. To catch the cockle, you need to dig deep into the sand under the sea.

In particular, clams can be eaten raw, but cockles cannot, if you eat raw cockles, you may have health problems.

Last thing, all clams are in the clam family, but all cockles will not be clams. Clams belong to a broader classification, there are many different variations, but cockles are a narrower classification.

Although both species share many similarities and are substituted in dishes, they still have many differences. This article of ours has provided an analysis to help you have the most accurate view of the difference between cockles vs clams. Hopefully, you already know how to distinguish these two types of mollusks.

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